Ian Wiseman is a songwriting guitarist who plays synths, bass, keys, records vocals, and programs drums. From Panama City, Florida, the multi-talented artist has released three albums to date. Today he discussed how he records his albums, how he meets people to collaborate with, and what some of his favorite brands of guitars are.
Wiseman started out playing guitar since he was 12, mostly playing rock and metal. When he was about 14 he got into playing piano and synths. Since then, his influences have broadened quite a bit and now he plays whatever catches his interest from jazz, blues, R&B, and funk.
“I started out being inspired and wanting to sound like people who I thought were great, then I started focusing on what I myself could do and accomplish on my own,” Wiseman said.
He has released three albums of his own material, “Clouds of Fire” (2011), “Autonomous Usurper” (2012), and “Quantum Paradigm” (2014). All the albums are recorded at his home.
“When I record an album, I record ideas on a regular basis anyway, so I always have a surplus of material it seems like,” said Wiseman. “I write material exclusively for my album too. I think I tend to let the recording process take me to different directions sometimes, it depends on what style I’m going for.”
Wiseman said there are unifying factors that tie each of the albums together such as certain ideas and visual elements. Although some of the elements are the same, the styles are different.
“Frank Zappa had this idea called ‘Conceptual Continuity’ where you find related ideas and themes which build upon a larger body of work,” Wiseman said. “I always thought that was a cool thing to do, but I think musically I tried to be as varied as possible. I’ve always wanted to play all kinds of things, so my aim was to have a well rounded mix of songs to each album. I feel like they are different stylistically.”
Wiseman has played several guitars over the years, including Telecasters and Strats that are pieced together and modified to suit his taste. He lists his favorite brands as Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, as well as Fender and Marshall amps. For synths, Wiseman sticks with Korg, Casio and Arturia.
“The songs that mean the most to me are the ones where it’s just me and a piano, or me and a guitar, no beats, no synth, minimal production,” Wiseman said. One such song is “Life on Display.”
“That song means a lot to me, because it takes me somewhere else when I listen to it,” Wiseman said. “I was satisfied with the simplicity of the chord structure and the timing. It sounded like a good way to end my album. It’s an instrumental so the name of the song is my thoughts of when I wrote it.”
In addition to making his own music, Wiseman also does session work with other musicians when he can.
“Most of my session work, finds me oddly enough though people I meet in everyday life,” Wiseman said. “Recently I was downtown in the place I live and I heard a sax player, I started a conversation with him, then a few weeks later played on his album. I’d like to have more gigs like that, it’s easier for me to acclimate myself to that kind of creativity, when it’s brand new, as opposed to playing covers all night in a bar, which where I live at is all anyone plays. I’ve tried to scout projects, bands, artists in the past though too.”
Wiseman has learned a lot from making his own music and has advice for other musicians. He said musicians who are struggling to find their sound should do what comes easiest to them first and then go with whatever motivates them to play. He said once that is established, they should practice what they want to do in every stage of the process until it becomes as natural as breathing.
“It takes awhile to figure out exactly what direction to go in,” Wiseman said. “I still think about what direction I want to follow through to.”
Wiseman’s music is based on diverse influences such as funk, electro, R&B, soul, jazz, fusion, blues, rock, alternative, progressive and ambient. His different style is sure to keep us guessing what direction he takes his music in next. To stay up to date with Wiseman’s music, follow him on Twitter and check out his tracks on Soundcloud.