A passion for music

Chris Jalomo, Journalist

The walls are trembling, the foundation is quaking, and the neighbors’ plan to have a relaxing evening in is disrupted by a loud wall of guitar shredding that can be heard from the next house over.

This is a typical day after school for skilled multi-instrumentalist, Rowan Svetlik, an aspiring musician perfecting his craft. The man behind the noise.

“I first heard ‘Wherever I May Roam’ by Metallica in sixth grade, right after Hurricane Harvey. I’ve been hooked on metal music ever since. Metallica was the first one, but bands like Pantera, Lamb of God, Alice in Chains, Death, Sublime, Tool and Sepultra are also some of my favorites. Madonna lowkey goes hard, all I got to say about that,” Svetlik said.

If able to form an all-star rock band, Svetlik would take the opportunity to share a stage with his idols.

“Dimebag Darrell and Chuck Schuldiner as dual lead guitar, Vinnie Paul on drums, Les Claypool on bass, and Layne Staley on vocals. If I was in it, I’d play tambourine or something because I’m not worthy of playing with those legends. It would be a weird and interesting combo, but I think it would yield some heavy and dark music,” Svetlik said.

For Svetlik, the music is extremely important.

“Without it, I’d probably be playing basketball or something, I quit sports when I was nine and now, I just play music all the time,” Svetlik said.

Svetlik picked up guitar at a young age.

“I started when I was six, almost 10 years ago. I started because I didn’t have any hobbies and my mom suggested it, stuck with it ever since. I got my first plastic toy guitar from my great grandparents when I was like four. My parents got me a real acoustic guitar when I was six, after that I started taking lessons,” Svetlik said.

With technical skill under his belt, Svetlik has taken inspiration from artists to start writing his own material. “Looking for an outlet to channel my emotions and creativity was a big factor, being inspired by famous rock stars who started out playing in their bedroom like me. I work section by section. I slowly string on more pieces until I’ve learned the whole song,” Svetlik said.

Over the years, Svetlik has accumulated a handful of gear.

“I have six guitars right now, my main being my Jackson King V and Fender Stratocaster. My amp is a Blackstar HT Stage 60,” Svetlik said.

Learning with primitive and inexpensive gear has never stopped the creative flow.  Instead of using real acoustic drums to record, Svetlik uses digital drums via iOS GarageBand that he programs himself.

“It might take more effort and creativity to get the sound you’re looking for, but ultimately it is the playing that makes a good recording,” Svetlik said.

When he hits a writer’s block, he doesn’t let it affect his rhythm, constantly drawing from new places

“Ask other people for their playlists of stuff you haven’t heard before for new inspiration or collaborate with another musician on a musical idea, so it blossoms into a large piece,” Svetlik said.

Being a full-time professional musician is a career goal for him.

“I want to share my music with the world, and I plan on devoting my life to it. If the whole Rockstar thing doesn’t work out, I’d like to work as an audio engineer in a studio to help other musicians reach their creative dreams. Playing for five hundred thousand angry Russians on a military airfield would be cool in my opinion,’ Svetlik said.

Whether on stage or producing in the studio, Svetlik has music making in his sights.

“It has given me a purpose. I believe I was put on this Earth to play music, and that’s what I’m going to do. It’s my one true love and passion. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Svetlik said.