Greek symphonic death metal titans SEPTICFLESH have been a force in the music world for more than thirty years, having formed back in 1990 and releasing their debut EP in 1991. They built a huge following of devoted fans over the years and are still gaining new generations of them, eleven studio albums later.
The brand new album “Modern Primitive” was released on 20th May via Nuclear Blast Records. A week before the album release, Metal Shock Finland’s Alison Booth caught up with SOTIRIS ANUNNAKI V. for her radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem, which is broadcast every Tuesday from 6PM GMT on UK station TotalRock. The show with Sotiris can be heard here.
Much of the interview was of course about the new album and how it developed during difficult times, its production and also looking ahead to touring again and more! You can listen to the interview on the audio player and read some excerpts below:
On working with producerJens Bogren, Sotiris explained:
“Well, we were really happy with the result that he managed to produce with Codex Omega, it was our first collaboration. And so he was the first on our list for the next album and fortunately he had also the time. He’s a really powerful producer, with understanding not only for metal, but also for music in general.
So, from the point of production, it’s essential to have someone that can digest the magnitude of channels that we provide, we provide more than one hundred channels of recordings. So we needed someone that will be really clever and he’s a master in his field. He was really open minded – we wanted that. We didn’t want someone to enforce an opinion you know. We wanted to discuss and listen to the options. He also had a lot of patience with us, we are really difficult [laughs].”
Discussing recording the album during the pandemic:
“Yes and actually it affected us as musicians and composers and so you can say that a lot of our experiences enforced from the lockdowns, from the situation, one way or another were incorporated on this album, so it’s a special album.
Also, all this time that we had in our hands, we had the chance to reflect on our direction as a band and everything and also to reflect I think about the direction generally, philosophical point of view, the direction of mankind. And that influenced me to write a lot of lyrics that are dealing with things that are involved around today. And so the majority of the songs are down to earth you can say, but it’s not an earth healthy, but an earth that declines.
So you can say that this album has this ominous atmosphere, all the way from the start to the ending song and it defines its character.
We had a female choir, male choir and children choir. So as I told you from the start, we had to find solutions, because our dream was really demanding. The whole creation we had in our mind evolved around many people, many musicians. We had also a lot of traditional instruments and we had to record for instance some Greek traditional instruments like a bouzouki, also we had to record a mandolin and a lot of other instruments. We had to communicate and we had to use the different studios. We had in some cases to be allowed to have a lot of people together, perform together and it was a really giant step for us. Of course, in the past we always had this symphonic element, but this time it was on the next level of difficulty.”
On the upcoming European tour with HYPOCRISY:
“Hypocrisy is a great band and the people that listen to Hypocrisy and the people that listen to Septicflesh have a lot of common ground – there is something that unites us. We have the opportunity to play a longer setlist, that is important for us. And I think as you said the mix is really good and the people that come will be really satisfied.
The next two years for us will be full of touring around the world.”
THE FREQUENCY CONSPIRACY, the new project by 24-7 Spyz, Seventrain, Shockhead drummer, Joel Maitoza – featuring members of Last in Line, Lynch Mob, Raven, Pat Travers Band, Tyketto and many others – released worldwide their debut album titled “Quarantine Covers” on January 1st, 2022 (New Years Day) through So Cal Records / Alliance Entertainment.
Just recently we sat down with Joel Maitoza to talk about the debut album “Quarantine Covers”.
Why did you decide to name your new project The Frequency Conspiracy?
A number of years ago, I read an article about the frequency conspiracy and it intrigued me (although I’m not really into conspiracy theories in general). In a nutshell, standard instrument tuning is 440 which was standardized in 1953. If you tune the A string to 432, it’s known to have more healing properties, easier to listen to and more in tune with nature. It was suggested that the monopolization of the music industry features this imposed frequency (440) that is ‘herding’ populations into greater aggression, psychosocial agitation, and emotional distress predisposing people to physical illnesses and financial impositions profiting the agents, agencies, and companies engaged in the monopoly.
What inspired you to record an album of cover songs?
When the pandemic hit, bands stopped touring and the world basically shut down. I decided to contact some musicians I’ve always wanted to work with and record an album of cover tunes with a hard rock/metal vibe. The songs are some “hand-picked” favorites of mine that I thought everyone involved could have some fun with and the fans would enjoy hearing.
