“Guy Buttery is something of a National treasure” says South Africa‟s leading newspaper The Mercury. With sell-out performances in the US, the UK, Australia, France, Italy and all over Southern Africa, Guy is Africa’s biggest acoustic music export. His debut album in 2002, “When I Grow Up…” was nominated for ‘Best Instrumental Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Newcomer’ at the South African Music Awards. This also made him the youngest nominee in the history of the event. He then went onto to win a South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2010 in the “Best Instrumental” category.
In 2012 for his performances with longtime collaborator, Nibs van der Spuy. This accolade led to sold out show at numerous festivals and concert halls in South Africa and Europe receiving rave reviews for both the live show and their debut album. Catch them playing together this Sunday at Park Acoustics. We caught up with Guy Buttery, this is what he had to say:
Good day Guy, its an absolute pleasure to be chatting to you!!
- · Before we get started, do you mind introducing yourself to us and giving us a short 101 on who Guy Buttery is and how you started out in music?
Hmmmmmm. Essentially a lot of what I do as a composer/guitar player is largely grounded in my own somewhat curious musical explorations. As vague as that may sound, it does somehow define my broad based objectives as well as my own personal interests for delving into the ever elusive beast most people refer to as a guitar. This process involves many aspects of musical re-creations or emulations of, sometimes unfamiliar, instruments. But it’s a lot more than just putting random, potentially unusual sounds together. Most importantly these musical ideas intend to invoke not only our very own KwaZulu-Natal but numerous soundscapes and textures from around the globe.
I picked up the guitar at age 10 and have never really put it down since then.
- · Where have you found inspiration as a musician, to make the amazing music you do?
Some artists are ashamed to admit it, but for me, largely from music itself. There is a world out there with millions of musicians with their own spin on a certain genre or their own take a more traditional approach to a genre. This interested me a lot. I’m particularly attracted to musical amalgamations of sorts. This coupled with the places I travel and the people I meet somehow come out as the music I tend to write.
- You have taken the skill and passion of playing a guitar and made it your art, creating some extremely interesting but beautiful music. Where did your love for guitar playing start?
Predominately the music of Led Zeppelin and South Africa’s super group, Tananas. Jimmy Page melted my mind and Steve Newman did the same to my cardiac muscle lining. The power of Zeppelin and the grounding World Music and South African influences of Tananas really got me seated behind the guitar at a young age and unlocked my ears to a vast world of possibilities.
- · The local music scene has been growing in leaps over the last few years, what has you most excited about how things are progressing in SA?
The independence and freedom of artists I guess. There’s a lot more musicians working in SA today because there’s a lot more scope. The interwebs burst the bubble on the old and allowed a lot of young musicians of the new to get their stuff heard. The influx of festivals compared to 14 years ago when I started is also a sign of a healthy growing scene. May it continue to propagate.
- · Can you give us a few of your career highlights thus far?
Touring, collaborating and recording with other artists is always a big plus for me. I’ve been real lucky to work with a bunch of preposterously gifted people in my opinion and that is always not kak.
- · You will be performing at Park Acoustics this month, are you excited about this? What can we expect from your performance?
I’m super keen. The last one I did there sometime back now was with my good friend Dan Patlansky and Koos Kombuis. Epic venue, kif vibe, good times. I’m really looking forward to working again with the legendary Nibs van der Spuy for this show. We intend to unleash a bunch of tunes yet to be heard upon Gauteng audiences.
- · Are there any other projects that you are working on that we might be interested in hearing about?
I’m slowly working on a new record which may just see the light of day before the year is up. I’m pretty excited about it but prefer to leave it at that for now.
- · Where can we follow you on social media?
- · Lastly, if you could collab with any musician, dead or alive, who would that be?
That’s a real tough question with an ever-changing answer but secretly I’ve always wanted to be a bass player in a reggae band. In this case, Groundation, The Wailers or Steel Pulse will do.
- · Thank you so much for your time…