nine questions with: Ewan Dobson Interview

Some things totally defy description.

What makes chocolate taste better than liver, the way the ocean smells, that tingly feeling you get in the chest upon first hearing a killer song... Ewan Dobson is in that category of indescribable acoustic fingerstyle guitarists who just cannot be explained, save for saying that he's undoubtably one of the most creative and technically proficient fingerstyle artists on earth today- perhaps, ever. To be honest, we aren't entirely convinced he isn't some kind of robot.

 If you haven't yet heard his stuff, hit youtube and prepare for your mind to be blown into a billion little pieces. He takes the instrument (and color schema) about as far as it will go.

We present nine questions with the baddest man in all the land, Ewan Dobson.


Ewan Dobson


Just wondering what planet you were originally born on?




As far as technique goes, you're pretty much as good as it gets. Could you describe your fingerstyle roots, your trajectory as a player, where you started with guitar, etc?

Originally I started with basic acoustic guitar lessons Mel Bay book one.  Then after discovering Judas Priest, Motley Crue and Megadeth I moved towards electric guitar learning my favourite song riffs.  The bridge to classical guitar came after exploring shred guitar.  Most shred guitarists eventually discover and fall in love with Niccolo Paganini since he was the original gangster of technique monstery.  So, shred guitar leads to Paganini, and Paganini brings one back to the classical/romantic era to explore the music there.  I am partial to Giuliani, Rossini, and Legnani.  After investigating metal and classical I was introduced some Leo Kottke, Tony Rice and Joe Maphis.  These artists were the door to bluegrass for me.  Leo Kottke's playing is what gave me the idea to use fingerpicks.  The video game music influence is partly due to absorbing it while playing hours of NES when I was a wee lad and partly due to enjoying European Melodic Metal which is actually very similar to a lot of video game music.  I am aiming for a third album where I will expand on the metal and video game style as well as throwing in some more picked Paganini.


Favourite NES game?


Megaman 2.  I must also make clear that I am not incredibly adept at video games. 


Musical influences away from fingerstyle? 


Megadeth, Cannibal Corpse, Giuliani, Legnani, Impellitteri, Tony Rice, Joe Maphis, Bryan Sutton, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman.


From time to time, we occasionally like to ask artists a ninja-related question, because we love ninjas here at Imagine two ninjas were pitted to do battle. One had control over the element of wind and other, over the element of water. Water and wind were the only weapons at their disposal, however they could employ them in any way within the confines of what would ordinarily govern the broader laws of physics. Between Wind Ninja and Water Ninja, who do you think would prevail and why?


Given your suspension of the laws of physics the question takes a more complicated turn.  Normally, I would ask what temperature the battlefield would be so I could consider the possibility of water evaporating and joining the wind.  Also, considering condensation the wind would join the water.  However, if neither was an option due to a loss of continuity in the physics of the universe I would suggest that water being almighty and powerful would remain despite all attempts to be blown away by super windy ninja boy.  This answer is indeed arbitrary.


Your aesthetic is pretty innovative and unique. How have general audiences (ie- not other fingerstyle players) reacted to it?


General audiences seem to appreciate the theatrical aspect as opposed to a man immersed in self-adoration and serious-mindedness.  The expected aesthetic of fingerstyle guitar is a bearded gentleman with sandals, a pipe, and a bowl of oats.  Some of the people expecting what is typical of the genre have reacted violently since their vision of Oat-Man has suffered a devastating blow.


Have you ever worn (or would you ever consider wearing) a bow tie?


If you have a camo bow-tie... I will wear it yes.  Also, a multi-colored bow tie would also be acceptable.


What's on your MP3 player, right now?


Kreator, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Smetana, Scarlatti, Paganini, Jason Becker, Helloween, Rammstein, Exodus, Megadeth, Slayer, Dan Swano, Unleashed, Jeff Loomis, Bryan Sutton, Ozzy, In Flames.


Where you are today, do you anticipate guitar being your life's work?


Today I am at home.  I anticipate doing what I do until there is absolutely no way to continue.  Then I will self-destruct.

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