This guy's got a great groove. We're honored to do a "Nine Questions" with Mr. Arnaldo Lopez.
A bit of background, personal history, etc?
Although I have a Spanish name, thanks to my father who was born on Mallorca, I was born in Alkmaar. We call that the "Cheese-City"! My father even makes that famous Dutch cheese. How more Dutch can you get ;-) He taught me the first guitar songs, in a completely wrong way,... all played with the thumb, but hey, you've got to start somewhere. I was about the age of 12 when I started playing and had lessons for about a year. I played lots of Dire Straits and Eric Clapton's unplugged cd. I remember that I rewound the video tape of a live performance of Dire Straits over and over to learn that solo from "Calling Elvis". At that time I worked out "what" he was playing but didn't have the technique to play it. But because I played it so many times, I can still remember and now even "play" it! Yeaaaah!!!
I played many different styles of music, from Rock-a-Billy to Fusion, Dutch pop and rock. Also electric and acoustic. I love to play other instruments too, like piano and drums. Basically every other instrument I can get my hands on... I learned a lot by playing with many other musicians and stay open for new influences. All that together made me play what I play now, Fingerstyle in my way. In my way, I mean that I have a different playing style that most other fingerstylers. It's not that different, but I use some techniques that are not that standard. I use my fingernails as a plectrum, so I have 5 plectrums on my hand! I don't like a Thump-pick, because I want to have direct contact with the strings and I like the sound more. I also play a kind of 'clawhammer' style but than combined with pickin'. A little hard to explain, but maybe you can find it out in my Video's (I'll record more video's in the near future ;-)
I met my girlfriend in 2004 at one of Tommy Emmanuel's concerts! That's the way music brings people together! About a year or two later I had the opportunity to be his support act and I did that many times. I also recorded my first solo cd "Someday" in 2007. That cd got the 3rd price at the JPF-Award, which I'm very proud of, you can imagine... I got to learn from Tommy up close and he became a good friend of ours. He once gave me a set of special bridge-pins, made of Fossil Walrus Ivory! Their still in my Maton and make the sound a bit clearer as the plastic once.
At the 25th of june in 2007 we lost our thirst child. He was stillborn at 6 month pregnancy. I was recording my 2nd cd "Live Life" at that time and decided to finish the cd even though we had the loss of our son *Silvan. It was good for me to make music and play for him. I even wrote a song for him at the time he was still alive "I'll give the world to you", sung by Irene, my girlfriend. I dedicated that cd to him.
At this time we have a healthy son of 2 years old, Ramon. He start playing the guitar many years earlier than I did, that's for sure!
When did you start playing and how long did it take you to arrive at Fingerstyle?
I started when I was about 12 years old, but already playing some piano that I had learn myself.
It actually didn't take long before I started playing "rock-a-billy" and "Chet Atkins" songs. I remember that I did my first gig when I was about 15 years old with my "rock-a-billy" trio. A crazy Double-Bass player from Scotland, a singer with the moves and looks of Elvis and me on an old, cheap electric guitar. I bought that guitar on a market for about a dollar! We got good money for that and could play (eat and drink) some more night there, so we had a good start for our musical career there!
Five favorite musicians?
Mark Knopfler, just because he taught me a lot!
Eric Clapton,... same reason...
Sting, because of his wonderful compositions and the great musicians he played with.
Tommy Emmanuel, he made me realize that when you make good compositions on a guitar, and above all, "from the heart", you can reach people and make them love your music. He calls me "The Melody Man", what I think is a big compliment of course!
Stephen Bennett, I met him at Tommy's show's too and like his compositions. They come close to mine I think. He got the 1st price at the JPF awards and I had the opportunity to play some songs with him last year. You should have a listen to one of his songs, "The most beautiful sky", http://youtu.be/2u6Y-lFJDvE I love this song so much, I wished that I composed it ;-)
Mind doing a gear rundown, what instruments you play, etc?
I use play on a Maton EBG808TE, with the fossil bridge pins and Elixir Phospor Bronze 012 medium strings. The AER amp is a wonderful companion for that guitar! I don't have many other guitars, but there are some on my list,... A while ago I bought an old (1900) harp guitar. A Meinel&Herold, it has 9 bass strings and 6 normal strings. A small guitar with a great sound! You can hear the age of that guitar...
Away from fingerstyle, what do you dig?
I still play many styles. I compose and play all the instrument for a project, "Emmerig&Co", where I am the "Co". It's Dutch pop music with many acoustic guitar of course. And with 2 German friend we have a band called "Herbert-H-Herbert". It's hard to explain that music, but we call it "Weltraumblues".
You'll notice the word "Blues" in it, but that in the most broad sense! Handmade music with home made instrument and some 'normal' instruments like harmonica, guitar, cajon, guzeng, theapot, styrola ...!? I remember the story about 'testing' the teapot in a shop. Imagine the face of a shopkeeper when someone blows on a teapot and makes Didgeree-doo like noises... "Yeah, this is a wonderful teapot for our band! Is it sold with a flight-case?
Any news or updates on touring, albums, etc?
I'm recording a Dutch pop cd with Emmerig&Co, but we take all the time needed. And we need time because I play almost all instruments from drums, to guitar... I also teach guitar for living and have more than 30 students and about 25 waiting! I'll do some solo gigs and with the other project too, so I won't be bored!
How has the internet affected your ability to get your music out to the world?
CD Baby, in one word did a lot to spread my music. And of course through my website and mouth by mouth or better said, email by email ;-) Once I got an email from Americas where someone had found my music and found out that my music was great to accompany with a Native American Flute. They asked if they could use my music for that and wrote some nice tracks to practise the flute. I got a nice handmade flute in return. Without the internet this wouldn't happen!
Skiing: Water or Snow?
For now none of them, but I did enjoy snowboarding years ago in France. I like to be on the water but than in our boat with a cold drink and my guitar...
Any fingerstylists out there that you feel are underrated or otherwise under-appreciated?
That's hard to say,... I actually don't know that many guitarists. Often a student of me tells me about a guitarist that they've found on the internet wich I didn't know and they seem to play excellent. So there are many guitarists out there who are probably underrated because we don't know them (good enough). And it's all about taste of course...