in Finland, Mad Guitar Records has another winner on their hands with
the 2011 CD release of Around The World by Guitarsnake.
Guitarsnake guitarist Nicolas Notarianni has written a series
of dynamic guitar instrumentals for an album that sometimes sounds,
whether consciously or perhaps handed to his generation by musical
osmosis, like a cross between late period Joe Satriani and some of
the '90s fusion soundtrack works of Jan Hammer. A rising French freboard
ace, Notarianni is really eclectic both as guitarist and composer.
Throughout this often majestic, yet always noteworthy CD, Nicolas
gets solid support from both Dave Rimmer (bass) and powerhouse
drummer Laurent Reinlin. In addition to also playing drums
on the CD, Notarianni also handles the synth keyboard sounds which
adds another level of symphonic rock perfectionism to the mix. The
CD features a video of the title track plus a pair of bonus tracks
featuring an intense guitar jam with several players including Mad
Guitar Records founder Roo Chapus. www.guitarsnake.fr
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Nicolas Notarianni of GUITARSNAKE
mwe3: Congratulations on this amazing new Guitarsnake CD Nicolas.
What was the motivation and inspiration behind writing, producing
and recording the 2011 Around The World CD by Guitarsnake?
NOTARIANNI: Thank you mate! Since the release I am still very surprised
by the cordial welcome for my album Around The World, especially
in the United States. It's really a great honor for me. To answer
your question, when I made my first album One Life Is Not Enough
alone at home, I did not think at that time that I would make a second
album. Oline allowed me to meet a lot of musicians in France
and abroad. With I Have A Dream fans discovered me. On the
CD, I wrote "Somewhere In This World". I felt most frustrated
at not having written before. I think it motivated me with at the
time to do a second album with a lot more work on writing songs.
mwe3: Your guitar work on the Guitarsnake CD sounds very influenced
by 70s progressive rock guitar heroes like Mike Oldfield, Janne
Schaffer as well as the 60s guitar heroes like Hank Marvin,
in some places. Looking back, who were some of your significant guitar
influences and other musical heroes and can you name some of your
favorite albums or recordings?
NN: It's funny what you say, I've never done this comparison. I try
to listen to all kind of music since childhood. I think there are
things that I play unconsciously and which can remind you of players
that I have never listened to. I love progressive music for its musical
richness. But you know, I'm a guitarist who played and was marked
by the 1990s. I grew up with Nuno Bettencourt, Slash, Patrick
Rondat, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Malmsteen, Van Halen, Lukather, Petrucci,
Vitto Bratta. There are so many that I like here but those are just
legends to me.
My music is made of all of this and others, guitarist or not. I'm
looking for emotion while listening to music. The thing that will
makes you tremble. Then if I give you my favorite album, I try and
I try believe me! But I'll give you three. III Sides To Every Story
- Extreme, Tambu - Toto, and the instrumental Amphibia -
mwe3: Can you say something about how you describe your guitar technique?
When did you start playing guitar and can you remember your first
I started playing guitar at the age of nine, self-taught after leaving
the trumpet after twelve years of conservatory. My first guitar was
a classic one that my uncle had given us, to my brother and I. She
had acoustic strings on it. It was horrible to play. I did not keep
long because it was unplayable.
I knew at that time I had to do something with this instrument. I
learned it watching my brother who was playing guitar at that time.
Then, I started working my ear to transcribe what I heard, and then
I'm in tabs, instructional videos. My guitar playing developed over
time by working the different techniques of my favorite guitarists.
mwe3: What guitars are you playing mostly on the Guitarsnake CD and
can you say something about your amps, strings, picks and what pedals
or effects do you prefer and use live and in the studio?
