But today the man of the hour is Mr. Shiloh Wilbanks! Shiloh Wilbanks is a musician and songwriter from Farmville, Va. with a passion for music and family (recently wed and a new father of one). He plays different varieties of music, mostly different varieties of rock style, from acoustic bass to more intense varieties.
Q: When did you start playing music?
A: I started playing drums when I was 11 years old and I was in different bands, and I started playing drums in church. I really liked punk rock music at the time, so I joined a punk rock band [called] Unknown Reason because we had no reason for why we were playing so we just called ourselves that. And then it just progressed on and I learned that punk rock music was a little too much for me, so I went a little bit softer and a little bit softer until it got to a little bit more of an alternative rock style. At about 14, I started transitioning to guitar because my band members I was with started getting real flaky and they started doing hardcore music, and it [was] just not for me, you know, screaming constantly is just not for me. It got to the point where [playing guitar] was all I wanted to do and I just started transitioning out and once I started playing guitar by myself a lot, one thing led to another and [the band and I] just ended up separating ways and that’s when I started songwriting, playing guitar, and I recorded a couple of real short EPs for people in my high school. As time went on I just played more and more and more, and long story short, the old band I was with, we all got back together and made an alternative rock band.
Q: So you write music, and are you a vocalist also?
A: I do. Singing is my main thing. In the band I used to have, which was my probably my biggest claim to fame in a small town, I was lead singer and lead guitar player. I wrote most of the songs by myself, and other guys had input, it wasn’t like I didn’t want anyone else to write, I just write when I’m alone.
Q: Have you ever done any ghostwriting for anyone before?
A: Actually, yeah, I’m in the process of doing that right now. There’s a girl in King William County, Virginia, she wants me to record a whole CD and the whole idea behind the CD is positive concepts for teens. I’ve written two songs so far. The first one is called “Reach for the Sky” and it’s just talking about just going as high as you can go and not giving up on things that you want to do and the song that we’re working on right now is called “Who I Am” and it’s just about being comfortable with who you are and not having to worry about the criticism of other people. It’s pretty cool. And the third song we’re going to be working on is called “Wait” and that’s going to be about waiting until you get married [to have sex].
Q: How many different instruments do you play?
A: I play guitar and drums mainly. If you can play guitar, you can play bass, and I play bass on most of my recordings. And I play very little piano, just enough to get by in recordings. Live, I would never play piano because I’m just not that fluent, but I can edit and all the little stuff I need to do.
Q: And you teach people how to play also right?
A: Yeah. I’ve been teaching three kids for about four and a half years now. They’re three brothers, and the oldest brother I started out teaching guitar, and the youngest one I started out teaching drums, and then they flipped. Actually they both started getting the hang of it, so it’s pretty cool.
Q: So what do you plan on doing with your music? Are you planning on making a career of it?
A: I honestly have no desire to be in the spotlight. I don’t really like that. When we were playing all the time, I got used to it, but I’m not really a front man, I don’t really like to be in the limelight, I guess, and I don’t really like to shine above everybody. I like to blend in when it comes to that, just because I don’t have that “showy personality”. I talk a lot and I’m outgoing, but when it comes to playing music, I want to people to absorb the meaning behind the song, not because I’m rocking out and they think my solo’s cool. That’s not what I’m into. If music was going to be a career for me, it would be a writing career. That’s all I want to do, is just write and sell songs to other artists.
Q: And what else do you do outside of playing music?
A: Well I just joined the National Guard, and I leave in August for boot camp, and I work in a factory that makes big signs right now. When I get back from boot camp my plan is to go to school and get some type of certification and a tech degree, and that’s the plan.
Q: What about art? You write music, but do you do any other types of writing, or are you good at drawing or any other craft?
A: Negative. I couldn’t draw a straight stick figure to save my life. My handwriting alone is bad enough. I somehow got a double-dose of awesome—I’m color blind and left handed—so I can’t write at all. I used to draw when I was a kid. I was never really that great, I just enjoyed doing it as kind of like an escape, and then music just took over. And then I got married and that took over that.
Q: So for anyone else out there who would have any aspirations to do what you’re doing, is there any advice that you would offer?
A: Just don’t give up. Just work as hard as you can. And practice of course is always the most important thing. When I was in high school… every day when I got home from school, I was playing guitar for five hours every single day. And I progressed extremely fast in my playing ability and a lot of my friends were just shocked at how good I got so fast. I mean, I’m no Jimmy Hendrix, but I’m okay. That’s just the thing, practice as hard as you can and don’t let anyone take that away from you, because that’s what’s important. As long as you’re true to yourself, then that’s all that matters.
Well that's all I have for today. Big thanks to Shiloh for the interview and everything else he does for others! Hopefully I can take his words and make a better practice of my own craft! But as usual, there is always more to come from Yours Truly!