‘Romance and Rebellion’ – Aaron Medina Interviewed By MITM (Quintin Goynes)

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In order from the left: Aaron Medina, David LaViola, Brandon Davis, Kyle Jordan Meuller – Click on image to goto Ultravuilgar.com

Here Are Aaron’s Answers:

 

  1. When and why did you start playing? 

    Started piano as a kid, and guitar as a teenager. I started playing electric guitar to be loud and powerful, since I was a skinny, nerdy kid.

  2. Which instruments do you play?

    Guitar mainly, also sing, and I play decent drums, bass, uke, and piano.

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

    “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

  4. Is your family musical?

    My grandma and aunt are, I’ve heard them play piano and sing in harmony together since I was a kid. My other family members probably are, they just never took it beyond high school.

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

    My family loves music, especially my mother. She took me to concerts since I was young, both classical symphonic performances, and blues shows like Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang. Around the house she’d play artists like U2, Eurythmics, and Pink Floyd. I’m really the first in my family to do music professionally though, which seems rare compared to other families.

  6. Which famous musicians do you admire?

    Why? My admiration goes to the songwriters. I don’t generally care how fast or technical musicians can play, I care who can write a strong vocal melody and chord relationship. I love songwriters like Rivers Cuomo, Pete Loeffler, Kurt Cobain, Dave Stewart/Annie Lennox, Paul Simon. The “stand-alone” guitar playing that Ican appreciate is that of David Gilmour, Rivers Cuomo, and Matt Bellamy, because it’s so melodic and powerful. I think about the entire ensemble. For this reason, I call myself a musician more often than I call myself a guitarist.

  7. Which famous musicians have you learned from?

    I grew up on rock ‘n roll. As a teen I learned to shred from Metallica, learned how to write songs from Weezer, and learn how to do both from Muse.

  8. Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?

    My first teacher was a guitarist named Jeff LaQuatra. He had slender hands like me, and showed me what those slender hands could do on the guitar. He played me a movement from the E minor Bach Lute Suite and I was hooked to classical guitar. Most of the rock/pop guitar I learned on my own, getting lost in songs in my bedroom for hours in my youth. I studied guitar performance at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music with Ricardo Iznaola and Jonathan Leathwood. They were also my mentors, and taught me some deep shit. But mostly to love the process and love the work, as well as attention to details.

  9. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

    First was piano, then guitar. After that, it’s like learning other languages; it just gets easier. I started singing when I started guitar. Bass guitar is an easier version of guitar.. unless you REALLY play bass. Drums came next, as a gift from a very special person. Then ukulele, also a gift from my mother after she returned from a trip to Hawaii. My musical foundation is present, from going to a music conservatory. So that all bleeds over into my drum playing, uke, etc with rhythm and music theory. The only technical instrumental training I’ve had, though, was on the piano and guitar. I let my ear help me learn everything else.

  10. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

    So many to pick from. I always loved seeing concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. It’s a magical open-air theater that overlooks the city of Denver in the distance. It is structurally and acoustically breathtaking, and I’ve seen some amazing concerts there, like Buddy Guy, Leonard Cohen, and The White Stripes. Performing in my first classical guitar quartet was special, with other students of my guitar teacher, who became friends. Also playing my first rock show with my band Fashionably Late was fun, even though we had so much to learn. I remember rocking out and hitting the head of my guitar against the head of my bassist’s and getting knocked out of tune mid-song haha.

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

    I have old Beatles, Van Morrison, and Pink Floyd records on vinyl. I love the wall of sound you get from vinyl. I got a cassette early in elementary school for Christmas. It was Nirvana’s Nevermind album. That was pretty damn influential.

  12. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?

    This is a broad question, so I’ll stick to albums to make it easier. I’ve always connected most with power chord rock and pop rock. The Weezer Blue Album is a big one for me. I just mentioned Nirvana Nevermind. Chevelle has been a huge influence for me. Wonder What’s Next was special, all their albums really,Sci-Fi Crimes, Vena Sera, This Type of Thinking, Hats of to the Bull. They use super low drop tunings which is really dark, and blends well with Pete’s haunting voice and melodies, as well as his hair-raising scream. They’re all brothers, and Sam goes to town on those drums which is inspiring to watch. I listened to Pink Floyd’s The Wall a lot as a kid. And as an adult haha. Dark Side of the Moon as well. Also ‘Sgt. Pepper.’

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

    I’ve played in classical guitar competitions, but never won. I’ve always prioritized being a musical and expressive guitarist and songwriter more than a technically perfect player.

  14. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?

    I mostly play with my band Romance & Rebellion here in Los Angeles. I also perform classical/flamenco guitar at private parties and events. Occasionally I play solo classical guitar concerts as well. My focus is on rock music now. I played in a half a dozen bands in 2015 since I just had moved to LA. It’s down to one really good one now, and I’m excited about our future.

  15. Do you play for dances? Step-dancers? Describe the differences.

    N/A

  16. How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

    Keep moving, don’t show anyone you made them.

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

    I still do a little, I don’t think that will ever change. Usually goes away once I’m on stage performing though.

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

    I tell my guitar students to remember that people in the crowd just want to enjoy themselves. So act relaxed and the audience will be relaxed. The more they practice, the more they can rely on the work they put in to get them through.

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

    A good session player is pretty technically sound and can get a good take very quickly. I am doing some session work, in the recording realm mostly. I’d like to do more session work as a performer as well.

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

    I try to practice everyday for at least an hour. In grad school I practiced classical guitar 4-6 hours per day. For band stuff, I practice playing/singing the songs for an hour or two per day when we have upcoming shows.

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

    Depends on the genre. With classical I have exercises I practice, and etudes/studies that help me feel sharp. With band stuff, I practice the more technical guitar parts and vocal harmonies the most. I also practice how I’ll move on stage, that stuff really matters.

  22. Do you teach music?

    Yes I’ve been teaching since my freshman year of college. Guitar at first, and now I also teach drums, voice, piano, bass guitar, and ukulele. I teach on Skype/FaceTime as well, for over a year and a half now, with my students from Denver. I try and fly back every 6-8 weeks to teach in-person lessons, and to visit my family.

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

Music is the priority. I’m lucky enough to have an education that allows me to make good money teaching about 15 hours/week which pays the bills and opens up a lot of time to practice. Paid gigs come along, which is another 2-4 hours a week average. I don’t have kids, thank god. And I don’t have a girlfriend. Thank god. I don’t know how parents get anything done

                      – End of Interview With Mr. Aaron Medina –