Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Interview with Francesco Artusato!

So I recently had the privilege to interview Francesco Artusato of All Shall Perish. The interview is rather long and talks all about Francesco and All Shall Perish as well as his solo albums. Also there is a mention of a really cool new project on the horizon!

The audio can be found at the following link: HERE

And be sure to like the bands Facebook

Two Guys Metal Reviews: So, Whats going on right now in the world of Francesco?

Francesco Artusato: Well, last week was a pretty busy week. NAMM week... I was there for some signings and interviews. I was really looking forward to doing the signing for the Ibanez. I've been playing those guitars for a very long time. So that was pretty cool. Now I'm just at home, working on different projects, working on tracks for other people. I have a lot of people asking me to do guest solos and guest appearances on their albums. So that's what I do. I do some teaching too. And then at the end of March with All Shall Perish we're going to start our headliner tour throughout the US. We're touring with some cool bands, Carnifex, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Conducting from the Grave and The Contortionist. So I already know half of those bands personally. I'm excited because they're all cool people so it's gonna be fun. And just... you know, working on new music, so we'll se when something new is gonna come out.

TGMR: Cool, so the new Ibanez is really sick then?

FA: Oh yeah! Right now I feel like I'm so lucky that I have a company like that that builds guitars for me. So now I'm playing some instruments that are incredible. Every time I grab a guitar I'm stoked. And it's crazy that even after so many years of playing guitar I still get excited about playing an instrument because the instrument plays so well. So I feel very lucky.

TGMR: Speaking of that, you played saxophone at 14 and only started guitar at 19, but still got high honors at Berklee. How did you become so good so fast?

FA: First of all thanks. (Laughter) It was kind of like... when I first started playing guitar I was like, either I play guitar and that's all I do or I'm not even going to waste my time. With the saxophone it was more like a hobby. I would just play and it was fine. It's still good because it got me to study some theory and site reading and all that. Which is important. But it was with guitar that I really fell in love with the instrument the second I started playing. And it's weird that I started playing guitar so late because pretty much my whole life I had guitars all over the house. A lot of people in my family play guitar. It's weird that I never even thought about grabbing one and starting to play it. Then as soon as that happened... Later in someone's life when you're 19 and starting playing... But really it became my priority every day to play as much guitar as possible. And I was so focused that in the first few years I just stopped going out. That's all I would do, sit in my room playing guitar and studying. And of course I was lucky because I had some good teachers that helped too!

TGMR: So you're just like me! (Laughter)... So, what do you love so much about metal?

FA: It's... I really like the energy that metal music... the impact it has to the crowd and the strong reaction you see from the crowd. It just gives you a lot of energy, playing that music live. Also, if you think about guitar music. Music that is played by guitar. Metal is one of those genres where it really matters if you can play well or not. In some other genres it's just a tool to play with the rest of the band. But with metal, there's a lot more leadwork and the technicality. Of course together with other genre's like Jazz and Fusion and classical music, it's a whole different story. I'm not even gonna start on that. So right from the beginning it was very appealing to me. The fat that it really matters, all those hours that you spend practicing try to get better they make sense when you're playing music that uses all of that.

TGMR: Yeah, so speaking of music that uses all of that, of all of the metal genres out there, and we both know that there are a lot, why join a Deathcore band like All Shall Perish?

FA: It felt like the right thing at the right moment. It was after a couple of other bands, I was touring here in LA and I got this offer to do an audition, and really it didn't take long. I did the audition and the guys got excited. I met them, then pretty much 3-4 days after I got the first phone call, I was in the band.

TGMR: Sweet

FA: It happened so fast, but it felt right. You know sometimes you try to do something, or you start working some place and you see all these problems in between, and getting work done. But in this case it felt so immediate. It felt so right. I met the people and they were cool people so I said ok this is good, there's a good environment to work in. I like the music... so Lets give it a try! So that's how it started. Then we went on a couple of tours and started writing music, and even the writing part went real well. So that's what happened.

TGMR: So we can expect more from you with All Shall Perish?

FA: Oh yeah, tha'ts for sure.

TGMR: Cool, Can we talk about your solo album? That's far and away one of my favorite instrumentals.

