In this interview series we introduce you to the musicians of the Mystifiers. This week we talked to guitarist Gary about his passion for the guitar, how he started playing in the Mystifiers and his love for rock music.
What is your earliest music memory?
I have always been into music. Untill I was 14, during the 80’s, I was singing in a children’s choir. We performed in a lot of places: from TV performances with [famous Dutch singer] Anita Meijer to singing songs in commercials. I was in the choir with my sister, and I was the only boy. We recorded our songs in studio’s and even made a little money with the commercials. It was a lot of fun.
You grew up in the Dutch town Eemnes. How was your childhood?
I am from Surinam and I grew up in a foster family here. After high school, I started studying in industrial design in Utrecht. In the second year of my studies, when I was 17, I got a psychosis after took some softdrugs with friends. At that point my life changed completely. I wasn’t the person I was before. When I got better I started more practical studies, from building stands to woodworking and furniture making. Unfortunately, that did not work out the way I hoped – and from 2006 I started living from a wajong benefit.
How did you build op your life after your it changed so radically?
After my study did not work out, I got some help and started living in a group home through HVO Querido. And a little while later I got my own place. That is really great, but I still find it difficult sometimes that my life changed in this way.
How did you get back into music?
My love for music never went away, and Lies from HVO Querido scouted me to play in the Mystifiers. This was in the very beginning of the Mystifiers, when we only played a couple times a year. In the beginning I needed to get used to playing in a more symphonic band, but I really liked it. In the miniband I am now playing in, I am the only guitarist this year. That is really cool opportunity for me.
When did you start playing the guitar?
When I was five I already had a drum kit in my home, but I only started the guitar when I was 14. There was a boy I knew from school that already played the guitar, and he told me all about it. He made me crazy for the guitar. I got an old barrel from him and started learning. I had lessons for five years – from hit musician René Nodelijk. Amazing guy, I learned a lot from him. I think he is still one of best. After that I also started to play drums, and making more music. We lived in a farming town, so we had a big barn. I wanted to make a studio there – so I decided to build it together with my dad. I had my drums, guitars, and recorders there. It was beautiful.
“I want to hear my guitar as loud as possible”
Do you still produce music?
Yes, I also learned to produce music on the computer a couple of years ago. At eiwerk I also have producing lessons from Tim. He learns me all the tricks on producing music.
At eiwerk I am also in a band, it is called The Little Green Lights.
What does music mean to you?
Freedom. I love to play live music, I want to hear my guitar as loud as possible. I love to make harmonious songs, together with the band - that is my drive. I love to come up with the most beautiful songs and melodies. The whole day I listen to music as well. I make my own beats. I love to have the freedom to make what I want, without too much rules, fuck the rules! That gives you the freedom to learn as well. The more mistakes I make in my music, the more I learn. Playing the guitar just gives a kick, playing live, the sound is so amazing. Almost like screeching brakes, you can feel it.
What is the music that inspires you?
I love a lot of things. Jazz, blues, rock, metal, sometimes even a bit of classical. When I was really young I got a cassette tape from my brother with Motown songs, with the Rolling Stones, and other old songs. My parent always played the Stones, the Beatles and Bob Dylan, so I learned a lot about music early on. But when I started to buy my own CD’s, I bought a lot of Rock ‘n Roll. I was more into early metal, old Hard Rock, like Jimi Hendrix. His amazing combination of jazz, blues, funk, and Hard Rock is what I love. Black Sabbath is also a big hero of mine. I saw them live once, that was amazing.
What is your favorite memory of playing with the Mystifiers?
The first time we played at Paradiso! But also the smaller performance we did in the summer in a park, that was really nice as well. I hope we can do more shows like that this year, and look forward to what is coming. Being the only guitarist for the first time is an exciting challenge for me.