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The first Live4guitar competition has finished and here we have our winner. He is a young gigging and recording artist and guitar instructor based in Macedonia.

We were delighted to be able to ask him a few questions. This is what he had to say...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations on winning the first Live4 guitar competition. What made you enter?

Thank you for having me on your site!

Being active in the virtual world for quite some time now, I’ve found out that entering online competitions in general is a very efficient way to build a name and following, discover amazing upcoming players, make new connections and see what is new and popular in the guitar world. When I first listened to the backing track for this competition, I immediately started to hear the licks and the melodies I was going to play and when that happens, the rest of the process is very fun and enjoyable. I decided to enter and here I am.

From the first few bars of your take it was apparent that you have quite a unique sound. Was that accidental, due to your gear set up, or did you work on it?

Tone is very important aspect of my playing and I work very hard on it, constantly trying to find new ways to improve it, and that process implies a lot of trial and error. I always do a little tone chase in the early stages of any project I’m doing  - as soon as I know the direction I want to go playing-wise, be it a YouTube video or a regular recording, I set up the sound. This approach works great for me, as it enables me to hear the final result from the very beginning and if I have a comfortable tone to work with, it will inspire me and I’ll end up playing better. It keeps me more focused on the creative process of making music as well, because once I start playing the last thing all I want to do is deal with technical issues.

My recording setup is based around early ‘90s Ada MP-1 tube preamp going through various impulse response speaker cab simulators and a couple of pedals somewhere in the signal chain, which varies all the time. This setup is an interesting combination of vintage and modern technologies, as you get all the benefits of direct recording, while still using “old-school” gear to do the tone shaping.

 

Damir Puh - 1st Live4Guitar competition entry

 

You demonstrated quite a technique and you are not short of few ideas. It must have taken a lot of practising to get where you are now.

Phrasing is what I consider to be the most important aspect of playing and it’s the area worth of  spending as much time as possible, I believe. Having a good ear and understanding of different genres of music is a big thing for me too, because in my case, it is the place where everything comes from. I’m also a big fan of high technical proficiency - it gives you the ability to execute the music in your head and turn all of your ideas into a reality, no matter how complex they might be.

You are quite active on YouTube. What do you think of it as a platform for promoting your music?

YouTube and social media in general drastically changed the landscape of the music industry in the sense of promotion and advertising and as an artist I feel obliged to follow the trends. If it wasn’t for YouTube, I would probably have a 1/3 of the following I have today, 1/3 of the fun I have as an artist, I would get 1/3 of the offers I get these days and I’m sure the same applies to a lot of other upcoming players. As a musician, the audience is my employer and my YouTube channel is the first page of my CV!

What else do you do in the virtual music world (internet)?

A big percentage of my music-related communication happens online. Communication with fans, collaboration and project offers, contacts with media. I also do a lot of teaching online.

Tell us about your activities in a real world. Any gigs, live competitions, recordings?

I do gig with cover bands occasionally and while I enjoy doing that, it’s not my main musical interest at the moment. However, playing live is fun and much needed to make up for all the recording I do and I would like to do some more live stuff in the near future.

I’m in the process of writing material that hopefully will see the light of the day in some form or another, and right now I’m in the very early stage of documenting ideas and thinking about the general concept and various details...The material covers a wide range of genres, but I’m primarily a rock guy and I love that spontaneous vibe some older rock records have, so my plan is to take those ideas and carry them out in one pass when I feel the time is right.

Private guitar lessons are also a part of my real-world activities and with the increasing number of students I have, I need to reorganise a bit so I don’t get lost in the process of teaching.

Where are the opportunities for a young, upcoming guitarist seeking recognition?

Being active in a lot of different fields and promoting what you do, seems to be the general rule to follow. However, it is very important to be aware of your priorities, because most of the time, the advancement in one direction requires making other activities secondary on your to-do list, so it’s a good thing to know what activity or project you want to push further first.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

I only have short-term plans, but the general idea is to advance in every field of my career. So far, things seem to move in the right direction, so I hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with more high-profile artists, build a following and release some original material as a solo artist or as a band member.

How do you like what we do here at live4guitar.com? Can we count on your support?

I really enjoy the site and its platform and I plan to contribute with materials and information in various formats in the very near future. I believe this site will become the go-to place for every guitarist online!

Cheers Damir, that is very kind of you. We are looking forward to your contribution. Please keep us posted on your off line activities.

You can follow Damir on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/user/paralleluniversemk