Early life, personal background, how you arrived at guitar?
Well I was into sports when I was young. I was a hockey freak but I played a lot of sports in general. Then at age 14 I discovered Nirvana and grunge music and it all changed. I started hating school and sports. Got my first girlfriends, started playing guitar, smoked drugs! After a few years of learning all of the 90s music I liked I moved onto classical guitar for a year or so then I started busking in the streets for a living. Heard about Michael Hedges , Don Ross , Preston Reed.. I checked em out and then I realized I found what I needed to find and I started to get into that acoustic stuff exclusively.
After a few years of learning on my own compositions started to flow and with a bit of help from the internet and a lot of help from my managers Ben and Josee, my carreer was started !
Your 2006 upload of “Airtap” has become an internet standard in the guitar genre. You're also quite interactive with fans on your forums (http://www.ErikMongrain.com) and have a significant facebook following. How large a role has 'new media' played in your career as an artist?
It opened a lot of doors really, especially youtube.
I guess I could call it luck but I'd say everything happens for a reason instead.
Five albums. What are they?
Michael Hedges's "Aerial Boundaries","Taproot","Breakfast in the field", "Oracle" and Dave Matthews Band's "Crash".
What traits go into a good guitarist that makes people want to listen to his or her music?
It depends on who's listening ! Some people are into fast shredding, others into slow beats or extra groovy rythms. What I look for is creativity that speaks to me
On the whole lap-tapping thing; that was a pretty radical a departure from traditional acoustic guitar playing. What inspired you to explore that technique? Was anyone doing it before you, to the same degree of compositional complexity?
I saw a guy doing that in the streets of Montreal when I was 18 years old and I thought it was a great idea to catch people's attention while busking in the streets so I decided to try it out. I know I am not the only one that did it but I haven't really checked either. I did lap-tapping in my own way but I can't really say if I did it in a more complex way then anyone else did.
Beachside cottage or cabin in the woods?
Definitely the beach. I like my sandals.
What other guitar players inspire you?
Michael Hedges. Friend of mine Jon Gomm gives me good ideas as well !
What's cooler; Being in the “5 Million Views” club on Youtube (for Airtap), or having your own Wikipedia entry?
Neither. I guess that just being recognized for what you do is what's cool
What's one thing- unrelated to music- that you want to do but haven't?
Go around the globe with a small backpack and a guitar strapped without worrying about money and understand the meaning of life. I haven't done that yet