“Stepping Stones” by Tom Howie is an unreleased track set to be on an upcoming 2011 record. The track was mixed by Carlos Anthony Molina of MERCURY REV and recorded at Avatar Studios in New York.
As one of the first songs that Tom recorded, there’s a special story behind it:
I had been playing in punk and heavier electric guitar-based rock bands prior to writing “Stepping Stones” and hadn’t played live acoustically yet or recorded a track that was bare and didn’t have blazing electric guitars and loud drums. I wrote “Stepping Stones” in my parents’ basement in Vancouver five years ago, when I was 17….It started with that intro riff, which I thought was really cool at the time because I didn’t have any understanding of music theory or jazz chords. Now it seems obviously simple…I was extremely insecure about whether the chorus was good enough to stand up to it. I was less confident then as a songwriter, not knowing what was good and what wasn’t.
I first recorded “Stepping Stones” in 2005 at Garth Richardson’s (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers) studio on Vancouver Island…I put out an EP featuring this early version of “Stepping Stones” and it was well received all over Vancouver. I played at quite a few school high school talent nights, performed on local radio, and sold a whole lot copies of the EP. It’s now painful to listen to this version of the song, but at the time I was very excited.
I jumped at the chance to re-record “Stepping Stones” this summer. My friend who is a producer booked Avatar Studios in New York for a day in July. The Strokes and Kings of Leon had recorded there in the weeks prior, and Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones had recorded there in the past. It was an honor to work there. I never would have guessed that five years later, I would be recording this song I wrote during high school class in one of the best studios in the world, working with world-class musicians and engineers. We all had a blast. Having Anthony Molina (Mercury Rev) mix the song after we laid down the tracks was a really cool experience. He added a depth and brand new dimension to the song that really makes it feel alive and new for me, and finally properly communicates my original vision for the song. What began as a rough acoustic track in 2005 has become a really rocking electric song that I am excited to release in 2010.