Lead & Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Drum Programming, SFX
Rob is a prolific, talented and accomplished writer, lyricist, keyboard player, and vocalist. His music ranges from intensely intimate and acoustic to a powerful broad atmospheric sound with swirling synthesizers, 'cathedralesque' organs and deep bass sounds. He also enjoys 'playing with' sounds and textures to add to the feel of the music.
Vast - from Genesis and Peter Gabriel, to Sting and Elton John; from Pink Floyd, Asia and Yes to Coldplay, Keane etc and so the list goes on.
In the early days, he formed a school band called 'Telpa Europa' (Latin for 'earthworm'!). As Rob says 'great name not so great band!'.
A few years later, in the early '80's, he and Andrew Wildman collaborated to form a contemporary rock band called 'Cinema' and wrote the concept album 'Golden Ring'.
In the early 90's, Rob gigged regularly on keyboards with a Rhythm 'n' Blues band, The Waterbreakers. This gave him extensive gigging experience as well as an insight into, and an overview of, a different musical genre. He was, however, always itching to write his own material, work on developing his own musical style, and form a band in which he could express himself.
Rob then formed 'Ghost' in late 1995 with Andrew Wildman, and became the main writer and core of the group, at which time they met guitarist Michael Daly, and the 'Ghost' sound was born. In 1999/2000 Rob was then heavily involved with developing and composing parts of the music for 'The Orpheus Project' which included a classical piano piece written by Rob especially for this new millennium project.
The next natural progression for Rob was to write and produce his own solo album - the result of which is his thought-provoking album - 'Behind The Orchard Tree' - released in March 2002.
Touchstone – The Beginning
As a result of a wish to gig the album the next step was to form a new band to work on developing the album material for a live set, as well as working on more material. From this, Touchstone was born, with the name taken from one of Rob’s lyrics in the Orchard Tree album – representing a dynamic combination of sensitivity, and hard-hitting rock.
A Meeting of Minds
After Adam Hodgson sent Rob his masterpiece instrumental album, SSOTS, Rob met up with Adam on 4th February 2003, and it was clear from day one that the similarity in tastes, difference in influences and diversity in creative thinking (as well as their somewhat crazy sense of humour!) would lead to a new and exciting sound and so today's innovative and dynamic Touchstone sound was born.
In Rob’s words: “The vocal interplay with Kim; the melodic ‘sparring’ of keys and guitars with Adam, backed up by Moo’s awesome bass playing and Hen's dynamic drums...it’s been a privilege to see the band grow from the early days to have the potential today to rock people’s worlds…and we all have so much more to offer. I’m pleased to say – it feels like we’ve only just started!”
No particular order of favouritism... so in alphabetical order!
90125: Yes (simply awesome)
All This Time: Sting (superb compositions - his best yet)
Asia: Asia (big, dramatic, powerful - great dynamics - excellent)
Brothers In Arms: Dire Straits (the quality of production is almost unparalleled)
Deadwing: Porcupine Tree (great dynamics)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Elton John (grew up with this one)
Hopes & Fears: Keane (great melodies with strong song-writing)
Milliontown: Frost* (for one track in particular - "Black Light Machine" - awesome!)
Parachutes: Coldplay (great debut album)
Picture: Kino (sheer mustard - every track a gem)
Smallcreep's Day: Mike Rutherford (a little known classic)
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway: Genesis (unique and innovative)
Wind & Wuthering: Genesis (timeless - always sounds fresh)
Wish You Were Here: Pink Floyd (a timeless classic)
Access Virus TI
Korg Kronos 73
Korg Kronos 61
Korg Triton Studio 61 + Vintage Keys Expansion Board
Ultimate Apex AX-90BL two-tier blue column stand
Yamaha MG8/2FX Mixer
Roland KC150 amplifier x 2
Recording & SFX
Novatech Black Tower Case PC
Quad Core AMD Athlon II X2 255 processors
Windows XP Pro
AOC 22" TFT22W monitor screens x 2
NVIDIA GeForce GT430 display adapter
Yamaha MG124C Mixer
M-Audio Delta 1010 Soundcard
Behringer Truth B2031 Monitors
Steinberg Nuendo/Cubase softwares
Various Plug Ins/FX Plug Ins