Ian Toomey | Masters of Light

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Masters of Light

by Ian Toomey

Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Underground
3:21 $0.99
2. Devil's Chord
4:55 $0.99
3. The Priest
5:15 $0.99
4. Only Words
3:53 $0.99
5. We Are the One
5:38 $0.99
6. Burning Up
3:36 $0.99
7. Another World
4:32 $0.99
8. Too Many Goodbyes
5:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Masters Of Light

In August 1980, a young Cumbrian band called Bitches Sin made their first trip to a recording studio. Almost exactly 35 years later, Ian Toomey found himself in the live room once more, waiting for the cue to start playing, although this time he was working on the backing tracks for his second solo album ‘Masters Of Light’.
“35 years,” he laughs, shaking his head. “Actually, it doesn’t feel like 35 years, it almost feels like a continuation of that very first session. We still all have such a great time recording especially at Chris’s, it’s still crazy and mad at times, and very, very funny. I guess I never grew up. Thankfully!” he adds with a grin as wide as the Pennines.
It has been a long 35 years though. Bitches Sin had their ups and downs through the 1980s, before hitting the buffers at a station called Apathy Central. Ian had also formed a side project Flashpoint as an outlet for some more melodic songs and here he met drummer Steve Turton, and although that band didn’t last the distance either, it did found a lasting friendship. As the twenty-first century rolled around and Ian started making music once more, originally with Flashpoint, Steve signed up straight away, and has been involved in Ian’s musical life ever since. Three successful albums – the self-titled Flashpoint CD in 2006 (although that was really a Bitches Sin album by another name) followed by bona fide Bitches Sin titles ‘UDUDVUDU’ (2008) and 2011’s ‘The Rapture’ – and a single were issued before Ian decided to record a solo album, ‘Ascension’, issued in 2015. By the time ‘Ascension’ was released however, Ian was already thinking of a follow-up, and sessions commenced in the second half of that year. Whether the positive reviews that ‘Ascension’ received were the catalyst for another burst of creativity is anyone’s guess, but the album did indeed attract some very good press coverage, even if some of the writers didn’t really seem to know who ‘Ian Toomey’ was.
“I did have to smile at a couple of reviews,” says Ian, “because even though we had done a couple of ’Sin albums previously, it was as if I’d been completely removed from music then just appeared with ‘Ascension’. There were certainly some raised eyebrows amongst some of the reviewers because of the spectrum of styles on the album, but away from my more traditional role as a metal or hard rock lead guitarist I have very eclectic tastes – so long as the music is good I’ll listen to it. When I practice at home I play along to a whole variety of styles, and this showed in ‘Ascension’, and of course more accurately reflects ‘Ian Toomey’.
“But,” he continues, “it was very heart-warming to be on the receiving end of so many flattering reviews, and I guess when you ‘step out on your own’ it is a little bit daunting, but in this case it proved to be the right decision. With Chris on board the quality of production is a given, but you still need to have good material so that he can do the best for you.”
The aforementioned Chris is of course legendary producer Chris Tsangarides, whom Ian met when he was looking for someone to remix ‘Flashpoint’. Having sprinkled some magic over the tracks, Chris had suggested that the album should really have come out under the BS logo which gave Ian food for thought; it also helped forge another long-term relationship which sees the producer as more than just an honorary member of Bitches Sin.
“The thing about Chris,” Ian begins… “Well, if I was to choose only one quality out of the many Chris brings to any recording session it would be that he understands exactly what we are aiming for and knows how to achieve this. He’s a great guitar player too, and a great host as well. So Chris makes the whole experience fun whilst remaining professional throughout. And,” he adds, “on a personal level, Chris has found the guitar player and writer in me that I never realised was there.
“This time around, for the first time ever, we just arrived at Chris’ studio with a handful of riffs and ideas and put our trust in the creative environment and Chris’ immense expertise. And what a fantastic experience it was! A number of reasons external to the band dictated that only Steve and I could make the trip at this time so all the music and backing tracks were written and recorded in the studio by the three of us. This meant that as with ‘Ascension’, ‘Masters Of Light’ has a very ‘live’ feel. And I'm very pleased with how the album sounds; to me, it’s a kind of hybrid between classic Eighties’ and modern rock. Because of Chris’ expertise we managed to achieve this without any electronic trickery where the guitars sound ‘over-saturated’, and in fact it was recorded in a similar way to how we used to work back in the day, with the addition of Chris’ VORTEX – the way in which the guitar is miked; listen to the main solo on ‘The Priest’ – which always makes a significant difference. Having completed the writing, and recorded the backing tracks, we knew the type of rhythm sound we were after. Various amps were tried with different settings, but we eventually narrowed it down to my old 50 watt Marshall and an equally old Soundman amp. These are made in Poland, and they really rock.
“And I have to say, I must also congratulate Chris and Steve for their contribution to one of the best – if not the best – drum sounds I’ve ever heard on an album. I think it’s amazing. I know Chris, and our vocalist Dave [David A Mills], are very pleased with the sound of the album. In fact,” he laughs, “I've never seen Dave smile so much!
