As this is the very beginning I should start at the very first step of my path as a musician: the bass or: my father’s old Framus Jazz Bass copy. I wanted to play this instrument but I was told by him that I had to learn guitar first. So I bought a classical guitar right after Christmas 2004 and began practicing. A few months went by and I decided to buy an electrical guitar. And so I got my Ibanez RG in May 2005 and played almost every day – and didn’t think about the bass for a while. Within the first weeks I also began looking for musicians to form a band and although we didn’t met on a regular basis we still managed to play some songs by Rammstein.
From the very beginning of playing guitar I also began writing songs. I still got the Guitar Pro-file of my 1st song and although it’s nothing special it’s not bad either. It even includes a guitar solo, a part I later ignored completely. But my ambitions to become a skilled guitar hero died off when my abilities wouldn’t improve no matter how hard I practiced. I’m quite sure that I did something wrong back then – but that doesn’t matter now. I began focusing on songwriting and discovering new genres (not just on guitar). The Rammstein cover-band ‘dissolved’ (although we even played one of my own songs we never agreed on ‘Last Aid Kit’ or something else that would justify calling it a real band) and I began looking for new musicians.
I found a very talented bass player at my school who knew a drummer and so a group, later almost officially named ‘Red Collars’ was founded. We played some covers too (e.g. Static-X – The Only, The Strokes – Reptilia, Farin Urlaub - OK) but I already had some britpoprock-indie-like stuff ready that we used. Just FYI: this was the point when I first noticed that it is almost impossible to categorize your own music when it’s not intentionally matching a specific style. Not because you think of your own stuff as the most genuine ever but because the lack of distance to compare it to the stuff you listen to. After rehearsing every week for a while we began to intensify our search for a lead singer but no candidate matched our expectations. I tried to sing sometimes but I had zero experience and practice so it sounded reeeaaally awful. During this phase I noticed that I miss it a little bit to write and play Metal/Industrial like music and that’s when I first had the idea to make stuff like that on my own. I looked for a drummer and named this ‘side project’ Polymetric (later Polymetrix). Calling The X was written was this project – it just sounds very different now. Just before I graduated from high school I met my now-fiancée in January 2007 and was so frustrated by the real band not moving forward that I decided to leave it.
Someone convinced me to play two songs as a guitarist at my graduation but after that I had no plans for making music outside my home. Together with my fiancée I sometimes played Johnny Cash’s cover of ‘Hurt’ – with her playing the piano and me playing acoustic guitar. I sometimes even sang and she encouraged me to sing more often. After I gave her an electrical violin as a Christmas present we planned to found a medieval-themed folkrock band – and we did. That launched a bigger chapter of my biography as a musician – one that I will address in the next (hi-)story entry.
Remembering all that reassured me on giving the advice to play with other musicians as soon as possible to every beginner. You just get a way better understanding of how instruments work together, that each instrument can take the lead part and that playing perfectly isn’t really the point of making music with others. Although accurate playing is indeed the goal you should strive for being able to play as you and not as a machine. As long as your intonation and timing aren’t way off it can be a characteristic to lead the rhythm group with the bass or maximize the ‘laid-back’-feel of a guitar melody. Your inner sense for something sounding and feeling good doesn’t develop by practicing alone or with a perfect backing track.
PS: before the search for musicians for the band in the next chapter began I bought a bass…