Gus G Interview by Metal Inside
MI: The reason for the interview with Gus G. (guitar player Firewind and Dream Evil) are the very favorable reactions about the release of the
first Firewind CD "Between Heaven And Hell". For those, who don't know the CD, what kind of music is this?
First of all, glad to hear you like our album! I would describe the music on Between heaven and hell as melodic heavy metal. However, it's quite
heavier than someone would normally expect. I like this blend that the band
has achieved, the heaviness and the melody.
MI: You also take part in songwriting, where are your strengths? As a guitar
player, are your strengths more on the instrumental side of songwriting or
even the lyrics?
I am responsible for all the music. I also wrote all the lyrics in the
beginning, but when Stephen (the singer) joined the band, he rewrote most of
it. Since I am an instrumentalist, I believe my strengths are in writing
music and arranging it. However, when I write something, I always have vocal
melodies or even lyrics in mind, or else the song probably won't work out.
MI: Where there particular moments and problems during the producing of
Between Heaven And Hell, how does it works?
The whole recording process went smooth. There were no big problems even
though we were in huge distances from each other. The guitars and bass were
recorded in Greece and vocals and drums in 2 different studios in the US.
Everybody works really professionally and know how to do their job, so
everything worked out great in the end.
MI: You're a young guitar player (21 years old, if the information from the
record company is correct) Could you earn enough money with your
music for living?
So far, I earn some money which is enough to live on. Of course, not many
musicians are able to live off from their music, and that's very sad. I
consider myself lucky that I have achieved this so early.
MI: You are a origin Greek (whatever even the G. behind Gus G. means).
What was the reason for you to going to US?
I have family in the US and I was always visiting the States. However, when
I was 18 I moved to America to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston,
MA. I dropped out of school after 2 weeks of studies (!!!) to try to start a
career in music. After I spent a year living in America I went back home to
Greece and I decided to move to Sweden, and I've been living there for the
past 3 years.
MI: How did your parents / your family react, when they heard about your
wish to go to US?
My parents have supported me in each and every way in my whole life and in
every decision and step I've taken. I'm grateful for that. Without them, I
definitely wouldn't have gotten where I am today.
MI: What was the craziest moment in your previous music career?
Well, a funny story that I can tell you is that once the other German label
that I'm working with, Century Media, pulled a Christmas joke on me.....they
told me that they would release the album and they would change all the band
members names and they came up with the most ridiculous names you've
heard!!! Of course I'm not gonna tell you what my name would be changed to,
but I'll tell you that I bought what they said and I was so sad and pissed
off at the same time!!! I even thought of leaving the band hahaha!!!! After
10 days they called me up and told me that it was a joke in conspiracy with
the other band members......can u imagine the look on my face at that
moment? I felt like killing everybody, but at the same time I laughed like
MI: There is another hot CD on the market. Dream Evil has earned a lot of
great reviews. Firewind could also go the same successful way. Are you
contented with the feedback?
I know that FIREWIND is getting some great reviews all over Europe and all
the journalists that I've done interviews with, speak with the best words
about this album. The reviews are also great in Japan and USA and I have
really high hopes for this to be a success. Let's see what happens.
MI: Have the contact been reached to Firewind through Fredrik Norlander,
who has worked on both CDs? Or how could you get in contact with
Firewind? Have the contact been reached with Firewind before Dream
His name is Fredrik Nordstrom, you made a mistake there. Secondly, Fredrik
had nothing to do with FIREWIND other than mixing the album. I started
FIREWIND in 1998 after I had dropped out of Berklee. I wrote some songs and
with the help of some friends, I recorded a CD and I named the band
FIREWIND. I was always sending my demos to David Chastain from Leviathan
Records and David always liked the material I sent him. So after a couple of
years, when my style and songwriting developed more, David told me that he
wanted to help me to put the band together and produce my music. Dream Evil
started later than FIREWIND. Dream Evil started more like a project and
became a real band much later. I met my other band mates in FIREWIND through
MI: Have both bands for you the same rights. Do you prefer one of your
bands? What's concerning Mystic Prophecy?
Firewind and Dream Evil are 2 different bands. While Firewind is more like my baby as I'm responsible for the bands musical direction, etc. in Dream
Evil all the band members have equal rights and everybody writes in the
band. To be honest, I love doing both. I'm no dictator and I hope people
don't get the wrong impression when I'm saying that I write everything in
Firewind. It's like that because I founded the band and I started it all on
my own, so there was no one there to have a musical chemistry with. I
created the band's sound, therefore it's hard to find somebody else to adopt
to my writing style. I'm a person that's open to any ideas and I listen
carefully to what my band members, producer, and label tell me. But I love
writing both on my own and with others, both ways are special I think. Plus,
all my bands have different sound and styles.
At this point, Mystic Prophecy is more like a side project, as I'm working more with my other 2 bands and so are the other MP guys. However, we have
recorded a second album which should be released in a few months.
MI: Firewind is described as a US-Band, Dream Evil is to known as an
European band which plays US-Metal. Do you see some differences about this?
To be honest, I don't really like to put tags in my bands and in my music.
Both bands have different styles. Also, Firewind is half European and half
American band as me and Konstantine (the bass player) are from Greece.
MI: It seems that right metal music is not very popular in the States at the
moment against it this kind of music is very popular in Europe. What do
you think is the reason for this trend?
Well, it looks like the people in America always follow the MTV trends.
That's very sad and at the same time strange, because USA is such a big
country with 250 million people living there. And heavy metal and power
metal bands sell only a few thousands of CDs there. It seems like unless
people get brainwashed with your song and video on MTV, you'll never get
MI: In your opinion what the tendency concerning music in the US? What do
you think about Alternative and Crossover-Music do you like it? Do you
like several bands, which are playing this kind of music?
No, I'm not into this type of music at all. The only band that I think is
pretty cool, is Slipknot, because they have an aggressive attitude, extreme
image, unique & brutal sound. And they got accepted to the mainstream! I
think that's definitely a good thing for heavy metal cause hopefully it will
open doors for smaller bands to get noticed.
MI: Which CDs do you prefer at the moment?
Lately I've been listening to Valley's Eve, Lacuna Coil, the latest Dimmu
Borgir and a Finnish love-metal band called HIM. I'm also listening to my
old favorite Scorpions albums like Taken by Force.
MI: Have you got time for a promotion-tour with one of your bands or have
you got other plans? Is there enough time for a promotion tour?
If everything's scheduled correctly, there's time for everything!!! Dream
Evil is already playing summer festivals like Sweden Rock and Wacken. And
we're currently working on a FIREWIND tour in Europe and Japan. We hope that
everything will go as planned.
MI: What's about your plans for the future? Perhaps, a second album with one
of your bands?
Yes, both FIREWIND and Dream Evil will enter the studio for the follow up
albums next year. I'm also working on a death metal project called
Nightrage, which should be recorded soon. Thanx for the interview and make
sure you check out the FIREWIND debut album Between Heaven and Hell, cause
it will rock you!!!!!
Firewind's "Between Heaven and Hell" cover art.
Firewind's European "Between Heaven and Hell" cover art.