Eric Bickerstaffe is an acoustic finger-style guitarist in the style of Don Ross, Andy Mckee, and Michael Hedges. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta Canada, he had always dreamed of moving somewhere more central to the music industry. In March 2009, Eric moved to Los Angeles to attend the guitar program at Musicians Institute. He spent the next 18 months honing his technical and creative skills while discovering his own unique musical voice.
He graduated in September 2010 and started writing his first album. It was recorded in the summer of 2011 with Favored Nations Recording Artist and Steve Vai band member Dave Weiner. His debut EP "New Day" was released in November of 2011. Eric has an eclectic taste in music and writes and performs with a variety of different artists spanning several different genres. Over the last two years Eric has played at several venues in Los Angeles along with the Sacramento County Fair, and the Fremont Festival of the Arts. He will be moving back to Canada in the winter of 2011 to continue to expand his musical network and perform in different cities. He plans to start working on a full-length album next spring.
Ø Riffmaster – Hey Eric, I hope all is well with you...
Eric - Hey Scott! I'm doing great man, thanks for taking the time to do this interview!
Ø Riffmaster – Give all our loyal readers and peeps an update with what’s been going on with you in your world these dayz.
Eric - For the past few months I've been working on finishing up guitar tracking for a pop/country artist in Los Angeles called Raihanna Estrada (www.raihannaestrada.com). She is releasing her debut EP here in the next few months so I'm excited about that! I'm also playing lead guitar for a local rock band here in Calgary that I just recently joined. More details to come on that soon.. Other than that I'm just writing some new solo material on the acoustic, and trying to keep my chops up! ha ha.
Ø Riffmaster – Please tell our readers what your high school years were like, and what the musical soundtrack would be to sum up your senior year in High school.
Eric - My high school years were great man. I played in a super heavy metal band and all I wanted to do was SHRED, ha ha. We got signed to an indie label and recorded a full length album. In the end it didn't work out but it was a great learning experience. I also listened to a lot of the big instrumental guitar guys like Steve Vai, Satch and John Petrucci. So they had a pretty big influence on my playing back then.
Ø Riffmaster – First big question… Why the Guitar ?
Eric - When I was kid my mom would always blast old Whitesnake and Boston albums in the car, and I would play air guitar to the solos. Eventually one day when I was 10 or 11 I said to my mom "I want to be able to do THAT", but actually do it, on a real guitar, ha ha. So I got one when I was 12 and grew to love it.
Ø Riffmaster – Ok, Now for your music … What is the name of the current Album you are promoting at the moment? How did the music come about?
Eric - My current album that I'm promoting right now is my debut EP "New Day". It's five tracks of all solo acoustic material. I originally self released it and now it's being distributed online by Steve Vai's Digital Nations label. I wrote all the music in Los Angeles after I graduated from Musicians Institute. Most of it was influenced by the experiences I had while living there (I lived there for 2 and a half years), before moving back to Canada last December.
Ø Riffmaster – What projects / recordings are you working on at the moment?
Eric - Right now I'm starting to right some material for a full length CD. I've been writing on and off for the last few months, and I plan to take my time with it, cause I'd like to do at least 9 or 10 songs next time around. I don't know if it will all be solo acoustic like last time, but it will be mostly acoustic. Maybe with some extra stuff in there as well. We will see...
Ø Riffmaster - What musical gear and endorsements to you have and why?
Eric - Right now I am currently looking into getting endorsements for some of the gear I use. To get my sound I depend on Taylor guitars, Ernie Ball Strings, Fishman Electronics, and Mogami Cables. All of them make solid products that I depend on again and again.
Ø Riffmaster – How many hours a week does it take to put this (your band, writing your music, a job maybe,) all together for the listening and reading masses?
Eric - I can't think of a specific number, but I spend about 90% of my time on music. Whether it's practicing, writing with other artists, laying down new guitar tracks for my material or other bands, updating my social sites, filming for my YouTube channel, chances are if I'm not at work or sleeping, I'm working on music!
Ø Riffmaster – So Eric, what are you listening to allot of these days?
Eric - Lately I've been getting into Pat Metheny again, which I first discovered while at MI. The album "We Live Here" by the Pat Metheny Group is one of my all time favs. I've also been listening to a lot of fingerstyle guitarist Maneli Jamal's new album, and to satisfy my metal craving, the new album by Periphery. A little bit of everything! ha ha.
Ø Riffmaster – Dream Car? Or Recreational Vehicle?
Eric - For me, definitely dream car. There's just something so awesome about being in a powerful car cruising down an open highway or a windy mountain road.
Ø Riffmaster – Why?
Eric - I've always loved Lamborghini's and the last time I was in Vegas I got the chance to take one on the track. I'd never driven a car even close to that caliber before and it was a totally mind blowing experience to say the least! Although I know how unrealistic it is to drive around in a car that costs as much as most houses, I still dream of owning one some day!
Ø Riffmaster – Name some folks you would love to get on the same album or share the stage with… Inquiring minds want to know…
Eric - I would love to be able to jam out on some acoustic with Andy Mckee. His music has inspired my playing a lot, and it would be great to pick his brain for a little while! Also, I think having Brad Paisley lay down a sick lead on a track of mine would be an amazing thing too.. I guess I'll have to write a country album next!
Ø Riffmaster – I also don’t want to forget this… Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart …?
Eric - I really love training in the gym and learning more about how our bodies work, and how to keep healthy. In the future I may work towards getting certified to be a personal trainer, since that's something I really enjoy doing as well.
Ø Riffmaster – Lastly, please give our readers one last parting shot across the bow… What is Eric Bickerstaffe going to be doing in 5 years?
Eric - In 5 years I plan to be rid of my day job, be touring full time, and working out of a sick home studio making the music I love!
Ø Riffmaster – I would like to thank you for your time and candor with my loyal readers and keep on fighting the good fight to bring us some quality guitar oriented music.
Eric - Thanks a lot for your time Scott! It's been my pleasure.