Today’s user feature is on Birtl26, a UK-based guitarist and super active collaborator in the BandLab community. Read on to find out more about his genre-agnostic style, why he likes leaving lyrics to the experts, and how his friendships on BandLab have evolved into fruitful collaborations!
Hi David. You work a lot with guitar, but also with electronic-driven, rap, and vocal arrangements. How did you arrive at your signature sound?
My signature sound involves a lot of ethereal pads and vocal samples, sometimes with no percussion at all. I love to wrap that around a clean electric guitar, an acoustic guitar or piano.
Arriving at that sound was just about searching for what felt right to my ears, although I’m influenced by both contemporary and older pop and rock culture as well as EDM, Trance and even Classical genres.
I like to build a piece of music from a small sound to something grander by the end, although I’ve done pieces which are much more simple and refrained.
I don’t tend to write lyrics. I sometimes arrange vocal samples chorally though and look for melody and counter melody. So it is sounds, rather than words, that I love to work on. However I know the impact of words, that’s why I’m always looking for collaborators!
Your bio says you are ‘constantly searching for that elusive musical idea’. Where and how do you go about finding that?
Inspiration can come from an idea, a feeling, or hearing a snippet of something from someone else.
I try to imbue some emotional context for the listener through the music I make. But I’m really making music I would like to listen to – and am thankful that some people out there also find it enjoyable!
How did you get into making music?
My Dad played piano. He couldn’t read music and played purely by listening to a tune and playing it back to himself. So we were surrounded by music from a young age.
It was a natural progression that I taught myself to play guitar out of books! My sisters play piano as well, and eventually I earned piano when I was in my 40’s, and can now play both.
How did you find out about BandLab?
BandLab was something I’d seen in web searches. What interested me most about it was it allowed you to compose music and network with other users. As well as compose your own stuff.
I like BandLab as I can compose using audio samples. You can also network, share ideas, chat and generally work with people. Sometimes in different time zones.
Some of this networking has gone beyond BandLab. I’ve made friends with other BandLabbers. In some cases I’m now talking to them on the phone, video conference calling or online meetings about projects and music.
I’m inspired every day by some of the talented BandLab artists who put their music out there. Simply because they enjoy making music. I can also say that all of the ones that I’ve worked with have been the most genuine, unassuming, generous people. No egos – just all about the music.
What is a BandLab collaboration that’s meant something special to you?
That’s a really difficult question to answer as I’ve worked with so many good people. I’ve assembled a collection of Beautiful Collaborations on my profile but it doesn’t include everyone, as I have several collaborations happening all the time.
One really special one would be Don’t Let Go ft. GBailey simply because of the emotional connection to me, as I composed this version for my sister in law who has cancer.
Top 3 all-time favourite musicians or artists?
It’s Survivor: BandLab and you can take one music item with you. What is it?
A Guitar (and I’d smuggle a capo)! Love playing guitar on the beach with the ocean as percussion.
(I once left my classical guitar on a beach in Cornwall and the wind was blowing across the strings and created a resonant note – literally Air on a G String!)
Finally, any advice for other musicians in the community?
Don’t worry about pleasing everybody all of the time, because that’s impossible. Keep producing music that makes you happy and that you enjoy listening to.
Follow and collab with Birtl26!