pop-rock maven Errol Antzisfounder of Psychoteriais
a man of many talents, and one is the ability to craft and release
a mind boggling array of guitar based pop-rock. The sound of instrumental
guitar that was present on the first two Psychoteria albums has given
rise to Errols 2011 CD called I Think Ill Just Stay
Home. Decked out with typical Antzis style colorful
artwork, the music within features Errol in a solid pop mode, showcasing
Antzis, the pop-rock vocalist / guitarist. The results are quite interesting,
especially when you consider that backing up Errol on a number of
tracks here is none other than Holland's fabled fusion guitar hero
Jan Akkerman. One of the four instrumentals here, The
Soft And The Hard features a fine dueling guitars effect between
Errol and Jan that is a must for fusion fans while Acting Class
(POP) sounds like Dickey Betts in the Allmans. Antzis as usual
turns in a fine electric guitar performance and, assisted by drummer
Jonathan Mover on the title track, he serves up a smorgasbord
of 60s stylesometimes humorous and socially satiricalpop
songs and instrumentals. The title track I Think Ill Just
Stay Home sounds inspired, no doubt by Errols endless
appetite for dissecting classic pop-rock of the 60sfrom
The Monkees and Buffalo Springfield to obscure psyche-rock groups
like The Left Banke and The Leaves. Beatles fans will appreciate Errols
ringing cover of Its Only Lovefusing the Fab
Four fave with a jingle jangle, tambourine turning, Byrds flavored
Beatles beat. www.psychoteria.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Errol Antzis of PSYCHOTERIA
mwe3.com: Its been way too long since the last Psychoteria album,
The Hard And The Soft but I Think Ill Just Stay Home
is your best album yet. I was happy to see your dog, (same
dog?) on the cover, and is that your wife on the cover with you? It's
been a while since we met back in 2003. What was the mission with
the new album and how would you compare this new CD with the earlier
ANTZIS: That is, in fact, Baby, the same dog who graced my prior CD,
but unfortunately she passed away shortly after the photos were taken.
Ive dedicated the CD to her, as she was a true inspiration as
well as my best friend. The woman in the photos is actually Juliana
Hansen, one of my wifes acting students.
While there was no mission, per se, with this CD, I wrote
and recorded most of the songs during a very difficult time in my
life, as evidenced by the majority of lyrics. It was very cathartic
to compose the music and pen the lyrics while so many things were
happening. That being said, while I feel very good about all three
of my CDs. I Think Ill Just Stay Home is by far
the best with respect to composition, orchestration and recording
mwe3: How do you balance your love of 60s pop with your ability
to write a great rock instrumental? Can you say something about the
instrumental trio on the albumthe first Acting Class (R&B)
and then Acting Class (Pop) and then Acting Class
(Rock), what I call the Acting Class trio. I know
your wife is a beautiful actress!
EA: Thanks for the compliments about my wifeIll pass them
along! I try very hard to integrate all of the types of music that
have served as influencesand they range from 60s pop,
as you mention, to metal, prog and a smattering of country. The CD
has a very diverse range of musical genres being represented, and
I hope that people appreciate the fact that there can still be cohesiveness
even with this broad range.
Acting Class trio of pieces were composed as a score for
a TV pilot. The pilot was well-received but has yet to find a medium
for further production. I truly enjoyed the process of scoring, though,
and there was quite a bit of additional music I wrote for the pilot
that was used as backing for various scenes.
mwe3: I was amazed at the new tracks with Jan Akkerman. How did you
hook up with Jan and get the tracks finished? I was also amazed at
another instrumental here, The Soft And The Hard, which
is a play on words regarding the title of your second solo album.
EA: I was introduced to Jan through a friend of mine who owns an indie
record label, and who handles many of Jans tours in Europe.
Jan is one of the nicest, and of course most talented, artists Ive
ever met. We worked via the internet, sending music files to each
other, and Jan came up with very creative and complimentary parts
for all of the songs I sent to him. Jan played on about half of the
tracks on the CD, including Way Out, Acting Class
(R&B), I Think Ill Just Stay Home, The
Soft And The Hard, Anatomy and The Loner.
Jan told me that he really enjoyed playing on my tracks, as many of
them represented genres which he hadnt played in quite some
timefor example The Loner which is a country-inspired
song. The Soft And The Hard is, as you point out, a play
on the title of my second CD, and the title is inspired by the dynamics
in the song. It was a lot of fun to compose and play, because it has
a great groove that is very inspirational for instrumental soloing.
mwe3.com: What guitars do you feature on the album and what do you
think of the current state of the guitar world these days?
Quite frankly, I believe I played over 20 guitars on the album, and
likely more, many on the same songs, to sometimes create a dense wash
of guitar sounds, but also to often provide distinct sounds as if
they were actually different types of instruments, and not only electric
and acoustic guitars.
I think that the evolution of the guitar manufacturing process has
been amazing. Now you can purchase incredibly inexpensive instruments
that rival far more costly guitars of years ago. Standardization of
manufacturing processes, along with refinements in materials and knowledge
of sound, have greatly enhanced what is available today. I also love
vintage instruments, and they will always carry a strong cache, but
I think that you can buy new instruments today that rival almost any
vintage guitar available. I hope thats not sacrilegious
mwe3: Are you still in search of that elusive guitar and what was
the last guitar you acquired or became fascinated with?
