Canadian Musician - May / June 2018 - Page 50

NICK JOHNSTON Nick Johnston is a sought-after songwriter, performer, clinician, and instructor. In addition to his four celebrated solo releases, he’s been featured on recordings alongside the likes of Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Marco Minnemann, and Periphery. since you first picked up the instrument, and if it’s taken any correcting along the way in terms of your mechanics to continue to progress to the level you’re at now. Also, do you have any recommendations for oth- er self-learners? CM: Give us a breakdown of your go-to live rig these days. NJ: My live setup is pretty straightforward and has been much the same since I started touring in 2011. I use a guitar and a tube amp. In this case, it’s my [USA Signature] guitar from Schecter and a Mesa Boogie TC-50 head and 100-watt cabinet. That’s it. No pedals and no extra amps or guitars. CM: You’re a self-taught guitarist. I’m curi- ous about how your technique has evolved NJ: I’m definitely the last person you would want advice on technique from. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do things. It’s definitely important to watch your favourite players and how they’re playing their instrument. I used to watch everything from how they would hold their pick to the hand placement, posture, where they would place the guitar on the leg, and how much of an angle the elbow on the picking hand was at. These things were great road signs for me to see if I was doing something “right.” I think if you play guitar as much as I did, you’ll just even- tually figure it all out. If you’re playing 8-10 hours every day, you’re going to find a comfortable way of playing certain things with the proper technique and posture or you’re going to end up with some nasty RSI or tendinitis. CM: Tell us about your approach to com- position. Do you write and arrange all of the parts on the majority of your tunes, or is there ever any collaboration with other artists? CM: On that note, tell us about the process of translating your songs to the stage for live performances. How do you approach taking what was done in the studio with- out any real “limitations” in terms of tracks and layers and pulling that off in a live environment? NJ: It’s pretty easy for me to take the songs live. Either I strip everything away and just play it with guitar, bass, and drums, or I throw the piano on a backing track and let that live underneath the band. I’m not too worried about the live show sounding like the record. I improvise all of my guitar solos live, so even if the band sounded exactly like the record, my playing wouldn’t. NJ: Everything you hear on my records is written, arranged, and produced by me. I really enjoy CALUM GRAHAM A celebrated fingerstyle guitarist and songwriter, Calum Graham is known around the world for his innovative original melodies and enthralling live performances. His fifth studio album, Tabula Rasa, was released in early 2016 and show- cases both his unparalleled guitar playing and impressive vocal chops. CM: Give us a breakdown of your go-to live rig these days. CG: I’m currently using a Lowden 0-10 acoustic guitar and a Fred Tellier baritone guitar with a K&K Trinity Pro pickup as well as a DiMarzio Black Angel magnetic pickup, which are blended through a dual-channel Grace Felix preamp. That goes into a Universal Audio Twin MKII. I also use a harp guitar, which was recently custom-made by Duane Noble from Washington state with a K&K Trinity Pro pickup. I’m now using plug-ins instead of pedals with a program on my laptop called MainStage. They’re all preset and triggered by an 50 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N the composition process. I find writing music rela []\[[[ܙH[[[[\][ۈ]HZ]\[[ˈx&]B]\]ܚ][Hۙ]]8&\HܛH[YB^\[][[[H]\Kx&]H\[\Yܚ][^HY[[H[[Hܚ[]H[\X^X\^Y\[X[\YHقH\x&]Hܚ][][HH\[YBx&]HY[[ۙHYH[[[H܈[[B[][ˈ]8&\H\H^][X ^HܙKB]]H\\H^\\HYKHو^H]KBXY\H[\[\[ۈH^X\ YHX\HX[\[X[܈HۙH\B][YH]\[ˈ]8&\[^\H[ \YHSRQH۝\Y\Z[ۈHY܈H\^[۝[[\\\[K\[][[[] ]\X[YH^[Y[H^[˂\[]][\HZ]\\۸&]XZH][BX\Y\]H^HX[]\H\XX™Y\HY[[[Z]\\ [Y\Y\Y[ݚ[HY][] ]\[H][&]YX]\[HBNۙHو^H]\]HY[و[\\H8'[YHX['Hݙ\]H\Z]\[\X][\\XX[\][[Y[[[H\[HX^