Interviewed by JP
Tina Guo plays both acoustic and electric cello. Hailing from Shanghai, China, she moved to the United States at age 5. Metallers may know of her from her progressive metal band, Off the Deep End and for her band Lotus Rising who play "Industrial Classical Tribal Metal".
What originally inspired you to start to crossover into the Metal genre?
I grew up in a traditional household with classical musician parents, but I did manage to sneak in Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar and Guns n Roses Appetite for Destruction… I would secretly listen to them on very low volumes with my ear stuck to the speaker in between practicing Haydn and Bach. In college, I was majoring in classical cello but was dating a metal guitar player… I went to the Key Club to watch his band play and it was the first "metal" situation I’d ever been in… I had an incredible urge to get on stage and freak out, and I knew I could do it, so I started experimenting and watching a ton of guitar shredding videos on youtube to start learning the basics of rock/metal, as it’s a totally different world from classical music.
Have you ever heard of or even been inspired by other classically trained artists who have worked in the Metal genre? People like Mark Wood or The Great Kat?
Apocalyptica to me was the first cool mainstream metal crossover act, with 4 cellos- they’re awesome and nice guys!
Have you considered doing a full-on Metal album?
Yes, this is my next project – focusing on my industrial metal… it will have a "cinematic" flair, as with the blend of heavy music, electronics, and symphonic elements.
What was it like working with Derek Sherinian on his new album Oceana? Did you have time in the studio together or was it a matter of working out your parts separately?
Yes! Derek is awesome, we recorded together at his home and worked out the parts, bounced ideas back and forth. I really love his music and have all his solo albums!
Same sort of question as above but about your contribution to the Black Label Society album. How was that experience? Zakk doesn’t strike me as a classical music type of guy.
Nope, I played on a song for Derek’s album that Zakk also played on, not for Black Label Society, but for Derek’s Solo Record
Are there any other Metal bands you have worked with or want to work with?
Rammstein is an obsession of mine. I love System of a Down and Metallica of course, although SOAD isn’t really metal… I love the fusion of middle eastern/heavy music… not so much into screamo or music without melody/groove.
At least a dozen other Metal artists ranging from Anvil to Manowar have recorded an interpretation of ‘Flight Of The Bumble-Bee’. Why did you choose this piece? I hear it’s very fun to play!
Honestly "Queen Bee" was my first serious jump into doing something completely not classical… but I guess it was a security blanket in using a classical piece that I knew well and could play really fast (haha) and it’s also well known… I hope people like my version! I tried to make the breakdown in the middle sexy… slippery and wah-y.
Why do you think there has been such a strong connection between classic and Metal?
I think both genres are able to be strong conveyers of extreme emotion.
Have you received any negative feedback from hardcore Metal fans who don’t appreciate the crossover possibilities between the two genres?
There are always people who don’t like anything and everything. I’m not really concerned with what people think, as long as EVERYONE doesn’t hate what I’m doing
Did you have hand in choosing Glen Sobel (Impelliterri, Alice Cooper) for the drum work? If yes, why did you pick Glen?
Yes, I’m a bit of a control freak and have complete control over everything I do. Glen is a dear friend and an amazing drummer- he’s great! He can shred, but in addition to technique, he also has amazing feel. Groove is so important… to have both the carnal, visceral groove (a la Rammstein) AND amazing chops is a lethal combination.
Any last words for our fans?
Find inspiration! Live passionately! Take risks! Albeit, calculated ones to a certain degree to avoid big trouble. And thank you for your love and support. xo