Life story

What would you want to know?

I grew up in South Africa and Sydney, and was always a pretty flakey kid… borrowed lots of pencils in kindy and year 1 and 2 :). I started playing guitar when I was about 9 and just fell in love with it. Especially improvising. I loved the idea of just every time you play you can make a unique song and then it just kind of floats off to nowhere once the notes are gone. I started writing my own stuff when I was about 13 or 14. There have been a number of albums and musos that I got pretty heavily into..

From car trips in the 80’s: Enrico Morricone The Mission, Simon and Garfunkel Best of, Prince Purple Rain, Ravi Shankar – some tapes that my mom bought in India..From the kid/teeny times: Michael Jackson Dangerous, Radiohead Hail to the thief, Silverchair Diorama, RHCP -Californication, Hendrix Electric Ladyland, Cream – not sure greatest hits something or other. From playing classical and flamenco guitar: Paco de Lucia, Slava Grigoriyan, Leo Kottke, Julian Bream, Vicente Amigo, Augustin Barrios Mangore, Villa Lobos, Astor Piazzolla, Francisco Tarrega, Isaac Albeniz, Roland Dyens. From fumbling around in the dark: Nina Simone, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Arvo Part, Beethoven, Pavarotti, Puccini, Max Richter, Skip James, Eric Bibb, Dave Hollande, Baz, Damn Dirty Apes, Vorteilspack not to mention this weird death metal thing that I am super into – Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Cryptopsy, Opeth, Animals as Leaders and of course Fleshgod Apocalypse!

Musical Philosophy and my two cents

I spent a LOT of hours in guitar noodle land as a teenager. It is pretty much second nature. I love how classical guitar can let you play the guitar like a piano with all these different voices and rhythms. What is particularly awesome with guitar is that it gives you this insane flexibility because it fits in so many different genres.

At the moment I am mostly going for instrumental solo guitar pieces. I compose in what you could call a very organic (some would say Chopin-esque) way: I basically just improvise until I find something I really like and then play it to death in a million different ways until a song eventually evolves out of it or doesn’t. Sometimes the songs take years to find their final shape, other times it all happens in a few hours… Mostly it takes years though :)

I actually have a musical philosophy of sorts which is based on two basic ideas. The first is I feel that the further away from your physical body that you go when trying to compose music, the more you lose in terms of meaning and power. When you sing, it is pure you, but some of us were not gifted with great voices and no matter how many lessons you do, you will always kind of suck (case in point yours truly). I mostly compose with my hands, which is a close second I reckon.

The second idea is that I find it weird that people are always searching for new sounds and new media when there is so much left to write within traditional realms. I can’t stand John Cage and these ridiculous ideas about hating melody and building tone clusters and all that crap and Schoenberg and his dice. Just listen to Max Richter’s rewrite of Vivaldi’s four seasons. Everything sounds so fresh and vibrant but the medium has not changed for hundreds of years!