John T. Sofo is a 24-year- old, freelance audio engineer. When I canvassed for a subject, he was one of the first to volunteer, and so for this week, I will be presenting to you, the thoughts and experiences of someone that not only makes it possible for other musicians to musically express themselves , but turned out to be a rather talented musician himself. Here is his story:
What instruments do you play?
Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboard, Percussion
Are there any you wish to pick up at this point?
I’d like to learn how to play the violin but time is always an issue.
How long have you been playing your instrument(s)?
Give or take 14 years.
What got you into playing the instrument(s) that you do?
I received a guitar for Christmas when I was 10 years old and I also had a very strong and eclectic musical influence from my father when I was growing up.
What genre of music do you most often find yourself playing? Has this changed with age?
I’ve always been into many different genres and liked to play a mix of them but I find myself gravitating towards music that has a strong technical proficiency and music that has a bit of a groove to it. Ie: progressive rock/metal, funk, jazz
Top five musical influences?
1) Dreamtheater 2) Opeth 3) Joe Satriani 4) Steve Vai 5) Nature and the world around me
Your greatest accomplishment with any of your instruments? (i.e. a song or part of a song that you’ve mastered, or opportunities that have come about due to your instrument)
When I was 19 my band and I played a show at Championship Bar in Trenton and we opened for a band called The Contortionists. I was a huge fan of them at the time and was really excited for the opportunity. After our set the band came up to us and told us they really liked our sound and were interested in hearing more. To me, that was a huge stepping stone because it just reiterated the fact that I was doing something I was passionate about and people I admired had recognized that.
What would you say to someone young picking up your instrument of choice? An older person?
Advice for a young person: 1)The beginning might be tough but if you stick with it, it only gets easier. 2) There’s no substitution for a good old fashioned practice routine. 3) If you can’t play it slow, you certainly can’t play it fast. 4)Most importantly, if you’re not having fun then you’re doing it wrong.
Advice for an older person: Being older has its advantages, which most of the time includes having the money to buy new gear, but I would say that having those luxuries don’t always amount to having the skills and the patience to create quality work that you’re passionate about…and most importantly if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
How many groups/bands/performances have you been a part of?
I’ve been apart of about 8 or 9 groups/projects. Performances, more than I can count.
What kind of music do you find yourself listening to that you don’t necessarily play?
Deep house would be one. I’ve been involved in a lot of genres so it’s hard to say.
What is the most rewarding aspect of playing the instrument(s) that you do?
The most rewarding aspect by a long shot would be inspiring even just one person with the work that I’ve created and put my time, effort, and passion into.