Nicholas Gunn
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Written by Don Slepian   
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 Nicholas: Well I must say that’s a great observation!  All the flutes, vocal layers, and many other instruments are played and created by me exclusively, with the exception of guitar, violin, and a few other instruments that I bring in and track live!  There is also an obvious use of virtual instrumentation, however it is all tracked through original compositional choices. I do not rely on any pre-existing melodic lines thr ough these virtual means to create my work! Therein resides the balance of creative choice and technology – a beautiful thing! In my opinion, the human element of composition will always be required to create great works of art, no matter how sophisticated the tools become.  

There are many who are relying solely on virtual instrumentation to create lead tracks and melodic structure – a pitfall. This is where the human element gets left behind and musical choices become limited because the tools are reused over and over again in the same fashion.  I used to have a reoccurring dream that I was standing in a check out line at a grocery store, a real generic setting.  But I would hear the most beautiful music coming over a little mono speaker in the store, as if it were from heaven - it really moved me to tears.  It took me years to figure out what it meant, but I really believe that it was a reminder to me, that no matter how great the bandwidth becomes and the tools so powerful, I can still stand in a grocery store check out line and be moved by music coming out of a tiny mono speaker - an interesting but strange observation!  

 In "Elves' Chasm", "Jurassic Point", and "Sunkissed" you give us triple meter, the rhythm in 3's. Were these rhythms inspired by sight or experience?

 You use a lot of hand percussion in your rhythm, could you tell us about the drums?

 You have some wonderful players on these tracks - could you tell us about your band and studio musicians?

 Nicholas: Well, I studied classically when I was young, and as you may know meters change all the time here, sometimes dozens of times within one piece.  I realized pretty fast that this was a great way to create moods and feelings that are not directly recognized by the listener.

Quotation Well, I studied classically when I was young, and as you may know meters change all the time here, sometimes dozens of times within one piece.  I realized pretty fast that this was a great way to create moods and feelings that are not directly recognized by the listener. Quotation
  So I would say my experience rather than my sight has led me to use these meters in my music writing. I usually stay in one time signature most of the piece and drop a beat or two here and there to make it interesting.  3/4, 6/8, 4/4, and 2/4 are my most common meters! I play all of the hand percussion on my recordings which includes clay bongos, congas, various parts of kits, and anything I can get my hands on! All the keys and piano in the studio are done by me as well, it really works well that way, and it gives me plenty of room to make changes on the fly!  

Instrumentation such as violin, guitar, and some bass guitar are from my backing band, an amazing group of guys who are incredibly well versed musically.  Juan Estanga plays on kit, Emiliano Almieda plays on hand percussion, Omar Torrez plays on acoustic guitar, Jesus Florido on violin, and Paulo Gustavo on bass guitar!  My show is very interactive, I try to include the audience as much as I can and we play a lot of update dynamic pieces from my repertoire over the years! A lot of laughs and good times to keep the audience interested in what we are doing is a must.

I hear a number of wind instruments other than the orchestral flute, such as ocarinas (clay vessel flutes) and bamboo flutes, playing in non-western scales.



 


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