Biography

Steve is from Barry in South Wales where he started his musical career in 1978 playing in local rock and club groups in Barry and then at the Barry Jazz and Improvisation Summer School, where he met and was inspired by Tony Oxley, Evan Parker, Alan Holdsworth, Phil Wachsman, Trevor Thomkins, Roy Babington, Keith Tippet, Fred Van Hove, Peter Brotzmann and many other great musicians.

He started a jazz club in Barry in a big hotel which became well known in Wales and soon after a Friday night rock club at the same venue. After turning professional in 1980 he left Wales for Paris in 1981 which was a fantastic cultural and learning experience. During his time in Paris Steve first played in a rock ‘n’ roll group and later in a rock group. He began performing solo and performed theatre with Italian Artiste dancer/sculptor Loredana Celi. Steve also performed in Versailles with the legendary Bob Vatel.

From the mid 80′s Steve led his own group ‘It’s My Head’ with rock guitarist ‘Goffo’ from London after Goffo left in 86, the phenomenal Swedish guitarist Jorgen Cremonese joined and with Danish guitarist R L Lunding from the band Picnic they recorded the debut LP with Urania Recordings in Sweden. Norwegian photographer Per Talleraas joined the group intergrating his film and slide projections and his photo’s were always used on IMH covers and art. Most of their live performances were in Scandinavia and included a legendary performance at Hennie Onstad Senter outside Oslo. Steve performed all over Europe including a 2 weeks tour of the DDR (East Germany) with Dietmar Diesner and performed solo at Druga Godba in Slovenia. Steve also was in the original line up of the Danish chamber group Atlantis Transit.

In 1996 Steve toured South Korea as part of Lim Dong Chang’s ‘World is One’ ensemble. He also co founded The Hydronorts in Denmark with Harald Viuff. Steve created a series of floating sculptures along with Paul Burwell from Bow Gamelan Ensemble. The sculptures were moored in Kolding Fjord for the Summer of 1996. Later that year he was part of the big scale performances in Copenhagen harbour with The Hydronorts which included The Hot pipe Organ – Bastiaan Maris, Geo Homsey and Stock and high voltage sculptor Barry Schwartz.

Steve was part of ‘The Kortrijk Percussion’ project led by Belgian master drummer Dirk Wachtelaer and featured English drummer Trevor Taylor. In 2002 Steve was in the Icelandic group Jord Bifast with Egill Johannsson and Siggi Hrellir. He also founded Recreator together with Nick Le Beat and Theo Travis (Soft Machine and Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree). In 1999 Steve started performing and recording with pioneer sax and reeds improviser Ad Peijnenburg from the Netherlands. Also since 1999 Steve has performed and recorded with Norwegian reedman Frode Gjerstad.

Steve was invited to perform on The Large Hot Pipe Organ in 2008 at Robodock in Amsterdam and Blast in Birmingham. He was playing electric drum pads to trigger the explosions in the pipes. Steve recorded together with Paul Clarvis on his sound sculptures and gongs on the soundtrack of State of Play (Russel Crowe, Ben Aflack and Helen Miren) by composer Alex Heffes. In 2009 Steve was invited to perform with virtuoso Celtic harpist Nadia Birkenstock at the International Harp festival in Selstad outside Barcelona. They have continued since then as The Glow Within.

Metalwork

Steve began learning metal craft in 1990 in Scandinavia so he could create his own instruments. Within two years some of the best musicians in Scandinavia were performing on his creations including Paolo Vinaccia, Marilyn Mazur and Auden Kleive.

In 1991 Steve had a powerful lucid dream in which he saw a drummer playing on a mountain with a drum set that was otherworldly, and instead of playing a ride cymbal he played a living bronze Dragons wing. The sound was mesmerizing, enchanting and magical and the audience were in trance.
The dream stayed with Steve and after much thought and experimentation he forged his first Dragon cymbal sculpture in the early 1990′s.
This was how he invented and pioneered cymbal and gong sculptures. His reputation as one of the world’s foremost gong and cymbal makers is well deserved.

His gong sculptures are used by many good musicians and people involved with sound therapy. The shapes and sounds are unlike anything mass produced with deep resonance with powerful energies. These are very high quality instruments and excellent healing and meditative tools. The first sound therapist to play Steve’s gongs was the late great Gerhard Keimer in Denmark.

Steve has never embraced mass production and as an artisan he creates only a handful of cymbals and gongs every year. A great amount of time and energy goes into the creation to forge instruments and sound sculptures that are completely unique with sound qualities that are very different.

Steve has been making Sistrums for years. Each bronze bell is forged into shape, lathed and tuned. He spends time in forests in many countries finding suitable wood for his Sistrums. Their clarity, resonance and enchanting sounds have been embraced by many people.

Steve’s creations have been exhibited in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, England and Wales.

