Re-finding The Joy of Playing With Others

Ever since I started learning music I had aspired to play with others. After learning piano at aged 12, I had deciphered the four main components of a band-vocals, guitar, bass and drums, and I proceeded to start learning these with the hope to one day join a band.

Attending gigs at The Box in Crewe, I would often see my friends Lost In Space-a teenage alternative punk band, and I found a lot of joy seeing how much fun they were having onstage with each other, and I often craved that feeling. Growing up with Aspergers, I found I never really had the social skills or the friends with which to make a band, but I loved playing with others.

My high school life was full of music. In all the clubs, from being one of the only fellas in Chamber Choir to playing saxophone in Orchestra to the Jazz Band, I was even in the school’s ukulele club which inadvertently shaped my career. But I was never really involved in bands per se.

For a portion of my career from 2014-2016 I was in an acoustic duo where I was the backing singer and guitarist for my partner’s lead vocals, and we had a relatively fruitful run with gigs all around the country, but there was the inherent stress of rehearsals and organizing each other’s gig calendar. When we broke up I did feel the weight lifted and the relief that I had only myself to rely on, and myself to blame when things went wrong. I answered inquiries by just checking my own diary, without having to rely on the responses from bandmates, and as a result I still play solo to this day.

But since I’ve gone travelling, my bug for projects and collaborations hasn’t faded.

I’ve been very fortunate to unite with my friends in the German ukulele scene, and have made collaborations with Nikky and the Ukulele, Elisabeth Pfeiffer, Charlotte Pelgen and more, and to share a brief sensation of creating music with other people, it’s one of the best things in the world.

If you are a solo artist, I highly encourage you to hook up with your friends. Just for one appearance at an open mic night, just for one video, or even just a jam at home, I encourage you to collaborate. Try and escape the routine and normality of your current music, and briefly allow yourself to indulge in a project. These short-term, non-committal things in music are often the most artistically satisfying.

Marc Gallagher