CM : These days , do you have a practice routine you generally follow ?
Hajas : I like just running a scale or two to kind of get my wrist and fingers lined up ; I usually practice just some scale in thirds , just because I like how the alternate picking runs . But I usually just try and start slow and try to start doing some improvising to get my hands synchronized . It ’ s more stretching now . I used to have a lot more of a disciplined regimen where it was like , ‘ Okay , I ’ m going to practice for six hours . First hour is technique , the next hour is applying theory ’, and that ’ s what got me into music school . But now it ’ s a lot of jazz and a lot of chords and a lot of drop two voicings and ninth arpeggios , shit like that , honestly . And that ’ s kind of where my practice ends . Now I try and spend more time writing and being creative with that stuff . I always love learning , and I love practicing . But when you get to a certain point , it ’ s like , ‘ Okay , I ’ m kind of focused on what stuff ’ s gonna get me to where I want to be , and how can I use this to write stuff ?’ And that ’ s , that ’ s how I practice things now .
PHOTO BY : DAVID BARTUS
CM : Do you have a favorite guitar or piece of gear ? Anything with a sentimental meaning or great story behind it ?
Hajas : It would probably be this guitar [ his Jason Richardson Cutlass ]. I play this guitar so much and it just feels so good . I sit down with it , and one of the things that I value most about anything is just how easy it is to connect with the instrument , how it feels while you ’ re playing , because if you give me any amp , it could be a clean amp , doesn ’ t matter — I will make it sound good , because this guitar sounds good . And it feels good . When a guitar feels good , that ’ s kind of my main priority for some weird reason . Some people care about how it sounds , and this and that , which , don ’ t get me wrong , those things are all important . But for me , first thing is feel . I don ’ t mean that in the way of like , blues has so much feel . I mean , I have to be able to feel the instrument . I ’ m like , ‘ Okay , this feels right . I can play what I need to play on it .’ And that allows me to express myself with extreme ease . That ’ s the most important thing to me .
CM : What advice would you give to newer players for improving their craft ?
Hajas : I would definitely say passion turns into discipline . A lot of people are like , ‘ Oh , I ’ m not motivated to do something .’ Motivation won ’ t get you anywhere . It ’ s the discipline . And it ’ s the passion that will make you learn discipline ; people get that very confused . Most of the time , you can play anything you want with enough practice and discipline ; that is just one-to-one numbers , conversions , hours to spend . I mean , everyone has different learning styles , and you can learn that . That ’ s just all part of the experience . But getting that discipline down , that will give you gold . That ’ s the thing that I would tell anyone .
CM : What is one instrument or piece of gear you ’ d next like to acquire ?
Hajas : The Kaizen by Music Man . I played like 30 of them at NAMM . The guitar plays so amazingly . They just came out with the six-string variant . And because all my electric guitars are seven-strings , which is a very weird thing , I don ’ t know why , I just switched to it — but playing the seven-string Kaizen and the six-string Kaizen , for some reason , when I was playing a six-string , it didn ’ t feel like I was missing out on anything . Typically , when you switch from extended range instruments back to a six-string you feel like there ’ s less guitar , but it just felt very full to me , so I would be happy with a six-string or a seven-string , any colour , but that ’ s something . I literally have a picture of it taped to my wall .
CANADIAN MUSICIAN 53