It definitely feels just like the world of percussive fingerstyle acoustic has by no means been extra vibrant than it’s proper now – with final 12 months’s return of British virtuoso Jon Gomm and Mike Dawes’ viral tribute to Eddie Van Halen with his solo arrangement of Jump, fretted and drummed on his striped-up Andreas Cuntz signature.
As for rising stars, 20 year-old Polish guitarist Marcin Patrzalek may very effectively be one of the thrilling names to have emerged lately, having received competitions in his native nation earlier than showing on 2019’s America’s Acquired Expertise, finally getting by way of to the semi-finals.
His YouTube movies have every racked up hundreds of thousands of views, maybe most notably his wild reinventions of Moonlight Sonata and Beethoven’s Symphony No 5, which he famously spliced with System of a Down’s Toxicity in entrance of Simon Cowell and his co-judges on primetime tv…
“My aim is to point out the world – not solely musicians and guitarists – that percussive acoustic needs to be the following large factor,” says Patrzalek, speaking to GW from his house studio.
“It deserves consideration from the mainstream and the common Joe, as a result of it’s one thing many nonetheless haven’t seen or heard. That’s why my very own songs, like Snow Monkey, are extra mainstream-oriented, with hip-hop, Latino and Reggaeton influences. It’s a wedding between experimental taking part in and really a lot mainstream and accessible issues…
“I’m not saying my subsequent album will sound like Ariana Grande, however I’m all the time attempting to push the place it will probably go. Perhaps at occasions that’s one thing that’s missing within the guitar world. I like experimental and area of interest music, however I need everybody to know which you can put percussive guitar into something you need. Utilizing these totally different sounds and approaches will assist most people perceive this would be the subsequent large factor!”
His newest clip, which sees him tackling Led Zeppelin classic Kashmir, racked up 700k views in its first week – and deservedly so, while you issue within the mind-boggling musicianship and sheer inventiveness with the Ibanez in his arms.
Right here, he talks GW by way of his early roots, dazzling strategies and the secrets and techniques to getting probably the most out of his six-string…
When was the second you realized the acoustic could be your main technique of expression?
“I picked up the guitar after I was 10. It was a classical guitar and in that form of world, 10 is definitely kinda previous to be beginning. If you see these classically educated violin gamers, they often begin at 4 or 5. I acquired into taking part in classical as a result of my dad wished to search out me one thing to do. I didn’t ask him although…
“I cherished music, particularly metallic across the age of 10. Metallica is often the very first thing folks get into with heavy metallic. My dad can also be actually into rock, so he wished me to begin training. His pal was a classical instructor and so they randomly ran into him in a store, and that man advised him he wouldn’t educate me as a result of he hated youngsters…”
That’s fairly an odd factor to say…
“What a response, proper?! However he gave my dad the cardboard of a distinct instructor in the identical metropolis, and that man did take me on for classes. Instantly he was impressed and really supportive. So I began out taking part in purely classical and began gaining some recognition when it comes to contests right here in Poland.
“I actually loved training, which is one thing folks don’t usually like, and that helped me get into it shortly. I don’t keep in mind the precise date however my dad and my instructor have advised me I received my first competitors inside three months… which is tremendous fast for a newbie. It was a ten year-old’s competitors – after that I felt actually motivated.”
So what did you find yourself doing subsequent?
“The following few years had been development-heavy for me, however I slowly began to get just a little bored of classical music – or relatively simply repeating what others had performed for many years, for hundreds of years. You get a monitor to be taught, it’s an ordinary within the classical repertoire, and also you play it precisely the identical manner as 50 different folks in your college would. So what’s the purpose?
“I moved on to flamenco and met a Spanish guitarist referred to as Carlos Piñana who was over right here doing workshops. And he was impressed with what I used to be doing, which was flattering and proposed we’ve courses by way of Skype. It was an enormous deal as a result of he was a professor at a college in addition to a touring musician…
“To be taught by him as a 13 year-old was an honor! I did that for about 4 years and it was after attending to a great degree at each genres, I acquired an acoustic for Christmas. That was a terrific Christmas present from my mother and father. That’s when every part modified.”
Did you discover flamenco much less limiting than classical?
