The Puget Sound has and always will be famous for the music it and it’s cities produce. But saying we’re the musically inclined state of America and owning up to it are two very different actions. How exactly does one get into creating sound and song, and what does it mean to be a musician in the Seattle and Bellevue area?
Reviewing those successful with breaking out and letting their music be heard helps paint a picture of a musician’s side of life in Washington. Alice in Chains was formed in Seattle, becoming international with the grunge movement of the 1990s. Created in Bellingham, Death Cab for Cutie has made their marks in the music business as well. But the most famous musician to come from Washington was Jimi Hendrix.
Trying to find more about what it’s like to be a local musician here, I found one of my own to interview. Walker DiTrani, freshman to the Bellevue College campus, and one of our own local musicians. After asking around, here’s what he says about how he got into music and what it’s like being a local sound-man in Washington.
Jesse: What made you first interested in music?
Walker: I always thought guitar players were really cool, and in 6th grade I decided I wanted to start playing and once I got some of the basic stuff down I found it to be really enjoyable.
How many instruments can you play? What are your favorites and why? My favorite instrument is guitar, I’ve always loved the sound of it, and it’s very versatile, once you start to really understand the instrument, the effects, and different techniques there are a lot of possibilities. I think I just really like stringed instruments because you can strum and bend which makes it easier to groove. I also really like drums, but that’s more just for the fun of it than anything else. Harmonica is also cool, when I’m really old I want to move to the south and play filthy harmonica blues by the train tracks all day.
What genres of music most interest you?
It switches all the time, I used to be in a metal band, and that is what I played most of the time. Then I started a little ambient, post-rockish side project and it turns out I enjoyed that even more. I also love to play bluesy-funk stuff, and I’m getting into more complex acoustic finger picking now. I think it’s good to play a wide range of genres rather than to focus on just one.
What type of music do you create and how do you think your life affects it?
For the most part I have a lot of riffs and song ideas that are not quite formulated, but when I actually write/record a song it is usually on the more mellow side, I like to use a lot of delay/reverb and make kind of spacey/ambient music. I think my mood definitely affects the overall feel of the song, if I’m feeling sad then usually the song will be sad too. And sometimes the music will affect me, like when I get really into playing a blues solo I feel super happy/groovy afterwards.
How many experiences/what kind of experiences have you had with other musicians?
I was in a few bands during high school, all of which were metal bands. The most significant one was called, “Maggie and the Death Cats”, I think I grew a lot as a musician in that band. Playing with other people taught me a lot about harmony and song structure. Going out and playing shows was fun too. I also started my own project which was cool because I didn’t have to deal with anyone else trying to throw their opinion in which was kind of a nice change from being in a band. I also had an acoustic jazzy/bluesy/folky side project but now I mainly just jam with people. I like jamming because it’s interesting to hear material other people have, and to hear how they would play something as opposed to how I would play it.