Steve has performed/recorded with:

R L Lunding, Splat, Marie Kawatzu, Bob Vatel, Dietmar Diesner, Atlantis Transit, Frode Gjerstad, Andrea Centazzo, Loredana Celi, Birgit Lokke, Tineke Noordhoek, David Moss, Paal Nielsen Love, Z’ev, Large Hot Pipe Organ – Bastiaan Marris, Geo Homsey, Stock, Jeffrey Funt, Chico MacMurtrie, Barry Schwartz, Paul Burwell, Alan Wilkinson, Ad Peijnenburg, Dirk Wachtelaer, Per Talleraas, Tin Josefsdotter, P O Jorgens, Cyrille Oswald, Rodrigo Reijers, George Cremanschi, Antez, George Haslam, Aida Mujacic, Jozef Laska, Frank Castro and Gumdrum, Joao Pais Filipe, Rui Leal, Filipe Texeira, Henrique Fernandes, Paulo Mesquita, Cortez Lamont III, Gustavo Costa, Alberto Lopez, Carlo Garof, Antonio Bertoni, Stephan Pastor, Geert Tiersma, Peter Brotzmann, Duo with Paulo Mesquita, jörð Bifast with Icelanders Egill Johannsson on guitars and Siggi Hrellir on electronics and atmospherics, Theo Travis and Nick Le’Beat in Recreator and with Theo Travis and Dave Sturt in Cipher, Geuan from Belgium and since 2010 duo with the great Celtic Harpist Nadia Birkenstock as The Glow Within.

Some of the musicians who perform on Steve’s creations include:

Paolo Vinaccia, Evelyn Glennie, Birgit Lokke, Paul Clarvis, Marilyn Mazure, Paal Nielsen Love, Carl Palmer, Chris Whitten, Snorre Bjerck, Michala Østergaard-Nielsen, Andrea Centazzo, Peter Fairclough, Alessio Riccio, Tineke Noordhoek, Knut Finsrud, Thomas Eiler, Welsh National Opera, Gerhard Keimer, Trevor Taylor, Tony Orrell, Gino Robair, Ondrej Smeykal, Carlo Garof, Davide Merlino, Antonio Bertoni, Jorge Soto Flores, Yuri Pavlovski, Andor Gabor, Job Verweijen and Bill Smith.

Publications:

Fire and Steel: Book about Steve’s music and metal creations. Soundworld Publishing England

Featured in Percussion Profiles. Book featuring innovative percussionists. Soundworld Publishing England

Gongs and Tam-Tams: A Guide for Percussionists, Drummers, and Sound Healers by Philip McNamara

Sound Healing with Gongs by Sheila Whittaker

Steve is also to be featured in the new cymbal book by Trevor Taylor

Sponsorships

Malmtekni Reykjavik Iceland 2004

Paiste Nottwil Switzerland 2006


Festivals and events;

2018 Celtica Courmayeur. Seduced by Harps Adelburg Belgium with The Glow Within

2017 Elfia Arcen

2017 FIMP at Serralves Festival Porto

2015 Amplifest, Porto – exhibition

2014 Metalkymist exhibition in Pitigliano

2014 Down The Rabbit Hole Ewijk NL – as blacksmith

2013 Design Week Milano with Amaro Creative Industries. Down The Rabbit Hole Ewijk NL – as blacksmith

2012. Metalkymist Exhibition at Oko, Opava Moravia. Czech Republic.

2010. 1 month exhibition at The Globe in Prague. Mobile sculpture placed in forest at Tapely Park. England.

2009. Beltine Festival, Telc, Czech Republic. Exhibition of Mobiles and performance.

2008 Exhibition of outdoor sculptures at Half Machine. Copenhagen. The whole instalation was later stolen.

2007 Dark Metalcraft Exhibition at WEI in Eindhoven.

2006. Created a garden of Stainless steel sonorous sculptures
- Jardin d’illumination – in the Gothic Quarter of the forest at Coed Hills Rural Artspace in St Hilary, South Wales.

2005 Red Biddy Gallery. Shalford. England

2004 Coed Hillls Rural Artspace. Wales.

2004 Paris Art gallery. Southend. England

2004. Salurinn: Kopavogur. Iceland

2004. Galleri List: Reykjavik.

2003. 2 Steel sculptures in statue garden – Gallery De Waalstoep, Rossum, Netherlands.

2003. Steel sculptures and 1 bronze sculpture at Galleri Fold. Reykjavik
Performance and exhibition of percussion sculpture at Washington Gallery. Penarth. South Wales

2001 Steel sculptures and percussion sculptures at Wartekk, Basel, Switzerland.

1999 1 month exhibition of Gong Sculptures at Cafe Sting Gallerie. Stavanger, Norway.

1996 Hydronorts large scale performances and installations in Kolding and Copenhagen and installation of Sea sculptures in Kolding Fjord

1996 South Korea with Lim Dong Chang Ensemble

1992 Amorphus in aarhus and Copenhagen with Bastiaan Marris, Geo Homsey, Barry Schwartz, Barney Haynes Shelley Cook and Kim Gronborg.

1990 Aarhus festweek

1988 14 days tour od DDR with Dietmar Diesner.

