Interview by Cristóbal Torres
Kiko Shred is a Brazilian guitarist with a high technical dose, which has been reflected in the albums he has released during his solo career: RIDING THE STORM (2015), THE STRIDE (2018) and ROYAL ART (2019).
In addition to his albums, he has had the opportunity to play for great artists of the genre such as Tim “Ripper” Owens, Michael Vescera and Leather Leone, which has led him to tour through the whole continent.
He now presents his new project: Kiko Shred’s Rebellion and his self-titled debut album: REBELLION, with which he hopes to finally break into the European market. That is why we contacted him to tell us about this album that will be released on July 30 through Pure Steel Records.
How was your beginning with the guitar and music in general?
Kiko Shred (KS): I started studying music at a very young age, at 5 I started taking piano lessons, then I switched to keyboard and at 10 I started taking guitar lessons. Since then I have been improving, studying, composing, recording and playing live.
Many musicians are content to play a little. What motivated you to raise your technical level to play shred?
KS: In the early 90’s this style was booming, guitarists like Steve Vai, Satriani and Malmsteen were booming in Brazil, and when I came into contact with the music of these guitarists, I loved it and decided that I would follow this style!
Do you currently practice the same number of hours as before or do you no longer practice as much?
KS: Whenever I have the opportunity, I spend it studying for hours; Of course, when I started, I did not have as many occupations as today, so I could play 10 hours a day. Today I have the subjects of my career, my releases, my students and I also work on the promotion of my online guitar course. In addition, I invite young guitarists to learn about the course at kikoshred.com/
I have a doubt, did you sing on the albums RIDING THE STORM and THE STRIDE? If so, why did it stop?
KS: No, no, in RIDING THE STORM it was David Petrolini; in THE STRIDE, Sergio Faga. I wish I could sing like them (laughs).
How do you consider yourself to have evolved compositionally speaking from the days of RIDING THE STORM until now that you present REBELLION?
KS: I evolved a lot in the experience; in the ability to transfer the sound that I imagine, that I have in mind, to the recording.
It is very different to think of each instrument, 3 or 4 different guitar tracks, where each one should sound; right box, left, center, timbre, effects, volume, all of that. Naturally, I learned from experience.
Why did you decide to present this new album as “Kiko Shred’s Rebellion” and not just as “Kiko Shred” like your previous albums?
KS: Because we wanted it to present itself more as a group than as a solo artist. Kiko Shred’s Rebellion is the only one that has more songs sung than instrumental, it is a work that is reaching more fans, and that was our goal.
Why did you decide to use the word “Rebellion”? What are you rebelling against or what is Kiko Shred’s rebellion, is it a musical rebellion or is it a discursive rebellion?
KS: In my country there is no lack of reasons to rebel. The situation is very critical. It was critical before the pandemic, now it has gotten even worse. We are losing loved ones of all ages. Remembering that Brazilian taxes are extremely high and we should have more structure to face the pandemic. I am not going to make any protest, I am not a member of any political party or political group, but it is inevitable that this discontent will not be printed in the music.
When did you start working on the REBELLION album? Did you pick up the material from before or are they all new compositions?
KS: They are all new compositions, I composed everything when I returned from my 2020 Mexican tour, I arrived in Brazil at the beginning of March and I already started composing.
I understand that you have played with Will Costa and Lucas Tagliari for many years, how important was it for you to maintain that musical relationship with them and how important were they in defining the sound of this album?
KS: They are my lifelong friends, we have played together from Mexico to Patagonia, throughout Latin America! They are excellent musicians, they are great! They are already part of my sound.
What caught your eye about Ed Gadlin to invite him to sing on this album?
KS: Ed is very practical, easy going. He is also a good producer and studies music, knows musical harmony, understands chords, music theory and that helped us a lot to work from a distance on the recording of the album, as well as having an excellent voice for the style!
How did you get Doogie White on the album? Did you ever think of asking him to sing the whole album?
KS: We played with Doogie in 2018 in the “Metal Singers” project, Will, Lucas and I accompanied André Matos, Blaze Bayley, Udo Dirkschnider and Doogie White in this project that brought together the 4 vocalists, we became friends and Doggie agreed to sing a track! It would be a great idea to have a full album with Doogie one day.
How is the current situation in Brazil in relation to concerts? Do you think you will be able to present this album live in the medium term?
KS: We did a launch show at the famous Manifesto Bar concert hall in São Paulo, in January, when the pandemic seemed to subside. The show had guest appearances such as Yohan Kisser (son of Andreas Kisser from Sepultura), from the Sioux 66 band, Kisser Clan and also Fabiano Carelli (from the band Capital Inicial).
Unfortunately for this concert II had to replace Ed Galdin because he was sick. At that moment I called Flávio Souza, a vocalist who did an excellent job.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Are you still composing?
KS: I am always composing, my plans are to spread REBELLION as much as possible, enter the European market, something I have always been looking for, and also dedicate myself to my course and my students.
Congratulations on this album, any final words for readers?
KS: Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with the Mexican fans! I love your country and I would love to go back to Mexico, participate in a festival and visit Teotihuacan again! Mexico is great! Best regards!