Photo by Lee Woolcock
Jazz guitarist, England, 33
I first picked up the guitar at the age of 14. Up till then I’d played the trumpet, but I saw Jimi Hendrix on a rock documentary and he got me going.
My first band was called Ingenious Friend. I was 15 and a big metalhead, while the bassist and drummer were into early indie stuff. It was a real clash of styles and we could never find a way to mix them. When we gigged, we would play one metal song, followed by an indie song and keep rotating till the end.
I taught myself to play jazz. It’s a very demanding style of music. When I started, I played for eight hours a day and didn’t leave my house for a year. I nearly drove myself crazy.
I’m involved in a few projects: Fast 3, Phat Fred, Sublengua (with Replika) and Mofly. Mofly came about because it was difficult to get the jazz/funk side moving, so my brother Phil and I decided to do chill-out, electronic and lounge stuff to get more work locally. It went down well at gigs in Menorca because everyone wants to dance.
Barcelona’s not very inspiring musically. I went to the States last year to play gigs in Memphis with Charlie Wood, and San Francisco, and that’s inspiring, because everyone’s better than you. Saying that, I do play in a duo with a guy called Dave Mitchell at Milanos, a cocktail bar in Ronda Universitat. Dave’s from Oregon and he kicks my ass.
Jamboree is my favourite Barcelona venue. I’ve been playing there so many years, it’s kind of like home and we can get away with pretty much anything. They are not strict about the jazz scene—they like all kinds of stuff.
My career highlight so far has been to play with Brian Jackson. We’ve been big fans of his since we were kids, so playing with him is a big honour.
The first record I bought was a 45 single from the corner shop on our road. My mum gave me some money for sweets and I came back with a Michael Jackson single. Actually, it might have been Shakin’ Stevens come to think of it.
The live music scene isn’t great in this city. I tend to do most of my gigs outside. We have a lot of work in France because they like jazz-funk. Here, they love stuff sung in Spanish or Catalan mixed with flamenco or rumba and very modern jazz.
It is possible to earn a living here as a musician if you are versatile. I have enough money to buy a new guitar every year, so I know I’m doing all right