We’ve talked to a number of guitarists over the years who all come from different walks of life. Today, we’re speaking to one Robby Baca; this man is an absolute guitar monster who holds it down for a prolific act by the name of “The Contortionist.” Robby has some great insight and happens to be working with Mojotone in the prototype stages of a set of really incredible pickups at the moment.
Time to dive in; and you know how we do it, FROM THE TOP!
"My dad is a bass player. So when we were kids, jamming out with dad on the weekends was just the thing to do. He played all the crucial stuff like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, etc... I think when you are exposed to music and instruments so much at a young age it just becomes baked in and there's nothing you can do about it. I guess I stood no chance but to become a musician, haha."
This is a thing to which I believe the vast majority of us can relate. If you listen to the greats, you ultimately aspire to become one of them.
But how did that translate into a lust for quality tone?
"My first real amp was a little Fender 25 watt. I recall running various distortion pedals into the front of that thing (DOD Supra Distortion, Boss Metal Zone, Digitech Death Metal- just to name a few). Just pure abuse. I remember hearing that gained out sound and being so inspired to rock out. My first Cry Baby Wah was fun too!"
Testing the limits has always been on the tone hound’s agenda. You have to see what kind of amp can handle the abuse!
So Robby has been pursuing his career in music since the early days, and it seems he has made a VERY significant amount of progress. But with all of that real-world experience, all of those rehearsals, all of those tour dates, at some point there MUST be a lack of inspiration, right?
How does he break through those walls?
"I can relate to this. Just diving back into things headfirst is the only way. Push through the wall of fear, uncertainty and doubt. I'm a very tunnel vision kind of person, so If i'm not focused on music then I'm not even thinking about music. Sometimes that first leap back into it can be the hardest but once it's initiated the fear is gone."
Okay this feels like some of the best possible advice for any human involved in ANY field of work. If you’re feeling blocked, just force yourself to dive in. Makes sense to me, for sure.
Now we want to talk a little about this mysterious prototype pickup Robby is using on the road.
Where did it come from and what does it add to his sound?
"When I first joined forces with Mojotone, the guys asked me what I liked in a pickup. After a few discussions we landed on a pickup design very similar to a discontinued set called Level Heads. The first time I heard these pups in one of my guitars, I was sold. There's something in every frequency range that just feels right to my ears. I have these in all kinds of different guitars from swamp ash bodies with maple boards to basswood bodies with rosewood boards and they make ‘em all sing!"
Can’t blame the guy for having a good head on his shoulders. I mean, I hate to brag, but one thing Mojotone knows how to do is make a rock-solid pickup whose only goal is to complement an artist’s sound. Alright alright, enough about us..
...what is Robby up to now and what are the goals for the next couple of years?
"Musician goals for the next couple of years are this; practice more. finish this record, get the band on the right support tours, continue the journey upward and onward. Human goals; family onward and upward. I'm a new dad and husband so achieving balance between being a working professional/creative professional/dad/husband is constantly on my mind right now."
We love hearing these stories. Everyone at Mojotone is an aspiring musician who also happens to super duper love their own family life. It’s a balancing act, but those who wish to make it work, will always make it work. Respect, no doubt.
Whelp, it’s time for us to hit the old dusty trail, but for those of you who wish to dig into Robby’s work a little further, you can catch the band “The Contortionist” on tour right now. Dates can be found here: https://www.thecontortionist.net/
Check out Robby and show him some love on social media here: