The first time I ever listened to Andreas Öberg play at the Ziua Chitarelor clinics in Bucharest, I though to myself “He really is guitar royalty”. The ease and flawless emotion that characterized his playing and improvising simply blew me away.
The 32-year old Swedish musician experiments on th the thin line between jazz, jazz manouche and pure improvisation, sometimes landing his talent to pop and even club/dance tracks. Because there’s really nothing he can’t express while his guitar gently weeps…
I am more than honored to have been granted this interview for you fine Guitaristic readers. Ladies and gentlemen, Andreas Öberg:
Guitaristic.net: You started playing guitar at the age of 8 – how did you know you wanted this instrument and no other?
Andreas Öberg: Even as a small kid I felt a strong connection to the guitar. There are early pictures of me banging on a piece of wood or playing air guitar.
Guitaristic.net: Do you remember the moment when you decided you didn’t want to do anything else for the rest of your life?
Andreas Öberg: Not exactly, because I was really into tennis as well, but I would say that something happened at age sixteen, when I started my studies at Södra Latin and met other kids who shared the same passion for the music.
Guitaristic.net: When did you write your first song and what was it about?
Andreas Öberg: It was at age four and I think my parents still have the original piece of paper. Can’t recall what it was about but at that time I listened to artists like Kiss and Bob Marley. Classical music was also something that I liked to listen to as a kid.
Guitaristic.net: In your Bucharest master class you said you’re first of all an improviser – how did you discover your passion for improvisation and the ease of doing it?
Andreas Öberg: At the age of thirteen, I discovered some of the popular fusion artists of that time like Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton and Robben Ford. From that moment I kind of knew that being able to improvise on guitar was gonna be my thing. I enjoy creating something within the moment and that way it never gets boring and repetitive.
Guitaristic.net: You studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, you teach at GIT and you have your own online teaching platform, the Andreas Öberg Guitar Universe. How does formal school education blend with alternative teaching methods and which is best, in your opinion?
Andreas Öberg: The traditional way of sitting in a room, one on one with a teacher is great but the Internet has created a lot of new possibilities. Andreas Guitar Universe is based on a new technology using video exchanges between me and the students. So now the whole world can study with me at any time for an affordable monthly fee.
Guitaristic.net: How did you come up with the idea of the Guitar Universe and why should young guitarists register?
Andreas Öberg: David and Patricia Butler of ArtistWorks Inc. came up with the technology but I’m teaching my own method and there are lessons available for all levels, absolute beginners to very advanced in a variety of styles. So anyone interested in improving their guitar skills is welcome to sign up.
Guitaristic.net: In 2010 you released the single “Parenzo Summer” which places your guitar playing in a soundscape of dance/clubbing rhythms – how did it come about? Will you record more songs like this?
Andreas Öberg: Yes, this is something I’d like to do more of, maybe a whole album. Dance and club rhythms blended with jazzy guitar solos is a pretty cool concept and it’s also accessible to a lot of people who like club/house music. Reaching out to a broader audience is something I always wanted to do.
Guitaristic.net: Are you actually working on a new album as we speak? What should we expect from it?
Andreas Öberg: I’m working on a few more of those dance tracks and it might turn into an album. I’ve been very busy writing for other artists and also doing a lot of sync music for TV and radio, so it’s probably gonna take sometime before I release a new full album. My last album came out last year and featured John Patitucci, Lewis Nash and David Kikoski. It’s called “Six String Evolution” and was released on Resonance Records.
Guitaristic.net: How do you feel more comfortable: in the studio, in a jazz trio or with a big band backing you up?
Andreas Öberg: I’ve always enjoyed playing live in different settings but working in a studio creating new songs is something I’ve started to appreciate more and more. Writing lyrics is really a new challenge for me and I’ve learned a lot from just hanging out with my friend Andreas Carlsson (world famous song writer).
Guitaristic.net: What’s your current concert setup?
Andreas Öberg: I’ve got 2 Benedettos (Manhattan and Bravo) and I’m using an Henriksen Jazz amplifier with top and speaker. I’ve also got an AJL XO guitar for the gypsy style.
Guitaristic.net: How did you fall in love with Benedetto guitars?
Andreas Öberg: I met Howard Paul and Bob Benedetto for the first time at the NAMM show a couple of years ago. Their guitars are such wonderful instruments and I started endorsing Benedetto guitars shortly after our first encounter.
Thank you Andreas Öberg for granting us this interview – we are looking forward to your next record!
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