The Indiego Team recently had the opportunity of interviewing guitarist, singer & songwriter, Jonathan Peyper. We asked him about his career, his gear, and about his future plans. Before reading what he said, take a listen to one of his songs.
Indiego: Can you remember at what age you started playing music? What made you get into it?
JP: I discovered the guitar at the age of 13 when I was on holiday in Mozambique. I saw a guy sitting at the lake in Bilene resort where we stayed, and he showed me a chord or 2, which I played the whole day sitting next to him. At the age of 15, I seriously started getting into things like playing in bands, writing my own music etc. I don’t think anything encouraged me to get into it from the very first time I picked up a guitar. It was more a natural thing for me to do. When I heard the first few notes I played, I was amazed and enlightened by what i was doing, seeing as I never discovered something so beautiful before. So my reason for playing music is simply a thing I have to do to make my soul stay alive. Just like a body needs nutrition and a vehicle needs fuel for it to function, so I need music.
Indiego: Is the guitar the only instrument you play, or do you play other instruments? What was the first guitar that you owned?
JP: Guitar and vocals are my main instruments. I can play a very little bit of piano, drums and bass, although I have written some classical parts containing violin, cello and piano, where I can hear the music but can’t play the instruments. I would then use software to program the music that I’m hearing. My very first guitar was a Montana Acoustic steel string guitar that my father bought me as a gift. A 1996 Epiphone Les Paul Goldtop was my first electric guitar, which I received from my eldest sister.
Indiego: Are you self-taught, or did you study music formally?
JP: For the first 6 years of playing music, I taught myself how to play and write, although I never knew any music theory or history. I started studying music in 2010, a year after I matriculated, at COPA (Campus Of Performing Arts) Pretoria, for 2 years, which I received NQF3 and NQF4 certificates for.
Indiego: What was the first tune(s) you learned to play on the guitar?
JP: The first chords I learnt to play in Mozambique, from what I can remember, was E, G and the A chord. My first song I learnt to play was ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ from Guns n Roses, and most of their songs.
Indiego: Which famous musician/guitarist do you admire? Why?
JP: My biggest hero would be Slash, seeing as it was the first style of playing I learnt. Since then I’ve been a huge fan of Slash because his playing is full of emotion and melody. Dan Patlansky (Local SA blues legend rated as one the best internationally) is my biggest blues hero. I met Dan when I was 17 and I just started getting the hang of the electric guitar. The very same day I performed with him at Bluemoon in Nelspruit. Since that day I have not stopped playing the blues. Dan's influence as a person and amazing player, opened the world of blues to me which is the thing that I specialize in today.
Indiego: What is your favourite album or cd of all time?
JP: I have a few favourite bands but my all time favourite is Guns n Roses and their album ‘Appetite for Destruction’. My favourite album of Dan Patlansky is ‘Move My Soul’. (Off the record, I purchased this CD from him in 2009 when I made my 2nd appearance with him on stage).
Indiego: What genre would you say your music falls into?
JP: I’ve always loved rock n roll and blues. I enjoy lots of other genres too, but the music I write Is like a modern Hendrix sound mixed with some Dan influence. So I would say Blues Rock.
Indiego: Have you officially released any songs/albums? Any plans for the future?
JP: I have released a few demo tracks on free sites such as Soundcloud and I am in the process of recording my first album called ‘Jonathan Peyper: Mysterious Woman’ soon to be released at end of May or June. My plans for the future is to help expand this Modern Blues genre in SA together with Dan Patlansky, Albert Frost and Raoul Roux. These guys are SA's finest solo blues artists and there are only 3 of them. I want to be a part of that group.
Indiego: Where and when is your next gig?
JP: I have a show on the 5th April at Wolmer Bush Lounge. It is in Pretoria North Akasia.
Indiego: Do you write your own lyrics?
JP: I write my own music and lyrics and it’s based on experiences in my life and not just good ideas I make up.
Indiego: How often, and for how long do you practice?
JP: It depends on my mood for that day. I don't schedule times for writing or practising guitar. It would normally happen naturally and then I would end up playing for some 3 - 4 hours intensively.
Indiego: What does your set up consist of? (guitar, effects, amp, etc.)
JP: When I do my Blues shows I would be using my favourite guitar, a 1996 50th Anniversary Squier Stratocaster which has a fantastic tone; one can compare it to a few 70's Fender Strats, Pedal-rig consists of a TC-Electronics Polytune mini, Dunlop MXR CAE-404 Wah (best wah ive ever played), Boss CS-3 Compressor, a custom built tube screamer pedal called a Vintage G made by a custom amp and pedal builder Benjamin Craig https://www.facebook.com/craigamps (also a very good friend of mine) and a Boss CH-1 Chorus. Amps: I am currently using a Dr.Z MAZ 18 Class A/B (Owned by Chris van der Walt my bass player) which gives a very nice clean blues chewy tone. Benjamin is currently building my own custom amp for me.
I am also part of a Guns n Roses tribute band called Guns n Posers and ACDC tribute band called SADC and normally for these shows I would be using my 1996 Les Paul I mentioned earlier, set up with the same pickups and strings as Slash. That will be going through my pedals into a Marshall JCM 900 head connected to a 4 x 12 cab.
Indiego: Are you a full time or part time musician/artist? If part-time, what is your profession?
JP: I am a full time musician.
Indiego: Where are you currently based?
JP: I am currently based in Pretoria-North.
Indiego: Are you planning on moving elsewhere to pursue your career?
JP: I am planning on moving to Houston Texas in the next 3 - 5 years and living there.
Indiego: If you were given an opportunity to play in one music festival in the world, which one would it be?
JP: That’s a difficult question, because there are so many happening all around the world, but if I had to choose one, it will definitely be the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival.
Indiego: And last, but not least: what do you want to say to your fans or potential fans out there?
JP: Music defines us personally as musicians. Whatever we write, sing or play about comes directly from our hearts and we have to be true to ourselves to write good meaningful stuff! We, as blues musicians, also have a great bond of love and brotherhood among one another and we maintain a good sense of humbleness and wisdom. So basically put: Don’t be a big headed asshole, love one another, be true to who you are and respect your elders
Listen to more of Jonathan Peyper's songs on SOUNDCLOUD
visit his FACEBOOK PAGE
The Indiego Team would like to thank Jonathan Peyper for taking our questions. We would like to wish him all the best in his career and we look forward to his album.