Promonews | Steelianos Amirides – Interview – Episode #7

-When did you start playing guitar,
and why not another instrument? I wanted to play guitar from a very young age,
since I was four or five years old. For some reason, probably due to admiration on guitarists
I saw on TV shows and videoclips For some reason my mother didnít want me
to play guitar,while my father did. So I started playing the piano when I was five years old,after the strong encouragement of my mother and that lasted for five years. I always preferred the guitar, I wasnít listening
to classical music to inspire me with the piano, while my parents listened to classic rock stuff,
anything from the Beatles era and afterwards. Also my cousin was listening to metal and influenced
me strongly. Anyways I finally got my first electric guitar when I was fourteen,gift from my dad,
and I started playing on my own. I already knew some theory stuff and experience
from the piano,so it was easier for me to play guitar. And some years later I started taking lessons,
so thatís about how it all startedÖ -What was your greatest influence back
then,and which one is now? InfluencesÖWell,when I started listening
to music,I started with classic 80ís stuff, Metallica,Iron Maiden,Megadeth,Sabbath,
Priest,Annihilator and some modern (back then) stuff like Children of Bodom,Black Label Society
etc. Generally classic stuff,so the guitar players that influenced me were pretty much everyone
from Jimmy Page,Blackmore to Tipton/Downing, Steve Vai,Malmsteen (a lot),Hammet etc.
As time went by and I learned more stuff I started digging deeper in instrumental albums
etc,I started listening to other virtuosos like Jason Becker,Friedman etcÖRight now,
I donít know if you can call it a direct influence who can do anything. He can play over an
Am chord and keep your interest at the highest levels. Daniele Gottardo,a younger player,I admire him a lot,
Bumblefoot (Ron Thal) from Guns íní Roses, Buckethead,generally guitar players that have
taken the instrument a few steps further, have invented some stuff of their own,
their own sounds etc. Those more or less influence me,
plus anything I hear during the day. For example I listen to rempetika,
or Greek folk music. And I ëm easily influenced by those as well,
as Spathas (Socrates) was for instance, when he was writing ìMountainsî,
in the exact same way I listen to many different genres and try to
incorporate different elements to my playing as well. -Do you believe in long hours of practice or in
smarter ways of practice (better time management)? I believe in both. We ëre not the same,all of us,we donít
have the same habits and rhythms in life and learning. And certainly we donít have
the same amounts of time to spend. One may have 2 hours,another may have
1 and another may have 8 hours to practice. So generally the right answer in ìhow much
should someone practice?î is as much as one can. If he can play during the whole day,
he ís gonna benefit from that. Unfortunately today,we donít have so many
hours to dispose and most people are pressured by school or universities,
or jobs and families. So people should manage their free time as good as possible to get
the best results in the least amount of time. And it ís always good to keep a short-term
and a long-term plan and make a schedule that will help him in both. In a few words,
I believe in both,depending on the person. Personally I only studied long hours back
in high school mostly, because later I didnít have a lot of time
due to my work etc. So I tried to study smart. -Analog or digital sound? Well,digital sound is generally preferred
cause it ís easier to access,cdís,mp3ís etcÖ But I think there ís no comparison.
I had no experience in analog sound though, some months ago I was lucky enough to sit
around with a student of mine that collects records, and we listened for hours on end 70ís prog rock stuff.
And I understood it ís totally different , analog sounds grabs you and drives you more,
it ís more alive, you can feel an artistís soul on a record. Fact that I rarely get when I listen to a cd,so obviously
I prefer the analog sound when listening to music. Guitar-wise now,obviously you ëre asking about whether
someone will use a tube pre-amp,amp etc, or a digital multi effect or something. I believe that both work amazingly well,
technology has progressed a lot nowadays, Axe-Fx and those sort of machines
are more than realistic, and I donít know if there ís anybody so specialised
and can tell the difference between that and tube preamp. So,again,whatever anyone thinks is better for him,
and whatever he can afford. ëCause,let ís face it,to get something good
you need to spend a certain amount of money. Personally at home I use an external sound card,
Guitar Rig and such stuff. I wonít ever plug on an amplifier to get a ìbetter soundî.
Only on gigs. Generally I think that digital sound is much easier to use at home,and the quality is awesome.
When playing live though,if you can use for instance a Blackstar pre-amp,you ëll probably feel the greatness
of the tone. I ëm mentioning Blackstar cause I played with one last year at the MFVF and I was
shocked how amazing it felt like. So generally whatever everyone favors
and can afford is for the best. -What guitars and what pedals/multi-effect
do you use in your live shows? Guitars? Right now,I donít have that many.
