Ernesto Schnack | Interview


The time I hear something that turns out to be wonderful, that’s the time I feel blessed to find it. That was the time when Ernesto Schnack was playing his music on YouTube. For some reason I woke up that day wondering how long has been since “Tool” released their last album “10000 days”. I must have hit “Forty six & 2”, when in the results beside, I’ve noticed a man playing – covering “Forty six & 2“.

After seconds of play I started browsing and searching for Ernesto Schnack. Turned out to a full discography of (3 full albums and 1 with Tool covers). He lives in Panama, as his official site explains.

Spent about 3 days of listening his work. Yes, it was and it will always be a journey listening all his albums – I love the fact that every album is unique and of course WorldBuilding turns out to be his best work. “The Savage Myth” and “ You Are My Natural Selection”, two of my favorites, marks what Ernesto is capable of, with his acoustic guitar.

In this period of time, I made an extended search in order to find more about Ernesto – I could not believe that all his music is composed of with just one acoustic guitar; then I took the shot and mailed him.

Ernesto, was kind enough to answer the following questions we composed for him.

1. Place and date of birth – When was the first time you got impressed with music and how…?

I was born in Panama in 1976. There are two things that I remember that impressed me when I was very small. One was when my Dad was listening to Yellow Submarine in the morning while I was still sleeping, and I dreamt I was in a yellow Volkswagen beetle with the Beatles singing the song. And then I woke up.

There was also a classical piece which i really loved around that time, which I always asked my parent to put on the record player. Unfortunately I forgot what the piece was or what it even sounded like!

2. Life in Berlin – compared to Panama (music and life differences) – Does the place really matter in order to compose music?

Berlin has a totally different vibe to Panama. It’s much more relaxed and quiet, even though it’s a big city. There is also a much greater variety of music and art. Still, Panama has a very unique energy, and there are many people doing very interesting things here.

As far as composing music, the place doesn’t really make that much difference to me. It has more to do with circumstances…the musicians I have access to, the type of music I’m listening to, etc…

3. Being a father changed the way and your thinking of how you spend your time to compose music?

Only in the sense that I have to manage my time much more than before! I can’t just sit around all day waiting for inspiration to hit me. Whenever I have free time on my hands, I have to take advantage of it. 

4. Worldbuilding – what was the idea of that particular name – What message are you willing to send through WorldBuilding?

My approach to writing music has always been of creating worlds…each song is it’s own little universe, and it’s my job to make people feel like they’re being taken to that place. Even if it’s a very abstract idea.

At the time I was also reading a lot of fantasy books, and this really tied into that concept and inspired a lot of the music I wrote for that album.

5. Any musician that changed your music life thinking and how?

There have been a few, but the two that come to mind are Michael Hedges and Tool. Hedges is the one that got me playing the acoustic guitar, and his music and approach were a huge influence on me.

Tool was a huge change in my life, both musically and emotionally. When Aenima came out it completely blew my mind. The music was heavy and visceral, and the lyrics were intelligent and profound. To this day, that album represents to me the ideal of what music should be.

6. Is there any musician you wish to work with and why?

Well, Tool obviously! I would also love to work with Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah and Mike Patton. Simply because they are all musicians I admire with a really unique concept, and I think we could do something very interesting together.

7. What is success for you? When a musician is successful?

Being able to do the music that I love and having people who want to listen to it. Then there’s monetary success…making enough money from your music to pay the bills. But you have to have the first before you can have the second one.

8. Is teaching music to students a different way of composing or are just 2 separated things and what each procedure gives to Ernesto?

That’s a whole different thing for me. Teaching is just a way for me to share what I know and help others, which I love to do. Ask anybody I know, and they’ll tell you I’m a very quiet person. But when the topic changes to guitar and music, it’s hard to shut me up!

Listen Erenston’s latest album on soundcloud

About Ernesto Schnack

Official site:






Agr8song thanks ES for his inspiration through his life and his music!

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