Live music in DohaBe the first to comment 27 September 2012
One Man Band
You don’t need anyone else to be a band when you’re Cronkite Satellite (otherwise known as Ryan Simonet). Teacher by day, by night and weekends he transforms into a one man music machine. Or what Walter Cronkite (his namesake) would sound like had he been singing and had a thing for techno.
So, what, exactly, are you doing? Does it involve wearing cymbals on your knees and playing a harmonica while strumming a guitar (please say yes)?
Any time you ask a musician “what kind of music do you make,” they will give you some in depth, and elaborate explanation. I’ll simply call my music “acoustic techno.” How I make my music, on the other hand, is harder to explain and is certainly what sets me apart from most other musicians. I use a technique called “live looping” where I build layer after layer of sound, on stage. Once I have the song built, I sing on top of it. Whenever a person sees me live, just know that that performance is as unique as the previous one and the one that follows. I try to create a unique performance, tailored to each show, specifically.
So how did this start?
I have been making music ever since I saw my dad dig a busted guitar out of a random person’s garbage can. I thought, “Hmm, there must be something special about that instrument to make my dad reach into a stranger’s garbage.” I believe my first musical ensemble started when I was 13. Since then I’ve been in over eight bands, and I learned what to do and what not to do. My current project, ‘Cronkite Satellite’ started roughly in 2007.
Why go it alone?
Music is my blood. It may sound ridiculous but sometimes I write songs in my sleep, and only on rare occasions do I remember them when I wake up. When I used to be in bands, I had a hard time explaining the songs I wrote to the band members. Inside my head I could feel the entire musical vision, but the songs almost seemed stuck in my head. So I decided to take the solo road. Cronkite Satellite wasn’t always live looping, but once I started working with that medium of sampling, then building layers of sound on top of each other, did I realize that I found my true outlet. ‘Looping’ makes me feel like I’m painting a picture, but I use sound instead of paint. I don’t have a TV so I tend to write music in my free time.
Honesty time: what’s the music scene like in Doha? Is there one?
Doha is a very special place. I find great beauty in its simplicity. I’m very thankful to be here because it has so much untapped potential. The local band scene is still in its infancy. I come from a place (St. Paul, Minnesota) where you have hundreds of musical venues and each night there are hundreds of bands playing. Each band has their own unique songs, sound and style. Here in Qatar, we have a lot of cover bands and DJs, playing all the radio hits. I’m sure I could get way more shows if I stopped writing my own songs and focused on playing “the radio hits,” but I like to think that I write the songs the cover bands of the future will be playing. Slowly but surely the music scene of Qatar grows. There is a great yet small group of dedicated musicians here.
Catch him at the Aqua Park on Oct 5 or at the Doha Golf Club on Oct 19 where he performs as part of their Oktoberfest celebrations. You can buy his music on iTunes, Amazon or at his personal preference, www.cdbaby.com (‘because it’s a smaller business and it supports a lot of independent musicians.’). For more information check out Cronkite Satellite on Facebook or email email@example.com.
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