In 2005 a video was uploaded to YouTube that would go on to inspire people from all around the world to pick up their guitar and play. That video was “Canon Rock” and was performed by South Korean viral legend Funtwo.
Now a JTC artist with a brand new track on offer, we thought we’d get to know him a bit more.
So here he is, Funtwo.
How did you get into playing?
I went to a school camp back when I was 14 and a group of older students with acoustic guitars were playing a cool riff of a song and I fell in love with the sound of the power chord right away. I realized the riff they played was from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ a few years later. Anyway, coming back from the camp I grabbed a guitar that was stored away at home in the storage and started this journey.
How would you describe your style?
Music with nice melodies! Some of the songs sound like the soundtrack of a video game or anime. I love listening to Bach, Vivaldi and 90s Pop Music. And probably the melodic aspects from those styles may have been influencing me largely.
Canon is of course what launched you as a guitarist. Are you keen to move on from that or is still very much a part of you as a player?
The Canon video kind of forced me to start this career and I feel so grateful about it. Canon Rock is a wonderful rendition, it certainly had a big impact in my life and I still enjoy playing the piece. However I wish my originals could resonate with people as well, since I put more passion and effort to my own stuff nowadays.
What was the inspiration behind the track "Story"?
Thank you for asking this question. There was a period of time last year, when I kept thinking about the fact that every single human being has a different background and unique story. A little random, but I felt diversity and variety is so awesome! And this music I was writing at the time, sounded to me like it was portraying a story of a person. In addition, I added a section in the song that is played with an Indian instrument called Bansuri. It was a fun experiment and I’d love to work with other world instruments in future tracks as well.
What guitars are you playing with right now?
In recent years I’ve been enjoying my Tom Anderson guitars. I still often play the ESP guitar appeared on the Canon video which I’ve been playing for 16 years.
You of course know about viral guitar videos, what’s your opinion on the current crop of viral players such as Manuel Gardner Fernandes, Nathaniel Murphy or Charlie Robbins?
Every time I find these new viral players, I’ve been amazed by their unique style, super chops and musicality. To me the rising players are… are on point with every aspect. Foreseeing the future, I see even more ‘scary’ musicians coming continually. It could be led to some competition but I would rather see it as a fun way to enjoy the different styles. As a guitar fan, I appreciate these artists on the various video platforms as I can easily enjoy their music.
Who are your biggest influences?
People who are passionate about something are the main influences for me to create something. And good music certainly motivates me to make music. Reading a good book is also a big part, as I feel like it gives me some artistic insights.
Favourite JTC artist?
I respect Jack Thammart’s music and himself as a wonderful human being. Marco Sfogli always blows my mind with his music and insane technique. Recently I’ve been enjoying Kit Tang’s beautiful music. I’ve been learning many practical insights from Al Joseph's videos. Last but not least, Jason Kui is such a talented musician and nice dude to hang around.
Any idea for the future with JTC?
20 Melodic Licks would be fun. I’d also love to make Learn to Play packages of my future originals.
Before you go…
A huge thanks to Funtwo for taking the time to answer our questions! Check out his JTC debut and let us know what you think.
We are seeking a talented designer who loves creating effective visual assets throughout the forms of video, branding, print and website elements to join our team at JTC - a fast growing online guitar-based education, production and digital download company.
Working remotely, a significant amount of your time will be spent creating assets for our weekly product releases and to use in social media campaigns. You will be an integral part of our post-production video team, where you will work on everything from product promotional videos to end boards and lower thirds.
You will have a keen eye for design and put your skills to good use, supporting the team with the designs for product release artwork, social media campaigns and elements for the site. You’ll need a good and instinctive understanding of what works on social media, and be able to apply that to both moving and static images. You’ll need to be big on ideas and able to understand a brief quickly and turn it into a visual reality.
For our social campaigns, you’ll need an understanding of how to engage audiences across various social platforms, creating effective content alongside our marketing team. We’re looking for someone who can be involved from the very start, brainstorming ideas for projects and coming up with concepts for campaigns. You’ll have a great balance of working within a creative and supportive team but also having plenty of autonomy to work your own magic.
Requirements and Qualifications:
Adobe After Effects - Advanced
Adobe Photoshop - Advanced
Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced
Adobe Illustrator - Intermediate
Adobe InDesign - Intermediate
Experience in website design and content development
Stellar written and oral communication skills
A sharp eye for quality design and ability to create artwork
Excellent time management, able to balance many projects at once
Interest in guitar would be desirable
There are superb prospects for the right candidate and the chance to join a dynamic and growing company. Starting salary: TBD
Deadline is 17th January 2020.
