I began playing the guitar when I was 13 years old , and I've been performing on stages and in studios since around that time. The guitar is my primary instrument though I also sing, play keyboards, and perform technology-based instruments.
In 1995, I played in my first band Sunflowers. A few years later, I started a band with some friends called Clear Blue. During those years, I began singing and playing keyboards in addition to playing the guitar; we performed original music live and recorded several albums. At that time, I also began to compose and perform live for a few other original rock band projects, chamber and other ensembles, and solo classical guitar, and on a variety of recordings; primarily playing guitar, and, later, singing, playing keyboards, and contributing to the engineering and production on recordings.
V.J. performing 'Delayed to Rest' at a lecture-recital on Interactive Music (2017)
V.J. performing 'Between the Wheels' with Second Contact at a Rush Tribute night (2017)
In 2010, I began playing in a classic and prog-rock cover band called Second Contact, where I routinely alternate between playing a variety of instruments including a multiple keyboard-controller rig (which includes a keytar), electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, and nylon string guitar. Second Contact, as a project, focuses on authentically recreating well-known 70s and 80s studio-recorded songs in a live context . It is different from other groups in which I've played; the rehearsals are more social and involve a great deal of critical listening, technical discussions about dividing parts, cooking/eating, quoting Seinfeld, and many rants about which songs we should incorporate into our set.
V.J. performing Garcia Etude 12 on a Ken Parker archtop guitar (2021)
I love exploring new instruments, effects, and approaches to musicianship. I am the founding director of two research labs: the Interactive Music Systems Lab (IMSLab) and the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab (EGIL); both of these labs afford me the opportunity to work with talented musicians, engineers, programmers, and researchers toward this end. While I am certainly focused on the tools that I prefer to use in my own compositions and performances, I also regularly work with artists and instrument-makers from the profession, which informs my sense of the tools and experience that are meaningful to my fellow musicians. As both a musician and a technologist, I am pleased to be part of the centuries-old tradition of exploring the convergence of music and technology.