Signal Path Podcast: Paul Davids
Hear the stories behind the music with the Signal Path podcast. Tapping a global network of musicians, producers, engineers and other sonic innovators, Shure brings you exclusive interviews with the people shaping the world of audio.
For the latest episode of Signal Path, Mary Spender spoke with the Dutch guitarist and YouTube star Paul Davids. In the podcast, they talk about how he started playing music, his approach to his instructional videos and how he built his channel to over one million followers.
Mary Spender: How old were you when you started paying guitar?
Paul Davids: I started playing bass guitar when I was eleven or twelve because that first year in high school some friends started a band, but no one played bass guitar. I asked my father if I could play bass and he was like, “Yeah, sure.” So they got me an old bass with the old amp and I started playing in a band.
We just played pop punk songs like Blink 182, Green Day or whatever. We had a great time playing cool shows. I always picked up the guitar from my friend and thought, “Oh wow, this sounds to me like the song!” The bass was always a bit in the background. I really just I really didn't understand music that much at the time because I never was trained; I never had education. So, I just played bass, but I was more geared towards the guitar, basically. Then I figured out a way. My brother got a guitar, but he didn't really actively play it…
I started out just buying records and then [learning] the guitar solos from Metallica and stuff. I learned the hard way. There was no YouTube, no instructor, no books. I just wanted to play the songs. That kept me busy.
But eventually you studied guitar?
Yes. I figured wanted to go to music college, so one year before that I started taking guitar lessons from an instructor who could prepare me for an audition. And I learned some theory from him. I was very bad at it because I had no incentive to learn the real proper music theory. I just knew some stuff about scales, and I knew just open chords. So he taught me a bit about that but I didn't really like that much to be honest. I don't know why. We just didn't click or something. And always when I brought something to the lesson, he was like, “okay.” And I was like, “Why are you not impressed by this song that I really love?” He suggested maybe we can learn something from John Scofield or something. But I wasn't into jazz at all. So I was like, “Okay, bye.” Why should we do that? You know I think it's very important when you're teaching others that that you teach them according to their own taste. They're much more inclined to practice and to learn stuff if they have a link to what they're listening to and what they want to play and what they're learning.
Do you describe yourself as a YouTuber or do you describe yourself as a guitarist?
I used to describe myself as a guitarist and still do. But I gotta be honest with myself and say that I'm probably a YouTuber as well. But YouTube has some bad connotations with it for me, so that's why I'm always a bit reluctant using the word YouTuber. I'm also very grateful to have a platform like that because it opened up so many opportunities.
In terms of you being a guitarist, an educator and now a filmmaker as well as, how do you learn all those skills?
I think it's a very difficult question because everyone who wants to learn something struggles with stuff. Because I'm a teacher I always recognize people who want to learn something but don't know how do know where to start. But it’s the same with guitar playing for me: I wanted to learn and just did it.
It was the same with video making. I really like editing and I made short movies of me myself and my motorcycle when I'm driving through the desert in Morocco and in Spain. So I figured why not make a video of my real job playing guitar because that is like a win-win because I like editing. I like playing guitar. I like music and the fact that you could create something from nothing to a final video. That was huge to me and I always thought I'm just a small part of something really big and now being able to make something from scratch. The final product really amazes me that it's possible so many people see it on a daily basis. So it's quite astonishing in terms of being a musician.
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