Welcome to the second update of the new look www.baroqueandroll.com. All the websites previous old content will be making it into these pages as archive material, I hope that the new way to interact with the site makes it more accessible for you, it certainly helps me.
In today's update we have an interview which has been sat in my archives for a few weeks now and this is another reason why I have changed to to this format of website. To prevent this from happening again the future.
On with the interview...
Dushan Petrossi Interview
Iron Mask / Magic Kingdom
Dushan Petrossi is the founder of 2 great neo-classically tinted bands - Iron Mask and Magic Kingdom. Hailing from Belgium, Dushan's profile has been building rapidly over the last few years with the last Iron Mask album 'Hordes Of The Brave' picking up superb releases all over the world. Fresh back from an extensive European tour with Anvil we got in touch with Dushan to discuss the last Iron Mask album, the supporting tour, his guitar playing and what's next for him down the line as well as how he sees the neo-classical genre.
Interview conducted March 27th 2006
If we can discuss the last Iron Mask release first. 'Hordes Of The Brave' saw superb press around the world, and it really saw the band hone a trademark sound. Are you pleased with how the album was received?
My pleasure Andy, well; yes of course we are very happy with the media reaction, its beyond any expectations, we got great reviews around the world and our fans really love this album, that’s most important to me.
Your did a European tour in support of Anvil, how did the tour go and what was the crowd reception like?
It was amazing, especially at the Monsters of Transylvania festival in Romania. I didn't know so many people know us in the eastern countries. Anvil are very kind people, we had a lot of fun and in spite of some organisation shit we really enjoyed the tour. Meeting the fans was great, they came from Turkey, Bulgaria etc to see us live. We really hope to tour as soon as possible again. The album is killer for live gigs and people sing along with us, we had a blast. This year we'll be co headlining this Monster of Transylvania in Romania again.
What sort of set list did you generally play?
When time permitted we played all the ‘Hordes of the Brave ‘album plus 2 instrumental tunes - ’Black Magic Castle’ and a new one which will probably be on the next MK album (or the next IM) called’ Ghost of the Tzar’. For the next festival in France (30th of April) as headliner we'll also play a brand new instrumental song, a fast one called ‘Nemo ’s Nautilus‘.
The use of the two vocalists in Goetz 'Valhalla jr 'Mohre and Oliver Hartmann really added a nice dimension to the music. Was it just Goetz on the tour?
Yes only Valhalla jr. Olli just released his solo album, but he told me he will come for some good festivals as well.
You had some great duelling neo-classical solo sections with Richard Andersson who played guest keyboards on the album. Will you two collaborate again in the future?Thanks a lot ,yes he’ s always welcome. He will do some keys solos again for my next MK and IM album that s for sure-) I like his playing a lot.
What did you set out to achieve on the album and do you think you accomplished it?
Trying to get my own little style, in spite of a lot people who are thinking I'm only doing Malmsteen stuff. I think we now sound different, the album got a powerful sound with great songs and very catchy vocals melodies. As a guitar player I think you can now hear some more different things, more tapping, legato, string skipping, but don't get me wrong I'll never put unnecessary technique into my playing. If a song only need some good slow melody (My eternal flame) I'll prefer that.
Ok if we can now get onto guitar playing. What inspired you to start playing and what inspires you still to this day?
The acoustic guitar of my older brother ,I was very young. Nowadays I just try to write good songs, as a guitar player I was influenced by Gary Moore ,Yngwie, Steve Lynch, Al DiMeola, Schenker etc.
Where do you think your playing is going?
I really don t know as I improvise a lot of my solos, but I try to be melodic and most important put some emotions and feelings in a solo, that’s the hardest thing to do. I just hate unnecessary shredding, Your guitar must sing like a human voice or a violin, playing only fast is ridiculous at least in my point of view as guitar player.
You are able to pull off some fantastic fast runs, do you have any advice for less experienced players that are perhaps having difficulty in building up speed and precision?
Playing, practice ,record yourself if you can as much as possible, don't rush things - its the worst way to learn if you skip some important stuff such as right hand picking coordination. A clean legato or tapping with one, 2 or 3 strings (two handed tap) need to be very clean …you need to hear each note.
What does you day-to-day guitar routine involve?
It depends, rehearsing for gigs or writing new songs.
When playing at home, what can Dushan Petrossi be heard playing?
A lot of improvised stuff, scales, new songs, some small exercises, rehearsing old stuff for gigs too etc.
How did you record the guitars on the last Iron Mask and Magic Kingdom albums? 100% Marshall, actually the JCM800 with the JMP-1 pre amp for the MK album and the JCM2000 for the IM album; On the Hordes of the brave album I also used a Dod pedal and my wah for some solos too.
Any tips for getting a good guitar tone during recording?
Get a good mic and a good Strat in a Marshall ahaha.
What do you like to hear in your tone?
I like lot of bass for the rhythm guitars and enough middle in my solos sound but I hate screaming sounds with too much treble; simple things sound the best, I don’t need a big rack full of effects or big eq-
Which of the albums you have recorded are you most pleased with (a) your guitar tone, (b) overall sound.
I like the last MK album guitar sound but I prefer the overall sound on ‘Hordes of the Brave’, my solo sound is also better on the IM album
What is it about the neo-classical genre that you like and where do you feel your music falls into the genre?
I always loved classical music, my favourite composer of all time is Handel, and when in the 80’s I discovered; guitar players putting this side of the classical music onto rock ,I knew it was the way I wanted to sound coz its the way I hear music . I don’t care about nu metal or rap, its the worst think on earth, its not even art for me and really I don’t care if people think I'm doing what Yngwie's doing, the real fans know the differences, but my music isn't based on only the neo classical approach; its more song oriented but with solos, classical themes , breaks, darker and heavier riffs.
I believe you are in the process of having a custom instrument made for you, can you give us anymore information on this guitar i.e. who's making it, shape, pickups, tremolo etc..
Yes Regis Sala, a great French luthier will do a signature guitar for me ,I met him in November at one of the Iron Mask show in Paris, he came backstage and gave me a guitar of his own. I tried it and liked the instrument: so we made a deal; he’s actually doing it right now, it will be a mix of my Fender and my ESP guitars with some ‘violin’ stuff as well -)) I didn’t want a Fender replica, but something close to Fender is ok for me ,the pick up will be from Benedetti, with a vintage tremolo, a mix of vintage and modern stuff. Later fans and guitar players will be able to purchase the DP model through my web site or the Regis Sala one. It'll be a fantastic looking and sounding guitar ,you'll see.
What do you look for in a guitar?
The way to express my feelings.
What are you plans for 2006?
Well; we'll start recording 2 albums at the same time this year. I have 25 new songs ready, the new Magic Kingdom album which is called 'Holy Pentalogy/Tournament in Hell' and will be released in early 07 trough LMP, this album will see a great mix of different kind of voices as in the Metallic Tragedy tune and second the new Iron Mask called ‘Shadow of the Red Baron‘, probably released late 06 still on Lion Music, I also did some guest soloing for the young power metal band Icewind from Canada, soon to be released.
After that I'll continue to work on my Sympho-score and instrumental guitar album 'Trinity / an electric guitar Symphony'. This one takes a lot of time and will be released much later; because I'm programming all the orchestra and the epic choirs alone in my home studio ,but it will sound great. Very epic.
Anything else you would like to tell the readers of Baroque & Roll?
Thanks to everyone supporting the neo classical or sympho or prog scene, check out our albums, and see you soon on tour!!!
Dushan, many thanks for your time.
Thanks a lot for the interview Andy Cheers!!!!