I am moving interviews to twice a week for now until I can get caught up. I couldn’t be happier. It has been so much fun getting to know you all better. There seems to be a never-ending supply of talented people to speak with!
This is a special interview for Effective Nerd. Not only is this my first non-hip hop musician, it is someone that I have been online friends with for a while now. Much like Matt from Fearter Horror, The Embalmer was one the first friends I made on Twitter.
We did not talk all that much until recently. However, The Embalmer has been one of my favorite people to talk to over the past few weeks. I hope you enjoy our chat as much as we did!
An Interview With The Embalmer
Aaron Iara: It is a pleasure to be able to talk to you about your work. Please tell the readers about yourself and the work you do.
Aaron Iara: Welcome to Effective Nerd! How long have you been making music? Do you play guitar, or other instruments as well?
The Embalmer: I’ve been playing guitar for around 23 years now, I also play bass, drums, violin and a little bit of piano. Guitar is my main passion though and that’s what I write everything on.
Aaron Iara: It is always nice to meet a fellow multi-instrumentalist! What is your current rig/setup for your instrument and studio? Do you have any favorite pieces of gear?
The Embalmer: I have a super simple rig, its literally a guitar plugged into an amp then direct to my laptop. I occasionally use pedals when I want a specific sound like a wah or a whammy pedal but I like to keep my signal as pure as possible, even my more ballad type songs with clean tones are usually the overdrive channel with the volume knob on my guitar turned down.
I use Vintage brand guitars, my main one called Frankie is a yellow one modded with Dimarzio Evolutions and a killswitch installed, I also removed the tone knob to keep the wiring clean and signal pure.
My amp is a Boss Katana, I bought it as a way to record guitars and ended up loving it, I still use the original patch for it, I’m scared to update it incase something changes in the tone.
I also have a backup guitar thats green and an 8 string I use as a bass.
Aaron Iara: I love that yellow guitar! It looks awesome. I have a Dean Dimebag in wood grain. I also have a Ibanez bass that I have been playing for half of my life at this point.
When it comes to making music, there are a lot of parts that need to come together (practice, production, mixing/mastering) What is your process for bringing everything together?
The Embalmer: For practice what I do is stick on some 80s horror and sit and play, that decade has so many great movies and characters, I find it a great inspiration to watch and write to, I’ve also been getting into redoing soundtracks for movies by watching them and then recording what I think the soundtrack should have sounded like.
For recording I always do the drums first, then bass, then rhythm guitars and ill just loop it over and over imagining what the vocals would sound like then I try and make my guitar sound that way. Even though all my music is instrumental quite a few songs have lyrics within the guitar.
Aaron Iara: That is a great approach to making music. I love the idea of playing guitar along with a movie. I would love to see a classic horror movie with the sounds changed.
Running a Youtube channel is similar to running a website. Both need to consider branding, content, and marketing. How has the experience been for you so far?
The Embalmer: Much better since I’ve been treating it more with respect instead of a hobby, making music is all I want to do and at first I was writing and recording so much I didn’t think about content and marketing. These days its amazing, I feel so lucky to do what I do, Its a lot of fun.
Aaron Iara: I couldn’t agree more. Many people believe that work and fun are mutually exclusive. I strongly disagree with this. Our best achievements and relationships come from hard work.
There are many sources of creativity. Some wait for inspiration, while others train their creative skills. There are endless strategies for approaching the creative process. How do you approach your own creativity?
The Embalmer: I watch endless horror, I surprisingly don’t listen to a lot of music anymore, I feel like I’m more creative with a mind free of other songs and ideas. A lot of times songs just come around from what I’m feeling. I haven’t overly trained on musical theory or anything like that, I always felt the best way is to learn enough to get by and let the notes find you.
Aaron Iara: I feel you there. One of my biggest creative problems is that I focus too much on the technical aspects and not enough on self-expression. This always leads to me getting frustrated.
Getting your name out there as a musician can be tough. How has the process been for you? What obstacles have you run into?
The Embalmer: Instrumental music is kind of a small place to exist in the first place but I don’t worry about getting big or making money, I wanna write music that I would want to listen to and is interesting. So far it’s been a very positive experience.
Aaron Iara: What advice can you give to those who want to make their own music? Do you have any advice for those who want to play guitar specifically?
The Embalmer: For making your own music I’d say don’t be scared of trying new styles and see what you actually enjoy playing.
For guitar players I think just enjoy it and learn your favorite riffs/solos, even without learning the modes and scales you are actually picking up valuable information every time you learn a new song.
Aaron Iara: I have always thought the same way. Every new song you learn teaches you a little something new.
Who are some of your favorite independent musicians at the moment?
The Embalmer: Without doubt Buckethead, words can’t describe the love I have for him and his body of work. Also Maximum Bob’s Stockyard Skinners. They are a newer band but are making some amazing music.
Aaron Iara: Yes! I have been listening to Buckethead since my tween years. My friend’s dad was very into him and I ended up becoming a huge fan myself.
Do you have any upcoming projects in the works that you would like to discuss?
The Embalmer: I always release 2 new songs every month, but I’m also working on a small 13 minute movie that I’m making myself, I’m pretty excited about that, every character is going to have there own theme, it’s a lot of work but I love the challenge.
Aaron Iara: Awesome! Keep me posted on your progress. Where can our readers find you and your work?
The Embalmer: I can be found on Twitter and Youtube.
Where To Find The Embalmer
A huge thank you to The Embalmer for taking the time to speak with me this week! Make sure to keep an eye on this talented musician.