Featured Artist: Tim Snider

January 15, 2013

We’re featuring world-music artist, Tim Snider as he gets set for his sold-out show at Foundation Gallery & Liveroom this Saturday night. Tim Snider is no stranger to performing for the Buncearoo crowds, showcasing his incredible instrumentalist skills of violin and more. We got to know Tim Snider in our latest in-depth feature, learning about his inspirations, his creative process, his liveshows, and more!

Get to know more about Tim Snider below and see him play live for the sold out crowd this Saturday night at FNDTN! We’ll see you there.


When was the moment you decided being a musician was what you wanted to do with your life?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always known I’ve wanted to be a musician. There have been times when I’ve thought other things like being a professional soccer player or surf-documentary film maker was what I wanted to do, but I think I’ve always known that the pursuit and effort of making music is what makes me happiest and most fulfilled. I still have plenty of life left, so you never know. But I feel pretty blessed that this is how I get to spend the majority of my time and focus.

Though, over the years my concept of what kind of musician I would turn out to be has definitely shifted. For example, when I was 3 1/2 watching Sessamie Street and saw Itzack Perman playing the violin I begged my mom for classical violin lessons. I was certain at that time I wanted to be a classical violinist. Then when I was a teenager and quit violin, I started playing guitar and was sure that I wanted to be in a rock and roll band. In high school, I saw Ben Harper for the first time and was convinced I wanted to be a songwriter. I then got introduced to flamenco music and cuban music and…. you get the point. The truth is I think I’ve always been attracted and inspired by people who have real passion in whatever they do and I want to live my life following my own… wherever that takes me.

What other musicians – past or present – inspire you to make the music you make?

I mentioned a couple in question one, of course but the list is huge. Here are a few: Stephane Grapelli is my all-time violin hero. Jean Luc Ponte is a close second. I love listening to a lot of the greats like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrain, Paco De Lucia, Vicente Amigo, and Buena Vista Social club. I listen to a lot of writers like Paul Simon, Bill Withers, Josh Ritter, Larren Hill, Tracy Chapman, Jeff Buckley, Eddie Vedder, Dave Mathews, and Nil Lara. Also, I listen to anything from underground hip-hop like Atmosphere, African kora music like Ba Cissoko, to guys like Bon Iver and Ray Lamontagne, and to great instrumentalists like Yo-Yo ma and Chris Thile.

More than any of these though, I think I get the most inspiration from the people I play with, and life in general. It’s a combination of experiences and emotions that I go through as well as my knowledge of music and my vocabulary. Friends of mine like: Dave Egger, Sam Minaie, Amber Rubarth, Nakho, Milton Merlos, Max Ribner, Tim Ribner, Cody Beebe and the Crooks, Jelly bread, Max ZT, Tony Walker, and so many others influence me a ton every day. See, if your friend starts saying something like the phrase “nice one” and you hear it enough, chances are you’ll start saying it to. Music is a language passed down from generation to generation and if people take the time to learn it I think everyone has a unique voice and something valid to say.

Having started playing classical music as a young age, how did you go about incorporating that style in into your current style of music?

I don’t think about it. It just happens. It’s a part of my history and where I came from. What’s the phrase? “you can take a boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out the boy.” Well… it’s kind of like that.

Could you talk a little bit about your creative process for the records you’ve put out? How do you approach your songwriting and recording processes?

There is a difference between creating and craftsmanship and both of them apply to my songwritting and recording process. One of my favorite quotes is, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” -Pablo Picasso. I’m not sure if it’s always true because I know plenty of lazy people who sometimes have brilliant ideas, but I like the fact that it delineates between the two. I never know when inspiration will come. Some times I will write three songs in a day and sometimes it will take me three months to write a song. But I’m always working. You get this feeling in your gut when you know the work came from somewhere else and those are the works that become songs I want to share.

Crafting these songs is the other part of the puzzle. The more we learn about music the more we learn that there are so many different directions to take it. Sometimes the hardest part is to know where to go with it. I get to work on a piece and sometimes wonder, “Am I adding parts to this because I can, or do they really need to be there.” Honesty in music is something that I incessantly strive for. So, those are the moments I move on to something else until inspiration shows up again.

How would you describe your live shows for anyone who has yet to see you play?

My live shows, when they are best, are honestly a time for me to turn my brain off. I once had a jazz theory professor tell me that we spend so much time learning these things (theory and technique) so that when it’s time to play we can forget them. I use a style of performance called live looping. It’s where I record a phrase on the spot by pressing a button with my foot. I press it again and it repeats it. I can do this many times and layer multiple parts creating string sections, percussion and guitar parts as well as vocal harmonies all within a song. I often hear people say things like, “I don’t know how you do that, your brain must be moving a million times a second.” It’s actually the exact opposite. Music for me is a spiritual and emotional expression and performance is a time to let go and jump in the river.

You’ve got an upcoming show at Foundation Gallery & Liveroom. What do you look forward to most playing in the area?

I’m excited to be back and perform for such good people! Bill and his family from Bunceroo Presents are so great and I know that they put on these shows purely for the love of music. When you travel and perform for a living, you see lots of different environments and shows put on for all kinds of different agendas. You also learn to cherish the real deal people when you find them. Last time I played in the area was a Bunceroo event in May at the Franklin Theater and everybody there was so awesome! Even though I’ve never been to the Foundation Gallery and Liveroom, I have a feeling it will be the same.

What should you fans expect from you in the new year?

Well, for one, I’m currently working on my new record, Let go, Jump in the River. If all goes well I will be releasing it sometime this March. I know all artists say this but I honestly feel it’s the best work I’ve done to date. The last recording I did of my own, The Del Mar Sessions, I played nearly all the instruments. That was an incredible experience for me and I’m so glad I did it, but I’m now so thankful and excited to be working on this one with some of my favorite musicians on the planet! Sam Minaie, Dave Eggar, Caleb Dollister, Max ZT, Max and Tim Ribner, and Noah Woodburn have all been involved so far. Other than that, I will be touring around in the States rocking shows and festivals. I also have plans to go to Italy and Brazil. We’ll see where it all leads.

Thanks for talking to us at Pick-Up! Looking forward to your show at FNDTN! Any last words for the readers out there?

Thanks for having me! For those of you who read all this, thanks for listening to me blabber on and on! I really hope I get a chance to get lost in music with you sometime this year. Remember to go see live music, stay inspired, and let go, jump in the river!

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