FUZZ SPOTLIGHT: Rob Webster
Updated: May 30, 2021
Rob visits from the UK to reminisce about early memories in his musical journey & wax philosophical about the state of the music industry. Buckle Up!
F: First question is tell us what your earliest memory of music was?
R: I can really vividly remember my parents having a Beach Boys cassette they'd put on for long car journeys, that would've been pre school. They also had Abba Gold and a mix tape that included Crazy Nights by Kiss, which I remember because I used to sing made up words to it, like a horrible little music gremlin.
F: Hahah, good memory! Did influence your desire to play music you think? R: Probably not really, I don't think I considered at the time that I could be inside a cassette! I did start playing piano pretty young I think mainly because I saw it as a giant toy - but really I don't think I got it into the idea of playing music and being in a band until I was a teenager and my brother started playing guitar, so I sort of went, "that looks fun, maybe I'll try the bass".
"I don't think I got into the idea of playing music and being in a band until I was a teenager and my brother started playing guitar..."
F: Nothing like the older sibling to jumpstart the train rock-town. Love it. For you song, did you record everything? What program did you use? R: My brother put the drum track together - I'm afraid I'm not sure what software he was using there (but it sounds great!) - and then everything else was just me sat at home. I mostly use a really good free DAW called Cakewalk, which I can massively recommend for if you're on a budget but you need something a lot fancier than Audacity. There are also a couple of programmed synth sections, I think just the swooshy bit in the intro and that murky breakdown at the start of the second verse, which I did with Reason, which is profoundly not-free, but also very good.
F: Awesome, thanks for the tips! Our readers will definitely find that useful. So what brings you to FUZZ? Are you looking to start a full band? Do you want to pursue music full-time? R: Yeah, very much looking to start a band. I've been sitting around writing songs for a full year now with a view to playing them live when the world got a little more normal. We've had a pretty arduous winter here in the UK, but there's a glimpse of light on the horizon now where restrictions *might* be pretty much fully lifted in the next six weeks or so, and stage we're at now has flicked a switch in my head where I've really suddenly gone, "right, band o'clock, tick tock." Obviously it's the kind of thing where in a normal world I'd be taking my time, I'd be turning up to open mics and chatting to people to see what they're about, but now I've got all these songs in my back pocket and I'm scratching at the walls desperate to play them - I want to be meeting people now, I want to come scrambling out of lockdown like a massive gangly greyhound and get right into it, so FUZZ seemed like a really good way to be proactive and start finding those interesting musicians. In terms of pursuing music full-time - right now I'm just thinking about the next six months! I'm always a bit conflicted about the idea, because I really love music and I'd hate for it to start feeling like work... but I wouldn't be opposed to it slowly taking over my life, I think I'd still love it.
"...very much looking to start a band. I've been sitting around writing songs for a full year now with a view to playing them live when the world got a little more normal."
F: Ah yes, the age-old hobby turned job conundrum. Will be interesting to see how the music industry comes out of the pandemic in terms of artist's and their relationship to the business side. Thoughts on the state of the music biz as it stands today?
R: Deeply weird state, same as always! My perception is that musicians have become increasingly dependent on live music and merch sales as physical media has got cheaper and then sort of evaporated, and now we're in a place where live music has massive question marks over it in the short and medium term, so goodness knows what happens there. I expect the massive bands and artists will be bulletproof while the smaller musicians are under serious pressure... although arguably that's never not been true so it's an easy guess. I've always been into the smaller weirder bands, and I'd never have discovered them to spend literally thousands of pounds on them without file-sharing as a teenager and now streaming, so it is funny how existential crises to music have also tended to till the soil a bit, up til now. In short - genuinely no idea, it's such an odd industry.
F: Wow, great answer. This pandemic was definitely at a tipping point for smaller bands as their main stream of income was cut off entirely. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so it will be interesting to see how we all innovate outta the soil :) Well we appreciate your thoughtful answers here and we wish you the best of luck on your musical journey. Hopefully the FUZZ community bears some nice fruit!