Arlin Godwin has been wearing out turntables, CD players, DAT machines, and Hard Drives for his entire life.
As a teenager, he was fascinated by electronics. So much so that he got his FCC broadcast license at the age of 14. He then landed a job at a local Pensacola, Florida FM radio station. Soon enough he got into recording and found that what he could do with the equipment was much more interesting than the machines themselves. This was the beginning of a serious music obsession that continues to this day.
"There was always music in the house when I was growing up because my Mother loved the classics. And so do I. A lot," Arlin says. "But later I discovered The Beatles, Miles Davis, Elton John, Lindsey Buckingham, Prince, and Trent Reznor. They influenced me at least as much as those earlier guys did."
Arlin was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, and never formally studied music except for 3 piano lessons, which he hated, and which marked the end of anyone ever again instructing him on the subject. The lack of "training" didn't seem to matter as, by the age of six, he could pick out much of what he heard on radio or tv by ear and play it back on his Mom's upright piano.
"I don't read notes because I never learned how. And I didn't want to be a musician. I wanted to be an artist. Yes, there's a difference.
I wanted to make original music, not play somebody else'. And I always felt that I had the talent to be the guy composing the music. I couldn't care less about playing the violin until my fingers bleed. And I'm not gonna spend my life practicing some instrument for hours a day."
Later, when recording on tape finally disappeared Arlin continued to produce on computers. "I learned multi-track tape recording. And I learned MIDI. I learned sequencers. And I learned to do everything by myself."
"If I needed a guitar — I played it. Keyboards same thing. Drums? I used to actually use trash cans and office chairs for drums. Basically, I did whatever worked. Whatever made the sounds I wanted," he explains.
"In the last couple of years, I've been slowly going through old tracks. Just under 100 cassettes tapes, I don't know how many DAT tapes, and hundreds of recordable CDs that I did mixes on years ago — and I've compiled just over 700
separate pieces of music written and recorded over many, many years. It's my own private 'vault'."
In 2003 Arlin was signed by CEO Robb McDaniels to San Francisco label INgrooves, at that time home to a diverse roster of acts including Tina Turner, The Crystal Method, Jimmy Buffet, Jody Whatley, Paul Oakenfold and Dolly Parton.
As for playing live Arlin explains, "I've avoided the difficulties of touring small clubs, instead choosing to perform occasionally at huge festivals like Washington, DC's Capitol Pride show in front of 225,000 people (on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the U.S. Capitol building) or Baltimore Pride opening for Crystal Waters in front of a crowd of 30,000."
"Those festival shows are the equivalent of two stadium audiences. Why play the bar circuit when you can go out to an audience twice the size of Madonna's when she's in town? The first time I ever performed at a big festival she was in DC where I live. She played for 15,000 at Verizon Center. I sang for a quarter of a million people on the National Mall. No comparison.
Plus, those big shows are a lot more fun!"