For immediate consideration please email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to musical experimentation, The Aristocrats are up there with the likes of Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Pink Floyd. Yet what sets them apart is that in Marco Minnermann, Bryan Beller and Guthrie Govan, you have people at the very top of their respective games.
In You Know What…? they have created an enthralling, varied album full of fun ideas to learn and listen to.
So we spoke to Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnermann and Bryan Beller to get the inside track on this amazing piece of work.
Q: Do the live versions of the tracks differ much for the album ones and did you write them with performances in mind?
The Aristocrats: Inevitably the live performances and ”version” of the songs do evolve over time the more we play them, and we think that’s more a function of what we do as a collective musical entity rather than any particular song. Sure, a song like “Get It Like That” is more improvisationally minded than “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde”, but even with those compositional differences accounted for, we’ll always try and find ways to make the live performances fresh and new.
Q: What part do you find the hardest to play?
The Aristocrats: We really try to focus on executing parts as a band. Sure, every song has its challenges for individual members. Guthrie wrote himself a fairly difficult part in “Spanish Eddie”, the bass chordal melody in “Last Orders” is tough, and Marco has to remember a lot of little things in “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde”. But most of the time the challenge for us is making sure that we can execute things as a unit, and making them sound good. Sometimes that’s more difficult to pull off than just executing a single difficult part, even though we do want to get our own parts right, of course. As a unit, performing live, from this album, the flamenco/metal section of “Spanish Eddie” is probably the biggest challenge in that regard. There’s a whole lot going on there, and we do it in every soundcheck to make sure it will work. Perhaps the jazz section of “When We All Come Together” is a close second.
Q: Do you intentionally try and make the music challenging in terms of composition or is it a natural thing for you all?
The Aristocrats: We truly don’t try and make music “challenging”, even though we understand that some people appreciate it in this way. If we’ve done it right, it’s supposed to be something you can enjoy as well rather than something *only* to be analyzed and dissected, though that of course has its place for educational and musical growth purposes for anyone willing to dive in. Ideally there’s room for both! Also, humor counts as well. We’d rather have folks laugh and be entertained than try and “blow their heads off,'' so to speak. But again, we understand that they’re not mutually exclusive concepts, and Frank Zappa taught us that long ago.
Q: I know dinosaurs were an influence for the record, but what musical influences were there for the record?
Marco: I personally never think about musical influences whilst writing a song. Yet history and influences are probably subconsciously undeniable and become roots. The bands and artists I grew up on surely must have played a role. Queen, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Rush... and many more. But, you somehow learn the letters and words and start forming your own language and speak with own voice, which then maybe will stay in the universe to influence the next generations. I guess that’s important, the never ending road, haha.
Bryan: Just speaking for me on my songs, “All Said And Done” was definitely a Beatles pastiche, converted into an instrumental guitar trio arrangement. No hiding the ball there. “D Grade Fuck Movie Jam” was probably a lot of Jimi Hendrix as seen through the lens of Michael Landau. Perhaps a touch of early Van Halen snuck its way in there as well? “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde” was the most curious one for me. I know the foundation of it was influenced by the Pink Floyd song “Sheep”, and I also realized we didn’t have any mid-tempo galloping rock shuffles in our repertoire. But there’s a whole host of 70s instrumental rock guitarists that probably influenced that one.
Guthrie: “Terrible Lizard”, just as you hinted, was intended to be my sonic representation of a huge dinosaur lumbering around: the glissando lick leading into the “chorus” was intended to mimic the way I imagined that one dinosaur might call out to another, whilst the intro riff was meant to be a crude representation of thunderous footsteps. “Last Orders” is an atypically mournful ballad, which could be taken to represent the general idea that good things don't always last forever - as symbolised by the “last orders” bell which you hear in a traditional English pub just before closing time! As for “Spanish Eddie”… I honestly have no idea where that one came from: the notes just kind of “coagulated” in my head for no apparent reason ;-)
Q: Were there any tracks “left on the cutting floor” that you might revisit later?