1988 Aarhus Percussion Festweek with It’s My Head – The Joy of Life project with invited guests including Andrea Centazzo, David Moss, Kaev Glieman, Oivind Weingaarde, J D Jensen. P O jorgens and Marie Kawazu

1987 Druga Godba Ljubljana

1986 SULT Aarhus

1986 Berlin Atonal Festival

1980 Cardiff Jazz Festival – Cardiff Castle with Keith Tippet and Alan Wilkinson




Marilyn Mazur with Steve Hubback Spinning Conch 2016.
Photo by Gorm Valentine

 

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Sculpture made for Dame Evelyn Glennies

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Paolo Vinaccia

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Peter Fairclough´s Set

Birdman
Tony Orrell. The Birdman of Alkijazz with his Steve Hubback forged Vulture Sculpture.




This is what people say about Steve Hubback’s work:

Számomra Steve alkotásai egyaránt műalkotások és hangszerek… Hangszerek, melyek aprólékos részletei lenyűgöznek, és műalkotások, melyek hangjukkal ámulatba ejtenek. Minden egyes darabban ott rejlik maga az ember, aki a hang és a kép egységének megteremtésére törekszik.

Steve’s creations for me are both artworks and presence of music … Instruments that are impressed with all the small details, and artworks that amaze with their voices. In each piece, there is the man who seeks to create the unity of sound and image.

Gábor Andor Budapest 2018.


Steve Hubback, dopo essersi fatto conoscere soprattutto come artigiano di idiofoni, e in particolare gong naturamorfi (ne è stato il pioniere), ha deciso di suonare solo strumenti fatti dalle proprie mani (non solo metalli e tamburi, opportunamente decorati secondo la simbologia di suo gusto, ma anche sostegni e bacchette). Vederlo all’opera, mentre vola su pelli e piatti come uno druido che prepara un incantesimo, è un vero piacere. La sua identità sonora è universale e al tempo stesso melodica e sognatrice. Ogni sua performance è una esperienza musicale profonda e personale, assistervi o partecipare a uno sei suoi laboratori è una piccola e preziosa fortuna.

Luca Luciano – Napoli Italy 2018.


Hablar de los platillos y gongs de Steve Hubback es hablar de una estética, que ningún platillo en el mundo posee. En cuanto al sonido, es excepcional, logrando llegar a lo requerido por cada cliente. Tener un gong o platillo de Steve Hubback es un lujo.

Jorge Soto – Santiago de Chile. 2018.


“A new touch!
As a percussionist I am always looking for new sounds, sustain sounds, rough
earthy and grounded sounds is my aim, in Steve Hubback´s work I found a lot
of what I have been looking for.
Each individual instruments visual shapes and earthy colors is fantastic, and
sounds different from al other metalpicies I have touched before!”
Drummer/Percussionist,
Snorre Bjerck – Bergen, Norway 2012

I play Steve Hubback’s cymbals exclusively.

Paolo Vinaccia – Oslo 2010


“I’ve been playing and experimenting with cymbals and gongs
for all my 35 years long career.
I’m friend of Steve since 1986 when we performed
together in a percussion madness he organized.
Only recently I had the privilege to play one of his
handcrafted cymbals and a gong and I was blown away.
The crash he gave me was powerful, clear, explosive
and delicate at the same time while the gong was ethereal,
evocative and strong. Beside the fact that they are
real sculptures worth to appear in any art gallery.
Real pieces of art applied to cymbals and gongs.
For sure he’s the absolute master of contemporary
cymbal and gong making”

Andrea Centazzo – Los Angeles 2009.


“I’ve known Steve for about 15 years now, I was amazed when
I first saw his work and the idea of custom designed and hand
crafted cymbals and percussion was too good not to pursue! I
have many many pieces of Steve work now, ranging from cymbals
to gongs, sound sculptures and mobiles.
Steve Hubback is a rare phenomenon, a brilliant musician,
composer, artist, blacksmith and shaman,who has forged
all these disparate artist disciplines into a unified art
and philosophy.

A visionary with the spirit and ethos of Harry Parch,
Hubbacks personality is equally complex and his work is
always tempered with a black irony fueled by his wicked
welsh humour! Nobody goes to more trouble than Steve Hubback
for his art!!

“Exciting fresh Original thoughts and ideas in a world of
mass production and mediocrity!!”

Trevor Taylor. England 2011.


“I used to play ancient hand-beaten Turkish-made K. Zildjian
cymbals exclusively.  Then, in a wonderful moment of synchronicity,
my ancient favourite ride cracked and Steve Hubback got in touch and
told me he’d been making cymbals.  We met up and I took delivery of
an 18″ ride which is now my most played cymbal.  Shortly after,
Steve made a whole set for me, including a beautiful masterpiece
of a 20″ ride.  Everywhere I play, people are fascinated by my
set-up.  They are drawn to the sound and want to know what brand
I’m using but when they see them up close they are also taken
with the sheer beauty of the art-work.  I use the cymbals in
every type of situation; small quiet duo gigs with Keith Tippett,
regular jazz gigs, theatre pit work and recently Ronnie Bottomley’s
Jazz Orchestra, and they sound amazing & unique – a quality I prize.
You can hear them to great effect on my new CD, Momentarily, with
singer Hayley Youell (www.myspace.com/faircloughyouell and
http://www.jazzcds.co.uk/artist_id_60/cd_id_1471).”

Peter Fairclough – Sheffield England 2010

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