Interview: Nili Brosh

Dan McAvinchey: Nili, when did you first get interested in guitar, and how did you
learn and progress as a player?

Nili Brosh: I have three older brothers, and I was always surrounded by music as a kid. I first became interested in the guitar because my older brother Ethan is a guitar player. As a little sister, I have always looked up to him. During my teenage years, most of my growth came from transcribing anything I liked to listen to. Videos were harder to come by at that time (it seems that I have missed the "YouTube age" by just a few years), and tabs always seemed wrong. So the most comfortable way for me to learn was by ear. It is still the quickest way I learn things now.

Dan McAvinchey: Did you feel accepted as an equal when you studied at Berklee College of Music?

Nili Brosh: Definitely. At school, I've never felt like I was judged differently or looked down upon because I was female. I think Berklee is a very positive place, all of the students and teachers are very encouraging.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little bit about your debut CD "Through The Looking Glass". How did you come up with the concept and songs for the CD?

Nili Brosh: Each song in the CD was written at a different time. Some were written when I was 17, some were written by the time I was 19. It was all over the place in that sense, and it took another year or two to get the tunes to develop to the way they sound now. That is how I came up with the concept of the album. To me, "Through The Looking Glass" marks the reflection on my musical growth throughout the last several years. Looking back on my writing and playing at the beginning of the project, and seeing the progress I've gone through to get to the finished product, to the current sound in my musical life.

Dan McAvinchey: What are some of your favorite tracks off of "Through The Looking Glass"?

Nili Brosh: "High Strung", because it features all the musicians in the band and gives them room to input their personality into the record. "Through The Looking Glass", because I've always loved power ballads, and wanted to make an attempt at writing an instrumental ballad that could reach out to vocal lovers as well.

Dan McAvinchey: How do you approach rhythm and lead guitar parts when you're writing material?

Nili Brosh: Each tune happens a little differently, but I always think of the lead parts as a melody first. In my opinion, without a good melody, it's not worth it for me to keep writing the tune. Once I have that, I can work on the rhythm parts for whatever I need. In this album I tried to use one rhythm part to write a good riff that would go along with the melodies, and outline the harmony in a way that makes sense. Then I'll add another rhythm part or two (distorted and clean) to build up the second (and sometimes third) chorus, and another rhythm part to use as a counter melody in certain sections.

Dan McAvinchey: What in your opinion is essential for a great guitar solo?

Nili Brosh: It depends on the situation. In many cases, I think one approach that is sometimes overlooked is starting the solo with very sparse and melodic playing, and building it up to a more dense, complicated, and fast climax.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you get the chance to play your instrumental compositions in a live setting?

Nili Brosh: I do. I play my music as much as I can in the Boston and New England area, and I have also gotten many chances to do so during my time at Berklee College of Music.

Dan McAvinchey: Why do you think certain music fans prefer instrumental music over traditional, vocal-oriented music?

Nili Brosh: Especially with the exposure that YouTube grants, and with the birth of games such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, etc. it seems that a lot of people are becoming curious with the magic of guitar solos again. I think that a lot of people who are into that might prefer music that is guitar-oriented and features a lot of solos.

interview pic

Dan McAvinchey: How has the economic slowdown across the world affected how you personally buy and discover music?

Nili Brosh: I still discover a lot of music by word of mouth, seeing what my friends are listening to. I have always bought music and still do. I'm one of these people who wants to have the physical copy of an album, with the artwork, credits, and everything else that went into it.

Dan McAvinchey: Are you using social media sites to promote your CD?

Nili Brosh: I am. I think the main problem with websites like Facebook is that they have become so saturated. Whether or not people see what you post or promote has to do with your timing and how clever your technique is. There are too many people trying to do the same thing now. But I think it is still a great vehicle. If people you are connected to are truly interested in what you do, they will take the time to check you out and listen to you. I also think the way one approaches people when messaging them is important. People are less likely to respond favorably (or at all) if they are hit with a mass message, one that is spamming them with a video or a link. But if you can take the time to write a personal message to whoever you are talking to, and really relate to them on a one-on-one level, I believe that is greatly appreciated.

Dan McAvinchey: Finally, give us an idea of what's coming up in the future for you.

Nili Brosh: I am hoping to travel abroad with this project in the summer. I am also writing my next album, although at this point I am not sure whether it will be vocal or instrumental. However, it will definitely feature some top-level players!

interview picture
A young, Boston-based guitarist and Berklee College of Music graduate, Nili Brosh has already worked with Stu Hamm, Guthrie Govan, and Andy Timmons and has opened for artists such as Terry Ilous (XYZ), Joey Molland (Badfinger), and Pat Travers. Her recently released debut instrumental album, "Through The Looking Glass" is making noise within the guitar community, and the future is looking bright indeed.

Dan McAvinchey caught up at the eleventh hour with Brosh to discuss guitars, her new album and the Berklee scene.