Gus G Interview by Patrick from the Darkest Hour
Hi Gus! How are you?
Hello Patrick! I'm doing fine thanx! I'm in Gothenburg, Sweden right now, and just got back from some summer festival performances.
1- For those who don't know you, can you talk a little bit about your musical background?
Sure. I've been playing guitar for 12 years. I've had formal training at a Conservatory in Greece. When I was 16 years old, I was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee college of music. I dropped out of Berklee after 2 weeks of studies to make a start in my music career. In 1998 I started FIREWIND, but in late 1999, I got a gig with a newcomer German power metal band, called Mystic Prophecy. I released an album with them in 2001. I'm also a member of the Swedish hard rock/metal band, Dream Evil. We've released a debut CD in April 2002. I've appeared as guest soloist on albums with bands like Exhumation, Raise Hell, Old Man's Child, Dragonland and Dies Irae. And of course, I have FIREWIND.
2- How come you began to play guitar? Did you study guitar?
I started playing guitar at the age of 10 after I heard Peter Frampton and Al Di Meola. Since then I wanted to be a guitarist in my life. Like I mentioned above, I have had formal training in a Conservatory and I was fortunate to have a great guitar teacher in Greece, that really opened my mind and helped me to bring out my talent for music. When I was at Berklee I studied with guitar monster, Joe Stump and that was quite an experience. Joe is the most extreme and fastest guitarist on the planet, and I learned a lot from him. I was probably the only guy around that could play the harmonies in his insanely fast licks whenever we jammed ha ha! Anyway, I have practiced very very hard for a few years.
3- Which guitar player influence you?
Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen and Uli Jon Roth have had a huge impact on me. I also like a lot guitarists like Vinnie Moore, John Norum and Gary Moore.
4- Can you please talk about Firewind history and for those who don't know that band, how would you describe the music?
The idea of FIREWIND started in late 98' after I had dropped out of Berklee. I recorded a demo CD with some friends in Boston and I started sending it out to labels. My demos caught the attention of David T. Chastain from Leviathan Records. After recording many demos and trying really hard, I finally got a contract with Leviathan in 2001. David hooked me up with x-Kenziner vocalist Stephen Fredrick and drummer Brian Harris of Zanister and Vainglory. I brought in the great bassist Konstantine from Greece and after we completed the line up, the recordings started. The music on our debut album "Between heaven and Hell" could be best described as Melodic Heavy Metal. However, there are a lot of heavier stuff in the album, but with strong melodies. I also believe that the music has great hooks and arrangements and despite the heaviness, it's something that could be easily listened by anyone.
5- Firewind seems to be focus on strong guitar riff. Are you the only one who write in the band?
yes, I write all the music and Stephen writes the lyrics. The music is strongly guitar based, as I'm a guitarist and I compose all of my songs on the guitar.
6- What are you listening to those days? What is the last CD you bought?
I don't listen to music so much lately, as my ears are kinda tired from the band rehearsals, festivals....plus I'm recording demos at home at the moment, so I don't feel like checking out many new acts. However, a couple of very good albums I heard lately is Rob Rock's solo album and Halford's "Crucible" album that kicks ass!!
7- You just release 'Between Heaven and Hell', is that your first CD?
With FIREWIND yes it is. FIREWIND has also recorded a CD called "Nocturnal Symphony" in 1998, but that was just a demo CD and was never released. Also, FIREWIND has participated in the Yngwie Malmsteen tribute CD which was released in 1999 through GNW. We covered the song "Little Savage" from the Rising Force album.
8- Are you satisfied with the result? And how's the reaction so far?
Yes, everybody is very satisfied with the results and the reaction from the press and the fans has been really good so far! The CD is getting rave reviews worldwide from major magazines to underground zines! I think the sales are going good too, as our European label, Massacre Records is doing a special promotion campaign for our album, since it's selling so good.
9- Can you tell us what is the concept behind 'Between Heaven and Hell' (lyrically & musically)?
There is no concept musically or lyrically on this album. It's just a bunch of good heavy metal songs and the topics discussed in the lyrics differ from fantasy stuff to real life issues like war, love, mankind's direction and matters that bother us in every day life, pretty much...
10- You are signed on Leviathan Records, can you talk a bit about your label and the relation you got with them.
We have a very healthy relationship with Leviathan Records. They totally understand our musical vision and they are trying really hard to build this band! It was definitely the right choice for me to sign FIREWIND to Leviathan Records.
11- A talented guitar player like you must be very busy, any other projects beside Firewind?
Like I mentioned before, I am also a member of DREAM EVIL from Sweden and of MYSTIC PROPHECY from Germany. I'm also playing in a death metal band called NIGHTRAGE and this band is gonna record its debut this fall. However, I would like to make clear that my main bands are Firewind and Dream Evil, but I enjoy expressing myself through different styles of music and I like to work and write music with other people as well, so it's very fun to be a part of all those bands. I also do studio session work from time to time, whenever a band asks me to play a solo or something.
12- For those who are in the Montreal area like me, can we expect to see you live here one day?
I really hope that!!! But I cannot promise anything, as it's very hard to get on a proper tour these days. But I will try my best to make it over to Canada, I will promise you that!!!
13- Do you prefer to be Live or in studio?
I cannot say that it's so fun to sit in a studio for 2 months and recording a 1000 takes on every song, but what I enjoy most is creating music!! That's the most fun thing for me and that what my whole life is centered around: Making music. Playing live is very very cool and I'm having the best time of my life this summer in performing on big festivals like Sweden Rock and Wacken open Air.
14- A metal fans only got the money to buy one CD. Why should he take Firewind?
Well, to be honest I think that there's a lot of crap music released out there every month and that can only kill the music scene. I think that FIREWIND doesn't fall into that category (of crap releases, I mean). FIREWIND is making good high quality heavy metal and I hope that sooner or later people will appreciate that. I believe that a good enough reason for the fans, to buy the CD.
15- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I really cannot imagine that ha ha ha!!! I'm the kinda guy that takes life day by day and builds from there. I hope and aim to do what I'm doing today, in 10 years from now. But who knows??....Maybe I'll have my own recording studio, maybe I'll be working in a record company or maybe I'm a famous Rock n' Roll star ha ha!!!
16- Beside music, what are your other interest?
To enjoy life and every minute of it.
17- This is the time to plug your stuff (website, anything special you wanna say to your fans, etc..)
I want to thank The Darkest Hours site for the interview and for the support! Make sure you check out our debut CD "BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL" that is out now on Leviathan Records (USA), Massacre Records (Europe), Toshiba-EMI (Japan) and Rock Brigade (South America)!! For further info on the web, got to: www.leviathanrecords.com/firewind.htm or email us at email@example.com
Thanx to all the fans for your support!! Keep the FIREWIND RAGING!!!!
Thanks a lot Gus for doing that interview!!!!
You got a great album!!!