I have done a few articles which I labelled Six scary questions recently and I feel incredibly lucky to have done those (I’ve interviewed some really amazing companies). I love that the Internet makes so many people so accessible. I also love that the Internet makes so many talented people known to me. That recently got me thinking that there are some people out there that I’ve come across on Twitter and/or Facebook that are clearly too talented to be as unknown as they are. I can’t do anything to fix that, but I can ask them a series of questions to see if they’re willing to share a bit about themselves for anybody who is interested.
Evangelos Koudonas is one of those people. Luckily for me, he agreed to an online chat which I’ll call an interview. It makes me feel like I’m a journalist.
Right before my interview started Evangelos was recording a guitar solo for one of his friend’s music tracks. I love this about him. He really loves his guitar playing. It’s this feature that first made me notice him on Twitter. If he’s not playing music for the band Rude Duke, he’s writing and recording his own solo albums (available on Bandcamp). Soon he’ll be working with me on a collaboration piece (because I asked him nicely and he agreed).
But I digress.
Once the solo had been mixed in with his friend’s song, our interview began. It went exactly like this …
Firstly, thanks for taking the time to have this chat and answer questions regarding your musical processes and releases to date. I really appreciate that. So, having said that, what can you tell the handful of people who visit my site about yourself?
Evangelos: I thank you for taking the time to do this ‘interview’ with me.
There ‘s not much to say I guess. My main occupation is a lawyer—proves lawyers are not bad people after all. I simply love music.
I grew up listening to music constantly, mainly rock. And somewhere down the line I discovered I loved the sound of a guitar.
I started playing about 20 years ago, but I quit shortly. Almost 3 years ago I started playing again.
Well I’m glad you took the guitar back up again. Obviously I’ve been a fan of yours for a while now and have already heard your three releases on Bandcamp (two of which I’m honoured to receive a mention in). How would you describe your style of guitar playing?
Evangelos: Lots of minor pentatonic playing I guess 🙂
I love blues but at the same time I love heavy rock and jazz. So I think I’m influenced by those genres.
My ultimate dream is to sound like Brian May from Queen 🙂
That probably answers my next question, but just in case I’m wrong, who would you say has influenced you the most as a guitarist?
Evangelos: Great question.
The guitarists I love. May, Clapton, Gilmour and many others. But I would like to consider myself as a merge between May and Clapton.
That’s a pretty impressive list of guitarists (all of whom have very recognisable guitars). What guitars are you using in your recordings?
Evangelos: I have 3 guitars at the moment. The first guitar I bought was a Squier Tele Classic Vibe 50’s, which is a totally awesome guitar. I haven’t changed anything on her.
The second is an Ibanez RG370 DXL, because I’m a lefty, on which I put Seymour Duncan pickups. Great guitar for heavier tones, but also good for clean jazzy tones
My third is a Squier Fender Standard Stratocaster, a very versatile instrument too. I will change the pickups in the future. I also have a Yamaha acoustic.
My next guitar will be a Brian May signature.
Do you play all of the instruments on your albums (apart from the ones where you’ve credited guest performers of course)?
Evangelos: Yes, I play all of the instruments , except for the drums, I use drum loops from the drummers on GarageBand on my Mac.
I have a midi controller keyboard, the LINE 6 25.
Well you answered my prepared drums question. I was wondering how you went about creating those. Back to guitars though, I believe your preferred program for generating your guitar tones is JamUp by Positive Grid. Have you used their iOS application on all three of your Bandcamp releases to date?
Evangelos: Totally. I love Jamup and BIAS by Positive Grid. I’ve used their apps like 95% on my 3 releases.
Pretty much my guitar tone comes out of these 2 apps.
Do you do all of your mixing and recording in iOS? If so, what other applications are you using to capture the tones you’re creating?
Evangelos: I record my complete songs in GarageBand in iOS through Audiobus. Then I take the recording to GarageBand on my Mac or Logic X pro to do the mixing and mastering. But all the sounds and tones come from apps in the iOS environment.
Let’s talk about some specific tracks you’ve released. You know I’m a big fan of heavy metal music, but some of your tracks I like the most are not the heaviest. Before I name my favourites, do you have any tracks you’re proudest of?
There are many ones I’m proud or happy with.
I always try to present a complete album. Basically what you hear on my albums is me, my influences coming to life.
I think you’re doing a fine job of that. My favourites include First Days of Spring, Desert Road Blues and The Distance Between Us. Of course, I like the heavy tracks too like The Rocker, Mean Machine and United We Stand. They’re mostly instrumentals, which of course you don’t limit yourself to. Do you prefer to record with or without vocals on a track these days?
Evangelos: Those are favourites of mine too. It depends on the song If I feel it needs vocals or not. Also it depends on other parameters too. If I feel my voice is strong enough or it will compliment a track. I have decided though, to do more singing in the future.
Two of your three Bandcamp releases are available for free (if someone decides to name their own price as $0.00). Have you had more success with that kind of release or a named price release (like your latest release) so far?
Evangelos: To be honest I don’t think so. I’m not trying to sound bitter, actually I don’t care anymore, but the support I’m getting from my fellow Greeks is minimal. So, there you have it.
But as long as I see warm and encouraging comments on my SoundCloud stream, comments that make feel I’m doing something worthwhile, I feel happy.
That seems fair to me. So, what’s next for Evangelos Koudonas in regards to the playing, recording and releasing of guitar focused music?
Evangelos: Make a forth solo record in the future, record songs with my band Rude Duke, which consists of 2 brilliant musicians, Guy Mauseth on bass from Norway and Shawn McClure on guitar from Idaho USA.
Also looking forward to playing with you and generally play guitar a lot.
I’m also looking forward to our little collaboration. We’ll have to share that story with the masses on a later date 🙂
Rude Duke sounds like a truly international act. Is all of the Rude Duke music put together online using methods similar to those you mentioned earlier for your solo recordings?
Evangelos: Yes. We use iOS and services like Dropbox and SoundCloud to put our stuff together.
There is also another bigger project called Whatever The Majority Decides, it’s 9 people there—9 great musicians.
That’s a very full plate you’ve got going there. I look forward to hearing whatever is next with either your solo recordings or any of the collaborations you’re working on. We’ll have to discuss those further at a later date it seems. You’re one busy guy.
Thanks once again for your time today. It’s been a delight.
Evangelos: Thank you Jason for this wonderful interview, it was a treat. I also thank you for the interest you have been showing for my music, I do truly appreciate it.
Evangelos is too kind. You can catch all of his musical releases at https://evangeloskoudonas.bandcamp.com/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Evan_KDS. Rude Duke can be seen and heard at https://rudeduke.bandcamp.com/music. Go take a listen. You might just find some music you enjoy.