NN: I had a lot of guitar in my hands before the album Around The
World. After the release of Oline I got the endorsement
with Mayones guitars and basses which has produced two models, Regius
Pro. I recorded the album with these two models. I use an ENGL Invader
100 and a Torpedo VB-101 (Two Notes) for recordings and live. It's
just incredible! For the effects I use my TC Electronic G-System,
strings by D'addario and I use picks Jazz III.
mwe3: Do you follow the advances and news in the guitar world and
is there any other guitar news that youd like to tell the readers
NN: I love the untypical guitarists as Guthrie Govan, Ron Thal and
Matthias Ia Eklundheven if their guitar playing has no bearing
on mine. I think we each have certain benefits and challenges to practice
an instrument. Everybody has his physical limitations, I think too.
The guitar like other instruments has so advanced these last years
and that is sometimes even scary, sometimes it is even inhuman. The
aliens are among us!
YouTube is evidence for that. But I admire because I would like to
understand their ways of thinking about music. If I had to say something
to the readers as you ask me, I would simply say that it will evolve
anyway, every day practicing his instrument. Everybodyto each
his own rhythm, its physical limits, the music should not be a ground
competition, the music is a universal language and it should remain
so. If there is no emotion, there is no music.
You perform all the guitars, keyboards and even some of the drums
too on the new Guitarsnake CD. Can you describe the challenges involved
in performing and recording all the other parts as well as guitars
on the CD and can you tell us what other musicians played with you
on the album?
NN: This is a big challenge and many hours I confess! This was a big
challenge, definitely and I spent many hours doing this but it was
fabulous! Im really proud of this album because this is the culmination
of my work. I invited Dave Rimmer to London for recording bass. Before
his arrival, I took care of the rhythm guitars, keyboards and drums
with Laurent Reinling. We recorded the bass in one afternoon. The
weather was fair but we have done what we wanted. I recorded my solo
at the end. The hardest part for me was the integration of the orchestra
on some parts and make the mix homogeneous.
mwe3: Also are you planning to perform the music from Around
The World live at any point in the future and what musicians
do you play with live?
NN: To be honest, it is very difficult for a musician with a self-produced
instrumental album in hand, to perform in France. We have many good
musicians, signed or not, in our country but not a culture quite open
about this kind of music here. It's too bad! The French prefer the
stars coming out of programs such as "TV-reality." Its
up the creek for me, tell me!
mwe3: How did you start working with the Finland-based Mad Guitar
Records label? Theyre doing fantastic things for the instrumental
guitar genre. Also can you say something about the two tracks that
end the new Guitarsnake album and how they enhance the CD?
NN: I've worked with them before on the Mad Guitar Records compilation,
Melodic Soloists. I have been in contact by chance with the
MySpace page "Guitarsnake Street Team". United States thanks
a fan. I was proposed to be included in the compilation among other
great guitarists. I humbly responded to the invitation. Then, I invited
back Roo of Mad Guitar and other friends on a remastered version of
On The Road. I included these two bonus tracks in the
album because the fans loved the first versions. I really wanted these
two to be remastered because I felt a little ashamed of the first
for Mad Guitar Records for these records, I was looking for a label,
but not French. France is unfortunately not a country for this kind
of music as I have said. I really wanted to give this album an international
value and not a French one.
mwe3: What are your plans involving promoting and publicizing the
new Guitarsnake album and what about other plans, recording or performing
moving forward into the future?
NN: Since the release of Around The World we did a lot of promotion
on radio in France. A big part of the promotion was the realization
of the clip Around The World. We will have a show soon
in Paris. But I wish I could do concerts outside of France.
be serious, a few weeks after the release of Around the World,
I was invited on the album Guitar Addiction - "A Tribute To
Modern Guitar." It is a beautiful album which includes some
fifty international artists (Mr. Fastfinger, Ron Thal, Matthias Ia
Ecklundh, Stuart Hamm, Christophe Godin, Roo, Tristan Klein, Kenny
Seraneand I was honoured to be invited there.
mwe3: Thank you Nicolas. Best wishes to you, Guitarsnake and Mad Guitar
NN: Thank you to you for this interview and the time you spent on
me. I hope to see you soon!
mwe3.com presents an interview with
ROO CHAPUS of Mad Guitar Records
How did you come to know Guitarsnake and decide to release it on Mad
ROO CHAPUS: During the production of the compilation Melodic
Soloists, one artist informed me he would not be able to submit
in time his track so I went browsing myspace and noticed a comment
from this "Guitarsnake" on my artist page. He hooked my
attention as he was endorsing the same guitar brand as me, so I was
curious and ran his player. His music was perfectly in phase with
the compilation. (lol) It was like Oh, I want this guy!.
