The first time I watched a video of Armen on Facebook, I was blown away. This was back in 2016 and his picking technique and sheer fluidity blew my mind. Soon thereafter, I bought one of his etude transcriptions and then took a Skype guitar lesson with him. Since then, I’ve been following his work closely and have been studying his exercises, transcriptions and work. He has released transcriptions, video lessons on DC Music School, TAGA and Jazz Guitar Society. I’ve also been fascinated with his explorations in the cryptocurrency world, his viral video friendly content translating vocal speech excerpts onto the guitar and most recently his mentorship program.
I kinda dread making that 5 hour drive from Houston to Denton. But I was still feeling gracious and made a quick lesson before I drive. Here's a neat way to navigate a basic ii – V progression with only minor and major tonalities :)🎸
Posted by Armen Movsesyan on Friday, August 10, 2018
Feeling ridiculously silly/bored today..So here's my Power Rangers cover 😂🎸Edit: Got to work on my tapping though, so that's good 😛
Posted by Armen Movsesyan on Saturday, July 28, 2018
Let’s learn more about Armen!
Armen-Gurgen Movsesyan was born in Sochi, Russia after his mother and father emigrated from Georgia during a war between Abkhazia. Raised in a musical Armenian family, Movsesyan was exposed at an early age to traditional folk music. Movsesyan decided to pick up the guitar later in his teens after over 10 years of classical piano education. Watching his father sing older popular standards from around the globe while playing the guitar inspired Movsesyan to start writing songs at 15. Later at the University of Southern California, Movsesyan got into jazz and hasn’t looked back. The music that Movsesyan writes now is a combination of jazz, metal and other fusion styles. Movsesyan graduated from the University of North Texas in 2018 and hopes to continue to make make awesome music.
And now to the interview:
1.What’s your latest project?
I’m planning on remastering and rereleasing my first EP from 2015, “Ararat.” This self-titled album is an example of my goal to combine traditional Armenian folk music with jazz elements. Once that is done, my goal is to tour the music with an excellent band of Armenian musicians. Armenia just had the world’s first ever peaceful political revolution, and I feel like it’s time for my country to grow. I want to be part of that growth and evolution!
2. What inspires your music?
People inspire me. Every day I am awed by human feats and our thirst for challenges and the unknown. It can be easy to watch a typical news story and feel like there’s nothing but fear and evil, but the truth is, if you look past the noise, there is mostly beauty and magic and humanity.
3. What’s your 5 Desert Island Albums?
This is a tough one. Here are some that never get old to me.
- Peter Bernstein – Monk
- Radiohead – Kid A
- Queen – Greatest Hits
- Django Reinhardt et Ses Rythmes
- Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
Joe Cohn is an incredible jazz guitarist that is relatively unknown compared to some others. His work with Harry Allen is extraordinary, extremely melodic, and super swinging!
5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
I wish someone had told me to just be patient and enjoy myself a little more. Would have saved me a lot of stress.
6. As a jazz guitarist, composer and educator, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been inspiring people to play and enjoy music the way I do. Explaining concepts is the easy part, truly inspiring your student to work hard and love it all at the same time is the tough part, but also most rewarding.
7. How do we reach you?
Here’s a few ways you can reach me ☺
Thank you for your time Armen!
Thank you for reading this week’s instalment of #AzCreativeFridays. Please do check out the past interviews (27 so far, including this one) and come back next week for the next one with Sound Designer Gwen Guo! Stay tuned! 🙂
Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist
[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer
[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina
[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims
[Creative Fridays] #20: Gabriel Lynch
[Creative Fridays] #21: Rizal Tony
Jazz Guitarist and Educator
[Creative Fridays] #22: Raja Farouk
Multi-Instrumentalist and Sessionist
[Creative Fridays] #23: Kho Chia Wen Sharon
[Creative Fridays] #24: Josh Maxey
Jazz Guitarist & Educator
[Creative Fridays] #25: Toru Watanabe
[Creative Fridays] #26: Jordan Klemons
Jazz Guitarist & Music Educator
[Creative Fridays] #27: Armen Movsesyan
Jazz Guitarist & Music Educator
[Creative Fridays] #28: Gwen Guo
Coming up October 19 2018
[About Creative Fridays]
The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.
This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?
Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!
If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.
Thank you! 🙂
[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.
[Creative Fridays] #1 : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)
[Creative Fridays] #2 : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)
[Creative Fridays] #3 : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)
[Creative Fridays] #4 : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)
[Creative Fridays] #6 : TragiComedy
[Creative Fridays] #7 : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)
[Creative Fridays] #8 : Pete Teo
[Creative Fridays] #9 : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)
[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)
[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)
[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)
[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]
[More about Az Samad]
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