Interview with Rama Satria Claproth – Indonesian Blues Guitarist

Interview with Rama Satria Claproth – Indonesian Blues Guitarist


Leslie: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Rama : I was born in Bandung, grew up in few places (Australia, Bandung, Jakarta)

Leslie: What were your greatest musical influences as a child?

Rama: As a child I listen to Jim Croce, my parents played his records all the time at home. Jim Croce was not a Blues musician but he did played very few Blues oriented tunes one of them was “Roller Derby Queen”. Jim Croce was a Folk musician.

Leslie:  At what age did you start playing guitar?

Rama: I was 9 years old.

Leslie:  Did you have formal training in guitar? Which style?

Rama: Yes I first started playing Classical guitar. Few years later I studied Jazz. I had over 25 teachers!

Leslie: When did you start to love Blues guitar?

Rama: I start to love the Blues since I was a child but was not able to play any instruments yet. I start learning to play Blues when I was 10 years old.

Leslie : Who are your favorite Blues players in the world and why?

Rama : Albert King, because he can play one note that can “tell” many things. One note plays the whole song. He makes the guitar talk/cry.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, just like his hero (Albert King) but Stevie has his own voice in his playing. Stevie was all about emotion, tone, and energy.
Jimi Hendrix, doesn’t need any explanation I guess. Jimi is every guitar players’ hero. Jimi is everything. He is chaos/messy and also sweet/beautiful/free/spiritual all at the same time.
B.B. King, he was like a magnet to me personally because he was all about playing dynamics. His touch and his attack, only B.B. had it.
Lance Lopez. Lance have all the magic of the names I mentioned above, and he made it all into his own style. I learned many things from him spiritually and musically. He is a good brother that I always look up to.

Leslie: When did you start your first band?

Rama: It was back in 1995 with my brothers Arya and Joshua. Our band was Jaque Mate.

Leslie: What have been the most exciting highlights of your career?

Rama: There are too many. Of course touring with my brothers for many years. The process all started from playing with my brothers. I get to know and play with my heroes too, again the list of names would be too many, and I think many people that knows and follow my musical journey they do know who have I played together with and so on. The Google machine is there 🙂

(Editor note: Rama opened with his band Jaque Mate for Aerosmith at the Fleet Center in Boston, MA. Rama was invited to the Stevie Ray Vaughan Ride and Concert in 2005 where he got the privilege to play with Wes Jeans, Lance Lopez, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble and Jimi Hendrix’s band The Band of Gypsys.)
Leslie: Do you write your own music?

Rama: Yes I do 🙂

Leslie:  Do you prefer to play live or in the studio? Why?

Rama: They are both two completely different worlds. Live is more organic and natural. You have an audience and you build this “ball of electricity” together, the intimacy with the audience (just for audiences that digs the Blues which is very rare in the country I live in) is something very deep. At the studio is more about creativity, focusing on the music. Live has more freedom, a catharsis. I prefer to play live because every live performances is not the same. I don’t play the same song in the same way.

Leslie: If you had one all time favorite Blues song in the world what would it be?

Rama: That’s a hard one. I would pick “Blues Power” by Albert King.

Leslie:  What advice would you give to young aspiring guitar players?

Rama : Do not rush. Respect your process. Be patient. Stop memorizing and start knowing. If you memorize then all you do is playing scales. If you start knowing then there will come a time where you will be able to deliver your “messages” to your listeners.

Leslie:  You are married to Tatiana Claproth  (who sells her beautiful vintage jewelry in our shop on Dance with the Universe) and you have a beautiful young son together.  I see many videos of you trying to teach him guitar. How is his guitar playing going?

Rama: Zafiro has learned the “moves” by watching Chuck Berry. He can’t play chords yet but he’s got the moves already. Playing with his teeth, his back, etc. He watches a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Recently he is learning to recognize and feel the Albert King string bends. Albert King is now his main guy. He watches all of Albert King videos everyday and does the “Wooooooooooo” just like Albert does when he plays those nasty string bends.

Leslie: Do you think talent is something you are born with or something anyone  can acquire if they work hard.

Rama: It is a gift from God. Especially when it comes to the Blues. Blues has no concepts. You cannot teach someone how to cry. Soul cannot be taught. It is either you have it or you don’t.

Leslie: What plans do you have for the future for concerts etc so our readers can find you?

Rama: At the moment I have no plans. I don’t have any concerts or gigs at the moment. But if I do, I always updated it on my social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Find Rama Satria Claproth’s Youtube channel here:

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