Part 3 – Musicians moving to another country, and the London jazz scene.

In part 3 of this series I will feature Nate Holder who is actually from London but lived in Germany for 3 years. Nate is not only a musician but also a podcast host ( that I had the pleasure to be a guest in. If you’re interested it can be checked here.) and he is in the process of finishing his first book ‘I wish I didn’t quit’. Many of his podcasts have been a good inspirational source for me. I’m also featuring ‘wine man’ Nelson Pari who is a jazz guitarist as well as a wine expert. My 3rd guest is piano player and composer Marco Tranchina from Italy. I enjoyed reading their replies and I hope you will too!

( Check also Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.)

 

Nate Holder – writer, podcast host and sax player from London

Nate Holder is a London based musician and writer who hosts the podcast I Wish I Didn’t Quit, and author of an upcoming book of the same name. He currently plays in the largest Prince Tribute band in the UK and performs at different events around Europe.

His book can be preordered here.

www.iwishididntquit.com

Nate’s Twitter

Nate’s Instagram

Were you born in London? How long did you live in Germany?
I was born in London but I lived in Hamburg, Germany for 3 years. I made a lot of mistakes, had some great experiences and grew as a person and musician.
Name one or a few of your biggest musical idols, or your latest discovery/favourite. (and if you want, explain the reasons why this particular musician is your idol) ?
Kenny Garrett & Marcus Miller are two of my biggest influences. I discovered them on YouTube playing together on a song called Run For Cover one evening. I must have sat and watched that video over and over for 2 hours! The way they shape their melodies and are able to play and write in many different styles helps me feel confident to write and play what I feel, not what everyone else does.

Why did you decide to move to Germany? What did you expect and how did your expectations differ from real life? 

I moved to get out of London and experience something new. I didn’t expect too much if I’m honest. I expected to struggle with the language but I didn’t expect the love and support I received from the people I met. I didn’t expect to have to struggle financially at times, but I also didn’t expect to stay for so long! Having too many expectations can stop you from exploring and fully immersing yourself in anything you do.

How have your thinking patterns or your personality changed as a result of you moving? What are the lessons learned? 
I learnt to be fearless in everything. After I moved, I realised that you have to dive into the deep-end to really experience all the potential benefits a decision can bring.
What is your advice to musicians who are moving to London from another country? What have you noticed, who succeeds in the city most likely according to your observations? Or in other words personality and thinking traits you have noticed in successful musicians?
My advice is to get out there. You need to play and meet as many people as possible in order to get work. The people who succeed are the people who attend many jam sessions, talk to people and are focused. They are knowledgeable about their chosen area of expertise and after meeting them a couple of times, you know exactly what they are about.
If you can, share a failure or apparent failure of yours in London, Germany or elsewhere that has taught you the best lessons and has turned out to be a success in the bigger picture…

I did a gig in Luxembourg on keyboard years ago but I didn’t learn the songs with enough detail. I thought I could turn up and just play chords but I quickly realised that I should have learnt intros, runs and passing chords unique to that song. fortunately there was another keyboard player so I played 2nd keys, but that taught me to always be as prepared as possible. It’s best to learn music in too much detail than too little. Plus, if you can’t remember, just write it down. I’ve learnt so many things over the last few years. Maybe I’ll do a podcast episode about some of them….

What is one of your most memorable moments from your ‘New Place’ experience. 

I got a job as a Musical Director of a theatre show and our first performance was sold out. Unforgettable.

 Did you miss the UK while living in Germany? Do you miss Germany since moving back?

Yes… London will always be home but Hamburg is my second home. I’ll always miss the one place when I’m in the other for a long time.

 


Marco Tranchina – pianist and composer from Italy

I started playing piano late when I was 22 years old, but I started giggin’ soon after. I moved to London in 2005 where I gained a degree in jazz and a master in composition. I’m teaching piano in public and private schools and work as a music composer for film and tv commercials, as well as gigging mainly as a jazz pianist.

www.marcotranchinamusic.com

www.soundcloud.com/marcotranchina

How long have you lived in London? Where did you come from? 

I’m Italian coming from Rome and I have been in London for 13 years

Name one or a few of your biggest musical idols, or your latest discovery/favourite. (and if you want, explain the reasons why this particular musician is your idol) ?

Herbie Hancock, Kenny Kirkland, Bill Evans, John Taylor Monk among others are my idols as they keep the music fresh, they’re true to themselves and to the music and everything can happen.

Why did you decide to move to a bigger city/country? What lessons has that taught you?

I thought and still believe London has a lot to offer to me as a musician and human being. Every day you go out there and meet the world and that’s already a big stimulus for any creative mind.

What did you expect and how did your expectations differ from real life?

I had no expectations but it was clear to me from the start that you have the opportunity to be whatever you want and if you work for it the treatment will be fairer than Italy.

How have your thinking patterns or your personality changed since you have moved to London? 

London has pushed me to improve and move myself forward everyday in line with this ever changing city. I’m also more conscious that anything can happen if you put yourself out there

What is your advice for an aspiring musician who is thinking of moving to the ‘big city” from a smaller country or a smaller town?

Be open to everything, embrace the various cultures and see everything in general the city has to offer, taking in all of this and to keep on working on your craft, which will be great for your music


Nelson Pari – guitarist from Italy

I’m Nelson Pari, I’m a Jazz guitarist with an Mmus from Trinity Laban. After an intense 7
years of playing around in the UK I decided to move to the wine industry and I’m currently in the sommelier team of 67 Pall Mall, one of the biggest wine clubs in the world. I just released my newest ep “Defining” that features some of the best musicians of central Italy like Simone La Maida (Maria Schneider), Stefano Senni (Enrico Rava), Claudio Vignali (Joe Locke), Marco Frattini (George Garzone) and Fulvio Sigurta’ (Steve Swallow). You can listen to it at www.nelsonpari.bandcamp.com for free.

