As part of our Music Made Us campaign, BIMM student Jared Tuckwell tells us what inspired his route into music, why he studies songwriting and what drew him to Birmingham.
Who inspired your route into music?
My route into music has been quite chaotic, and I guess it’s reflected quite a bit in my inspirations. I was brought up by parents who were rock and metal fans. I first wanted to pick up the guitar and play in a band after watching Trivium’s festival sets. Ten year old me wanted to play heavy music to a sea of people at a European festival that seemed appealing. My dad used to play the guitar, and I usually asked to have a go after I watched him play. I (a completely inexperienced “guitarist”) would then proceed to rip the worst solos known to man while pretending I was playing to a crowd like the ones I watched on the festival pro shots. I felt like a virtuoso in my head, but the reality of it was, unfortunately, quite the opposite. I guess my journey started there.
I got into music more seriously in secondary school. I made friends who all played instruments and enjoyed similar music. I thought they were so cool when they jammed together, and it spurred me to practice properly. I’d spend hours trying to learn my favourite songs to get better. At this time, I also got into home recording. I enjoyed watching the band Periphery’s home studio videos. I loved that they produced professional sounding music without the use of a high-range studio. I was really excited at the idea that you could write, record, produce and mix a great-sounding song by yourself in a bedroom with the cheapest setup known to humanity. I decided to start creating my own music because I enjoyed learning the process and seeing my songs improve with every new project. Looking back, there were some shockers of pieces made back then, but I think those years of learning music and home recording by myself helped begin to shape what I’d eventually become.
Around a year ago, in my first year at BIMM, I’d started to grow fond of EDM music during the first lockdown. I’d been implementing synths and electronic production elements with my rock band Inxclusive. I was also working on producing pop tracks with BIMM Birmingham artist LANI during the time. It was the first time I had worked on anything within that genre, and I enjoyed the result. Lani suggested doing full EDM productions to me, so we listened to some producers together and made a playlist of the ones I enjoyed most. I think ZEDD was who I wanted to be. He influenced the start of my production career. And now I produce EDM music and am constantly learning how to get better, directly influenced by producers like Don Diablo, Conor Ross and Virtual Riot.
What made you choose to study songwriting?
I was going to audition for songwriting because I wanted to improve on writing chords and lyrics, as I was only creating instrumental metal music at the time. I started enjoying bands like Paramore and wanted to write songs and lyrics like Hayley Williams did. I dabbled into lyric writing and wasn’t great at it, so I thought it was worth learning about the art. At the last minute, I changed my mind and auditioned for the guitar course instead. I felt that I could improve my skills on the instrument, and maybe I could go into session work after I left BIMM with the experience. I guess I just wasn’t confident in my songwriting at the time either.
About a month into the course, I was tasked to play a song (original or cover) with a band of people we had met in our artist development module. I decided to write and record a demo for my band, just like I used to in secondary school. It was the first time I (kind of) sang on a song as well. I showed the demo to my friends at BIMM, and they suggested going into songwriting instead. Part of me was still conflicted on whether I was on the right course at the time. After listening to the demo and the positive feedback I got on it, I realised that it wasn’t playing the one instrument that had interested me anymore. It was actually creating a whole song with an entire arrangement that I enjoyed the most. After talking with some friends in the course, I found out that songwriting was a career I could potentially earn a living from. With all this information, I then decided to change to the songwriting course, and I’ve been happily learning about the art of songwriting and refining my own songs since.
Why is Birmingham right for you?
Birmingham is a twenty-minute train ride from my home in Wolverhampton. I rarely ventured outside of my home city for fear of the unknown, to begin with. I studied college in Wolverhampton, so I thought I did not need to go out of there except for one or two gigs. My mother suggested I look into Birmingham for a university degree after I graduated. I had a couple of friends in bands from Wolverhampton that played regularly in the Birmingham scene, so I was aware that there was a good music scene there, but not as familiar as I am now.
Birmingham clicked with me when I went to an open day at BIMM Birmingham. I got to meet staff and students there, and they told me more about what the city offers. It made me realise that this was the perfect place to start out and hopefully flourish as a musician.
Birmingham is a city booming with music from a massive range of genres. If you play a specific genre of music, there tends to be a fantastic scene that Birmingham can facilitate for you. If you want to play a genre on the opposite end of the spectrum the next day, Birmingham has the venues, festivals, and clubs you can also play at! Birmingham provides one with the opportunity to do whatever they want in music, and that sold me.
Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been shaped by music. Discover their stories here.