“These last two albums,” he continues, “would not have had that ‘edge’ without the enthusiasm of the guys in the band. If you are about to engage in a creative process those involved have to want to be part of the whole experience. That’s why I am so fortunate to have such a great group of musicians contributing to the album; people who wanted to be there with me. Although at present we all seem to be on slightly different life journeys, fortunately Dave was available to add his own expertise to help complete the lyrics and to deliver his usual highly-charged vocals on the album.”
Ian’s solo releases – including the three singles ‘Very Soon Everyone’s Leaving’, ‘Never Alone’ and ‘Renegade Soul’ – all share facets of his journey through life, and ‘Masters Of Light’, is no exception. “The way I see it,” he explains, “we are currently living through the Rapture, and ascending every day towards a new time, even a new energy. The world is currently enduring very dark times but it is changing. ‘Ascension’, being very autobiographical, reflected my own experiences of the Dark but the Masters Of Light will always prevail, and through those personal experiences I believe that you are guided to the Light. And this is something I’ve tried to convey with the artwork: on the front cover you can see the path to a temple of learning and then the back cover indicates that at some time in your life you achieve that part of your journey, and although not yet complete it is a significant milestone.
“Like many of us I am a spiritual person and the only difference between myself and others might be that having survived a planned attempt on my life you can’t help but be changed by such an experience. As a spiritual person I also know that for those who deliberately bring their misery, deceit and hate into another person’s life, the Universe will deliver its own retribution into their lives. I’m comfortable with who I am, I have moved on, whereas people like that are trapped in a future of their own making.”
As ‘Masters Of Light’ is more outward-looking that its predecessor, does it perhaps give a notion of how Ian sees the world, or at least his place in it? Ian nods in agreement. “That’s true. So much of what we are told today is just plain wrong, or at best misleading, and it is for the more informed including those who bring Light amongst us to bring forward the truth. A good example of this on the new album is ‘The Priest’ which comments on the New World Order and the obsession of the so-called Elite to force blind compliance in every aspect of our lives. The worst aspect of this is the steady stream of stolen freedoms brought about by faceless organisations that at present dominate the world. There are, however, more and more truths being revealed about the conduct and blatant arrogance of our so-called leaders and this is helping those still dormant to awaken, and those already awake to spread the knowledge to all.
“The song ‘The Devil’s Chord’ would be another example – the line ‘would you play the Devil’s chord, for a chance to live again?’ illustrating how Earthly corruption can penetrate your soul with false promises; a way to manipulate for the selfish gain of the Elite. I just hope that the increasing awareness of people, and their determination to resist the ‘programming’ or more accurately ‘betrayals’ of our so-called leaders, betters, teachers, call them what you will.”
Amongst these more significant ideals within the songs, there are also moments of day-to-day musicality which betray the fan in Ian, none more so than in ‘Only Words’, a tribute to Gary Moore. “We are all admirers of Gary Moore, and with Chris having worked with him in the past it was, we felt, something that we all wanted to do. I wouldn’t say he was a major influence on the way I play personally, maybe perhaps in the early days there was a little influence in there, but not as great as, say, Ritchie Blackmore, Paul Kossoff or Michael Schenker. With Chris’ help we feel we’ve written a suitable tribute to this great guitar player. Some will get it, maybe some will not, but it’s heartfelt and sincere all the same.”
Ian has said several times recently that he feels this album completes a chapter of his life. The question that hangs in the air is ‘in what way?’ “Well,” he pauses before he answers, “it’s now over ten years ago since Steve and I got together to discuss playing in a band again and, y’know, ‘we should maybe do a couple of gigs and a single just to experience it one more time…’ Since then we’ve done so, so much more. So this is a closing chapter because I have met some of the music greats I admire, partied at events like the Classic Rock Awards, recorded with Chris Tsangarides on many occasions… I’m not saying I’ve achieved – or will ever achieve – all I want to musically because the music industry has changed so much and it bears only a slight resemblance to what it was in the Eighties when I first formed Bitches Sin. But I do feel that what has been required of me is now complete. I now have answers for certain episodes in my life both good and bad, and I believe I was led to this information through the backdrop of my music. And more importantly for the first time in over ten years I don’t know the next part of my journey, which is why I believe this chapter in my life is completing. Maybe there are some scratches still left to itch musically, but only time will tell if I will ever have the opportunity to do so.”
And if Ian had the opportunity to go back now to Smile Studios in 1980, what would he say to his younger self?
“I’d tell him to enjoy himself and play the best he can; never accept second best; be original, not lazy when writing songs. I’d say that he needs to always remember that he has a massive responsibility to those who hand over their hard-earned cash to buy and then to listen to his music. And I’d tell him to be true to himself, and that if he truly believes that what he is creating is good, nothing else really matters. And that’s the same in life as it is in music.”
John Tucker May 2016



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