In our last post we told you about P. J. Monserrat, an Irish style tune player from Majorca better known by his artistic nickname “TinWhistler”. TinWhistler has been very active in the Internet over the last 9 years and thousands of followers already enjoy and love his tunes. Recently he published his first album, where he plays together with his brother. The band, also called TinWhistler, played in their first live concert this year 2015.
In today’s interview, TinWhistler discusses with us about how, after years of being a youtube player, he finally took a step forward and published his first album. He will as well share tips and advises to those who want to become themselves musicians.
During the interview, you will enjoy some of the tunes that are included in his album. If you happen to fall in love with them as we have, do not doubt and buy the entire album, you will find it here (also in iTunes, google play and Amazon). It is worth every cent.
H.J.: TinWhistler was born as a youtube channel, just for the fun of it. When and how did you realize that your tunes were getting enough attention to consider it a serious choice?
I guess that happened years ago when the YouTube channel reached several thousands of subscribers and our videos were getting many positive comments, including comments telling us to record an album.
H.J.: Although you and your brother started playing together as children, now both of you are grown up men that live on their own. Have you ever considered starting or joining a new irish band?
Yes, I have always considered that possibility, but forming a band is difficult, and it is a lot more difficult if you want to form a traditional Irish music band when you live in the southern part of Europe. To form a band like this, I’d need to find people, the right people, that is not that easy.
H.J.: Irish music is far from being at the top of the radio hits. Does it make difficult to get enough attention to make a living our of it?
Yes, of course. Where we live most of the people do not “understand” this type of music when they hear it. Every jig and every reel… they all sound the same to them! So yes, it is difficult because it is a type of music that you often cannot really enjoy 100% if you are not already into it. But this is just my (pessimistic) perception and I hope I may be wrong about this.
H.J.: Have you ever considered playing other music styles?
Yes. If you want to make a living from the music you play, you’ll probably have to adapt and play many different styles. But because I love music, I like to play anything, so it is fine. Although traditional Irish music will always be my main interest by far.
H.J.: Do you think that getting a spot on your own into the music world is particularly hard nowadays or, on the contrary, do you think that the Internet offers more opportunities to the artist?
I would not be answering these questions without the Internet. “TinWhistler” would not exist. As a matter of fact, I would not know even what a tin whistle is! The Internet is the greatest opportunity generator of our century. The music world will always be hard but the Internet makes everything easier. “TinWhistler” is a good example, isn’t it?: two children, brothers, making home videos out of boredom, playing whistles and hitting sofas as a percussion instrument… and now we have thousands of followers and we made an album…
H.J.: Tell us about the process of making your album on your own. What are the pros? And the cons?
Pros: you do what you want, you’re free to do as you like without any constraints from third parties. And you can make it really cheap if you want.
Cons: get ready to do some research and to take some decisions. You need to find a digital distributor, also a way to record and to send the physical CDs etc…
If you want it cheap, you need friends (studio, photo…). On top of everything I think that it is usual that the final result will probably not be the album you’d dreamed of because there are limitations of many types.
H.J.: Your album can be bought from many different internet providers, but still it is for free on YouTube. Tell us why did you decided to allow the free access to it.
Actually it was not available on YouTube immediately because I thought our digital distributor would take care of that, but it did not work out. So I uploaded it there on my own as regular TinWhistler YouTube videos.
Why? Again, I owe it all to the Internet. TinWhistler was born on YouTube, for free, so I thought the album should be accessible there too. And it was already on Bandcamp, Spotify, etc, as free listen, so why not on YouTube? Most albums are there now.
If some people want to just listen to the album, I do not think it is fair for me to make them pay. Additionally, the more potential listeners it reaches, the better.
H.J.: Tell us about promoting your music. Do you do yourself the managing of the band? Is it hard?
Our main and maybe only promotion are our YouTube channel, our facebook page and our twitter. We talked with a Majorcan manager, but it does not seem to be working that well. We can say that the managing of the band outside the mentioned webpages is non-existent at the moment.
I will be very happy if any of your readers know a manager who might be interested in our Irish tunes and may consider our band for gigs and/or concerts. We will be happy to play concerts anywhere in the world all over the year, so do not hesitate to contact us if you think we are worth a chance.
H.J.: Is there a second album in the horizon?
Not at the moment. If we record a second album in the future, we would like it to be more elaborated. That means spending much more money and time on it than we did on our current album. This second album would be totally different.
H.J.: According to you, what is the most frustrating thing about becoming a musician?
If you do not make a living out of your music, people will say that you are wasting your talent. And the worse thing is that they will probably be right.
H.J.: Following with the previous question: can you give an advice to those that want to follow your steps?
Play the music you like to play and show it to the world on YouTube, facebook, twitter or other media. Maybe you will grow a fan base in some years. That is what we did. But always remember: have fun, enjoy doing it.
H.J.: From all your tunes, which one are you more proud of? Why?
In the language of traditional Irish music, “your tunes” means your compositions, but I do not have many of those because I mostly play traditional tunes. I guess I could be proud of “The Phrygian Whistle” because, although I never really liked it (as with all my compositions), people seem to like it because it is a very unusual tune in the Phrygian mode, a musical mode that is never used in this music style. Regarding our YouTube videos, I guess I am proud of those that have reached over a hundred thousand views because I find that a great achievement.
H.J.: Answer in few words:
How many hours per week do you practice?
Actually I do not practice, I have never practised. I have some whistles on a table in every room and I grab one and play something, any time, every day just for the fun of it or just because I feel like doing it. I do it just like other people grab their phone and check their facebook or twitter or like others like playing computer games… I play for the joy of it, never because I must practice. You will enjoy it much more if it is not an obligation, if it is out of joy. If you want to become good at something, do not practise, instead have fun with it! That is my “crazy” advice. Whoops, you said answer in few words… sorry!
The best moment for playing is…
Any time. As long as you do not disturb your neighbour’s rest!
The musician best friend is…
His/her instrument/s, I guess.
And his worst enemy...
Discouragement from the ones around you: that is too noisy, please do not play now…
Your favourite Irish tune is…
I guess I have a new favourite tune every few days, until I have played it too much. But there are tunes I never get tired of, like “Farewell to Whalley Range”, composed by Michael McGoldrick.
The happiest day as a musician was…
Playing traditional Irish music with other people (outside my brother) for the first time. It was almost as good as playing in the first concert.
Hidden Jewels wants to thank TinWhistler for this interview, and hope that you all enjoyed the tunes while reading it. And now… regarding the promised prizes!
If you are among the 20 first comments of our last post, you will receive a mp3 with TinWhistler’s tunes specially recorded for the occasion. Please, contact us sending a private message to this wordpress, and let us know the email address where you would like it to be sent.
Additionally our special winner, with a dedicated set of tunes played by TinWhistler, has been already contacted. If he/she wants to celebrate and announce his/her luck by commenting, he/she is very welcome to do so!