Subscribe to Mixdown Magazine



So this is your first time to Soundwave, right? +


First time to Australia ever!  


Do you guys do a lot of festivals?


We normally do a lot of fly-out festivals throughout the year. We did RockAM Ring in Germany last year, we did one in Belgium.


Right, so the new album. Your solos on this thing are f**king insane! How do you do this?


Oh thank you! I just love it. I play all the time, all day, every day. Everyone says they don’t recognise me without a guitar. It’s just what I do. If I don’t practice during the day I get a genuine depression. I get genuinely upset. I have to play all the time. I get really inspired by a lot of guitar players like Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert.


Do you remember the first time you heard Jason Becker?


I don’t remember the first time. I just remember him always being an influence, as long as I can remember. Whenever people ask me who my influences are I always say that guy. Not just as a musician but as a person as well. Have you seen that documentary about him [Jason Becker’s Not Dead Yet]? Every now and then I’ll watch that and I’ll get down, like ‘What am I doing? Why am I playing music? Every time I’m having like a crisis or freak-out I think about Jason Becker and how he’s still making music [despite being immobile due to ALS] and I think ‘My situation is nowhere near as bad.’



So are your solos heavily composed?


Sometimes it sucks, the way it works. I want to hear the song before I do the solo, hear the verse melody, the chorus melody, so I can play off of that and make it fit a lot more, but I don’t really get to do that because I’ll hear the track instrumentally and Ronnie won’t have sung on it yet. It’s like ‘Here’s the instrumental, 15 seconds to solo’ or whatever it is, y’know? And I wanna hear the vocal line so I can play off of that, but I never get to do that. So I basically have to make a piece of music out of the backing, out of nothing. In a way that’s really fun but in another way I want to know more of the song. So what I’ll do is I’ll put that backing into Pro Tools or Garageband and set up about ten guitar tracks and I’ll record myself jamming over it, just improvising. Then I’ll keep going, because when you’re improvising you’re going to come up with cool stuff you never would have done if you planned it out. Then I go back through them and pick my favourite parts, make my solo out of my favourite improvisations I’ve done. Then I’ll start putting in harmonies and little stuff like that. That’s how I write.


Your solo album must have been a good creative outlet then, given that you could compose the whole thing.


Yeah but it was so f**king rushed. I did the whole thing, 13 songs, an hour-plus of music, and I did the whole thing in eight days so again I’d just improvise and then go in and put the harmonies in afterwards. It was so rushed. I think I’m gonna do another one this year as a follow-up, but I’m refusing to rush it. I love the first album but there are parts I could do so much better now or play differently now. I guess it’s just part of being a musician. But yeah, it was definitely a good album for me. I write a lot of power metal. I mean, I guess I’m a metal head at heart so it’s good to have that sort of outlet.