TIM HUGHES answered Tony Cummings' questions.
Tony: Give us a potted biography. How did you make the Soul
Tim: Well, I was brought up in a Christian environment - my Dad is an Anglican vicar in Birmingham. For me being brought up in this environment was a really positive thing. I always knew about God and believed in him but it was at a conference called New Wine '89 that I really gave my heart to the Lord. I was amazed to see people respond to and worship a God that they had a personal relationship with. During the week I saw God bless and heal people and I discovered God personally in a very powerful way. Funnily enough, it was there that I met Mike Pilavachi. He kind of took me under his wing and has always been an amazing encouragement and inspiration to me. We always knew we'd end up working together and when I finished my history degree at Sheffield, I moved down to Watford to join the Soul Survivor team.
Tony: How different an experience was recording 'Here I Am To Worship' and recording the album you did with Martyn Layzell?
Tim: In many ways recording 'Here I Am To Worship' was very different to recording 'Reward'. For one thing 'Here I Am To Worship' was recorded in Nashville with different producers and musicians. This obviously gave it a different feel and I hope it encouraged us to stretch the boundaries. I know for me personally I learnt a lot from recording 'Reward'. You see how things work and it gives you a confidence to go for it more. I felt really free to step out and take more risks when recording 'Here I Am To Worship'. Having said all that - both albums came from a place of worship and although different styles and techniques for recording were used, hopefully both capture that essence of worship.
Tony: You are based at the same church as Matt Redman. How much of a musical and spiritual influence would you say Matt has been on you?
Tim: Matt has been a real encouragement to me and I look up to him and respect him hugely. I know that he's for me and that means a lot. In terms of songwriting I've learnt loads from him and have so valued his input. He's really helped me to craft songs better. More than anything though he's a good friend. I love working with Soul Survivor as at the end of the day it's a bunch of friends serving together. Many on the team are a huge encouragement to me.
Tony: When you write a song, what comes first, the music or the words? What is a typical songwriting process for you?
Tim: The thing I've found with songwriting is that there is no set formula. You can sit down for hours with a guitar and nothing comes. Suddenly you're walking to the shops when a melody or lyrical idea pops into your head. Whenever I get those bits of inspiration I record them onto a dictaphone. I usually find that it takes me quite a while to finish a song. The song "May The Words Of My Mouth" took almost three years from start to finish. Usually I concentrate on the melody but have ideas for lyrics to go with it. When I feel the melody is there I'll try and polish off the words. I'm trying to learn to be open. If lyrical ideas are coming then I'll jot them down. If I'm hearing a melody I'll record it. This way you always keep a record of everything - you can then go back and start really crafting and completing all those ideas.
Tony: Have you been out to the States yet?
Tim: I've actually been in the States quite a lot recently. We've had some Soul Survivor events and I've also been quite involved with Worship Together conferences there. I do love America - especially the free drink refills at every restaurant you go to!The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.