Artist's Corner: From Brass to Strings
I like to think of inspiration as anything or anyone who has left a lasting influence on my drive towards creativity or aspects of my development as a human being. This is constantly susceptible to change, of course: hearing a paper cup being crushed, causing it to make a particular sound; the kindness and unshaken strength of my mother. But, this is about music, I suppose.
I'd like to go through a couple of the artists that have inspired me in some way artistically.
Before learning guitar, I began my musical journey with brass -- french horn, to be exact. I know that doesn't sound like it has any real connection, but I will sew this all together.
Whilst playing the french horn, I developed an ear for tone and key. As time went by, and no longer being in school with rental french horns, I found myself unable to play (due to the price of french horns being well past the pay of a Starbucks employee).
So here I am, with no instrument, an ear, and nothing else but a passion. So, I did what everyone does when they have a little existential crisis, and bought a guitar. My first guitar was an Epiphone beginner guitar, that looked something like a Les Paul junior with a sunburn finish.
The first year all I did was goof around with it for about an hour a day. I began taking lessons under the wing of Kyle Herrington, whom I still see to this day as the best teacher in all forms of the term.
When I first began taking lessons, all I was obsessed with was this band. The dark yet romantic voice of Ville Valo, and the metaled-up guitar, blowing away anything in front of it. The dissonant chords and retro synths in the back keeping you on your toes. It was all I ever wanted as a rebellious and confused teen. As time went by and I learned the basics of chord progression and the other fun stuff, my teacher insisted I broadened my genres of music. And so I did.
This is something that is a little odd and not very noticeable in the way I play today.
I had the chord progressions, I had the ear, the only thing I saw left was rhythm. If there was one thing I would encourage anyone thinking about picking up guitar to do, it would have to be taking a look at this genre. Absolutely confusing tempos and kinky off-beat strumming, it makes normal rhythms a breeze. Once I had delved far enough into off-beat tempos, I felt more than comfortable with the rest.
And so began the weird ball of sounds and artists that are morphing my sound constantly.
This delightful band was introduced to me by our keyboardist, Jordan. The first song I was exposed to was Brennisteinn. The moment I saw Jónsi with a gorgeous custom Dan Johnson guitar using a cello bow, my idea of music was entirely flipped.
The sound that it made has resonated with me for more years than anything else during my musical stride, and to this day, in the majority of the music we make I am using a cello bow.
His minimalistic beats and warble effect on everything was absolutely intoxicating.
He and Jónsi where the first to introduce me to falsetto as well, which is the range I like to use of when backing Ricky´s vocals.
Now, it is pretty common that people have a favorite big band rock guitarist as their inspiration, and I am no different. Solos frankensteined from multiple takes being turned into this monstrous and gripping scream resonates within my own work. Not being afraid of veering out of the basic pentatonic scale and having to learn the fretboard was one of the best things I ever did.
This strange independent band stands out like a sore thumb due to their clean and reverberated surfy sounds. It also introduced me to the world of pedals and Fender brand guitars, as well.
There are many many more topics that I could go over, and more influences that will pass by me in the future, but that will all be for another time.