FA: Thank you man. It's kind of weird the way I worked on it. It all started as a kind of side project while I was at school at Berklee. And one of my best friends was taking different classes, studying to become an audio engineer. And he had some time to book in the studio and he wanted to do an instrumental band. Most of the time if you're at Berklee you do jazz band's and trio's and stuff like that. But he said “I wanna do a trio, but a different kind of band, more like a metal thing. So can you write 2-3 songs?”. So I wrote a few tracks, and went in and recorded it. And that was pretty much the first stab I ever had at that music. Then after that I had a lot of fun trying to write it. I've been a crazy fan of the guitar heroes of the 80s and 90s. When I started playing guitar I listened to a lot of instrumental albums. One of the things I wanted to do at some time in my life was to do an instrumental album. And I would just put together ideas that I had, riffs. And every once in a while I would just complete a song. So I was never thinking about writing a whole album. It was more like “Now I'm gonna write another song” and then I would stay 6-7 months without writing anything then write something else just for fun. Then it got to the point that I had enough for a whole album so I thought what I can do is I can rerecord everything with more of a touch and the playing skills that I have now years later to make it more cohesive. So I did that, that's how I put everything together. But it's weird because a lot of it is old ideas and old music from 5-6 years ago. It's music that feels very old but some of the music on that album feels very new. So it's weird. If I had to do another one, might happen, might not. I would write it more like a whole album, just like go “Now I'm gonna spend the next few months just writing an album”. But sometimes that's good some times not as good because if you feel forced to write music you end up writing music that's a little to similar. Especially when you're by yourself, you don't have other inputs. I would like to collaborate more with that musician if had to do another instrumental album. Work more in the studio with the drummer and bass player, sharing ideas.

TGMR: So you mentioned a couple 80's 90's guitar hero's as big influences, could you gives us some names?

FA: Yeah, guys like, Vinnie Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, all those guys, Steve Vai, really big influence. Then of course Petrucci, all those people for more the rock and metal type of playing. A little less metal but guys like Andy Timmons, Steve Moore, that kind of vibe. Then I got really into jazz and fusion. A guy like Holdsworth was a gigantic experience for me. Carl Henderson the same.

TGMR: Ok, Let's go back to All Shall Perish for a minute, on the new record, there's some pretty cool lyrics. Were do they come from?

FA: Well, lyrics it's mostly, pretty much 100% Eddie writing the lyrics. We talk about them a lot. But for some reason when we're on tour we talk a lot about politics and society, religion... we talk about things that surround us a lot. Sometimes we don't share the same ideas, sometimes we do share the same ideas. So it's kind of like... In an album some lyrics I feel like I'm part of it too because that's the way I felt. Some other lyrics I don't feel like that at all. It's more like a band, lyrics are more like the vocalists voice. It'll be like, leads and solos and writing riffs that's my territory. I'm not really involved in the writing lyrics, it's pretty much our singer doing it.

TGMR: What's your favorite song of that record if you had to pick just one?

FA: Well, it's really difficult. IT feels like it changes a lot. Sometimes I'll really like one thing sometimes I'll really like another thing. Right now in this moment of the album's life I don't listen too it anymore. The writing and recording and dealing with all the promotion I felt like I listened to that record so much that right now I feel like it's the time that I don't even listen to it. And of course we're playing a few of those songs live. But still I think one of the most fun songs probably because it's the more guitar oriented kind of track is probably track number 4, Pure Evil. Thats a very fun song, very extreme and crazy, the lead work is all over the place. It's a song we haven't played live yet, maybe in the future. But, it's a very very tough song to play.

TGMR: I would imagine. With All Shall Perish, is pretty extreme relative to other metal bands even. Who do you feel is your target demographic, who are you trying to get your music too?

FA: Let's say that the Deathcore... A lot of the time Deathcore is associated with the hype the music has with younger generations. So there's a lot of 16 year olds and 18 year olds going crazy with that. But you also find fans that are a little older. But I think we're kind of getting out of being labeled as just a deathcore band. A lot of people are just starting to call us a metal band. If you listen to the evolution, even from the previous record, even from the last one This is Where it Ends, it really feels like the band is evolving and it's leaving the Deathcore name behind. Being labeled as a metal band is more appealing for older crowds too.

TGMR: I get you, What element do you feel that you uniquely add to the band, compared to previous guitarists All Shall Perish has had?

FA: I can talk about what I hear from fans and critics. What I hear is that the leadwork is more musical and more melody based. The whole music itself has a little more melody in it. There's heavy and dark parts, but it makes it catchy with the melodies you can just sing in your head. That's kind of like something that I like to do a lot. And I like the sound a lot. And probably since I come from a little different background I also try to push to try a little more new things. Sometimes they don't work sometimes we decide to use those ideas sometimes we don't. I feel like my influence is more like a progressive kind of influence. I would say that.

