Gus G Interview by Metal Inside
MI: The reason for the interview with Gus G. (guitar player Firewind and Dream Evil) are the very favorable reactions about the release of the first Firewind CD "Between Heaven And Hell". For those, who don't know the CD, what kind of music is this?
First of all, glad to hear you like our album! I would describe the music on Between heaven and hell as melodic heavy metal. However, it's quite heavier than someone would normally expect. I like this blend that the band has achieved, the heaviness and the melody.
MI: You also take part in songwriting, where are your strengths? As a guitar player, are your strengths more on the instrumental side of songwriting or even the lyrics?
I am responsible for all the music. I also wrote all the lyrics in the beginning, but when Stephen (the singer) joined the band, he rewrote most of it. Since I am an instrumentalist, I believe my strengths are in writing music and arranging it. However, when I write something, I always have vocal melodies or even lyrics in mind, or else the song probably won't work out.
MI: Where there particular moments and problems during the producing of Between Heaven And Hell, how does it works?
The whole recording process went smooth. There were no big problems even though we were in huge distances from each other. The guitars and bass were recorded in Greece and vocals and drums in 2 different studios in the US. Everybody works really professionally and know how to do their job, so everything worked out great in the end.
MI: You're a young guitar player (21 years old, if the information from the record company is correct) Could you earn enough money with your music for living?
So far, I earn some money which is enough to live on. Of course, not many musicians are able to live off from their music, and that's very sad. I consider myself lucky that I have achieved this so early.
MI: You are a origin Greek (whatever even the G. behind Gus G. means). What was the reason for you to going to US?
I have family in the US and I was always visiting the States. However, when I was 18 I moved to America to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. I dropped out of school after 2 weeks of studies (!!!) to try to start a career in music. After I spent a year living in America I went back home to Greece and I decided to move to Sweden, and I've been living there for the past 3 years.
MI: How did your parents / your family react, when they heard about your wish to go to US?
My parents have supported me in each and every way in my whole life and in every decision and step I've taken. I'm grateful for that. Without them, I definitely wouldn't have gotten where I am today.
MI: What was the craziest moment in your previous music career?
Well, a funny story that I can tell you is that once the other German label that I'm working with, Century Media, pulled a Christmas joke on me.....they told me that they would release the album and they would change all the band members names and they came up with the most ridiculous names you've heard!!! Of course I'm not gonna tell you what my name would be changed to, but I'll tell you that I bought what they said and I was so sad and pissed off at the same time!!! I even thought of leaving the band hahaha!!!! After 10 days they called me up and told me that it was a joke in conspiracy with the other band members......can u imagine the look on my face at that moment? I felt like killing everybody, but at the same time I laughed like hell!!!
MI: There is another hot CD on the market. Dream Evil has earned a lot of great reviews. Firewind could also go the same successful way. Are you contented with the feedback?
I know that FIREWIND is getting some great reviews all over Europe and all the journalists that I've done interviews with, speak with the best words about this album. The reviews are also great in Japan and USA and I have really high hopes for this to be a success. Let's see what happens.
MI: Have the contact been reached to Firewind through Fredrik Norlander, who has worked on both CDs? Or how could you get in contact with Firewind? Have the contact been reached with Firewind before Dream Evil?
His name is Fredrik Nordstrom, you made a mistake there. Secondly, Fredrik had nothing to do with FIREWIND other than mixing the album. I started FIREWIND in 1998 after I had dropped out of Berklee. I wrote some songs and with the help of some friends, I recorded a CD and I named the band FIREWIND. I was always sending my demos to David Chastain from Leviathan Records and David always liked the material I sent him. So after a couple of years, when my style and songwriting developed more, David told me that he wanted to help me to put the band together and produce my music. Dream Evil started later than FIREWIND. Dream Evil started more like a project and became a real band much later. I met my other band mates in FIREWIND through Chastain.
MI: Have both bands for you the same rights. Do you prefer one of your bands? What's concerning Mystic Prophecy?
Firewind and Dream Evil are 2 different bands. While Firewind is more like my baby as I'm responsible for the bands musical direction, etc. in Dream Evil all the band members have equal rights and everybody writes in the band. To be honest, I love doing both. I'm no dictator and I hope people don't get the wrong impression when I'm saying that I write everything in Firewind. It's like that because I founded the band and I started it all on my own, so there was no one there to have a musical chemistry with. I created the band's sound, therefore it's hard to find somebody else to adopt to my writing style. I'm a person that's open to any ideas and I listen carefully to what my band members, producer, and label tell me. But I love writing both on my own and with others, both ways are special I think. Plus, all my bands have different sound and styles. At this point, Mystic Prophecy is more like a side project, as I'm working more with my other 2 bands and so are the other MP guys. However, we have recorded a second album which should be released in a few months.
MI: Firewind is described as a US-Band, Dream Evil is to known as an European band which plays US-Metal. Do you see some differences about this?
To be honest, I don't really like to put tags in my bands and in my music. Both bands have different styles. Also, Firewind is half European and half American band as me and Konstantine (the bass player) are from Greece.
MI: It seems that right metal music is not very popular in the States at the moment against it this kind of music is very popular in Europe. What do you think is the reason for this trend?
Well, it looks like the people in America always follow the MTV trends. That's very sad and at the same time strange, because USA is such a big country with 250 million people living there. And heavy metal and power metal bands sell only a few thousands of CDs there. It seems like unless people get brainwashed with your song and video on MTV, you'll never get noticed.
MI: In your opinion what the tendency concerning music in the US? What do you think about Alternative and Crossover-Music do you like it? Do you like several bands, which are playing this kind of music?
No, I'm not into this type of music at all. The only band that I think is pretty cool, is Slipknot, because they have an aggressive attitude, extreme image, unique & brutal sound. And they got accepted to the mainstream! I think that's definitely a good thing for heavy metal cause hopefully it will open doors for smaller bands to get noticed.
MI: Which CDs do you prefer at the moment?
Lately I've been listening to Valley's Eve, Lacuna Coil, the latest Dimmu Borgir and a Finnish love-metal band called HIM. I'm also listening to my old favorite Scorpions albums like Taken by Force.
MI: Have you got time for a promotion-tour with one of your bands or have you got other plans? Is there enough time for a promotion tour?
If everything's scheduled correctly, there's time for everything!!! Dream Evil is already playing summer festivals like Sweden Rock and Wacken. And we're currently working on a FIREWIND tour in Europe and Japan. We hope that everything will go as planned.
MI: What's about your plans for the future? Perhaps, a second album with one of your bands?
Yes, both FIREWIND and Dream Evil will enter the studio for the follow up albums next year. I'm also working on a death metal project called Nightrage, which should be recorded soon. Thanx for the interview and make sure you check out the FIREWIND debut album Between Heaven and Hell, cause it will rock you!!!!!