Rob Cottingham Rob is a prolific, talented and accomplished composer, song 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.
Influences 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.
History 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 was his thought-provoking album - 'Behind The Orchard Tree' - released in March 2002.
Touchstone – The Beginning ~ 2002 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 became clear from day one that the similarity in tastes, differences 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.
Touchstone 2015 Touchstone went on to release one EP, four albums, a double live album and a live DVD, hitting the UK rock album charts at No34 in 2011 and No26 in 2013 after being signed for the last two albums. The band toured UK, Europe and USA.
After November 2015 - Kim will be leaving the band, and the band agreed to put the band into a holding pattern to allow individual projects to be developed - but always with the idea of being able to return to the Touchstone 'mothership' as and when the band choose to fire up the engines.
The Solo Album Project ~ 2012
After ten years since his first solo album and forming Touchstone, along the way Rob had garnered material which was either not 'right' for Touchstone, or - as he readily admits - he was too close to, so felt the urge to put out a solo album some of which covers material from the last ten years, and some of which has been freshly written at the end of 2011, after The City Sleeps was launched.
Rob describes the album as a "cross-genre-ational blend of rock, prog and pop, covering the themes of death, time, self-realisation...and Zebedee..." Some of the album firmly has the tongue in the cheek: some of the album certainly hasn't...
Rob is proud to be endorsed by Kurzweil Music Systems
Rob is proud to be a Nord Artist See www.nordkeyboards.com
Rob's first solo album 'Behind The Orchard Tree' March 2002
Adam, Rob, Kim, Moo and Hen in Poland 2011
Rob is proud of what the Touchstone family have achieved.
In Rob's words:
"What can I say about my band mates? Adam is an outrageously gifted guitarist and creative artist; Kim has grown into a stunning performer with a fantastic voice, and is one of the loveliest girls on the planet Moo is an awesome bassist with a keen ear for musical arrangement, and Hen is a great guy and fantastic drummer destined, I believe, to globally dominate the drumming scene! When we get together, despite the fact that in many ways we are all quite different, something magical happens. Quite simply - I love them all!"