Playing the Exeposé Showcase at Cavern for sure, I’ve always really wanted to play there since I was a teenager
Music Editor Alex Wingrave to local musician and Exeposé Showcase alumnus Robert Garbett about his influences, writing in the studio and the songs which make him get up and dance.
You’ve got quite a few songs written, what made you choose ‘For The Best’ as the first song to record and release?
First of all, it’s the longest song I have so I wanted to get it recorded properly. It’s also the hardest song for me to play, so it shows off my skill on the guitar a bit more than just strumming some chords. Its got an emotional journey that runs through the song and shows people what my music is all about as a beginning and shows a progression as I start to release more music. I tend to write quite sad songs and this one is a real example of that.
What’s the inspiration behind the song?
I wrote the lyrics in about 20 minutes on a bus. It was a reflection on a few months that were awful for me and I wanted to vent. On the bus I had a huge flash of inspiration and then got on the guitar as soon as I got home, it took about 2 hours and it hasn’t really changed since. It only got more polished and became a journey when I went into the studio. It was the first time I’d been in a studio, I’m quite work orientated and working with Luke Targett was fantastic, he listened to songs I was inspired by and we took elements to add into my songs and make them sound better than I ever thought. It was quite trial and error, but I knew I wanted piano and an emotional journey and it was great to work with someone who was able to put my musical vision into practice.
As an Exeter musician who gigs regularly, what’s been your favourite live experience?
Playing the Exeposé Showcase at Cavern for sure, I’ve always really wanted to play there since I was a teenager. I was in a lot of metal bands when I was younger, but we never really managed to find our feet. When I’m on stage I’m kind of in my own little world and I zone out, if I open my eyes anybody who grabs my attention really distracts me, but it was amazing when I opened my eyes after the first song and saw the room had filled up and people were listening. It was a really fantastic experience.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I’ve been told I write a little bit like Alter Bridge, I’m actually quite into my metal, and as I release more music hopefully people will be able to see my roots and the metal almost intertwining into the acoustic. Alter Bridge’s song ‘Watch Over You’ live from Amsterdam was a real inspiration for my particular style of writing, Myles Kennedy is an amazing musician.
What’s a big dream of yours as a musician that keeps you motivated?
I’m quite happy to do music alongside my day job at the moment. Of course, an ultimate goal would be to be able to live off music and for more people to listen to my songs, but I’ve been writing for a long time so it’s just great for people to hear my music and understand and relate to it. I’ve had a couple of friends quote ‘For The Best’ and cry because of it and obviously, I don’t want people to cry but it was amazing to see my music affect people. When people put down their phones it’s like putting down your world so when people do that to listen to me at an open mic night that’s also an amazing feeling.
What song never fails to make you cry?
‘Roses for the Dead’ by Funeral for a Friend always gets to me in a certain part, and it’s a really great song but now I tend to avoid it because I relate to it too much!
What song never fails to make you dance?
Enter Shikari always make me dance, Rou (Reynolds) is an amazing lyricist and composer and their song ‘Rabble Rouser’ always gets me up and dancing. Really heavy songs get me headbanging too, stuff like Lamb of God, and on the softer side songs like Ed Sheeran’s music around his first album +. Listening to that helped me start songwriting again after I’d stopped for a while.
What’s next for you – more music, an EP/album, gigs?
I’m releasing ‘For the Best’ properly on May 6th, on Spotify, iTunes, and other streaming sites. My website also launched recently, where you can see all my upcoming live dates and subscribe to my mailing list. I’m talking to a couple festival organisers as well so we’ll see if that pans out! I hope to get a music video out in the future, possibly in early 2019, so there’s lots of exciting stuff coming up.