Posted on: January 27, 2015 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Two Sides to Every Sunset is your latest album. What does it contribute to your story?

It is a continuation of trying to find my place in the world. I have lived in many places, and am always trying to figure out where I belong. I was born, and grew up, in NYC, but lived in CA for a few years. The sunsets in CA were fantastic, but it was important for me to remember that there are Two Sides to Every Sunset, so while the sun was setting where I was, the sun was rising somewhere else. It is basically my attempt at understanding that there are so many places, and maybe that’s why I move around so much.

What artists possess the greatest influence on your music?

Bad Brains, Steel Pulse, Scientist, Paco de Lucia, and Stevie Ray Vaughan have a huge influence on what I do, but it would not be fair of me to say that’s all. I listen to everything from Segovia to Killswitch Engage. I listen to a lot of music, a lot of Rock, Reggae, Classical, and many more. I just love music, and learn something from every style. I’m also an audio engineer in addition to being a musician, so if I don’t learn something musically, I learn something technically, so everything has a lesson for me.
How has your style evolved and changed over the time since you first started playing?

My playing has grown a lot since I started playing. Recently my playing has changed a lot. I was diagnosed with something called Ataxia, a rare neurological condition that has affected my coordination, so my playing has to adjust. Fortunately for me, my Ataxia is progressing slowly. Unfortunately, my coordination is starting to deteriorate a bit, and sadly that includes my ability to play guitar the way I want. However, I have started to experiment with live looping. I have attached a guitar synth to my guitar, and play bass, piano, synth, guitar, etc… live from the guitar synth and then loop them to create a full band. I run everything through a delay pedal, a phase shifter, and I have at least one other pedal, and I manipulate the sounds live, so I get to be a composer, musician, and audio engineer all at the same time, and not a lot of people get to do that, so I am lucky. I am not thrilled about having Ataxia, but I am happy to be forging my own path, and am the first person, that I know of, to be doing what I’m doing. Necessity being the mother of invention is allowing me to create something never done before. People do live looping, but not like this.

Which tracks off of Two Sides to Every Sunset are your favorites?

Very hard question, and as trite as it sounds, I can’t choose favorites. Every song is dear to me for different reasons. This is my 4th solo CD, and every song I’ve ever done is unique to me in its own way.
Can you describe your creative process and your recording set up for us?

I use ProTools for recording, editing, and mixing. My creative process is always fun for me. Small details vary from CD to CD, but much of my process is similar. Basically, if I have an idea I record it, then I start playing over it, and whatever sounds cool to me, I record it. I keep doing that, and eventually a song happens, so I hesitate to say it just happens, but the songs seem to write themselves. Once all the instruments are recorded, I get to put on my audio engineer hat. I try different effects on different instruments. As a huge fan of Dub music, effects are basically instruments to me. I love to play with delay, and I enjoy reversing, time stretching, and anything else I can do to manipulate the sounds. I approach the process as both a musician, and an engineer, and I love to create from start to finish.
How can interested readers listen to your music?

People can check out my music at
What has been your most memorable live experience?

I used to be a guitarist for hire, so I have many fun live stories. One of my best memories was when I was playing a New Years Eve gig in a casino for a popular disco band, at midnight they dropped balloons, and some of them were getting in the way of my effect pedals, so I started kicking them into the crowd, and I almost fell over on stage since my balance had to keep shifting. Another memory was when I was playing a blues gig, and one of my guests got very drunk, fell on a table, and cracked his tooth. He was fine, otherwise I wouldn’t think it was funny.

What goals do you still have left to accomplish in your career?

My goals are always lofty. I have a couple CDs already planned, one of them will be released this year. I am planning to make a DVD of my looping, as I would like to share what I do with people, and help spread awareness about Ataxia. I also want to show that any limitations you might have can be used to create something new, and might direct your life in an exciting new direction
Thank you for your time. Do you have anything else that you would like to say to our readers?

I think it is very important to forge your own path, and, to me, there is no good, or bad, only different. Thank you for listening.

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