MITM Interview w/ ROJA

965096_539021816138966_1599580609_o1. When and why did you start playing?

Aged 10. Older brother syndrome. He brought me up on a diet of WhiteSnake and Def Leppard. I was determined to be one of those guitar gunslingers that revolved around 80’s metal bands like it was transfer deadline day.

2. Which instruments do you play?

Guitar, Drums, Vocals, Programming (if that’s an instrument)

3. What was the first tune(s) you learned?

Like many of my generation, I learned from the guitar from Bert Weedon’s “Play in a Day” and I think the first recognisable song in that was “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

4. Is your family musical?

Not in the slightest.

5. Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.

Just my brother’s love of NWOBHM.980103_544646368909844_294637338_o

6. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Too many to mention. In the last 2 weeks I have seen PJ Harvey and Peaches live though and although these shows were at the opposite sides of the performance spectrum (both equally amazing) I admired their songwriting chops equally. It’s all down to the song really.

7. Which famous musicians have you learned from?

Jeff Buckley. Stephen Malkmus. Scott Walker. That bloke who wrote, “Baby one more time”.

8. Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?

A fellow called Ian who had a great ear and was able to transcribe all of those Faith No More solo’s I was desperate to learn. That was it. Technically speaking I’ve regressed as a player since I reached the age of 17.

9. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

Dodgy Strat copy and duff amp. I’m now seriously into the baritone guitar. It’s such a simple change from a normal guitar but the richness it brings is magical.

10. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house?

In your neighborhood or town?Learning the entirety of Pearl Jam “Vs” and playing along with it in my bedroom. Jumping around like the secret 6th member of the band.

11. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

My family had numerous Neil Diamond albums which were, and frankly still are, totally amazing. I even loved him when he had that post-Pulp Fiction hipster period. Fantastic songs.

12. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CDs?

Too difficult to be concrete with this. Anything by Radiohead, John Grant, Peaches, Ennio Morricone or Justin Timberlake.

13. Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?

The band I was in at university won the Battle of the Bands one time. One of the greatest nights of my life. Oh and we were just finalists in a BBC TV show which was a phenomenal experience.

14. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions?

Concerts, radio, TV?A bit of all of the above really. Small pub gigs. Support slots at big venues. TV performances. They’re all special in their own way.

15. Do you play for dances? Step-dancers?

Describe the differences.In our wedding band we do and it’s more fun than you would ever imagine. I’ve totally sold out and I love it.1375067_608431495864664_1835339768_n

16. How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Not arsed.

17. Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

Not really.

18. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

Channel that adrenaline into your performance. Or man up.

19. Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?

I don’t but would absolutely love to.

20. How often and for how long do you practice?

The band as an entity and myself as a solo artist are the worst rehearses imaginable. We hate it. It’s like pulling teeth. It wasn’t always thus but in our middle age we just blast out what we need to and then have a chat and a cuppa. It’s very much about the cups of tea.580176_544607172247097_1649102137_n

21. What do you practice – exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?

Songs that I aspire to be able to play. Songs of my own that I think I can improve. Not scales.

22. Do you teach music?

I did for 10 years but I’m now just one of those full-time primary teacher types. Not enough music in my day job it’s fair to say.

23. How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

That’s the clincher right there. Finding space in your life for music is always challenging but it’s one right now that is harder than ever. We are getting some degree of success and exposure but I am also a father, husband, son, friend and teacher. It has to happen within the minute of the day – 5 minutes of playtime here, family out for an hour there. But I’ll keep on going. It’s in the blood.