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Get to know the artist: Maks from somuchso

Here is a quick interview with Maks from somuchso.

1. When and why did you start playing/composing?

When I was eleven. I liked to watch how my older friends played music in church. They did it so freely and made the service much more interesting than the regular organ based one.

2. Which instruments do you play?


3. What was the first tune(s) you learned?

A Polish catholic tune for kids “na jeziorze wielka burza” and the “twinkle twinkle little star” melody line.

4. Is your family musical?

Not at all... oh maybe with an exception of my mum who likes to sing and appreciates music.

5. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Michael Jackson - apart from his style and persona that I’ve adored since I was a kid, I admire watching him work in a studio. He wasn't a classically trained musician and yet he was able to arrange the songs all with his voice and teach his musicians to play the parts.. all that coming from his head. His rough home demo work was often more precise and solid than what we hear on the radio today.

6. Which famous musicians have you learned from?


Czesław Niemen

BB King

Jimi Hendrix

James Brown

Jeff Buckley

Glen Hansard

Jimmy Page

7. Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?

My first teacher was my first grade teacher I guess. Not counting parents and close relatives of course.

8. Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

My first instrument was a classical guitar Admira Paloma that I got for my 10th birthday birthday.

9. What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

The church music engagements, my first time playing electric guitar with a band that consisted of much older friends. (We’re playing some Polish blues classics), first sung poetry contest.

10. Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

Bad and Blood on the dance floor by Michael Jackson, queen live from Wembley 1986 (I think), Cegla by Dzem, Metallica album (1992)

11. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD's?

The Jacksons, BB king, Red Hot Chill Peppers, Mr. Big, Dave Matthews Band, Queen, The White Stripes, Dzem, Organek, Czeslaw Nimen, O.N.A.

12. Have you been in competitions? Any prizes?

Yes. When I was younger, I took part in a lot of sung poetry and recitation competitions and festivals in Poland. Some of the achievements include first prize at the regional Jacek Kaczmarski music festival in Gdansk and the Grand Prize at the national music competition in Torun.

13. Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?

Back in Poland I performed in a band. That involved regular public performing, especially in during the summer season (over 50 shows annually) and various interviews. Since graduating college in New York, I’ve been performing as actor/musician in both The United States and Europe and giving interviews.

14. Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

I do get nervous sometimes.. especially those which involved a lot of logistical and technical preparation. Comfort of having experienced people on board with me during concerts eliminates most of the tension and let’s me focus on my job. In terms of stage fright, I haven’t felt that in a long time as I’ve got used to regular performing.

15. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

If you feel prepared for the performance, try to focus upon other elements of the experience that you don’t have while rehearsing at home: your audience, lights, stage you’re standing on, and fell it, appreciate it... you’ve done the hard work already... enjoy the show! But be careful.. the kick you get from performing can be highly addictive.

16. How often and for how long do you practice?

I try to practice every day but that doesn’t always work out. I usually start with the voice practice that I divide into two sections: warm up and practical application. Guitar wise, it’s hard for me to maintain regular short practices.. once I have a guitar in my hand I usually go on for an hour and a half or two because I’m constantly in need of analyzing more things that come to mind as I play.

17. What do you practice - exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?

I do scales and I also have a few warm-up exercises in my pocket based around the arpeggios. Then I play random notes and try to name them (enhancing the fretboard freedom) and then I move to various concepts that I want to get better at like different modes, fingerpicking styles, polyrhythms etc.

18. Do you teach music?

I used to teach guitar and basic music education classes to kids and young adults but I stopped doing that about two years ago.

19. How do you balance your music with other obligations...

Not having to take care of my family - cause I haven’t raised one yet - allows a lot of time to be dedicated into self-development and skill honing.

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