Becoming a musician is full of highs and lows. There are times when you’re nailing it, and there are other, frustrating times when you feel like giving up altogether. To give you a bit of inspiration, Chordify has gone to the pros for tips on how to persevere, conquer – and rock!
Tom Strandberg interview – music transcriber and composer
Our chord recognizing algorithm gets ever more accurate with your help. And as a way of thanking all you great chord editors for your hard work and dedication, we wanted to give some of you some time in the spotlight. So here goes!
Meet Tom Strandberg from Stockholm, Sweden. Tom is one of those awesome folk who has been quietly working away in the background, helping us improve the quality of the chords for all your favorite songs. He’s actually a professional music transcriber, working for Arobas Music/Guitar Pro and Sheet Happens Publishing.
If he’s not editing chords or transcribing music with surgical precision, he’s busy rocking the stage with his band Fall of Emotions, playing melodic and symphonic metalcore, with influences from classical music, prog and folk. Also, Tom composes music for films en games and for the non-profit organization Songs for Nature & Wildlife. So without further ado, Tom, please take the state and tell us about your passion for music!
How did you get into the chord transcription business?
When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Dragonforce, so I started transcribing their songs just for fun and posted the tabs on the Dragonforce forum. The response was huge.
I remember the two biggest transcribing stars in the forum were “Knightrider Of Doom” and “Samurai Sweetie” and I was third. After a couple of years, when I got better, I finally emailed Arobas Music, the company behind Guitar Pro, asking if they wanted to set up some sort of a tab store to sell highly accurate tabs. Eventually they launched MySongbook and I got in to the business professionally. It’s not just chord transcription per se though, I mostly transcribe guitars, bass and vocals.
Which song inspired you to pick up an instrument?
Metallica’s “To Live Is To Die”. I think I was around 12 years old when my older brother played the beautiful, clean guitar part in that song and I was blown away. At that moment, I decided to become a guitar player. After a few months of practicing, I was already better than my brother.
What was the first song that made your fingers bleed?
Definitely “Stratosphere” by Stratovarius. Really difficult to master.
What was your biggest fail?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t dwell on failure, I just keep focused on making progress. I’ve never actually thought about giving up. Any obstacles I encountered just made me practice harder to eventually beat those obstacles. As I say, hard work beats talent.
What’s your favorite chord and why?
Add9 chords because I believe they have a really wondrous feel to them.
When did you start to write your own songs?
Ever since I started playing, I’ve always tried to come up with my own riffs and melodies. But the more serious songs came to life in around 2005 or something.
The process is different from time to time though. Sometimes I come up with a melody first and build chords around that, and sometimes it’s the other way around. But once I have the chords and melody in place, I begin to build up the song with other elements. I’m proud of all my compositions, simply because I’m the one who made them.
What was your first time playing with others like?
Of course it was fun but I decided rather quickly that I wanted to be behind the music and the stage.
Do you still play songs by other artists? And what did you take away from playing other people’s songs?
Sadly, no. Nowadays when I’m playing, I’m only focused on my own material. Of course it’s easy and great to find inspiration in other people’s songs, but I try to be as unique as possible when I write my own music.
Have you ever tried to tackle a song and failed miserably?
Definitely! If you’ve never heard of Jakub Zytecki, go listen to his album Wishful Lotus Proof, pick any of those songs and you’ll have my answer.
Any advice for aspiring rock stars to inspire them to keep on playing?
As I’ve said before, hard work beats talent. Keep shredding!
If you need extra inspiration, check out Tom’s Chordify profile.