24 Minutes with Anthony Fiddler
Anthony Fiddler. (Supplied)
Known as a "hired gun," Anthony Fiddler covers all the bases in the music industry. Joe Leary spent 24 Minutes with the multi-layered Vancouver-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer.
When did the performance bug first hit you?
It was in high school. I was 13 years old and in a talent show and even before that in elementary school I did a really short performance, and stage kind of became my happy place. Years later, in my late teens, I ended up joining a metal band — that was a lot of fun — it just kind of escalated from there. I was in a rock group and now I’m primarily doing country and I just keep telling people, stage is my happy place.
Did your family acknowledge and encourage or did they see music as being somewhat frivolous?
I appreciate my family so much because my family was the most supportive thing growing up in terms of music. It didn’t matter what I played, they were just happy to see me on stage. I’m lucky in the sense that both sides of my family come from musical backgrounds; my mom was and still is an extremely awesome singer with my aunt, who’s a pianist; my dad’s brother was a bass player; so music has definitely been in the family and as kids, my dad really introduced us to really good music. They’re always been happy to come and see me play and have always supported it.
Was there one song, artist or performance either in person or on TV that resonated with you and made you want to be ‘that guy’?
Growing up, Eddie Van Halen was the icon for me, in terms of guitar playing. I remember going to my first concert with my dad and my brother in like 1997 or 1998 and we saw Savage Garden at GM Place (laughs). I thought it was so cool and as it went on from there it was honestly more about seeing local acts and then them gaining to the more major stuff and I realized that I’ve got to pay my dues and that’s what is going to happen if I’m going to make it to the big leagues and that’s what was really exciting for me.
You recently branched out and started your own production company. What are your various capacities these days?
Typically, I do the hired gun guitar thing as my base and then I do production on the side. It’ll start on the weekend where there’ll be gigs on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Just a few weeks ago we travelled to Ontario on the Friday, played a show on the Saturday and came back home on the Sunday. I get basically Sunday to rest up and then on Monday I’m working with clients, editing or doing demo productions for them. I was just in the Armoury Studios with The Heels here in Vancouver and I’m doing a four-song EP for them. And one of my other big artists is Wes Mack, whose toured with Shania Twain, so I’ve definitely had some great opportunities and they’re continuing to come in.
You really cover the bases genre-wise but what is the better gig?
I’d say they’re all great but primarily, in terms of being a hired gun, I mostly now work with country artists. There is a difference in the genres. A metal band is very dedicated. They love their music and usually there is a co-existence between all the members that create the music. Whereas a country artist is a solo artist that does their songwriting with others and usually needs to hire out a band — and that’s kind of where I come in. I’m still getting the best of both worlds. I’m onstage, I’m playing and then, if I get to work with a country artist, I’ll produce them. I also produce some metal stuff too, which is awesome! I live a happy life.
So you provide a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ sounds and production. Generally, would you say that the artists are gracious towards the people behind them?
All the people that I play for; my clients etc, they’ve been super grateful for whose accompanying them and backing them on the stage. Being a bandleader for The Heels, as of late, it’s really about having a cohesive band that’s really going to make them shine through. I know that the girls are extremely grateful for that and that’s pretty much the same with any artist; you always go in there and give it your best.
Who would be the dream client to work with?
Well ,I’m trying to make a name in country. So if Shania Twain gave me a call — and I’ve had the experience to play on the same tour as her – to work with her would be amazing but then there are the rock guys. I was just in Armoury Studios and to see the studio template for bass and drums for AC/DC, INXS, Motley Crue, Metallica….all that stuff, I would just be so overwhelmed!