How did The Frequency Conspiracy project come about?
It all started releasing two videos in 2020 featuring Last in Line/Lynch Mob vocalist Andrew Freeman and it just took off from there. I recorded the drum tracks in the studio by myself without any music. Just a click track and the arrangement in my head. Then I sent the tracks out to the individual musicians I wanted to have perform on the songs. The artists recorded their parts in their own home studios and sent the files back to me. It was really cool to hear how each musician interpreted and performed their parts. The songs just evolved. The creative process was absolutely fascinating and I think we captured some amazing performances on this album.
Why did you want to work with a bunch of different musicians instead of just forming a new band?
I kind of took a chapter from the Steely Dan playbook and didn’t want the same musicians playing on every song. I could distinctly hear each chosen artist performing each song in my head prior to recording the track. It took some time to figure out who would play on what, but I think everyone did a great job working together and making their individual parts fit like a glove.
What was the biggest challenge in making this record?
Individual tracks (sound files) and mixing. It’s much more cohesive when the entire band is all working together in the studio and bouncing ideas off each other. This was a bit more difficult because the individual tracks were recorded in various studios all over the world so the overall mix of each song sounds a little different, even though the engineer and I tried our best to keep everything consistent.
Are you planning on touring at all?
Not at this point. If the album starts to take off, a few of the musicians that played on the album have already agreed to do a short run of dates in the US. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I have been receiving some show offers scheduled for summer 2022. It also depends on the pandemic. We’ll see.
What’s the future of the new project?
I plan on releasing a couple of more videos to promote this album and have a few radio interviews scheduled. I’ve also been working on an album of original material which I hope to release in early 2023, but no release date is scheduled yet. I’m not sure if I’ll record another “covers” album, but I really enjoyed recording this one and had a blast working with everyone involved.
“Quarantine Covers” Tracks listing:
Carry On Wayward Son
Feat. Christophe Godin – Guitars / Jaimie Scott – Bass / Andrew Freeman – Vocals / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Hell Bent for Leather
Feat. John Gallagher – Vocals, Bass / Joshua Jones – Guitars / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Locked Out of Heaven
Feat. Jason (JMR) Richardson – Vocals, Guitars / David Pastorius – Bass / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Words Get in the Way
Feat. Craig Soderberg – Guitars, Vocals, Keys / Jaimie Scott – Bass / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Feat. Joshua Jones – Guitars / Andrew Freeman – Vocals / Rick Skatore – Bass / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Feat. Craig Soderberg – Guitars, Vocals, Keys / Jaimie Scott – Bass / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Shapes of Things
Feat. Jason (JMR) Richardson – Vocals / Joshua Jones – Guitars / Miguelon Rodriguez – Bass / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Feat. Craig Soderberg – Guitars, Vocals, Keys / Jaimie Scott – Bass / Joel Maitoza – Drums
Joel explains, “When the pandemic hit, bands stopped touring and the world shut down. I decided to contact some musicians I’ve always wanted to work with and record an album of cover tunes with a hard rock/metal vibe. The songs are some “hand-picked” favorites of mine that I thought everyone involved could have some fun with and the fans would enjoy hearing. It all started releasing two videos in 2020 featuring Last in Line/Lynch Mob vocalist Andrew Freeman and it just took off from there. I recorded the drum tracks in the studio by myself without any music, just a click track and the arrangement in my head. Then I sent the tracks out to the individual musicians I wanted to have perform on the songs. The artists recorded their parts in their own home studios and sent them back to me. It was really cool to hear how each musician interpreted and performed their parts and the songs just evolved. The creative process was absolutely fascinating and I think we captured some amazing performances on this album.”
Swedish death metal legends HYPOCRISY are celebrating their 30th anniversary – and what better way to celebrate than by releasing their highly anticipated new album “Worship”! The band’s thirteenth album, the first in eight years, is due for release on November 26th via Nuclear Blast.
Metal Shock Finland’s Alison Booth caught up with Peter Tägtgren for the Halloween edition of her radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem, which is broadcast every Tuesday from 6PM GMT on UK station TotalRock. The show with Peter can be heard here.
Of course the chat centred around the forthcoming album, but also some other subjects and Peter had plenty of interesting things to say! You can listen to the interview on the audio player and read some excerpts below:
On the positive feedback to the new singles already release, Peter expressed:
“You never know what to expect, I mean generations come and generation goes. But you know, it seems like people stuck to us which I am very grateful to and yeah, it’s amazing I would say, it’s more than we thought.“
Discussing the first single ‘Chemical Whore’, Peter explained:
“Yeah it’s kind of ironic I would say. Because I mean, when you see a few comments going ‘Oh is this an anti-vaxx song?’ I’m like ‘Come on man!’ We did the video in September 2019 so there’s no way.
It’s definitely about how I see doctors and the pharma industries are in cahoots. You know like ‘if you force pills down the throat, we will give you some percentage’, so to say, you know just in a wider simple aspect. So, doctors don’t really need to prescribe you these pills, but if they do, they will make a couple of bucks more, so they’d rather do that – some of them. I’m not saying everybody, I’m just saying, you know sometimes instead of taking a pill, maybe it’s better to go to a psychologist to talk about it, you know.
I mean, the whole reason why I wrote this song from the beginning was actually I have a lot of friends that I’ve seen going down on pills. You know, this Benzyl that’s in the pills, that’s really addictive. Yeah, it becomes a very bad circle of needs so to speak, so I just felt I needed to open up about it.”
“I would say my whole idea of this album or writing this, is mainly just to write better Hypocrisy songs and a fatter production, that is the goal. And I think it has all the elements you need in there – there’s a lot of sad songs, a lot of slow songs, a lot of mid tempo songs, a lot of epic songs, you know like you float away on it. So, I hope people will be happy with it. To be honest, I really never know what Hypocrisy fans want from Hypocrisy [laughs]. ‘Cause I mean in the past, there’s been so many different kinda styles of albums, but you still have this feeling of Hypocrisy in it. So I guess it’s in my DNA when I write music, I think in a certain way and yeah, it becomes Hypocrisy no matter what. But I definitely feel it’s closer to maybe the end of the nineties albums, you know in the way of the style of songs so to speak, I would say. But still, it’s Hypocrisy today. It’s nothing I wanted to clone myself or anything with the songs, it’s just what comes up in my mind.
Mikael and Horgh, they contribute with a couple of riffs each as well. So I mean it’s important to write with your heart I think and not look around and see what’s popular and what is not,. You know it’s this is Hypocrisy and this is how it always will sound, so take it or leave it.”
Discussing the album cover art:
“Yeah, it was actually an idea that I came up with when I was in a hotel in 2017 in LA. I was just laying in bed and got an epiphany or whatever you wanna call it, like ‘wow’ and I just start finding paper to write on. I was drawing on a piece of napkin and shit, you know with the pyramids and the cross, it looked like hell ’cause I’m not a good drawer. Then I took a picture and sent it over to Nuclear Blast, the CEO, I was like ‘I got this great idea about this shit you know and if he can help me develop it with someone that knows what to do’. And that’s what Blake did and he did a fantastic job.
So, the album cover was done before the album was written and the videos were done before all the album was done, I mean all the songs on the album were done. So we did pretty much everything backwards than we normally do. We did photo session in April in 2019, we did a video in LA that’s not out yet and then we did Chemical Whore in September 2019, so everything was done before actually all the material was done. Which is good though, ’cause otherwise we’d have had to wait a little longer, because normally you only focus on writing good songs and record it and boom! Then the company goes ‘You have any photo?’ ‘No.’ ‘Do you have any videos?’ ‘No’. [laughs] ‘Later maybe later’.
So it was good to have this kind of set up for once. You know, these things that you don’t think about, that will come eventually and becomes very important, is done before you’re done with the album.”
On the tour situation, Peter revealed:
“I’m afraid it’s gonna be another wait. Actually, we had a tour for October/November this year, but we never announced it because we were just watching how things were going bad during the summer. Because actually, the album was I think supposed to come out at the end of the summer so we would have a month before the tour start. But the pandemic, it made it hard to get all the vinyls and things because the factories doing vinyls were under the Covid thing, so not everybody could work and things like that. So you know, to get a vinyl in three months actually became seven months, then eight months and nine months waiting because of this whole pandemic stuff. So yeah, what can you do and so suddenly now we’re here in November for the release. So yeah, I was glad we didn’t announce it at all.
So right now we pretty much have a new European tour done for September/October next year and I can tell you there’s some UK shows, not only one, only go to London of course that everybody do, but we’re gonna do a couple more I think, that’s what they’re working on.”
To pre-save the album and for more details, visit the official HYPOCRISY website here.
HYPOCRISY is: Peter Tägtgren | Vocals, Guitars Mikael Hedlund | Bass Reidar Horghagen | Drums Thomas Elofsson | Session Guitarist
Legendary bassist/vocalists REV JONES has teamed up with Metal Shock Finland to premiere exclusively his new music video ‘Lollygagging‘, taken from his new solo album, “In The Key of Z“, released worldwide on Dark Star Records on October 1st, 2021.
Watch the outstanding video ‘Lollygagging’, here:
For more than three decades REV JONES has been one of the most unique and sought-after bassist/vocalists in hard rock. For his two-handed tapping style and over-the-neck fingering technique BassPlayer.com says “has infused some of the biggest names in hard rock with his incredible energy and musicality”. His new solo album “In The Key of Z” was released worldwide on Dark Star Records on October 1st, 2021. “In The Key of Z” delivers an always- surprising salvo of the crushing riffs, smart songwriting, twisted sense of humor and face-melting, ass-kicking sonic boom that is Rev Jones.
Furthermore Metal Shock Finland‘s Tarja Virmakari had a pleasure to interview Rev Jones, talking about his new video, solo album, his two-handed tapping style and over-the-neck fingering technique and many more.
Hello Rev Jones, and welcome to Metal Shock Finland. Today we’ve a pleasure to premiere worldwide your new cool video ‘Lollygagging’, taken from your new solo effort “In The Key of Z”. Please tell us more about the song itself and the idea behind the video.
RJ: hello thanks for having me & my video here. One of my favorite movie scenes of all times is from “Blazing Saddles” where Burton Gilliam is yelling at the workers for “Lollygagging around like it’s 120 degrees”. So when I started working on my new album I decided I wanted to write a song called “Lollygagging”. I actually wrote the music first, I knew I wanted it to be a Boogie kind of groove with a busy riff but a lazy feel. I also thought it would be funnier if the drums, bass, guitar, & vocals were all the opposite of Lollygagging, meaning lots of notes. So I started working on the music which came almost immediately as did the lyrics. The song was complete in about 45 minutes. It was harder to stop laughing than it was to write it. I knew right away I had to do a video for it. After the album was complete I was out on tour and me & Shawn Berman (video director) started shooting footage. Like always we had no real story board plotted out, we just knew it had to represent all forms of laziness and it had to be humorous. I personally think Shawn did an awesome job creating exactly that. It came out perfect.
We could talk for days about your fabulous long career, but let’s focus on your highlights, what are your greatest memories and collaborations, so far?
RJ: I’ve had the pleasure of playing with so many great iconic musicians in my career that there are way too many memories/stories to mention. Here’s a couple of highlights.
I was always a big UFO & MSG fan and on the first Schenker tour I played on Pete Way was also on the tour, so he would join us onstage for the encore which was “Doctor Doctor”, so here I was onstage doing my Pete Way imitation next to Pete Way & Michael Schenker 2 of my heroes playing a song I grew up on. That’s one I’ll never forget.
Another great memory was in 2009 when I played the 40 year anniversary of Woodstock with Mountain. In the middle of our set Leslie West got married onstage. So there I was standing there onstage at Woodstock next to Corky Lange & Levon Helms watching Leslie West get married, and Levon kept whispering in my ear “I love your bass playing, you should come to our barn and jam with us sometime”. Then Leslie kissed his bride, Corky hit the cowbell, and Rev Jones flew into the air with his head spinning like a helicopter as we played Mississippi Queen.. WOW!
You’re famous for your two-handed tapping style and over-the-neck fingering technique, was it something that developed naturally or is it the result of studying and discovering different techniques?
