A while ago I was asked what caused me to become a musician and I guess I had never really thought about it. In hindsight, one of those reasons was that due to the fact I was bullied badly as a kid in primary- and in highschool, I never worried about it. I had other issues.
When I was a kid of around ten years old, new people moved into the house next door. I was later told by my parents that our neighbour was a drummer. It caused a lot of feedback for me, in the sense that I wanted to know more about drumming and how it worked. Making noise was always fun during musical lessons in primary school, but until that point I had never really focused on it, let alone played something coherent and functional. My father then told me that, apart from being a trumpet player in his navy days, he also played snaredrum. I subsequently received his old drumsticks, which became my first pair to start practice with.
My neighbor liked the fact that I was so interested in drumming and allowed me to occasionally come round their house to play on the kit. He then introduced me to his drum teacher. I was only being taught to play a short amount of time, as my parents were unable to afford it and the teacher was basically doing it in between lessons of my neighbor and also for free. I didn’t mind. I loved the fact I was surrounded by several drumkits and two guys playing them.
When the drum teacher left ( his rundown old farm at the outskirts of Colmschate was scheduled to be demolished as a new shoppingmall and neighborhood was planned for construction), so ended my drum lessons as well, but by this point I was in high school and signed up for the school band on the wednesday night. Regularly playing with other musicians improved my playing and got me working out my own songs, that I had been writing since the age of twelve. I should point out most of these songs were horrible pop songs that wouldn’t have looked bad on a boyband resume, but at least I started to learn how to write music.
Apart from the aforementioned neighbor and my drum teacher, I was regularly introduced to new music by my brothers and my parents, steadily and carefully shaping my own personal preferences. My biggest inspiration was Phil Collins when I began, learning from him how to set the drumkit up if I had to play again and how to play cross-armed. His songwriting was also a major inspiration on my own work and continues to be till this day. Other inspirations that began at a very early age were Peter Gabriel, Genesis, The Police, Queen, Pink Floyd and The Eagles.
As for inspirations today, there’s too much to mention really. I’m a big fan of Ray Wilson, Steve Hackett, IQ, Marillion, Fish, Sound of Contact but also of Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Frost*, Dec Burke, Threshold, Maria Mena ( surprisingly, I admit but I love her music) Tinyfish and Devin Townsend. And that’s just a glimpse into the collection of music I have! I should point out that, although my favorite bands are on the prog heavy side, I do love pop and rock music as well. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s definitely helped in that respect 🙂