Today, on Guitaa Artist Centerstage, we have an amazing group of musicians who are establishing and spreading their amazing aura of music and talent all over the world. A group of three individuals with contrasting backgrounds(UK, Germany, and the USA) whose unique perspective and flavor of music are surprising everyone, we present you “The Trouble Notes“.
The Trouble Notes is a Berlin-based trio consisting of violinist/vocalist, Bennet Cerven, guitarist Florian Eisenschmidt and percussionist, Oliver Maguire. This amazing group loves to travel and spread their musical talents to every culture of the world while further growing as musicians and beings.
So, Let’s get to know more about this cool trio, how they all met, about their challenges as musicians, and many more.
- Introduce yourself to our audience, what genre of music do you consider your work to be?
We are an instrumental fusion trio consisting of a violin, guitar and hand percussion. You could say that our music is made for traveling, with each composition meant to be a bridge between cultures and traditions.
- What and who were your early passions and influences, What inspires you to make music?
One of our biggest influences remains Rodrigo y Gabriela, with their story as an inspiration for the start of our musical careers together. We grab influence from everywhere we can, irrespective of genre, which is definitely a big reason why we travel as much as we can together. We have been inspired by many styles like some of the great classical concertos, to Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt, to bands like Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys and Gypsy Kings who we listened to as children.
- Tell us about that one memorable performance and favorite venue which you still wish to happen again?
It’s very difficult to select just one. There have been big festival stages that stick with us because of a great audience, or historical places we have played that give us a particular energy. Our music is quite versatile, so we have been blessed to perform in a myriad of different venues, from the classical Konzerthaus in Berlin to the piazzas of Italy and everything inbetween. There are certainly some places we still dream to play, like Red Rocks in Colorado or a concert in Hyde Park in London. No doubt we will have to be patient for some of those!
- Any funny story of a mess up during your performance where you handled that situation like nothing happened?
Little mistakes happen in every performance, and we’d say what sets the great performers apart from others is their ability to hide it. BUT, every once in a while something major happens that is certainly more difficult to cover over. Recently at a festival in Munich, Bennet’s bow broke and hair went flying all over the place. This was NOT intended, but he quickly ran off the stage and grabbed another bow in such a manner that people actually thought it was part of the show. There were even remarks made on some of our social media channels that it was their favorite part of the show. Little did they know…
- If you could collaborate with any musicians(dead/alive), who would you collaborate with and why?
Such a tough question. We mentioned RodGab earlier, that still remains a dream. Chris Cornell had a voice that moved us, so that would have been an incredible collaboration to have him belt a song with us. We have a love for many great instrumentalists, but to have played with Ravi Shankar would have been a great honor. Flea’s bass would be a nice fit for our sound too (call us Flea).
- Any Tips to keep the balance between professional and music life?
Well for us they are pretty much one in the same. As our musical profile has grown and our audience has increased, the non-musical side of the “business” takes more time. We have tried to remain independent, to keep our flexibility, but its something we continue to struggle with even to this day. In the beginning, you try to play in front of as many people as you can so as to get your sound out there, but eventually the “never ending tour” will take its toll. In a situation like ours, it’s important to take time away from the music to remind yourself why you love it so and not become consumed by all of the tasks you have to do just to be able to do the thing you love. This was something we’ve realized recently and it’s an important balance that all professional musicians need to discover for themselves.
- What has been your biggest challenge as a Musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Probably what we mentioned in the question prior. In our situation, when we first started our group we brought our music directly out into the streets as a way to practice and advertise our sound. For us, street music was a part of our DNA, directly connecting with people and influencing our repertoire by “cooking” our new compositions in front of unsuspecting audiences. This made us electric performers, unafraid of an audience. But it also put a label on us a “street” band, a label that makes it difficult to transition on the stage. While we love playing in the street (still to this day), we knew that we belonged on the stage. Many talent buyers feared that the fact that we played on the streets would make it difficult for them to sell tickets, because people would thing “why should I pay a ticket price to see a band I can see for a dollar on a street corner?” Honestly, a valid point, but quite a paradox. On the one hand, people love us because we play in the street – that’s how we connect directly with people and it shaped us as performers, but on the other hand we were finding that certain doors were not opening for us because of the perception of playing on the street. And thus we began to work hard again to improve the theatrics of our show: the lights, the storytelling, the vision. Have we overcome this? We are certainly starting to. We play more festivals, our concerts have more audience, but it remains a long-term challenge that only hard work will allow us to overcome.
- What Tools and techniques you use to improve your singing/instrumental playing?
Some new techniques we pick up from different tutorials on YouTube, as well as from different musicians we meet while traveling. Of course learning in person is the best way because it is more personalized, but the internet is a great way to bridge that gap. More importantly, once you get the basics of a new technique, you just need to practice and practice until you are so comfortable that it is no longer a thought.
- What type of Gadgets and instruments do you use while practicing? And, Do you have any specific name of your instrument?
We each practice on our respective instruments mostly. Florian has an apartment full of guitars that he uses in different situations. Ollie is the same with different drums, which he continues to add more to his setup each time we travel. Bennet’s violin was custom made for him by Jeff Stratton, who’s Stratton Violins are among the best electric violins one could have. His current violin is a 5-string built by Jeff and is one of his original builds. Jeff’s “Gypsy model” violins were inspired by the first violin that he built for Bennet.
- Would you like to share a testimonial for Guitaa? If Yes, Why do you love Guitaa?
What’s a better way to improve your skills on an instrument than to play along to your favorite songs!! Guitaa is the right platform!
- What advice would you have for someone wanting to become an Artist?
If you have dreams of living as a musician, don’t sit and wait for your opportunities to come to you. Many great bands out there write some killer tunes and then sit and wait for someone to call. In the end, you’ll never get the opportunities you want unless you hustle and find them. Keep your heart and your mind open. Play on the streets, in the open mics and cafes, at every moment you can to improve your skills in front of an audience. To be a great player is only half of the skill, you must also be a good performer and that takes practice just like learning your instrument. Our journey is still far from over, but one thing we can be proud of is the fact that we work very hard to improve and make our opportunities. Your audience will love you when they sense all of the blood, sweat and tears that has led up to the very moment they are experiencing when they watch/listen to you play.
So, this was the cool trio “The Trouble Notes”. Want to know how you can follow this group on social media? Then, check out the links below: