-What are your main influences as a guitar player?
Obviously, my first main influences were some of the greatest players of the 80’s – especially those who were much more into melodic and dramatic playing than just into flashy stuff - , but, besides, I was lucky enough to have a very good friend whose older brother had an impressive disc collection and helped me to go back in time and discover a lot of fantastic bands like Queen, Deep Purple, Yes, etc… as well as Hendrix and the Blues, which also had a big influence on me.
-What are your main influences as a musician? It seems there is more than just Metal…
I quickly discovered that true love of music can’t live with stylistic restrictions, and even though I’m indisputably a Rock guy before anything else, I also played a lot of Blues, studied classical guitar for a while, experimented with Jazz Rock and Funk, had a stint with World Music, and I’m always a sucker for a good Pop tune. Then, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously, you can imagine that any music I played, or simply liked, may have had an important influence on me.
-Why did you choose to use 7-string guitars rather than detuned 6-string guitars?
I had started using detuned guitars early on with Horizon but I never felt perfectly comfortable with them. In fact, I never wanted to totally move away from standard tuning because that’s what I’m primarily used to and, therefore, it's the reference that’s tattooed in my brain. When I was using detuned guitars, I was switching guitars/tunings all the time which was pretty confusing to me. It was a bit confusing ear-wise, but also playing-wise due to constant string gauge changes that didn’t really help to be consistent as far as string control goes... So I went for 7-string guitars and I sure don’t regret it. They offer all the range of a standard 6-string with extra lower notes and without generating any perturbative data when you switch guitars. Moreover, a good 7-string guitar generally sounds better on the low B string than a detuned 6-string because both the instrument and the pickups were actually designed for such low notes.
-How would you describe your music?
It’s very powerful and melodic at the same time. I’m trying to show that you can be musical without getting soft or pompous and that you can be powerful without having to refuse any kind of finesse.
-What’s the meaning of the title “More Than Meets the Eye”?
At first, this album was intended to be a concept album about all the different types of lies one can encounter: lies to others, lies to oneself, unconscious lies, etc… Then, I wrote a couple of songs that didn’t really match the “lies” theme but were nevertheless related to the hidden side of things and “More Than Meets the Eye” seemed to be the perfect title to link all the songs together.
-What’s the meaning of the title “The Writing’s on the Wall”?
Again, I was looking for a title that would link all the topics covered in the lyrics and I found that “The Writing’s on the Wall“ could be quite appropriate.
-How do you write your songs?
There’s no set formula. It can start from a guitar riff or from a melody line or even sometimes from a few words. Then I try to develop ideas, find the best structure, make a demo with all the arrangements, and the song is considered finished once I can listen to it a couple of times in a row and everything is flowing smoothly.
-What’s your process of making an album?
First of all, I demo everything as precisely as possible before getting down to actual album takes. Then I record all the instruments one by one, preferably starting with the drums every time it’s possible. Rhythm guitars are generally double tracked or quad tracked to get a bigger sound and some stereo. Lead vocals and solos being recorded last, once all the rest is finished.
As far as mixing goes, I prefer to aim for some album homogeneity and do a lot of channel copy/paste from one song to another rather than mixing all the songs separately.
-How many hours a day do you practice?
When I was in my teens, I usually practiced from 3/4 up to 8 hours a day. Now the average is closer to 2 hours a day when I’m home but I may still practice 6/8 hours a day if I’m into some important recording or getting prepared for a show.