This article is a guest article. We are happy to invite Syos artist Joe Trahan who is sharing with us today his journey as a saxophonist and his story with Syos. I hope you will enjoy this piece which really comes from his heart.
"Syos reached out to me online around April of 2021. I had been a music student at the University of North Texas at the time, and as public music making was very much frowned-upon through much of the early pandemic, I was coming up on recording for the One O’Clock Lab Bands’ annual album. We never performed for a live audience, but we rehearsed four hours a week socially distanced from one another. At the time I was using a metal mouthpiece with a large tip opening, and was determined to get the biggest sound out of my instrument. Up to that point, I had changed mouthpieces and made adjustments to my setup regularly. I was on a hunt for the optimal combination of gear. My mouthpieces would only usually last me a year though before I started to run into problems, and then it was on to the next iteration. What I didn’t realize at the time was that no matter how much I altered my setup, I would eventually run into the same problems that I had before.
I was at first quite hesitant about the concept of becoming a signature artist. On one hand, I had a few run-ins with saxophonists and their strong opinions about what made a “good” setup. Then on the other hand, I felt I had almost nothing to say as an artist. “Why me?!” I would ask myself. I was just a guy that liked to play saxophone; I didn’t believe that what I was doing could be seen as artistic.
In conversation with fellow musicians, I had always heard people say things like “no one respects art anymore”. Because art is subjective, it can be difficult to filter the variety in opinions of the people you surround yourself with. Being young and coming out of music school, it’s easy to feel like you don’t know anything. Not that you don’t know anything, but if you study for so long, when is it that you feel you’ve learned? Or, you spent so much time studying that maybe you don’t even have the space to enjoy the music anymore. Through much of the turbulence of finding my own voice, one question still puzzled me more than the rest:
Could I be an artist even if I was still figuring stuff out?
So, what is the right setup for a saxophone? There are some things that work more than other things, of course. But ultimately, we improve when we make the choice to listen. To others, and to ourselves. Using my Syos mouthpiece has led me to discover things about my music that I had not thought possible for myself. I am in a place where I feel that I’m falling in love with music again. I’m always listening, looking for something new to talk about. I’m not caught up in my gear like I used to be.
For a company to deliver something into the hands of musicians that is highly accessible and customizable serves as an enormous act of love. To make mouthpieces for children, for professionals, for the hobbyist. You do get to shape your own sound, and you do get to choose the story. Why not choose to live in color?"
Joe plays on his Baritone Signature mouthpiece.