David Cain is an artist, and with that title bears the weight of discovering ways to make ends meet both creatively and financially. As the president and chief employee of UMEDIA, his multimedia company, and the composer/musician/producer behind Senses, his progressive jazz/rock band, Cain combines artistic dreams into business realities using creative talents to make a living while making art. With this balanced design he also found a world of discovery filled with possibilities.
“I’ve been doing art for something like 30 years,” he said. “I get up every day thinking anything is possible.”
With a glance at his list of accomplishments in both the separate and combined artistic and business fields (check Web sites for both UMEDIA and Senses), you’ll understand he not only thought of the viable ideas, but delved into achieving those notions as well. His current project concerns the second studio recording of Senses, the music composition and performance portion of the Cain program of putting art to life.
The band, with Cain on sax (yes, that red one), synths, e-drums, wind controller and vocals, includes some of the top musicians in central Illinois. As Howard Freitag (guitar and guitar synth), Jeff Cunningham (basses, looper), Mike Newberry (V-drums) and David Hoffman (trumpet and flugelhorn) cover the instrumentations, Cain then works with the talented abilities of these superb players to build a structure to hold his musical ideas.
“I’m not as much a songwriter as a composer, expressing my music themes then using musicians to edit the works,” explains Cain. “These local guys have all this experience in rock, jazz, playing in orchestras — why limit it to that? I enjoy making music and that feeling of getting lost in it.”
In the studio process, Cain begins with an original music piece, records it, then plays it back for the musicians to riff over, usually getting a take in not more than one or two passes. Sometimes he shows the themes to the musicians separately, asking them to play without the knowledge of what the other musician did to create the possibility of synchronistic melodic patterns. Other times Cain collaborates directly with each player, verbally describing the sound he desires and the effect he would like to hear. Along with the set band, guests on the Senses recording include Will Cain (mandolin), Josie Lowder (vocals) and Greg Fundis (percussion), plus the “fusion dance” of Luda Olifiruck in live performances.
“Years ago I would write all the parts out by hand in music notation,” he said. “For this project I just trust all the musicians to be brilliant and have fun.”
Along with his many and varied UMEDIA projects for organizations like the Illinois National Guard, American General, Verizon Wireless and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Cain recently self-published a book, Who Moved My Illusion, conducts classes based on the works of Deepak Chopra, finished producing and editing the new Senses CD, WANT - NEED, and intends to direct a film this winter based on Tolstoy’s short story The Three Questions. In the midst of this flurry of activity Cain keeps a steady vision of balancing the play and work of art in life, pursuing a deeper purpose while understanding his own place in this world.
“The artist can help out business. We make things for people that have value. We need artists to bring joy and beauty. Without them what a boring and ugly world it would be,” he said. “And for me I just can not, not do it. I need to play, write, record and create.”
Contact Tom Irwin at email@example.com.