EA: I actually buy and sell guitars all the time, and with so many
instruments at hand I have to say that there is no longer a single
instrument for which Im still searching. My most recent purchases,
after the CD was released, were a collection of Kawai Moonsaults.
Very rare, not well known, but incredibly artful and playable.
mwe3: Were you also playing drums and keyboards on the album? I saw
Jonathan Mover played drums too and Greg Dibenedetto played guitar
played both drums and keys on almost every song. Jonathan, who is
one of my closest friends and an amazingly talented drummer, played
on two songs on the CD, and his contributions were simply fantastic.
Greg, who has been a friend since grade school, believe it or not,
played some of the intro guitar on The Loner, along with
Jan Akkerman and me. As I mentioned, I did a lot of layering of guitars
to achieve the type of sound I was after.
mwe3.com: The vocal cuts were great and you sound inspired. Can you
say something about two of my favorite tracksthe title track
I Think Ill Just Stay Home and the CD closing I
Used To Be which has a kind of Lennon-esque edge to it.
EA: I truly appreciate your compliments on the vocals, as that is
an area that I only recently became comfortable with. I think the
vocals really fit the songs, and I made sure that I only cut them
when I was in the right mood for each song. I didnt try to just
sing and then hope that the mood of the vocals matched the song. I
Think Ill Just Stay Home is one of the lighter lyric-ed
songs on the CD, and I tried to sing it with a bit of humor. I
Used to Be is the complete opposite. Its a song about
no longer having the drive or the spark to move forward, and coming
to realize that things may never be the same. It was a tough song
to sing, as the lyrics and the meaning were very emotional for me
at the time. Luckily, the various situations that inspired those lyrics
have improved, and Im not sure I could sing it the same way
mwe3.com: The Beatles cover is brilliant. Your vocal kind of turns
it into a Byrds sounding cover, more upbeat with an uptempo sound.
What led you to Its Only Love? Sounds like it was
waiting for your cover. What guitars did you combine on that track?
EA: While I count Jan, Jimmy Page and Michael Schenker as major guitar
influences, The Beatles were it for me. I had to honor
them on the CD, as I like to think their song-smithing was also very
influential for me. I never thought of the cover as sounding Byrds-like,
but I can see the reference. I just thought of performing the song
in a slightly more modern way, with somewhat heavier guitars
and a slightly more forceful vocal. The song is one of my favorite
Beatles tunes, but then again, most Beatles songs are my favorites.
I believe I used a Jimmy Page Les Paul on that one, and used a recently
acquired vintage Coral Sitar that had been owned by Frank Sinatras
guitarist, Tony Mottola, for some of the backing parts.
Its always current to look back at that Rubber Soul late
65 period and how it kind of spawned the whole folk-rock
thing. Are you still a big collector of rare music of The Beatles
and what did you think about the Beatles In Mono box? Do you think
there are any rarities left in the world and what is your favorite
Beatles CD or Lp of all time?
EA: I have a very, very large collection of Beatle recordings, but
want to note that I never purchase pirated CDs,
i.e. copies of commercially available music, as that is literally
stealing from the artist. I do, though, collect a lot of studio rehearsals
that were never made available commercially (until the Anthology series
was released), as I find it fascinating to listen to the Beatles compositional
process. Hearing a song with which youre completely familiar,
but played in a different way, perhaps with different lyrics, structure
or chords, is an amazing experience.
I love the mono and stereo boxes that were recently released, and
while I do have all of the original vinyl LPs, which by the
way I still think sound more involving and warmer, its nice
to have everything in such a convenient format. It is interesting
to stay current with all of the rarities being released from the Beatles,
or any other musical artists, and who knows how much more is still
hidden away somewhere, awaiting the light of day? I really dont
have a single favorite CD or LP of the Beatles. While I like some
songs better than others, theyre interspersed throughout their
mwe3: You can tell your CD sounds great, especially as it was superbly
mastered by George Marino at Sterling. George mastered Double Fantasy
with John and Yoko no doubt controlling every nuance. Did you
sit in with George? How does mastering affect the sound of an album?
EA: I knew that George had mastered many famous albums, but was unaware
of that one in particular! I did, in fact, work directly with George
during the entire mastering process, which took one full day. One
of the highest compliments Ive received yet, was at the end
of the session. George looked at me and said, You know, I really
didnt have to do very much to this CD.
Can you say something about your other recent activities, work at
the Drumhead magazine and other current interests or concerns and
hobbies and other upcoming plans?
EA: I am the type of person who has many, many interests, and all
are related to music in some way. I started Drumhead with Jonathan
Mover nearly five years ago, and at this point Jonathan handles virtually
every aspect of the magazine, and does so incredibly well. I also
have a day job, if you will, which is my full time occupation.
Im a partner at an investment bank in NYC, and head the banks
Digital Media and Entertainment group, which provides advisory services
and raises capital for companies in music and other areas of internet-based
entertainment. Its a great job, and certainly compliments my
musical proclivities as well.
to Errol Antzis @ www.psychoteria.com