RJ: A little of both. I’ve always been really into learning no matter what the subject might be, Wrestling, Martial Arts, Boxing, Baseball, Music, Music Production, everything I’ve ever been into I really deeply focused on learning & perfecting. So you add that side of it, along with my choice of musical influences, and I had no choice but to develop into what I have become. I liked all these great players that used 2 handed tapping styles like Tony Levin, Billy Sheehan, Emmitt Chapman, VanHalen, Randy Rhoads, so I automatically used those techniques in my playing right away. I was also really influenced by peoples onstage performances, people like Pete Way, Pete Townsend, Beatles, KISS, Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, Peter Gabriel, Ritchie Blackmore, Chuck Berry, & Angus Young, they all had great stage presence that added so much to the music and made it exciting to watch. So that influenced the way I have always acted on stage, I always just assumed that you were supposed to show off & me entertaining onstage instead of standing there in one place bored. So that’s how my style developed and evolved into what I am now.
Your new solo album “In The Key of Z” came out a month ago, via Dark Star Records, including 12 face-melting songs with crushing riffs. What can you tell us about the songwriting process, topics and the inspiration behind the album?
RJ: well seeing that it was written & recorded during quarantine, there are a few lyrical inspired themes, but in more of a funny direction. The topics of the songs I write are never too overly serious, I think more of story telling than topics. One thing I always include in my songs is underlying humor, even if its a serious song I like to include some kind of humor. I think that comes from a mixture of my love of movies and Jim Croce songs. Every Jim Croce song has an underlying humor or a funny punchline to it, like “Bad Leroy Brown”, baddest man in the whole damn town, he gets his ass whipped at the end of the song, that’s awesome. Not saying that my songs are like Jim Croce, but that humor is definitely in all my songs.
Now musically when I write I have boundaries, if I like the way it sounds it becomes a song. Whether its Rock, Metal, Country, Pop, Jazz, or even Polka, if it sounds good & makes sense then its a Rev Jones song. I can write riffs all day long and piece stuff together, but if it doesn’t make sense musically to me, I don’t use it. When I think of albums that I loved growing up, the ones I always remember the most had no boundaries like Queen “Night At The Opera” or Judas Priest “Sad Wings Of Destiny” or Led Zep “4”, heavy songs, acoustic songs, piano songs, Good Songs that’s all that matters.
As for the inspiration behind the album, the thought of sharing my music with people and possibly inspiring some of them to create music, That’s my inspiration
How would you describe your musical sound and how it has changed in these past years?
RJ: Well I always think of my sound/style as just Rev Jones. I think there are elements of every style of music in there, it’s not really condemned to one category it just sounds like me.
We all know how Covid has changed our daily lives over the past 2 years, but is there anything we may have learned of this weird world situation?
RJ: Live life to its fullest, you never know what tomorrow brings or takes away.
What about your future plans, what will happen next in the Rev Jones -camp?
RJ: Well I’m currently out on tour with George Thorogood as his guitar tech, we are out for the rest of 2021 and about half of 2022. I’m currently trying to book some Rev Jones dates for the rest of 2022 with myself on bass/vocals, Jeff Martin on drums, and Jack Frost on guitar, nothing is set in stone yet but its in the works. I’ve also been asked to play bass on a possible 2022 tour with ex Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, that all depends on what happens with COVID.
Now the word is yours, what is your message to our readers and your fans?
RJ: Please keep the music world alive. Go to concerts, buy albums, spread the word about music you love. The only thing that keeps music going is the fans, so its our job to keep it going. That being said please check out my new album “In The Key Of Z” and please like & follow me on my social media pages. Thanks to everyone out there. In the words of Jim Croce “If you dig it, do it. If you really dig it, do it twice”.
REV JONES’ new solo album, “In The Key of Z”, was released worldwide on Dark Star Records on October 1st, 2021. Order it at https://smarturl.it/Revjones.
Rev Jones – ”In The Key Of Z” Produced by Rev Jones Mixed by Shawn Berman Recorded at RevJonesBass Studio, Prairie Sun Recording Studio “Reptiles” “Dead With You” “Good Women That I’ve Stood By” music by Rev Jones , lyrics by Wade Williams & Rev Jones All other songs: music & lyrics by Rev Jones Front Cover Artwork by Bryan Stites All other Artwork by Rev Jones.
