NAMM 2008: Conversations of Steel
Gus G was one of the most talked about guitarists at the convention this year. His name seemed like the “buzzword” of the show, much how Rusty Cooley was last summer. I think Gus has a very bright future ahead of him!
MR: What brings you to the NAMM convention Gus?
I came here to celebrate and promote the release of my new Signature ESP guitar, it’s actually a much more affordable LTD model.
MR: Who were you the most excited to meet at the NAMM convention? Did you make any connections for future possible collaborations at the convention?
I met a bunch of great musicians, some of them old friends of mine (like Mike Amott) and met new people as well. I met this really great fusion guitarist, his name is Prashant Aswani and we talked about doing something together for his new album, so we’ll see.
MR: You recently put aside working in the groups Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy and Nightrage to concentrate solely on Firewind. What was the turning point for you that made you decide to turn all of your attention to Firewind?
I think the tour with Arch Enemy back in 2005 really was a wake up call for me. Cause then I realized how professional these guys were and that they focused on their schedule 120%. I thought to myself that this is what I wanna do with my band and stop putting it aside. Otherwise it would never grow up. And I was right – so after the Ozzfest tour I went back home and got my shit together, got the new lineup together and announce to my other bands that I would focus all my time and energy into Firewind. It wasn’t an easy choice.
MR: What was your take on the U.S. version of the ProgPower festival and do you see touring the United States in 2008 as a possibility for Firewind?
Prog Power was just fantastic! A great experience, great audience and very well organized festival!! I’d love to play there again sometime. We’re planning on a 2008 tour, but we haven’t confirmed anything yet.
MR: You worked with famed director Patric Ullaeus for the Breaking the Silence video. What did you think of the end result of this collaboration?
Patric did both videos off “Allegiance” (Falling To Pieces & Breaking The Silence). It’s always so inspiring working with Patric, he really makes us feel relaxed and boosts up our egos haha!! That’s exactly what you need when you pose for the camera.
MR: Firewind is currently based in Greece, what is the metal scene like over there?
Yes, me & Petros live in Thessaloniki and Bob and Mark live in Athens. The Metal scene here is healthy and growing but it’s still on a local level for most bands. Lately I’ve noticed that some bands have been trying to get out of here and have done European tours and that’s something very good. I’m glad that the scene is growing and showing potential for the future.
MR: Firewind played a show a few weeks ago in Thessaloniki, Greece at the Principal Club Theatre where the band performed the new album live. How was the reception to the new material?
It was just fantastic!! Even though they didn’t know the songs, they were picking up on the melodies very easy and sang along, there was mosh pits, chants, etc. It felt like they knew the songs!! I’ve never seen anything like it!
MR: You had mentioned on your website that there were plans to film this show for an upcoming DVD release, is that still the case and if so when do you think it will be released?
Yes, we filmed it and part of this concert will be released with the new album as bonus DVD. Just a nice preview of the full DVD release which will hopefully follow up next year.
MR: What can you tell us about your new ESP signature guitar?
That it’s a great guitar haha!! Seriously, this guitar simply has sound of its own, even when it’s not plugged in. Very few instruments I’ve seen with such sustain and full warm tone. ESP really put a lot of passion into their creations and I’m glad to be a part of their family. For those interested, please check it out at:
MR: After viewing the DVD that accompanied the "Book of Heavy Metal" cd by Dream Evil it was very apparent that you guys had a lot of fun on that tour. Looking back what were some of your favorite memories playing in Dream Evil?
I had a lot of fun during the Dragonslayer and Evilized periods. Well with Dragonslayer a lot of things were happening in the band such as our first open air big shows, or our Japan headline tour. These were huge dreams coming true for me! And then we did Evilized which I feel is a great album and we went on tour in Europe with HammerFall. That was a great tour I have a lot of fun memories from that.
MR: I’d like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me, I really appreciate it. Before we wrap this up is there anything you’d like to address or promote?