How does someone end up making cymbals for a living? Any number of different ways, I suppose.
My journey started in the days of the now defunct Cymbalholic forum, a place where people would gather to discuss the broad topic of cymbals. What fascinated me was hearing that people were making cymbals by hand, independently. Roberto Spizzichino, Matt Nolan, Matt Bettis, Johan van de Sijpe, Steve Hubback & Mike Skiba, to name a few. (Some, sadly, no longer with us.)
At the time I was touring the world extensively with several bands, until my first child arrived in 2010 and I decided to stay home. I retrained as an electrical engineer and worked in some well-paid but earth-shatteringly awful jobs.
While this was going on, I couldn't stop myself tinkering with cymbals, gathering what little information was available and starting to make the tools I needed to hit bronze with hammers. I made my anvil, lathe, hammers and pretty much entire workshop from scratch, and began teaching myself how to make these amazing instruments.
As luck would have it, I was made redundant from an electric design job and saw my opportunity to build something. I became a stay-at-home Dad by day, and a budding (tired) cymbalsmith by night. From there, word-of-mouth allowed news of a cymbalsmith working in Bristol to spread through the vibrant local music scene, and I gained followers, made friends and increased sales.
Fast forward something like 7 or 8 years, and here I am running Collingwood Cymbals full-time, training new cymbalsmiths and helping established makers gain new ideas, and enjoy the chance to connect with other cymbal lovers worldwide.
I'll dig deeper into specific topics relating to cymbals and the details of my work, but for now I hope that serves as a kind of introduction.
For anyone interested, I've made a Spotify playlist of some music I've played on over the years - some recorded in world-renowned studios, some recorded using laptops in bedrooms.