TGMR: That would make sense. SO we talked about the upcoming tour a little, can you tell us a little bit more about what the setlist of the upcoming tour is gonna look like?

FA: It's definitely gonna be a longer setlist than what we usually play. There's gonna be songs from each one of the four albums that we have. Right now since we're still two months from the tour theirs gonna be rehearsal schedules before the tour. Right now we're talking about setlist. Trying to add some songs that many times we hear fans calling names during our set. They always ask for certain songs. They're the songs that sometimes they don't get played too much. Sometimes because they're just longer songs. But we're the headliner, you can try different things, you can also implement longer songs because your set is not just 45 minutes. In an hour and a half you want to get a lot of variety and it's good to put songs with different vibes. And of course I'm sure there's going to be some surprises for fans.

TGMR: Sweet, that'll be really cool. Are there any places that you've never played before that you're really looking forward to playing on this tour?

FA: On this tour I actually think that we've pretty much almost played every single venue. There's a couple different than the usual. I don't even remember completely each venue completely. I know our drummer is from Kentucky and he's excited because we're finally going to play a hometown show for him. So that's new.

TGMR: That'll be cool. Earlier on you mentioned guest appearances, are any really special to you?

FA: Are you talking about the projects guest appearances?

TGMR: Yeah

FA: There's... (hesitates) I don't even know if it's good to talk about it, because it's going to be more of a surprise. If it hasn't been announced yet it's probably not good that I talk about it. The one project that I basically finished yesterday recording guitars, is called Star Monarchy. I did pretty much all the guitars, leads and rhythms. It's a very interesting and crazy project because we have like 4-5 drummers, 4-5 singers, and they're all from pretty well known bands. The project was started by Ray Riando, a great bass player, he played with Bedsford, did the Labrix albums. This guy's just like a session worker for pretty much half the music you heard on the radio. He's a crazy crazy incredible bass player. So it's kind of like the project putting all these people together. It's going to be very interesting when it comes out. There's actually one song you can already listen too, it's on iTunes already and it features on vocals Dan Tompkins from Tesseract. It's a really really cool track. Other things, I'm working on 4-5 other projects right now but all kind of are new and nobody has talked about it yet so it's kind of a surprise for the future.

TGMR: So we can expect a good amount of material from you, which is cool. How do you feel about the metal scene in general?

FA: I feel that right now it's a good time for metal. It really feels like after the 90s and the beginning of... until 5-6 years it felt like metal was not hype anymore and the kids weren't listening to it they were listening to other stuff. And they still called it metal but it was like Nu-Metal was the predominant form of metal. But now even with stuff like Guitar Hero, Rock Band stuff like that all kids want to play solos and leads on guitars. It's a good thing because it brings even old metal back to peoples ears. It's crazy because sometimes we have fans who are very young who listen to our music. And they don't even know like who Opeth is or Cannibal Corpse, never even heard of these bands. All they know is the brand new band. It's still good. It's just like all to learn. And the other thing is sometimes I think a lot of the bands sound the same. A lot of new bands that start right away they try to sound like this other band or this band that they really like. This ended up happening to like 50 bands that pretty much sound the same. Theres a lot more new bands now than there used to be and with a pretty much all right computer at home you can record a demo. Some people just don't even like ever play with a band and just write music. Whenever they have to play a live show they have to figure out how to perform the music. It's a very weird kind of age with technology everything changes so fast. But the things is that metal stays strong. There are moments when it's not talked about theres like so many people. Then you see even extreme heavy bands do really well on music charts and when you go to a good metal show it's pretty much always packed, which is a good sign.

TGMR: That's definitely true. How do djent and mathcore type stuff, like Periphery?

FA: It's definitely music that's not easy for drummer (laughs) there's some elements I think are pretty interesting. The one thing that I am not a fan of is that a band so influential like Meshuggah other bands are taking the element from that specific band and putting that type of groove in the back of the music and they all start sounding the same if they're not done with the originality. Last week I went to the Meshugga new album listening party and every time I listen to a whole new Meshuggah album it does sound fresh. Every time with a new album they are adding something. It can be all the heaviest songs ever or a song with a very different sounding groove. A lot of the djent bands that you hear are not really going deeply into whatever Meshugga's doing but trying to make their own. They just take the basic simple idea and write a song like that. Of course some abnds are good at doing it, it's just probably not a genre that feels very appealing to me. There's a lot of talent I gotta say. A lot of the musicians who I know I'm even friends who play that kind of music are really good and talented.

TGMR: And how do you feel about Black Sabbath getting back together and Tony Iommi's cancer?

