Sozo Heaven, Sozo Heaven Media Music and Sozo L.A. were all created by Andrew Bates.
Born and raised in Devon, UK. Andrew developed a passion for creating music very early on, first playing around on a cheap Casio keyboard in sleepy surfer town Exmouth on the westcountry coast.
Influenced by such conceptual artists as Vangelis, Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield, Andrew found a desire to pour out a sound from within.
Not long after trying a few things on the keyboard, the guitar rapidly became Andrew’s main focus, self taught for the most part, but also learning how to play blues scales and songs with a neighbour who also shared a love of the instrument, jamming along, listening to and learning songs by artists such as Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Led Zepplin.
Although not traditionally a blues fan, the music was a great way of exploring what the guitar could achieve.
Andrew soon discovered that his leaning was not for solo playing but rather a greater interest in chord structures, and specifically the more exotic sounding the chords, the better.
This became the basis for Andrew’s exploration into composing.
Andrew continued to develop his ability by jamming along to all kinds of CD’s, covering many genres, ranging from Dire Straits, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pantera, Primus, Jamiroquai, Rage Against The Machine and Mordred, to more traditional well loved classical composers like Satie, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Mozart and Beethoven.
Notwithstanding all this influence, Andrew at the same time found a continuing appreciation for more ambient, experimental and melodic acts such as The Orb, Dreadzone, Ozric Tentacles and The Cocteau Twins.
Andrew briefly helped build and run a modest publishing company for about 7 years, and occupied the position of head of publishing, later on becoming a co-director. Publishing 80+ albums by several artists, maintaining and providing original content for the company website as well as handling all download information and the general running of the company.
During that time Andrew prolifically wrote many original scores for use in the media markets, this later evolved into the sister project ‘Sozo Heaven Media Music’
A considerable amount of this music was used in the global TV series ‘Monkey Business’ which has successfully aired on Sky’s ‘Animal Planet’ channel for a number of years.
After running the company, Andrew decided to move on to new horizons, and even before leaving produced and published the first Sozo album ‘The hand of God and the heavens beyond’ (2007), this was later followed up by another 10 track album of original pieces entitled ‘The enduring memory of love’ (2010) and so the kernal of the Sozo Heaven project was born.
In 2012 a further two albums were published ‘The Golden promise’ and ‘Out of darkness into light’ another 20 superchilled originals.
At the same time and rapidly following this, Andrew produced the first series of 8 media friendly chillout albums, called ‘Soaking sessions’ for Sozo Heaven Media Music, with many different sounds and styles of music presented under the banner of ‘meditation’. Fulfilling the duel concept of music for the easy listening market as well as for any media application or production.
Over the years Andrew also turned his hand to songwriting, and in mid to late 2012, performed, recorded, produced and mastered a 10 track original song album for the latest project Sozo L.A.
Standing for ‘Sozo Living Audio’, this was to be a pure songs project, inspired by visionary concepts of truth and love. The first album ‘Words of life’ was released in late 2012. The entire album was produced solely by Andrew, except for the drumming, provided by local drum teacher and session musician Paul Roebuck.
Andrew has also produced a number videos showcasing his music, using archive footage and also the photography of LadyDphotography JavierPardina and TroyPaiva (by kind permission), highlighting Andrew’s own passion for photography.
At time of writing (August 2013)
Andrew has finished and published his 5th Sozo Heaven album, another 10 original instrumentals, very much inspired by The Cocteau Twins, The Orb and James Bond composer John Barry. – Dancing in heaven’s light (link to iTunes)
More videos added to the Sozo Heaven channel, now up to 39 original music videos – http://www.youtube.com/user/sozoheaven
Andrew has a great passion for film scores, and most specifically anything atmospheric, powerful and melodic. These influences can be heard in all of Andrew’s compositions.
(c) 2013 Andrew Bates