it's becoming a tradition for me to do these interview things on my birthday (which is today), with my last one being the "Who Are You?" video. In keeping up with it, here's 25 little things you may or may not know about me...
1. I almost didn’t live past my birth. I turned around in my mother’s womb so much that my umbilical cord wrapped around me, and eventually was crushing my chest. It got so bad that around the time I was set to be due, with every contraction, my heart would stop. The longest it stopped was 5 seconds. Obviously, I made it out okay.
2. My first name (Robert) originates from the old German words “hrod” (fame), and “beraht” (bright). My middle name (Jeffrey) comes from the German “Gottfried” (God’s peace/Divine Peace). Despite their Germanic origins, I don’t have any German ancestry that I know of.
3. My first concert was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 1990 (I was 6) - the “Coming Out of Their Shells” tour
4. My birthday is on Canada Day. Don’t know what that’s all aboot.
5. Though I can play a very wide variety of musical instruments, I cannot play any brass instruments. Trust me, I’ve tried, but I can’t get the whole mouth /lip action down. Guess I just wasn’t built for brass.
6. I have a habit of not looking people directly in the eye when they talk to me. It used to be a lot worse early on, but I’ve gotten a lot better at that in recent years.
7. When I was 14, I discovered my mother’s massive vinyl collection. She had a copy of The Beatles’ White Album, and I would play the record while trying to learn the songs on guitar. Not too long after, I knew every song, start to finish. I took a while before I actually bought the CD of the White Album, about 5 years or so later, but when I did I made a rather startling discovery: my mom’s record player’s speed was set to 33rpm, not the standard 33 1/3 rpm. With the speed slightly faster, it played everything a quarter-tone sharp. In other words, *I learned all these songs in wrong key!*
8. When I joined HitRECord, I wasn’t aware that you could have a space between words in your user name (appearing as a “+” in the web address), rather than requiring an underscore. That being said, I prefer my username typed as ‘Robo J’
9. I don’t consider myself a guitarist. I’m an instrumentalist.
10. I am majorly and unconditionally addicted to collecting vinyl records, including rare/limited varieties. So far, I have about 50 in my collection. And I don’t even own a record player... yet.
11. So far, I’ve met (and, for the most part, spent a considerable amount of time in the company of) the following HitRECorders:
12. I’ve always wanted to make my music sound like a Jackson Pollock painting, in both creation and presentation. He is one of my greatest influences, musically.
13. Not only do I not own a driver’s license, I technically don’t know how to drive.
14. The nickname ‘Beardo’ was originated by Wirrow. I consider it as the hands-down best, most perfectly suited nickname I could ever be given.
15. I’m self-taught, musically. The first song I learned how to play on my own was Beethoven’s Turkish March on piano, at 9 years old.
16. I ran away from home when I was 6. I put my favorite toys in a blanket, and tied the blanket to a stick, and I made it as far as the end of the block. I turned around, went back home, and made it just in time for dinner.
17. My favorite alcoholic drink is Absinthe. When I would commence the final mixing of a HitRECord REmix, a tradition of mine is to prepare a glass of Absinthe, and drink it while listening and adjusting levels. Although I haven’t done that in recent months, pretty much every REmix between Spring and Fall of 2011 were mixed with a little assistance from the Green Fairy.
18. I'm the founding member of a California-based mutli-award winning Western/Cowboy singing group, called The Tumbling Tumbleweeds. I sang background harmonies (i had a lead in one song, which i wrote for the group), and played rhthym/lead guitar. I was with them for nearly 7 years before leaving to move to the east coast. They disbanded shortly after. look us up.
19. I prefer playing rhythm more than lead/soloing. I can do both with considerable skill, but I enjoy not being ‘in the spotlight’ musically. I’ve always had a fondness for the ‘sidemen’ of bands. That’s why I like mixing/producing; it’s not unlike being behind the camera, where the attention is suggested, but not forced. I learned a lot about that after playing with bands and jamming with actual people, as opposed to just sitting in my room playing by myself. I feel musical people who do that start to hear themselves more, when they should be hearing the other musicians more, and discovering that you don’t have to play during every single second of the song. You can still be involved with the music, and not play a single note. Even when recording. Take a step back, stop playing for a minute, and listen. Allow your ears to absorb its surroundings. You’d be surprised to find how many musicians can’t do that. The poor bastards.
20. The ‘Confutatis maleditus’ and ‘Lacrimosa dies illa’ from the Sequentia of Mozart’s Requiem makes me cry. Every time, without fail.
21. All of my REmixes are started with little or no knowledge of how they will sound in the end result. It’s like hiking through the same forest, but exploring a new trail/path every time. I very rarely have a set plan on how the entire thing will sound, at least not until about ¾ of the way through. For a large majority of the time, it’s experimenting with sounds and ideas, listening, searching, and waiting until I find something that works, or until something finds me.
22. I consider my greatest Halloween costume to date was as Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park, when I was 10.
23. Beat 714 is titled as such because the night I created it, I didn’t have a name for it, so I used the date I made it: July 14th (7/14)
24. The instruments I can play are: guitar, bass (electric & upright), piano, drums (kit & percussion), synthesizer, sampler, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, ukulele, sitar, lap-steel, bamboo flute, violin, cello, marimba/vibraphone/xylophone/glockenspiel, tubular bells, theremin, and Jew’s harp.
25. Ever since I was child, I was a REmixer.