In the live shows to be done in the following months I ëm gonna use my ESP V-standard,a great guitar that comforts me a lot. Got it from a fellow guitarist, Great material,ebony fingerboard
and EMG pickups and feels great. As for the pedals etc. I never took my own preamp
in a live show,used the ones that were available as back line in the shows of the past. And I used my Blackstar HT-dual in the ampís
Fx return,an ancient Boss dd-3 digital delay and a Cry baby wahÖThat ís all! -What is the greatest mistake of
a rookie guitarist,in your opinion? Lots of things can go wrong at the beginning.
He may hold the guitar in a wrong position, he may put a lot of pressure on his left hand
thumb and face problems,he may force his elbow too much so that could lead to a possible tendonitis.
Generally many mistakes can be made. Technique problems,mentality problems.
Something I usually see,and it ís a cliche answer, is that many people start as self taught,
believing that because Friedman or Van Halen or Satriani were self-taught and became who
they are,then anyone can do it. This is not the case,however. The fact that
someone back in the 80ís had enough talent, and worked enough and practice for 8-10 hours
daily for years to get to the level he became famous, doesnít mean that anyone can do it,it ís like re-inventing
the wheel. There are certain tricks and shortcuts to self improvement that one
canít know whenhe ís a rookie. By getting random studying material from youtube,
tutorials and books you ëre not really helping yourself. That stuff arenít written specifically
for your needs and abilities. You may either get bored,lose interest or get
something different from what you really enjoy. For example I first got a blues book in my beginning
and it felt pointless cause I wanted to play metal and make some noise. So I got bored. In the process
that changed,I got some Metallica tab books and tried to learn their songs. Anyway,
a good advice would be that one should make a specific plan in their heads,depending on what
they enjoy and want, in terms of music and goals, and get a teacher in that specific style.
In this way you can avoid most of the mistakes that can keep you back and possibly
lose some years as well.. -Do you believe that someone
canbuilt a career through the Internet? The cases are very few. Journey ís new singer
for instance is one of them,he was discovered via his Youtube covers I think,that was a huge success.
But generally I donít think careers are built this way. Internet helps in reaching more people,but a serious
career cannot be achieved just through the Internet. One must try and do more stuff,if you ëre a musician and
dont release a record,how ll you become more well known? By covering songs? You have to be extremely amazing,
everybody does it. Some people have made it, Gustavo Guerra is one of them.
But it ís a very rare phenomenon. -We live in the ìLikesî generation and that couldnít
havenít touched the music field. Do you think it benefits musicians
or is it a waste of time? Surely there is some benefit,but this is also something
that you have to try for,it doesnít come to you on its own. No matter what you do and who you are,if you create
a Facebook account for example,you have to spend time to it and build some public relations in order for it to work.
Or else it wonít. Social media help,in most jobs at least, either you ëre a veterinarian or a musician,it helps.
People get to know you and check out your news, so there is benefit. But I think it shouldnít be a goal of
its own,you know,mate we ëre supposed to be artists, musicians, give our soul to the public -get over here,
you!- So itís better to spend time on our music mostly,e, and much much less on social media and networking.. -What is your opinion on haters? They always existed,haters gonna hate as people say.
Personally when I started out uploading videos and works of mine,when I saw dislikes or bad comments I faced
as a personal insult,I ëm not talking about criticism, like someone telling you ìI donít like your work for this
or that reasonî,I ëm talking about comments such as ìFuck off,mateî In time I wasnít concerned
anymore about that stuff,and I think that up to a point haters do you good. Because they spend time on you,
and as they do,somebody else will,also. You know how it goes,they start a conversation
under a video,and someone will go like ìHammet sucksî and another one goes like ìNo dude,Hammet rocksî.
And they start a buzz over nothing, which in the end benefits and gives feed
and views to the band. So let them be,since they like
spending their time like this,let ëem do it! -In Greece we have extraordinary musicians in all genres.
What do you think goes wrong and we ëre not coming out as a ìteamî altogether, and as a result we all lose? Indeed,we have great musicians,with deep knowledge
and dedication in all genres. As in all fields,there are professionals,normal people in high levels of professio-alism
and people that just do it for fun. In general, we have all kinds of musicians playing from folk,to rock and
metal or jazz. I donít think we ëre doing something wrong, but in Greece there are few people
that listen to alternative styles. Metal fans in Greece for instance,we ëre so few,
almost like a family. When there are guys like Pantelidis
(Greek mainstream singer with doubtful artistic value) that has millions of fans singing his songs,listening to
him on radio, can make your own assumptions. The mass culture leads people to easily digest specific
types of music using the radio,the tv channels etc. Young people are easier to control and manipulate,
sit around listening to radio and watching Mtv and stuff, so there are less and less people caring
for other types of music. So the world ís full of musicians that might
perform and study for years, that end up not as well-known as they deserveÖ -If you could turn back time,what would
you change in your musical career? A lot. First of all I ëd persuade my mother at the age
of 5 not to send me in for piano lessons, but electric guitar instead. Because I later spent
some years after the piano experience not feeling like playing music at all. Secondly I ëd practice
more at younger ages. So guys,practice for hours on end. Also,when
I finished school I ëd find a way,I donít know maybe sell my kidney to go study on my subject.
