In this installment of Every Instrument has a Story, we talk to David Gerald Sutton, a violinist that manipulates his instrument to sound like a viola, cello, bass, drums, and synthesizers. He creates loops live onstage, developing intricate and beautiful soundscapes reminiscent of film composers like Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo, Saving Mr. Banks) mixed with a pop flair. David brings a knowledge of great production and clarity to classical instrumentalists crossing into the electric realm. His music gives a different perspective of the violin to the modern day listener, blending traditional pop structure and melody with classical undertones. His new EP, entitled Communion, will be released this spring.
David’s story of his violin:
My violin is a 2009 Acoustic Electric Strings (AES Violins) London5 Violin, nicknamed Rose. It has five strings: C, G, D, A, E. It’s essentially a violin/viola hybrid with a built-in pickup designed by the maker, Gary Bartig.
I met Gary at the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. I tried one of his instruments and was blown away by it’s tone and it’s ease of play. I found out he was in North East Minneapolis and we set up an appointment to meet after the convention. I brought my whole rig and tried three instruments. My instrument, Rose, was one that Gary could not sell. No one had liked it. After many adjustments and no takers, it was just sitting in his shop, collecting dust. However, when I played it, everything about it was just beautiful: the strings played evenly across the range of the instrument, almost with a natural compression to it. The pickup translated each note perfectly, sounding exactly as it did unplugged. Rose has been my violin ever since. I have two violins that just sit in their cases now because they can’t even compare.
I think my favorite piece of music I have recorded and my best story with Rose is a song I named after her.
I was writing, recording, and producing my first EP by myself and had set a hard deadline for September 1st. I was a week away, and the last song just wasn’t sounding like I wanted it to. I scrapped the idea and thought about just releasing the two songs recorded and leave it at that. Instead, I came up with a progression that night, recorded it the next day, and had my friend Matt Decker record drums on it the following Sunday. I met the deadline I’d set for myself, and it completely changed how I wanted to sound. All the songs on my next record, Communion, are some of my greatest works by far, but I would not have written them if I didn’t have Rose, the instrument, and written Rose, the song.
Find out more about David:
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