Welcome here! 'Morning Sun' is the first time I heard from you, but you have been around making music for a while. Could you introduce yourself to your new listeners: how you started playing, where your influences took and take you?
Hi Bart, 'Morning Sun' is my third album, which just came out in June. In 2013 I released an album called 'Look Back Step Forward' and in 2011 my debut album called 'Opposite Views'. I've been playing guitar since I was thirteen years old and fell in love with rock and progressive rock. I studied some sitar and Indian music in north India and then came to the states to study at the Berklee College of Music. Some of my influences are: Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Yes and Zappa, just to name a few.
'Morning Sun' is a beautiful record by all means - but where did the decision come from to send it to Lords of Metal? (We do review a lot of material you wouldn't expect, but the name isn't telling...)
Thanks for the kind words. I've been working with Stephen Lambert at Nineteen-73 promotion and he does an excellent job of finding good magazines with an open mind to various styles of music like Lords of Metal.
The album has a very positive vibe. What are some of the things that inspire you, lyrically and instrumentally?
A few of the songs on this album were a collaboration between me and Danny Abowd, singer/composer/trombonist and much more for The Weeping Willard, a band which I play guitar for. The music has a positive vibe at time and a dramatic/suspenseful vibe at other moments. A lot of the material just began as chord progressions that I liked and weren't influenced by a certain mode or vibe. As for the lyrics, sometimes I would have an idea to what the song can be about and I would tell Danny about, in turn he would write lyrics to it. For example, I already had the title to La Morena and told Danny that I wished I could write a love song to my wife, which sometimes I called La Morena since she has dark hair. Danny liked the idea and his fiancée is also dark haired, so I think it came quite easy to him to write those lyrics.
In the four-part ending piece on the record, you utilize a guitar sound for a lead part that's extremely cool. It sounds close to an overdriven saxophone. Would you be so kind as to go into full geeky detail about crafting that sound?
If you mean the lead on 'Lili's Day pt. 2' (yes! -B) then in fact it is an overdriven saxophone played by Jonathan Greenstein. We tried to make his sax sound almost like Hendrix's guitar. If you mean 'pt. 3', then that is me playing with my Ibanez tube screamer and turbo rat pedals through an Egnater combo amp. (So here I learned that it is in fact not possible to simulate a saxophone on guitar, but the other way around seems to work, which somehow relieved me... -B)
I know this is a long shot, but is there chance of you performing live in Europe? Aside from that, do you get to perform live a lot closer to home?
I would love to perform in Europe, hopefully one day I can put a tour together and get to Holland as well. In the mean time I've been playing in New York a lot, and just did a live session for New Ears radio in Boston as well as a performance for Terra Incognita progressive rock festival in Quebec City.
You work with a lot of great musicians. I can imagine you make a lot of music together. Are there any other projects/bands we need to know of?
As I mentioned, The Weeping Willards are a fantastic band. I did not play on their albums, but I play live with them. Also, the track 'Island' was written with Dylan Jackson, bass player for a band I used to play with in Boston called InnerCombustion. All members of that group have been working on really cool projects.
These were my questions for now. Thank you for taking to the time to answer, and thanks for the beautiful music! The last words to your listeners are yours!
Thank you Bart, it's my pleasure to have this conversation with you and I hope the listeners enjoy the music. One day I wish to play for all of you in Holland!