I had the chance,sometime I got a scholarship to study in England and was able to pay half the tuition fees,
but still being able to pay 10k a year for studies alone and being able to afford your life expenses can
be difficult. So at a younger age, I ëd like to know more on my subject so that I ëm more
ready in the years to come. Mostly that stuff. Oh,and I ëd also play more with musicians from
different genres,jazz players,funk players, folk players etc. Not just metal-oriented bands. -These days fewer and fewer guitar players release
instrumental guitar-albums mainly because the sales of those reduce over the years.
Do you think that it is even doable anymore? Yes,as time goes by fewer guitarists do that,it ís true.
Why is that? As I said before,the interest on these stuff has reduced. In the 80ís it was something new,even
in the early 90ís it was going pretty well. Nowadays,I guess only Japan maintains
a massive interest in this field. Most people identify more easily with a full band,
the members,the lyrics etc. So it ís much harder to release a solo album and succeed in becoming
more well known as a virtuoso guitarist. It is doable,if someone has this dream and can
afford the time,effort and money to make it happen. It ís doubtful that people will massively embrace
such an endeavour. It has to be something new and different for
people to care and check it out. For instance if you listen to Gottardo ís new
record -I bought it before it was released, I was amazed by the previous one- it ís really
different from all the instrumental albums you ëve heard. It ís not the standard,typical metal-rock virtuoso thing,
it ís more like a mixture of classical music,ballet,jazz, rock and some metal elements and the guitar is
not just a shredding solo organ. The goal of the artist isnít to play a million notes per second or how many
different techniques he can incorporate within 10 seconds,rather than play as an orchestral
instrument playing interesting melodies and themes. That,to me,is much more valuable musically
as much as I enjoy shredding guitar, but if I played the harmonica or something else,
I wouldnít be that interested in constant soloing, no matter how smart. I need to hear the mentality
of a composer,not just a soloist. Generally I donít think there are many
people interested. Whoever does release a solo album does well,
but he should know before that it ís probable that it wonít sell much. Probably not even make it
up for the money he ëll spend on creating the record. The trends are different,people seek for different
stuff now,so maybe we should change the endeavour of simply shredding
and combine it with different elements. -What are your future plans and what ís
your wish on young guitar players? Right now,above all I care and give energy
and time to,is the band,Enemy Of Reality. We started out about a year ago and started
composing the music 6 months ago. I believe in us a lot,I love the tracks,
and generally it ís my think. Thank God I have great bandmates,we
get along well both in musical and friendly terms. And I love it. It ís the first time that I ëm so serious
about something and give my all to it. -Come here, you- We ëll perform in Belgium in October at the
MFVF,and more shows will be announced sometime soon. Our record comes out in June,
donít know the exact date yet but we ëll announce it soon as well.. Secondly I have to start practicing
more,because lately with the composing, rehearsing and recording the record I left my
practice behindÖ What else? I also wanna release a guitar oriented album in the
future,but it ís gotta be something kinda different, I canít say more details now,but it ís gonna be
instrumental,but different than what we ëre used to when we hear that term. These are mostly
my plans. Now for the young guitarists. I wish that they come up with new,uninvented
stuff on the guitar. I wish they know more things that I ëve learned so far,or maybe things
nobody has heard of,up to now. Metal is more or less defined up to now,
but I think that new genres should be invented. The last time something really big happened to
metal were Slipknot,you get what I mean? We need something different,better and new.
Not the same stuff revisited over and over. -Tell us a few words about Antonis Tzavaras
and Aris from Riseout Productions As we reach the ending of this conversation,
I have to say that this thing that you guys do, both you,Aris, and Antonis,helping out in
promoting new guitarists,musicians that the majority of people might not know
because they ëre currently starting out, is very very important. Firstly,nobody else does it.
Secondly it needs energy and hard work. You,filming the people and editing the videos,
and Antonis that approaches people and prepares the questions and stuff,it ís really important.
It gives people the opportunity to say things, that they might never even say otherwise.
So bravo to both of you,congrats, I wish you can do it for many years to come! It will
be our pleasure to follow you and watch those interviews!

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