Nicolas was also enthusiastic and very professional. Later, he contacted
the label for the release of Around The World. I think the
video clip of Around The World convinced me this guy was totally
committed to his music career.
mwe3: Can you say something about the CD titles you've released so
far on Mad Guitar Records and about the new planned releases?
RC: The label is still emerging, things take place gradually. So far
Mad Guitar Records has 4 to 5 albums. If I count the compilation,
we have released about 20 different instrumental rock artists which
has brought them publicity. Mad Guitar Records aims to release a careful
selection of albums that "tell" a story beyond the music
or the artists skills. I have a nice compilation project in the works
now but this one will take more time. I want the right guys on it
and they are all touring, as always, (lol) but I'll be patient. The
label is working on Seb Bizeul Band's second release that will be
out before the end of the year. Im also planning my second instrumental
album recording with the Roo Band. Some tracks are written, others
must fit into an artistic concept, moreover I don't want to rush it
or interrupt with the gigs schedule and other works. Mad Guitar Records
is in talks with several other instrumental rock guitar artists but
I don't want to give any names.
mwe3: Who are some of your favorite guitarists and bands and what
guitars do you favor and why?
RC: My fave guitarists today are Danny Gatton, Joe Pass and Scotty
Anderson, the Telecaster genius. I tend to like instrumental artists
whose playing extends my knowledge of guitar. When I was younger,
I was a fan of all the Shrapnel Records stuff. I still like bluesy
shredders such as Andy Timmons, Doug Aldrich and Zakk Wylde on the
clean channel. For bands, I genuinely enjoy a wide range of everything:
ZZ Top, Joy Division, pop from the 80s. I love disco, classical
masters such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and I love the movie music
composer Danny Elfman. I enjoy jazz; Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong,
Nat King Cole to name a few...the funny covers of Richard Cheese,
anything that grooves and has a melody. Guitar wise, I endorse Mayones
Guitars. I own two handmade customs called "Legend". I think
the guitar fits well my guitar licks mixtures; vintage and modern.
I also have a Telecaster, I love Telecasters. Those guitars can play
anything, they have soul!
mwe3: Are you from Finland and where do you live now? How do you compare
music from Finland to other countries? Who are your favorite Finnish
musicians? Being you're based in Finland, how about Pekka Pohjola?
RC: I am French native and I settled in Finland eight years ago. The
country has a strong metal culture with countless bands and festivals.
Jazz also finds an audience there which is great. I live in Helsinki
which is a place I love. It is a small world here, everybody knows
everyone. The down side is that there are almost more bands then people
to listen at them. A lot of competition is good though and that way
emerges world class bands able to export themselves. My favorite Finnish
musicians are Mr. Fastfinger (aka Mika Tyyskä) who is a friend
and Elias Viljanen (Sonata Arctica) I don't know him so well. He is
a busy man but I would love to have him involved somehow in a project.
I like also The Mutants, an instrumental band, not actually guitar
oriented at all but surely the most infectious live band I've seen
for a while. I must say I don't know much about Pekka Pohjola, hopefully
no one will take offense but he was, for sure a huge artist.
mwe3: Can you say something about your involvement in playing on the
RC: Nicolas invited me. He is not only a great musician but a great
guy! There is a cool guitar battle on that song "On The Road"
with 6 guitarists! It was not about shred, it really sounds like the
guys are jamming together. I think it is good to involve other artists
on a record, as long as there is an artistic purpose. That way you
increase connections in the business, reach new fans and have fun
at the same time!
Thanks to Nicolas Notarianni @ www.guitarsnake.fr
and thank you to
Roo Chapus, who is the A&R producer for Mad Guitar Records @ www.madguitarrecords.com