Voices Of The Underground is a series that seeks to explore one question from many different angles. Every week, we will ask one question of many of your favorite music artists. We will post their responses below, and what you will find is that there is never truly one answer to every question, but instead a whole world of ideas that come from simple matters of taste, to deep held beliefs. Our hope is that through this series you are able to see past the promo pictures and the stage persona, and get to know the hearts of believers who are creating music every day.
Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1-What do you love about music?
For week two, we are introducing a new question to the fold. I am always so interested to hear what made people the way they are today. With musicians, there is always a beginning: a school play, a recital, or a rush of cofidance with a nearby microphone. Most musicians will tell you that tehy knew they wanted to play music their whole lives, and now we get to see where it all began.
Joining the fold is Eric Owyoung, who most people will know as the face of Future Of Forestry, and Veronica Benton, also known as The Faceless Woman for White Collar Sideshow. White Collar is on the latest cover of HM Magazine right now, and Future Of Forestry will be releasing a new EP Oct.6th. So, go see White Collar Sideshow on tour and in the pages of HM, and look for Travel II EP soon!
What was your first musical experience?
I grew up playing classical music in symphonies. Saxophone, Basoon, and classical choirs. I’m so grateful for those experiences. It led me to study classical conducting in college, and that background still plays a big part in my music today. My music tends to have a very orchestrated, melodic direction to it.
When I was 7, my grandfather gave me an acoustic guitar. I remember playing that all night, I never knew how to play anything, but shortly after receiving that guitar, I had a strong desire to learn piano, that same year, I was put in piano class. I would stay up all day and night on my Casio keyboard attempting to learn songs, until I finally learned Van Morrison‘s, “Moon Dance.”
My earliest memory of playing an instrument is at my grandfather’s house when he would teach me how to play songs on a little Casio keyboard my parents had gotten me for Christmas one year. I loved it. I guess technically my first band was the middle school concert band. I played the clarinet but eventually moved on to the BASS clarinet because it was more manly. I was in the school band from 6th grade through my senior year of high school, including marching band and jazz band. I played the bass clarinet for most of concert band but moved to percussion for a few semesters of marching band as well as the tenor sax one semester. Looking back on it, I had a lot of fun in band.
My first musical experiences were at church growing up. My dad was the pastor, so my brothers and I always sat on the front row. We sat there and watched the drummer every Sunday morning and we thought it was the coolest thing ever.
I grew up in a musical family. From the time I was four I was required to play one instrument for 2 hours every day. I could play whatever instrument I wanted though. I hated it. But now I can pretty much play anything (trumpet, baritone, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, bass, piano, trombone…etc). I started playing music solo when I was 18. I didn’t play in a band until I got out of college, we were called Malayne (now all of those guys are in Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster). I also had a year long stint as the guitar player in a hardcore band with Sleeping By The Riverside frontman Adam Warshowski, we were called Affix-Bayonets.
After a while I just kinda realized that I should be singing my own music.
When I was in elementary school, my brothers came home one day with a guitar and a bass. Although my oldest brother had always played drums, no one in my family or myself especially had shown much interest in learning how to play music until then. I didn’t pick up either of those instruments for a while. Instead I starting using our computer in about 4th grade to make MIDI songs. I didn’t really write my own songs in the MIDI format, I would actually transpose songs I heard into the format, note by note by note. I think that doing that at such a early age and paying such close attention to detail in each song really taught me a lot about melodies and chord progressions. That I would say was my first musical experience.
I took group piano lessons at the Yamaha company. I found out later that these kind of lessons are called the ‘suzuki method,’ and I vouch for them. It trains you to identify notes by ear before you begin playing them. This is surprisingly easy for most kids. Western music schools and teachers don’t seem to bother to teach kids how to listen focus. I am all for this suzuki method. I took them for a year or two, and then switched over to taking traditional sort of lessons from a friend of my parents, but I think I got off on the right foot with this suzuki method. I LOVE THE SUZUKI METHOD.
I started playing piano when I was four. I was horrible to my piano teacher, so my dad let me learn from books. I had to play the entire piano book for dad before he would buy me the next in the series. I’m afraid I still play at the last level that I learned!
I remember stumbling across my parents records as a kid and playing Elton John and lots of movie soundtracks. That had a really big effect on me, and my first concert as a child was Elton John (lame, I know), but I remember recognizing songs that I had listened to on the record player, but hearing them in a live environment. After that I started playing guitar and it all went downhill from there!