FA: You know it's weird when band's like that get back together, almost all the time I kind of get to hear them with the original formation poor band that get back together from 20-30 years ago. Of course they don't sound as good as they used to a lot of the time. But it's fun because you get to say I went to the show and got to see the original line up, that's kind of like the strength of a show like that. They know they're gonna pack the stadium because of that. Sometimes it would be better if a band's that's not the same stays that way. But I haven't seen it yet, I can't judge. I heard that even Guns and Roses are talking about playing with the original line up for a show. Even those things... maybe it's fun.

TGMR: So, the thing that's been bothering the music industry for the last week or so SOPA and PIPA the new piracy laws that don't really work?

FA: Well, the whole thing with piracy man is.. I never really payed to much attention until I was making a livng with music. I always thought it could be ok if somebody was downloading an album not a big deal. But when you think about somebody downloading an album it's not just that person it's thousands and sometimes millions of people downloading an album Maybe not all of them would have bought it. But if even half or a THIRD of those people bought it, it would make a big difference to somebody who's working hard on it. So now I have a lot more respect for it. Again I was a little ignorant about it previously, it's because I was not that involved. I wouldn't expect people to know how the music industry works to understand. A lot of kids are ignorant a little stupid not knowing. But they're not trying to hurt you, hurt the band specifically. They're not doing it on purpose. But then they are doing it. This whole things is really killing the music industry. Everything is changing so fast now, look at the bands schedule with tours and stuff like that band's need to tour more because that's the only way that you survive. There's more and more bands every day and all of them sell less and less every day. If it wasn't for me.. I have colleagues, let's call them that way who think it's cool to download music. It's still a good way to share the music. To spread the name and have people talk about you. I don't know, I don't really feel that way, I feel like it is stealing from somebody. It is somebodies work. I fully hope that one day there will be some successful way to control that. And I'm not talking about things that they know whats in your computer. Those things to me sound ridiculous. There should be some privacy in everybody's life. I don't want somebody going inside my computer and going like “Oh you have this album”, I might have this album because my friend actually bought it and gave it to me. That's how it worked in the past too. Somebody giving me his album and I'm listening to it, that's not bad. But the action of actually going and downloading it illegally that's not a good thing to do. So if one day that happens and they make it impossible for people to steal, that'll be good.

TGMR: Quickly, can we talk about bandhappy and how you got involved into that?

FA: It just started, I got back from overseas last week and I was pretty much at NAMM the whole week after. Basically some people, Matt from Periphery the drummer. HE contactedd me and said that some people are requesting lessons with me and asked if I was interested in doing that. And I'm already doing skype lessons, someone calls me on skype and we can do a lesson. So it can be with people from all over the world. So bandhappy is pretty much the same, it has it's own system. So instead of using skype it's a different server different system. It's online lessons. So anybody around the globe can have a lesson with me or whoever's on the roster.

TGMR: One more question about that, what are you goals with it? Do you plan on giving weekly lessons with people? Can they stick with you for a long period of time?

FA: Oh yeah, if I have a good internet connection, I can do it all the time when I'm home and not busy. I'll be offering tour lessons too, so anybody can just show up and get on the tour bus and get a lesson. So that'll be like live and in person. Bandhappy while I'm not on tour is just going to be on tour is just going to be lessons. If people are interested in doing weekly lessons and following a program it's possible too.

TGMR: Cool, So nearing the end here. What is it that you love so much about music?

FA: It's really simple, every once in a while it might happen once a day it might happen twice a day it might happen once a week its the incredible emotion I feel that I get from music. It's easy to say but it's almost impossible to explain the way it makes me feel. My whole body gets a positive shock for a moment. And I almost start shaking inside from the emotion I get from music. That's really the joy I get from doing it. It can be listening to someone else's music or it can be music that I make. You work on music for hours, many hours working on one song. Then after you're done you listen to that part of a chorus or whatever and that's how you feel about music that you've created. That's an incredible satisfaction an incredible emotion. And it can be translated into a live situation, that music can give the same type of emotion to the crowd. Then you feel that back too. It's sharing back and forth emotion.

TGMR: Any final comments?

FA: Just, I'm really thaknful for the crazy amount of things. The people that stick around and actaully show real love for me and for the abdn. And i'm very happy in the last 1-2 years so many good things happened to me. If I think about it makes me very happy and amazes me. I feel very lucky and privileged to do this. I really thakn the people that make this possible. 99% of it is fans. Of course check our facebook and all that stuff for tour dates and all that stuff. Come to shows come drink a beer and talk. We'll be there.

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