“Classical guitar could be very conventional, there’s not a lot to say, however a whole lot of it varieties the very foundation of music on the whole, in addition to guitar taking part in. Flamenco is much less strict, however there are nonetheless these inflexible rhythms and compasses, in addition to a particular concept of what flamenco music is on guitar. With the acoustic guitar, there isn’t any restrict.
“You possibly can play it round a bonfire, which is what most laymen think about acoustic guitar is, or you are able to do wild stuff that no one expects. After switching to that, it took me a few 12 months of what different percussive gamers had been doing on-line and incorporating my very own classical and flamenco strategies to know I may take my music even additional.”
Which gamers have been most influential in your two-handed strategy?
“I didn’t learn about Michael Hedges after I began however all people on this model finally discovers him. He’s the OG of this model. Within the ’80s/’90s he basically made the blueprints of what’s occurring now and continues to be being developed. He died tragically and manner too quickly.
“I didn’t take something from him instantly however not directly he impressed me vastly. Individuals who cowl my preparations or play in my model will not directly have him as an affect. His strategies transcend by way of all people and I simply wished to say him as a result of lots of people nonetheless don’t actually learn about him.”
“Mike Dawes is one other participant I look as much as. Once I was 15, he was beginning to blow up together with his preparations and ended up being an enormous affect on my model, serving to me notice what might be doable.
“He’s now my pal and we communicate on Instagram. We had a possibility to satisfy up however Covid fully destroyed that. He’s a terrific man and I’m completely satisfied to know him.
“Jon Gomm can also be a improbable particular person and musician, we’ve talked rather a lot. He’s not an enormous affect on my model per se; I believe we’re a bit totally different. Additionally he’s a singer too, which is a improbable factor however I don’t have any aspirations to strive myself. All of those folks had some affect on me – I’ll take something from metallic to flamenco to hip-hop in my preparations.”
Which is the key to creating a whole lot of classical concepts really feel up to date?
“Sure, it’s what’s most vital to me… taking concepts from different music kinds, like after I take heed to metallic stuff, for instance, I hear these breakdowns in djent and really feel impressed. That each one goes into my strategy, maybe in methods it may not for others. And the identical goes for flamenco, Paco de Lucía is one in all my largest idols. You possibly can hear so many fiery strategies and unbelievable issues in his music.
“These are issues that I borrow, which aren’t essentially borrowed by different percussive gamers… everybody does their very own factor. Tommy Emmanuel is one other one, he had these movies that I’d watch on daily basis after I was youthful, typically even two a day. I by no means actually had one guitarist that was the large idol for me, whose footsteps I wished to tread. That was by no means a factor for me.”
As you talked about, metallic and classical have rather a lot in frequent… Yngwie Malmsteen would say the identical!
“In my view, all genres can work collectively. I don’t even suppose the phrase style shouldn’t actually exist – positive, it’s good for classes. However there’s no precise division. Proper now I’m engaged on my single and my label requested me what style I ought to decide for Spotify and Apple Music. No person actually has a clue… as a result of what does it actually imply?
“A number of metallic borrows from classical and symphonic music. Yngwie Malmsteen was the go-to for that, as a result of he discovered a whole lot of issues from Paganini and was capable of mix them naturally. The strategies and harmonic construction of heavy metallic could be very near classical, particularly while you take a look at Paganini.
“Even with a band like Animals As Leaders, who incorporate a whole lot of jazz concepts, there are such a lot of harmonic similarities. In the event that they didn’t use distortion or heavier drum beats, perhaps it could be extra apparent.
“Then there are bands like Chon, however in the event you take away the drumming and rhythms, you’d be very near jazz and classical music. All of it comes right down to which steps you are taking and the way you department out…”
And you’ve got a serious label serving to you do this, which is attention-grabbing…
“Sony, who I’m working with, have a great funds for what I can do, so I’ve been embracing extra digital stuff. When you take a look at Moonlight Sonata, which is the most important video on my YouTube channel and clearly a classical association, there’s some large bass beneath it and 808s in a single part – which has extra of a hip-hop sound. There’s additionally clapping which is extra of a flamenco-inspired factor.
