Randy and Pamela Copus are the husband and wife duo that is the complete heart and spirit of 2002. It was nineteen years ago when 2002 first began producing music with their first album titled Wings. From the beginning and throughout their careers, it’s as if their popular celestial melodies have soared in an ascending flight of their own.
The 2002 music duo Randy and Pamela Copus are without a doubt, one of the finest musical groups producing music today. Many would agree, and their popularity is pretty apparent by the number of times 2002 has been listed as a favorite musical group on the Billboard New Age Charts over the years, and their constancy of producing fine releases.
Presently, Randy and Pamela are nearing a significant milestone in their music careers by an upcoming 20 year anniversary. Review publicist John Olsen has interviewed Randy and Pamela in which many topics were covered. NewAgeMusicWorld.com & NewAgeMusic.nu are pleased to present their conversation to fans of 2002, and our site visitors.
John Olsen: I want to thank you both for taking time out of your schedule for our interview together. I have been a big fan of your music for years so our interview together is even more rewarding to me personally.
You are approaching a significant milestone by your upcoming 20 year anniversary as 2002. Given your ever-rising popularity as New Age music producers, have you had much time to reflect over your roles as musicians and many achievements during the past 20 years?
Randy: Wow, 20 years! It seems like just yesterday we were producing Wings, and watching the 2002 sound take on a life of its own. We don’t spend much time reflecting on our past because we’re always moving forward, constantly trying to improve our music and how we produce it.
John: I find it impressive that 2002 has made the charts 9 times at Billboard within the past 10 years with the long list of albums; Chrysalis, Land of Forever, River of Stars, Across an Ocean of Dreams, The Sacred Well, This Moment Now, The Emerald Way, Deep Still Blue, and Christmas Dreams. This is the equivalent of 270 weeks total on the Billboard New Age charts. I wondered if winning awards and making the Billboard chart is really that important to you, and whether you consider these achievements a true measurement of your success?
Pamela: It’s still important, though perhaps not as much as it used to be. In the past, it helped us know whether or not we were connecting with our audience. It validated hard work and helped us measure each album against its predecessors. However, the music industry is changing and there are plenty of new ways to measure those things now.
Randy: I still get excited when I see our music on the charts, and awards are wonderful, of course. These help give us confidence that we are moving in the right direction. However, when we create the music, we’re not setting out for those kinds of achievements. We have as a single goal to make the best album possible, regardless of reviews and accolades, and even charting.
John: You have a brand new release titled Damayanti, which I published a positive review about recently. When compared to earlier albums you have produced, do you feel Damayanti is your finest release to date, and have you two received additional input from fans or other review publicists about the high quality of your most current release?
Pamela: And thank you for that review John! Yes, each album has been special in its own way. It’s amazing how I can look back over the last 19 years and see reflections of our lives in our music and remember vividly what was going on during each album. Damayanti is no different. It’s a snapshot in time that freezes so many memories. We had a great number of setbacks while creating that album and we certainly did work harder to get through all of that to bring it to the world. It has been a stellar release for us and we have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from our fans, colleagues and reviewers.
Randy: The reviews have been really great for Damayanti, and some of our fans are saying it is the best release ever from us, but we have enough records out there now to make it difficult for me to determine which one is the “best”. My personal favorite changes almost daily!
John: What makes the melodies on Damayanti different from earlier albums?
Pamela: It’s a microcosm of the 2002 career. The many avenues we’ve explored over the past 19 years are all represented in this one release. It brings it all together.
Randy: Our music has always had great commonalities with film soundtracks. The new album takes this style to a new level for us. Many of the albums we’ve produced over the years, particularly the earlier works, have been centered on stories. We returned to this form with Damayanti. There are lush string orchestrations and those emotional “moments” in the music that are the hallmark of movie scores.
John: If it’s not a trade secret, would you provide some details about the instruments and equipment you use, along with the process in which you construct a 2002 album?
Pamela: I play a McKenna flute, specially made for me. My alto flute is a Jupiter. I also play a wind controller by Yamaha called a WX5 as well as a Thormahlen Swan 36 harp and miscellaneous keyboards.