The Aristocrats: Not on this album. We generally write specifically for the band and agree in advance which songs will be on the album. Marco is the occasional exception as he writes more often, but this only comes up in terms of choosing which songs we eventually record. We’ve never, in the history of the band, recorded a track that we didn’t use. Make of that what you will. :-)
Q: For learning the guitar parts, what would your main piece of advice be?
Guthrie: I strongly suspect that most of the players reading this will already be familiar with the concept of taking things slowly and prioritising accuracy over speed… if you practice something slowly and perfectly enough times then increasing the speed will ultimately prove to be less challenging!
Thinking more specifically about this package of transcriptions, I would very much encourage players to take some liberties with the notes in certain sections, as the intentions behind the “written” and “improvised” sections in these songs were entirely different. I would say that the “verse/chorus” parts of each track in this package were very deliberately composed and would benefit from some detailed study. The “solo” sections, on the other hand, were all improvised and consequently they feature a few stream-of-consciousness passages where I was just “going for it” - hoping to convey a kind of explosive energy rather than any specific melodic content.
I wouldn’t personally want to memorise every last detail in those “crazier” passages and have to replicate them note-for-note so… I’d say that the way to get the most out of these transcriptions is to use your discretion when tackling the solo sections: it’s probably wisest to focus on learning your favourite licks note-for-note and then trying to look for any useful patterns in terms of note choices which seem to work particularly well over each chord, rather than feeling duty-bound to replicate every minute detail of the original!
In other words: some of these notes probably deserve more of your time than others ;-)
JTC TV is here! Over the years, we’ve put out all manner of releases on our YouTube channel. Andy James’s ‘Wind That Shakes The Heart’ has racked millions and millions of views, and our Guthrie sessions arguably launched JTC!
But we’re always up for trying new things, and it gives us great pleasure to launch JTC TV. We start with ‘Ten of the Best’, a look at ten amazing pieces of playing from our fusion archives.
So tell us what you think, and keep an eye out for more new content in the coming months.
Bacon and maple syrup is an unlikely combination. But it works.
New JTC artist, Charlie Robbins, has taken this culinary experimentation into a musical setting. He’s mixed the classic flavours of flamenco with the spice and in your face power of a metal. And like bacon and maple syrups, it works.
I started playing my freshman year of high school.
Q: When did you discover a love for flamenco?
I’ve always been drawn to the sound of flamenco, but it really hit me when I was in college and Grisha Goryachev visited our class to do a guest appearance in our ensemble and put on a Masterclass. He was literally the nicest guy and the best player I had ever seen in person. During that Masterclass he showed me rasgueado and helped me practice viewing the fretboard in a different way.
Q: And when did you first start playing that in a metal setting?
It was only recently when I started fully trying to blend the two things I really like together. I’ve always put it in my songs before, but I’ve always had the goal to eventually try and make it the whole theme and inspiration for an album. So I finally said I’m going to try it, and Coloratura was the result. There’s a ton more that could have been added or even done better, but I’m still really proud of it.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
As a player I’m not sure how to describe myself. I would say a metal guitarist influenced by many other genres.
Guthrie Govan was my first JTC artist I was able to watch and is still my favourite.
Q: Any plans for future JTC releases?
I would love to release more packages in the future. Maybe a Masterclass at some point!
Before you go…
A huge JTC welcome to Charlie Robbins! He’s an amazing addition to our roster and we hope to work with him for a long time coming. If you’re new to his work, we’ve made a mini highlights reel below. All tracks are from his Coloratura EP. Enjoy!
Diatonic Triads are the groupings of root, 3rd and 5th for every chord of a major and minor scale.
Q: Why are they so important?
They are immensely important as in the context of soloing they help us incorporate melodic lines that outline the chord sequence we are playing over.
Q: How did you go about creating the content for this release?
Much of the material is taken from concepts I already use with my students.
In a nutshell, I thought, "Okay....if I was early into my guitar journey and I didn't know anything about triads, how could I go about it in a straightforward and simple way so that I can begin to incorporate them into my playing in a musical and creative way."
The best thing about this release is that concepts are elastic, so the more you grow the further you can push yourself with the material.
Q: Has it helped you come up with new ideas?
This approach has definitely helped me become a more substantial and, melody-wise, interesting soloist.
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway from this pack?
Simple concepts are able to generate practice for life!
Q: Out of your JTC releases, have you got a favourite?
Hmmmm, this one is certainly more substantial, given that anyone can get those concepts and adapt them to their style! So, this one it is!