Interview By Alison Booth
Greek guitar virtuoso and the man behind FIREWIND, Gus G, released his fourth solo album a few weeks ago on 8th October via AFM Records. “Quantum Leap” is the first instrumental album Gus has released and Metal Shock Finland’s Alison Booth caught up with him for her radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem, which is broadcast every Tuesday from 6PM GMT on UK station TotalRock. The show with Gus can be heard here.
Lots of topics were discussed, mainly about the new album and its recording, with more besides! You can check out the audio interview below, along with some written excerpts from the chat.
Discussing how the album came together, Gus explained:
“I started working on it Spring 2020 when the first lockdown happened. I was actually just finishing up doing press for the last Firewind album that came out, the self-titled record that came out last year and then all of a sudden everything was cancelled.
So you know, I realised I was gonna be at home for a while and I just immediately started putting down ideas on my computer just for the fun of it, just to see what’s gonna happen and then I realised, well we’re gonna be here for a while. So I think around summer I was kinda going through the demos I had and I’m like ‘well, maybe I should just make an album. I have enough material to kind of dig in now and do something.’ It really gave me something to do, it was not a planned album, it was like a thing just to help me occupy my time I guess.
During the first lockdown I somehow felt very inspired and wrote a lot of stuff, which was kinda funny because on the second lockdown when I was finishing up the album, I had no inspiration at all [laughs]. I’m glad I was able to write all this material.”
On being a solo artist, Gus expressed:
“I have my own style and my own sound, but obviously I’ve been experimenting quite a lot on my solo efforts. Whether it is me collaborating with different singers or musicians and making more like rock stuff or hard rock stuff, or whether I’m making classic metal or modern metal, or now, going instrumental. I look at my solo career as a vessel to put out all the other stuff I wouldn’t be able to do in Firewind. I think this instrumental record is a nice addition to the catalogue. I mean, now whenever I go back to playing live I can sort of mix it up onstage. I can kind of envision that, of doing maybe a half and half show or something, or blend it all in.“
Discussing the pandemic and the situation for playing live:
“The measures are changing, like every week. As of today* (in Greece), music is banned indoors in all venues, cafes, bars, restaurants, whatever. It’s crazy because nobody knows what’s going on, so like we were saying before, you really don’t know if there’s going to be any live scene left you know. I mean I don’t know if I should book gigs. I’m probably not going to because it’s all so strange right now. I was thinking about doing some gigs locally, at least I could start here, maybe do something in Greece and maybe later on in the coming months if I have some ideas to do something abroad like, even if it’s a one off thing. But, it’s just really weird, we’re in a strange time, so I’ll wait.”
*The first week of October
On connecting with the fans, Gus said:
“I like to connect with the people that support me, especially nowadays seeing as I can’t travel and meet them in person or play for them in person. I’ve been putting out content more often and trying to do a few live stream things here and there on the YouTube channel or on Instagram or whatever. Yeah, just trying to make everybody forget a little bit from the dark cloud that’s over our head and just have a good time. And this is not only for the people, it’s also good for me, for my mental health. So it’s good, it’s been a good healthy thing.”