Interview With Multi Instrumentalist, Arranger and Producer Lucas Gonzalez
We had the opportunity to sit down with Multi-Instrumentalist, Arranger, Producer and Top Rated AirGigs producer Lucas Gonzalez for an interview. We discussed his musical development, his approach to live performance, his approach to production and arranging and much more. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
When did you first start playing music, and why?
My father was a great enthusiast of the Spanish guitar, He was the reason i heard Paco de Lucia for the first time and that is why since my childhood my main instrument has always being the Spanish guitar.
Later on I would attend the Conservatoire to study Composition, Oboe and Classical guitar. It is recently, (in the past 10 to 12 years) that I started getting crazy about the idea of learning new instruments.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
In different periods of my life I would, at some point, discover and fall in love with a particular artist or a particular style. Each of them are still in my box of knowledge and enjoyment. In times of being a classical student I would raise both hands (still today) for Bach, Beethoven and Debussy, but occasionally and through the years new universes would hit and shake my brain, ears and soul. Of course it’s hard to pick up only a few but if I had to short list a very small number of them I would, unquestionably name people like Pat Metheny, Bill Evans, Sting, Vicente Amigo, Egberto Gismonti.
What instruments do you play now, and tell us a bit about your journey learning them?
Outside the studio I would feel pretty confidence playing Guitar, Bass guitar and Double bass, also various Percussions like Cajón, Congas, Bongos, shaker. Inside the studio though, for my full productions or for youtube videos, where i like showing off about my progress… I have being also playing drums, keyboards and electric guitar. Recently I bought a an Indian Sitar and a five string violin, which I’m currently learning. I’m planing to go back to the Oboe at some point too!
What made you get interested in arranging and producing?
Arranging music is like writing or drawing. For an arranger creativity comes first, even before learning music at all. Having written three books myself and done some few drawings and paintings through the years, I could say that I became an arranger partially because of the creative nature of the thing, That factor would be the same as in writing and drawing, only i really did study music seriously as opposed to literature or art in which I have always been only an aficionado. I started arranging my own music, for example pieces that i once composed for solo guitar became full orchestrated, or simple old, almost forgotten ideas became an instrumental flamenco piece, or Funk and stuff like that.
Nonetheless there are a couple of extra factors that has define my path towards being a professional music arranger and not a professional painter or writer, It is the fact that I get to interact with other people’s art, helping to lift their ideas, building structures from their sketches, bringing a sort of “surprise” factor and some sort of wonder, amusement or satisfaction when they hear their music “extended” or “completed” or “augmented”, their narration is now a full and proper story. That sort of human interaction through music is something that I couldn’t achieve as a writer or a painter, even if i was a professional in those fields.
What makes a good arranger, and what makes a good producer – and are they the same thing?
In my opinion a good arranger needs to have a short (but well developed) number of important components: A vast sense of intuition, knowledge in different styles of music, an accurate ability to interpret other artists ideas, and a certain level of familiarity with the right tools, for example, in my case, learning new instruments is a big plus as I do mostly hybrid (acoustic and electric) arrangements often in styles that could be categorized as “World music”, but different arrangers would prioritize different tools according to the styles they produce the most.
The term “Producer” has been changing in the past few years. In my understanding producing would include not only arranging and recording but also mixing, mastering, perhaps also dealing with the image of an artist, and even the promotion of his work. In past decades would also exist the “executive producer”, a person that would be willing to invest, supporting all the expenses, from the studio time, engineers, rehearsals, etc, and the “Artistic producer”, would be the one dealing with all the musical aspects throughout the whole process. Nowadays exist the term “Music producer”, which could vary from creating beats to doing any of the above mentioned tasks.
If you could spend all your time doing one thing musically what would that be?
I think it would be composing. If I could pick more than one I would also want to keep performing live, and of course arranging and producing music for other musicians and/or doing movie soundtracks.
Do you have a different approach / orientation to live performances, rather than when you are playing in the studio? If so, what is different for you?
There are many differences. Probably the one that stands out the most is that it’s a different type of concentration, in the studio for instance you have certain amount of time, which you wouldn’t have on stage. Of course performing live gives you a different type of freedom. Being “time” restricted to the present instant makes performance a magical activity, some sort of alchemy if you wish. In the studio however, you are (again) like painting or writing and “time” runs dilated, there is no restriction in that sense. That erases the “alchemy” factor but at the same time it gives you the opportunity to observe, to perfect, to choose, to build and construct bit by bit. It’s a different kind of enjoyment.
What big projects are you excited about moving forward?
Right now I’m working in two things; a series of new videos for one of my youtube channels and my second instrumental album.
I never had the chance to work in a movie soundtrack and that is something i would love to look forward to, so far I haven’t had the chance to connect with professionals in that field.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations these days?
As I am doing lots of Double bass Jazz gigs this days, (my girlfriend is a jazz pianist), I’ve been lately listening to People like Brad Meldau, Aaron Parks, Avishai Cohen, Pasquale Grasso, also Northern European Jazz musicians such as Lars Danielsson or Esbjorn Svensson and so on. I also follow newer people like Jacob Collier, Louis Cole, Snarky Puppy and things like that. I still listen to Pat Methny, Bach, Beethoven, Lyle Mays and many others that have influenced me and still do this days.