Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, October 26, 2012

Interview with Xander Demos

So I just got to interview Xander Demos earlier tonight. I found out about his new record as well as his life as a guitar player, read on for more! 
Be sure to like his facebook HERE

So Xander can you introduce yourself?

Yes! Hello everybody my name is Xander Demos from Pittspurg Pennsylvania I am a guitar player of the metal style (Laughter). I am in several different bands right now including my own solo band.

Can you tell us a bit about your new album?

Guitarcadia was basically an album that was under construction for quite a few years. I released an EP called Road to Guitarcadia with a limited budget just to get some things out there. All Five of the songs that appeared on that album appeared on Guitarcadia. Guitarcadia was an album I always wanted to do. I had the name for a number of years I thought it would be a cool album name. Finally we were all done recording it January this year when it was sent to Cj Snare for it to be mixed and mastered and it was released in February as planned.

The first time I heard I thought it sounded like something that Shrapnel Records would have released in the 80s. Was that a goal of yours?

Yes it actually was. Got to be honest I was a huge Shrapnel Record fans and as a guitarist I'm really into instrumental music so that was where I was going with that. The new album I'm working on, Dancing Through Daggers has a vocalist and different band members. So a lot of the make up of the song writing is different now. Where I had 8 instrumentals and 2 vocals tunes on Guitarcadia, I have 7 vocal tunes and 3 instrumentals on the albums that's going to be coming out.

When can we expect that?

That'll be out probably next year we've got the 3 instrumentals already written and two vocal tunes already written. The other 5 I'm going to do with my band.

Are the vocal tunes going to be power metally?

Yes, they definitely will. Power metal style. But if you're familiar with Dream Theater you know how they can throw you a curveball every one in a while with their songwriting in songs like Lifting Shadows off a Dream or I walk besides you. I have a song called Minds Eye which is very much like one of those tunes. It's a really mleodic tune it doesn't have a lot of heaviness to it but its defintely in the signature sound that I have. Really big hooks and all that. The new album is sort of like a story rather than just some cool stuff thrown together. But I'll release more info as we get closer to the release.

For Guitarcadia, how did the writing process go?

It took place over a number of years. On Metagalactic, which on Road to Guitarcadia was called Into the Skies, I changed the name on a few songs for a couple reasons. Metagalactic was written back in the late 80s and I actually submitted that to Shrapnel. I wasn't as accomplished a player at that time and of course I never heard anything back but at least I got that out there. I knew that Mike Barney got thousands of submissions. So that's my oldest tune. But most of the other stuff, like Right Angles I wrote 3 years ago. It was melodic, almost like a pop metal song and I thought you know this might work with some vocals. The song Nothing Major was a collaboration with my keyboard player. We were joking around saying this song will be all major key stuff and we'll call it “Nothing Major” being silly in our songwriting there. Under Darkened Skies actually went back to the power metal band called Stronghold. The vocalists that's on their was the vocalist in that band to do it because we had never done it in the studio. The writing process was kind of cool the way it went. Woodshed Sonata was actually written by me and then Matt and Chris laid down their parts without ever hearing the song!

What kind of equipment did you use on Guitarcadia?

I have an iMac with an extra monitor. I used Protools Vigio 3. The direct interface version. I used some other things, I have an octo-pre for the drums. Then a PreSonus Eureka for the vocals and definitely the bass. Most of the stuff I use like Sennheiser and Short mics I use to mic up my cabinet. I sometimes do weird mic tricks with that but nothing crazy. I also used the AxeFX ultra on pretty much all my guitar parts?

Whats your favorite song off Guitarcadia?

The one that's so special to me is Right Angles it opens it right up and introduces the whole album. As for playing it either Right Angles or Guitarcadia because Guitarcadia is a lot of fun and we actually have an extended beginning that's actually going to be on the new album as a bonus track. Guitarcadia is a blast to play live.

One of my highlights was the Boys of Summer cover. Why did you include it?

Good question. When I was trying to get some stuff recorded a long time ago a friend of mine who plays in the Sabbath Judas Sabbath tribute band with me he was recording a demo for the cover band that I was in. We did 8-9 cover tunes, just completely random tracks, Seperate Ways by Journey, Don't Stop Believing, Jump. All these songs a cover band would play, just a lot heavier. But Boys of Summer we kind of took to a new level because we were all into the shred thing. I don't know if you're familiar with it but The Working Man album from 1995 came out with a cover of Analog Kid on it. And Michael Romeo and Billy Sheehan played on it. That Boys of Summer was a tribute to that song. And that's why I included it. It has that little shred solo in the middle and the fun bass guitar. So basically I included because it had a lot of over top guitar work.

When and why did you start playing guitar?

That's an easy one. Basically I started in the 80s watching MTV and I basically started out on drums but that didn't work out to well. But a year later I begged my parents to get my guitar and I saw Ozzy and Night Ranger and all these other guitar players getting these cool noises out of it and that's kind of what started it.

How many hours a day were you doing in high school?

Maybe like one hour a day? Sometimes it was longer there was days where I probably had a guitar in my hand for 3-4 hours it wasn't all the time.

So how did you get so good?

In the 90s when grunge came around and guitar playing was no longer cool I justkept playing annd practicing a lot and hoping that style of playing would be popular again. And when I joined a power metal band in the early 2000s people were like “Oh hey look this guy plays guitar solos” and stuffl like that. I basically had 8-9 years in the 90s to improve myself.

With your band, what are you future plans, especially for tours?

Well future plans right now are to get this second album done and do some national act openings and if we're fortunate enough and somebody gives us enough a money maybe do a tour.
Finally, What is it that you love so much about music?

Everything, I know I sound like the guy from Almost Famous when I say that but everything possible. The way a song hits you and hearing something new that wasn't there a year ago and you think about where you were when you heard it. Its all of music that I love.

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