Steve is from Barry in South Wales and began his musical career around 1978 at the Barry Jazz and Improvisation Summer Schools, 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 jazz 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 Early 1981 which was a fantastic cultural and learning experience. This is where Steve started experimenting with very small drum sets and discovered Italian cymbals and played Ufip cymbals until he started to forge his own cymbals and gongs. During his time in Paris Steve First played in a rock n roll group and then a rock group. Began performing solo concerts. Worked with many groups in rock and jazz and performed theater with Italian Artiste dancer/sculptor Loredana Celi. Steve also performed in Versailles with the legendary Bob Vatel.
In 1990 Steve began learning metal craft 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.
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 enchanting and magical and the audience were in a 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 wolds foremost gong and cymbal makers is well deserved.
His gong sculptures are used by many good musicians and people involved with sound healing. The shapes and sounds are unlike anything mass produced. Deep resonance with powerful energies. They are very high quality instruments and excellent healing and meditative tools. The first healer to play Steve’s gongs was the late great Gerhard Keimer in Denmark.
Steve has never embraced mass production and as an artisan 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.
As a musician Steve has performed all over Europe and South Korea. He has led his own groups It’s My Head and Metal Moves and has recorded 39 albums. He has worked with many great musicians and performers including Lim Dong Chang, Jorgen Cremonese, RL Lunding, Splat, Marie Kawatzu, Bob Vatel, Dietmar Diesner, Atlantis Transit, Frode Gjerstad, Andrea Centazzo, Loredana Celli, 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, 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, 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, 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.
This is what other people say:
“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. Angel 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
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
Peter Fairclough – Sheffield England 2010
I play Steve Hubback’s cymbals exclusively.
Paolo Vinaccia. Oslo 2010
“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!”
Snorre Bjerck – Bergen, Norway 2012