Rev Jones = Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Double Bass, Keyboards, Mandolin, Ukulele, Tamborine. Jeff Martin = Drums, Percussions. Lennon Jones = Speaking Voice, Laughing.
Guest Artists Michael T Ross (Lita Ford, Missing Persons, Hardline) = Keyboards track 2 Scott McClellan (Tony Martin) = Guitar Solo track 1 Jack Frost (Savatage, Seven Witches) = Guitar Solo track 2 Robby Lochner (Fight, Jack Russell’s Great White) = Guitar Solo track 3 Ira Black (Metal Church, Lizzy Borden) = Guitar Solo track 4 Tom Potter (Gundriver) = Guitar Solo track 5 Rowan Robertson (Diorites, Bang Tango) = Guitar Solo track 6 Uros Raskovski (Steelheart) = Guitar Solo track 7 Russ Parrish (Steel Panther, Fight) = Guitar Solo track 8 Bill Leverty (Firehouse) = Guitar Solo track 9 Jim Suhler (George Thorogood, Monkey Beat) = 1st Guitar Solo track 10 Paige Harwell (Reckless) = 2nd Guitar Solo & Fills track 10 Kristen Capolino (solo artist) = Guitar Solo track 11
Life In The Key Of Z – 4:24 Turning To Stone – 4:54 Truth Is A Conspiracy Theory – 5:18 1985 (Back In Black Again) – 4:25 Lollygagging – 4:06 Bad Gab (Covid19) – 4:50 U R Y I Breathe – 5:19 Reptiles – 5:11 Dead With You – 4:59 Silly Hillbilly Love Song – 5:10 Life Sure Is Funny – 4:12 Good Women That I’ve Stood By – 5:01
Us depressive black metallers GHOST BATH have unleashed their fourth album “Self Loather” on the world today – October 29th! The album, released via Nuclear Blast, closes out the trilogy – tragedy, ecstasy, and dread/hatred – and hosts the band’s most devastating and dark music to date.
Metal Shock Finland’s Alison Booth caught up with frontman Nameless for her radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem, which is broadcast every Tuesday from 6PM GMT on UK station TotalRock. The show featuring GHOST BATH will soon be available to listen to here.
The new album and its recording was discussed, along with a few more topics. You can check out the audio interview below, along with some written excerpts from the chat.
Discussing “Self Loather”, Nameless explained:
“I had this trilogy planned before I even recorded Moonlover, back in 2015.So the overall theme was dread and hatred, it was always supposed to be the darkest and heaviest album that we’ve done and there’s a few things that were kinda major changes for this album. In particular, one of the biggest ones was the entire band helped write the album, whereas every previous Ghost Bath album, it was just me writing all the music, doing all the vocals by myself. And with this one, all five members were incorporated and we all wrote it together.
I think the second biggest change, at least on my part, was the vocal style and I really changed things up and I did more of a black metal vocals, I did more of lower death metal growls and I also do sort of a depressive black metal high pitch vocals as well and I mix it up a lot more.”
On the subject of the change of vocals:
“You know, I think first and foremost, they just fit with the theme of the album a bit more – it just made it heavier in my opinion. And then second of all, I think it was just time for a change. I don’t wanna record the same album over and over and do the same things over and over, so you know, it was time for me to push myself. I had to figure out how to do these types of vocals, it wasn’t just something that came naturally to me.
I had to really prepare my throat and make sure I was hydrated and I was warming up and all of that, just to make sure it could sound right. It just felt right, it felt like the right time to make that change and I also definitely wanted to keep the high pitched Ghost Bath vocals in there, because that’s I think part of our sound and part of the depressive black metal sound. It’s kind of an experimentation and moving forward as a band.”
Looking ahead to the future:
“It’s just a passion project for me, you know I’m not trying to get rich or anything. I think experiences are very important for me and putting out the music I create and the creation process. Those are all the most important things for me and so I think the main things are touring, to be able to get back on the road and travel, I love doing that. I love playing live and then also to continue to write music.
So, if we can’t really get any good tours or anything, we’ll probably just start writing the next album right away. Even if we do start touring, we’ve already been talking about another album, that’s kinda the plan.”
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.”