Many of us here at Strymon participated in our schools’ music programs, so we are happy to give back when we can and support and promote music in schools.
This year we were proud to sponsor Andy Brems of Canyon Crest Academy for the second year in a row on behalf of the California Alliance for Jazz. Andy was selected to play guitar for the 2016 and 2017 California All-State Honor Jazz Band. We wanted to learn more about Andy, so please check out our interview with Andy below.
When did you start playing the guitar and why?
I got my first guitar and guitar lessons for my ninth birthday eight years ago. Music has always made me happy, so I really wanted to learn an instrument. I was most interested in the guitar because of its funny shape and dynamic sounds.
What is your favorite style of music to play?
If I had to choose one, it would probably be jazz, but I don’t like to confine myself to one style of music. I like to play rock, blues, and some metal as well. What I love about jazz, though, is that you get the same fun and excitement of other contemporary genres with improvisation and active collaboration between band members, while also having complex and intricate harmonies that many other styles lack.
What equipment do you use?
I’ve never been extremely picky (no pun intended) with my gear, but I generally like Fender tube amps. I have a Deluxe Reverb and a Super Champ that I use for all styles of music that I play. My most used pedals are my TC Electronic Nova Delay, Strymon Ola Chorus and Vibrato, and Bad Monkey Tube Overdrive. I think I will be replacing the Bad Monkey with my new Strymon Riverside, though. The two primary guitars I use are my Eastman AR503CE for jazz and PRS Santana for most other things.
Who is your favorite guitarist and why?
My favorite guitarist right now is probably Pat Metheny. All aspects of his playing are things that I want to work towards. His tone is rich and unique, he has smooth and fluid phrasing, and he has some of the most creative musical ideas. His compositions are also some of my favorite recordings to listen to. Tunes like “Question and Answer,” “James,” and “Last Train Home” are great for both normal listening and studying as a musician.
Are you working on any personal musical projects? Are there any links to listen online?
Since I’m a senior in high school, I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year preparing college applications and auditions, and I haven’t been too active on other personal projects. Now that I have completed my auditions, though, I hope to spend more time performing around San Diego, where I live. I have a few jazz videos from earlier this year on my youtube channel.