When did you realize your passion for music and how come you ended up playing guitar?
– When I was a kid, my older brother always took me to concerts, he plays saxophone, so we listened to everything from jazz and fusion to rock and metal. It was not until I heard Metallica when I decided I wanted to play guitar. I was about 10.
What’s your main guitar right now?
– For almost a year now, I have been working with Gonzalez Luthiers and their brand VIMANA Guitars from Chile. They built me up the BL33/7, my own 7-string signature model which they plan to start selling massively this year.
Any other guitars in your collection?
– I also own Caparison guitars. A 6-string TAT Special Custom Line 2014, a 7-string Dellinger 7M3 and an 8-string Brocken FX. I also have a Taylor acoustic and an old Korean Fender Squier Strat. Very modified.
In “The Search”, you mix a lot of styles – from metal and electronic to jazz and fusion. Is this something you commonly do or was this a one-off venture?
– It is very common for me to mix styles. I studied composition, so during my college days I was forced (luckily I loved it) to listen to and write lots of different styles, from tango and jazz to classical or South American folk. I learnt to appreciate every style and use them as an influence in my own music. On my first solo album, you can also listen to diverse influences, from flamenco and funk to Chilean folk mixed up with metal.
Name five players that helped shape you as a guitarist!
– During my early days it was probably Dimebag Darrel, Marty Friedman, Steve Vai, Mattias IA Eklundh and John Petrucci.
Looking ahead, what’s your ultimate goal with your music and guitar-playing?
– In the short term, I plan on finishing the new album I’m working on with Derek Sherinian (Planet X/ ex-Dream Theater). I plan to release later this year, probably around August. In the long term, I want to keep writing music and travel to show it to the world :). I would say my ultimate goal is to always have time to write more music.
Who’s the most interesting player today?
– David Maxim Micic is probably my favorite musician today. Although he is a great guitarist, he is such a genius composer and producer.
What amp and cab combo would you say is your go-to?
– I just love my ENGL E530 preamp with the E840/50 Poweramp. I use the ENGL 4×12” PRO for recording, and although I use a ENGL 2x12PRO for most gigs, I just think there’s no better cab than the 4×12” PRO.
A quick rundown of your pedals and outboard?
– I’m not a “too many pedals” kind of guy. I have used a TC Electronics G-System with an Ernie Ball expression pedal for some time now and it works perfectly combined with the ENGL distortion. I recently got a Fractal Audio Axe FX Standard that I might be using for FX processing, but I still don’t know how to use it hahaha, I’m definitely a 100% tube guy.
String gauge and pick of choice?
– I use Cleartone Strings Hybrid 9-46s for my 6 strings. a .60 for the 7th String and .80 for the 8th string. I’ve been using Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm picks for as long as I can remember.
Your current top-five with guitar-related music?
David Maxim Micic
I can’t leave Tom Quayle behind. Such a good player!
Finally, what Toontrack products do you use?
– I use EZdrummer 2 every time I write music! I can not live without it! I have worked with the Metalheads EZX expansion for a long time now, but I recently bought the the Progressive EZX and immediately fell in love with it! Before we recorded real drums, all the jazzy rhythms in “The Search” were based on the Jazz MIDI packs. They are so useful! I also own the EzKeys RetroElectrics. You will listen to those on my new album.