On the radar: Fabian Holland

Born in a small village in Surrey, singersongwriter Fabian Holland has two albums of self-penned songs under his belt and a busy touring schedule to boot.

Currently, he lives aboard a canal boat, which might sound like a romantic lifestyle, but, he tells us, that notion is brought to an abrupt halt the minute that winter visits the waterways.

Who has he listened to?

Fabian started playing at the age of seven. His younger years were set to the soundtrack of his father playing harmonica and listening to blues and so, to begin with, he was drawn towards playing electric guitar, but his father insisted that he begin his musical journey on acoustic.

Classical guitar lessons followed, but the urge to dabble on electric proved a strong one and he soon made the switch.

"I had my first gig when I was 10 and I was playing electric guitar with a drummer at Rowledge Village Fête and we managed to get a 20-minute slot… it was quite cool."

What's so great about his playing?

Whereas many acoustic-based singersongwriters are content merely to strum an accompaniment, Fabian's playing exhibits more profound depths.

His style developed in an unusual way, having been drawn initially towards the stylings of Chuck Berry, Skip James and R L Burnside. Later on, acoustic DADGAD maestros Pierre Bensusan and Eric Roche captured his imagination.

"Eric Roche was actually my tutor back in 2000, because I went to the Academy of Contemporary Music and he taught me for two years there. I got a lot of influence from him and I recorded all the lessons I had with him on MiniDisc. It wasn't until years later that I actually listened back to them and really took in what he was saying. He was really inspirational… amazing."

Why do you need to hear him?

With Fabian, it's all about the songs. Both his albums - 2013's Fabian Holland and the more recent A Day Like Tomorrow - exhibit a distinct maturity of style, backed up with a confi dent ability on acoustic guitar. In fact, when it came to turning professional, there was never any doubt in his mind that this was the course to follow.

"I just started earning a bit more money out of it, really. I always wanted to do it; there wasn't a point where I decided that I was going to really go for it professionally, I've always tried to play full-time, even though it's not been possible until now. I've been professional since the fi rst album on Rooksmere Records, which was 2013."

What gear does he use?

Fabian uses Lowden guitars. There's a 1994 O10 - similar to the one his tutor and mentor Eric Roche used - and a smallerbodied F23 with rosewood back and sides and a cedar top.

As far as electronics are concerned, he favours Sunrise pickups that feature an under-saddle piezo with an internal microphone, and a fairly complex combination of preamps and pedals before the output signal arrives safely at the PA.

"I use a K&K Trinity System and I've actually got three pickup sources and two outputs - one stereo, one mono - and one goes to the K&K and the other to a few Boss pedals, including a Boss EQ. The K&K blends the two pickups and then that goes through another Boss EQ and after that, I blend those two again to mono and that goes through a Boss RV-5 reverb, straight to DI."

A Day Like Tomorrow is out now on Rooksmere Records. For upcoming UK gigs and tours visit Fabian Holland' website