“It’s a wedding of genres, like a whole lot of pop music. Ariana Grande is almost rapping these days. Polyphia are making trap-inspired metallic. Issues are going in several instructions.
“What I’m not a fan of, if I can go on a tiny tangent, is when folks prepare issues and that’s all they do. It’s a great way of revisiting issues, however while you prepare it for percussive fingerstyle, why not attempt to experiment a bit?
“I attempt to make every part sound totally different, even when it’s a one minute video on my Instagram. I wish to digress into all types of issues… that’s the cool factor about right now’s music, there’s actually no boundaries.”
You’ve been working with Ibanez guitars for some time now…
“And so they have been a blast to work with. They’re such superb folks and it’s clear they see the potential of percussive taking part in and the place it will probably go sooner or later. They need to make investments into that, which is one thing not many manufacturers need to do as of late. The one I’m taking part in proper now’s the AE900. I’m undecided if it’s nonetheless produced, it’s turn out to be a little bit of area of interest factor, however they’ve many related fashions within the AE line-up.”
What do you want about how they play?
“The primary factor about these guitars is that they’re sturdy – you’ll be able to actually hit them and never fear about something breaking. The motion can also be fairly good instantly, but additionally very straightforward to regulate. I play with a really low motion so it’s straightforward to play sure issues and there’s no buzz.
“Regardless of being a really business producer, the devices are nonetheless very prime quality. I see a whole lot of youthful gamers choosing up the acoustic due to me, which could be very flattering, and it’s nice as a result of they will all afford an Ibanez. If I used to be taking part in a $20k guitar, there’s no manner folks may get the identical instrument.
“It’s a really natural guitar – simply an acoustic with a scratch pad that I connect myself. They’re a really accessible model and superb to work with. I’m truly engaged on a particular venture with them that may get introduced sooner or later.”
And the place does your guitar go subsequent?
“Once I play stay I favor to go DI. I don’t do amps as a result of this model could be very delicate with a whole lot of dynamics. The pickups I take advantage of are Fishman and like Ibanez they see the total potential of percussive taking part in.
“I take advantage of the identical ones that Jon Gomm makes use of, and so they’re capable of decide up the entire physique. For the AGT semi-final, I went absolutely drive with no pedals, no factor… which was very bizarre.
“Compression is essential as a result of I’m all the time tapping or taking part in percussion. You need to get all the quantity you’ll be able to, however clearly not an excessive amount of. EQ is essential too – I do know most gamers consider delays or distortions or reverbs in the case of pedals however on this model it’s essential concentrate on the technical facet.
“It’s all about EQ, compression, ambient reverbs… issues that may make your instrument sound enormous. Like an orchestra, not like only one guitar.”
As for the approach facet of contemporary fingerstyle, had been there any workouts that had been basic in your improvement?
“On this model, left-handed tapping is by far crucial as a result of in the event you can play every part with only one hand, that leaves your different hand for percussion or a drum half.
“There’s no secret formulation however I’d positively say there have been a number of issues that helped with the synchronization facet of it, particularly flamenco workouts which power you to stretch and maintain your fingers in place. A few of them could make your fretting hand really feel prefer it’s burning!
“That made my left hand actually versatile so I can play all of the quick tapping stuff. One other factor I did was keep on constructing my finger muscle groups whereas watching TV, working by way of legato scales, as a result of the fretting hand actually is vital.
“A few of my extra advanced rhythms have each arms taking part in the beat, with my fretting hand filling within the gaps. Then for enjoyable, I would change a number of the figures and see the place it goes.”
Although you could be fretting hand-led, it positively seems like your choosing hand is equally as sturdy…
“Some gamers are so exact with their choosing hand. I wouldn’t say I’m one in all them – not that I’m dangerous at it, both. However the fretting hand has all the time been dominant in my model. Each participant ought to see what their strengths are, and all of us have distinctive skills.
“So it’s vital to develop them as a lot as you’ll be able to, to hone in by yourself sound. I’ve no aspirations to turn out to be the quickest picker on this planet as a result of that’s not likely my background.
“Don’t attempt to mimic each particular person you want and really feel blessed in each single approach – as a substitute be stable throughout all the basics, that’s a given, after which see which of them resonate with your individual model.”