Dominic Miller is best known as Sting’s guitar-slinger. But this musician can wear many hats. His talent seems to cross boundaries. His latest album took him in an entirely different path. Add the classical vein to his saddle bag.
AL: Your new album, “Shapes”, has your interpretation of the music of JS Bach. How did the project come about?
DM: This project came about as a result of practicing many Bach tunes purely for relaxation or a mantra on the last tour. After doing it for a while I got better and better at it to a point where I thought I could do an album of classical works. I have always believed that his music kind of plays itself. No matter how one interprets it the message still comes through. I tried a more contemporary way of doing so which worked for me.
AL: What were the challenges you faced playing Bach on guitar?
DM: It wasn’t really a challenge because I believe you could play his music on just about any instrument.
AL: Would you think that Bach’s intricate compositions put you in a spot where you had to prove something to yourself?
DM: I didn’t do this music to prove anything to anyone (including myself). I don’t find his music necessarily complicated although it is difficult sometimes to get to the bottom of it or to figure out what his emotional intentions with certain harmonies were.
AL: Do you think your Argentinean background has influenced your playing? South American music tends to have a great rhythmic feel!
DM: Absolutely. In one piece (Presto) I was imagining Bach coming from South America. I cant help being drawn to these rhythms.
AL: Could you reflect back on your solo records, “First Touch” and “Second Nature”? How is your playing on those compared to your new record?
DM: My playing isn’t particularly different on these records. The compositions are the main difference because I wrote them myself. The sound is perhaps more intimate on these records.
AL: Do you have a preference for playing nylon string guitars? What are you using on “Shapes”?
DM: I love playing nylon string guitars. That’s my main `voice`. On “Shapes” I used a Rodriguez from Spain.
AL: How is your guitar setup in the studio versus when you are playing live?
DM: Not that different although I do more electric on stage with Sting which involves various amps and effects. When I play the classical music live I use an electric nylon string guitar made by Guild.
AL: What music is grabbing your ears these days?
DM: I listen to everything. But at the moment I am listening to a lot of Chopin as I would like to interpret some of his works on my next album.
AL: Who would be in your dream band?
DM: My dream band? Tough question! How about Manu Katche on drums, Pino Palladino on bass and Joe Zawinul on keyboards.
A special thanks to Dominic for taking time to speak with Abstract Logix.