How long have you lived in London? Where did you come from?

I moved from Italy in September 2011 to study at ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) in Guildford. After 2 years of college I moved to London.

Name one or a few of your biggest musical idols, or your latest discovery/favourite. (and if you want, explain the reasons why this particular musician is your idol) ?

My favourite guitar player is Jonathan Kreisberg. I had the pleasure of studying with him
for a short period of time as well and it has been one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done. His album Wave Upon Wave is probably the best expression of sound/melodic
content I’ve ever heard in a jazz guitarist. Another thing to check is guitarist Camila Meza from Chile (but she’s currently living in NY). Imagine Kurt Rosenwinkel with a feminine turn. It is exactly how I would love to play! Her album Traces is one of the most beautiful things I heard recently.

Why did you decide to move to London? What did you expect and
how did your expectations differ from real life?

Well when you move I guess you have the expectation that you’re going to start your life
anew and the change is quite beneficial as moving here puts you in a different perspective that mixes your dream with the actual challenges of being a working musician.
So in general I think when I started I didn’t count on the wonderful pattern that involves doing a lot of function/weddings in order to pay rent and bills.

How have your thinking patterns or your personality changed since you have
moved to London? What are the lessons learned?

Well I guess that when you start being an adult, living alone/together with other people, pay your own rent/bills, you change no matter where you live. The only thing is the approach of the big city which doesn’t give you enough space to think about your personal change.

What is your advice for an aspiring musician who is thinking of moving to the
‘big city” from a smaller country or a smaller town?

Well there is no advice really. Just do it and see how it works for you. For me the only
problem of the big city approach is that difficulties are easier to spot. Competition is higher which means loads of inputs/inspiration as a good thing, but less work as a bad thing.

If you can, share a failure of yours in the ‘new place’ that has taught you the best
lessons and has turned out to be a success in the bigger picture…

I remember that first time I tried to get into Trinity College I didn’t pass the exam. I then
decided to do the bigger step up and started studying with Jonathan Kreisberg passing the exam 6 months later. In the “Big City” failure is never a good thing and everyone is trying really hard to hide this side while I think it would make us a bit more human. And when you fail in such a big and pressuring environment the response that comes out of you is way, way stronger. So please fail more! And talk more about it.

What is your practice routine, what practice advice can you give to young
musicians.

I don’t have much time to practice but it depends where you’ve found yourself. If you’re
starting the classic 6 hours a day every day is a total must. Getting obsessed with the
basics of scales, chord, arpeggios and memorizing/improvising tunes is something that
everyone should do. I change radically my approach when during the end of my first year in Trinity my teacher Mike Outram told me to focus on what were my strong things (melodies/weird things) rather than working on what I’m not good at. Right now I’m changing my scale approach to the caged system to the berklee one (see Kurt talking about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn2uEBvekcE . So I’m basically working on all the classic interval exercises. Apart from that the most useful thing that I practice is just to take a standard, sing a phrase and then write a chorus using as much melodic development as I can. I do prefer working on my own lines rather than
stealing stuff from other players but I will go back to transcribe more in the next year.

What do you think is the ‘secret’ of getting gigs in the City… In other words –
What musicality and personality trends do you see in the ‘most booked musicians’ in
town… ? Or the busiest band leaders out there.

Depends on who you are. I don’t like going around meeting people just to get gigs but the
secret it’s all there. It’s not about how good you are or if you are the right man for the job.
The most important thing is the connections you have and how you use them. They say “hate the game not the player” so I guess that’s the right way to see it.
Band leading is another thing. When you put your band on many things are coming in
place. The first thing is who you are and the band you have. If you have a band of people who are “better” than you, it’s going to be different than bandleading your mates. The important thing is to focus on what sound you want and how much you wanna be open to the idea of seeing your music being modelled by other people.

In my last EP “Defining” (www.nelsonpari.bandcamp.com) I had the honour of band leading one of the biggest bands you can have in the center of Italy. Most of the job was to connect with the player and let them do their job with less indication as possible. The EP turned out to be completely different from what I imagined. I wanted something violent and more rock based but the whole nuances turned everything into a more mellow and mysterious thing. At first I had to accept it and when I started listening seriously to the recording I could see that the interplay was at a really high level, just because everyone felt free playing different ideas without worrying about a definitive style or bandleader pressure.

 What is one of your most memorable moments from your ‘New Place’ experience.

I guess the most beautiful thing about being in a place like London are the people you meet and play with. It is really hard to find people and have a beautiful interplay with them but being in a big city helps you find these people easily.
I’ve never been a high-profile musician here, mostly an underdog. I really liked how people respected me and my rude ideas about how music should work, but I’ve always been working and receiving calls from people I have truly admired and liked.

Do you miss your home country and what do you miss about it?

I miss my hometown a lot but not as much to go back at the present time. I miss the space of living. Life in Italy is way slower than here were everything is super fast all the time. But it’s good because being part of this fast environment makes you understand immediately how things work.

Do you plan to stay in the Big City? Or you have plans or thoughts of going
back?

I will go back at a certain point. The Italian jazz scene is truly vibrant at the moment. Many people are interested in it and the audience really want to be part of a musical genre where they are a living part. But I still do like being influenced from everything I come across every day.


( Check also Part 1 and Part 2 of these series.)

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