Randy: We use Apple computers and MOTU Digital Performer software. We also prefer to use a real recording console, rather than to do everything in the computer. Our microphones, preamps, speakers and effect processors are all high-end, and are an important part of the trademark sound we produce. Several people have written and asked us what vocal mic we use for all of the vocal layering that is so much a part of our sound. That is a custom made Pearlman TM-1, made by our friend Dave Pearlman. It is a tube microphone, and we run that into a Groovetubes VIPRE preamp. We try to leave our performances as natural as possible, without relying too much on the software to perfect everything. Sometimes there will be a slight timing error or errant sound, or even a mistake that we will leave in because the performance was where it should be. It seems like so often, using technology to perfect a musical performance takes the life out of it.
John: Did you begin playing music with the intention of becoming top New Age music artists, or did you find your music is best defined as Contemporary Instrumental or New Age music?
Pamela: Wow – well actually I started playing music when I was 4. My first instrument was piano, then violin, flute, bagpipes and oboe. Later, in college I moved on to piano. I joined various bands in a variety of styles and spent years playing live and touring. I played in bands performing everything from 60′s covers to industrial rock. I like all good music, regardless of genre.
Randy: We almost fell into the new age genre by accident. Years ago we were both at a point where we had left our respective rock bands, and some friends of ours suggested that we create a solo flute album to sell at the wellness seminars they were conducting. It sold well, so we made another solo flute recording, and then a third album that had more synthesizers and other instruments. All of this came to a head when we produced Wings in 1992, and the 2002 sound was born.
John: You have DVD/CD collector’s editions for the albums A Word in the Wind & Deep Still Blue, plus your music videos. The cinematic aspect of your music is very apparent when viewing your DVDs and music videos. Do you have more DVDs or music videos planned and how did producing your own music videos originate?
Pamela: Producing videos to accompany every song of an album is very time and labor intensive. It really increases the length of time it takes to complete a project. It was a great experience, but I don’t see us doing only that in the future.
Randy: After Deep Still Blue & A Word in the Wind, it was amazing to me how much easier it was to do a straight music album! I’m so glad we did those projects, though. They allowed us to stretch ourselves in new directions and discover what we were artistically capable of.
John: Last year you had introduced your own Galactic Playground Music label. How has this changed the way you produce and market your music?
Pamela: We started our first record label in 1992 (Dreamtime Records). Later, as we evolved into producers we realized that we needed to extend our abilities and began Galactic Playground Music as our publishing arm. When we found ourselves free of outside record labels, we transformed our successful publishing company into a new label and re-released the 3 Gemini Sun Records albums as well as our 2 newest albums, Wings II – Return to Freedom & Damayanti.
Randy: It is great to be in control of our careers, but with that comes the responsibility of having to get everything done, and there are a million little things. It used to be we would get to the finish line of completing the album and then immediately turn our sights to what we would create next. Nowadays, finishing the record is only the beginning. There are promotions that must be done, deadlines that must be met, and decisions about where to spend money or not. Still, it’s very satisfying to take the reins and be in charge of our own destinies.
John: Both of you produced and performed on Marc Enfroy’s Unconditional album, which turned out to be an excellent album by the way. Is producing an album for another artist comparatively straightforward, or are there many challenges to creating a quality product everyone is happy with?
Randy: In the case of Marc’s album, Unconditional, we felt we had a good fit. We were able to bring the elements together with what he already had, to take it to another level. This is the prime consideration we have for producing another artist’s record – what can we bring to it to make it better? Marc had a very good collection of songs and wanted to make a more atmospheric, new age sound than in his previous works. I think it came together nicely, and in the end, everybody was happy with the result.
John: Let me be the first to publically congratulate you both on your approaching 20 year anniversary as 2002. B.T. Fasmer and I wish you both continued success! Before we close for now, is there anything you would like to mention that we haven’t talked about yet?
Randy & Pamela: Thank you so much John! I just want to let you both know how much we appreciate all you do for the music community. We are so grateful that there are people like you helping to get the word out!
Photos courtesy 2002music.com.