JONATHAN CHURCHILL: DEFENDING OUR ISLAND
ALEX MASI Q&A
22nd September 2011
MetalTalk.net recently caught up with Alex Masi to discuss his new album, 'Out Of Your Mind', and his desire to play some live shows in the UK.
Alex is well-known for his work in the mid-eighties with Metal band Dark Lord and his Grammy-nominated solo album, 'Attack Of The Neon Shark'.
In addition, he has pushed the boundaries of traditional guitar rock by working on three albums dedicated to classical musicians, and created his own soundscapes with his last two solo compositions, 'Late Nights At Desert's Rimrock' and 'Theory Of Everything'.
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MT: So Alex, tell us about your new album.
AM: Well, it's not been published or released yet, I'm still negotiating with the labels. But it's finished, mixed and mastered. It's called 'Out Of Your Mind'.
MT: How does it compare to your last two records?
AM: It's a fresh approach and new for me, but I suppose if I had to describe it, it would be most similar to my last record, 'Theory Of Everything'. It's me playing everything myself - working with lots of loops and samples and creating my own orchestra and band!
I'm a big fan of The Prodigy and I try to be like The Prodigy with guitar. Now, with technology, it is so liberating not to have to wait for a drummer or bass player. You can make so much by yourself, it's amazing. You have so much control over the sounds. I've been waiting for years to do this - it's so liberating. You can put out so much stuff by yourself. It's really 'at the moment'.
MT: When will it be released?
AM: I'm still negotiating with the labels. It's a really tough finance model.
Labels don't really like to publish or promote any more. We'll wait to see what happens. I'm trying to find a proper label that will physically press the copies and also work the record - promotion, etc. - someone who understands what I'm doing. Someone who understands I'm trying to do something fresh, new, not just a rock album with lots of guitar solos. Something beyond heavy Metal - it appeals to a huge crossover audience.
MT: How was your last record released? Was that via a major label?
AM: For the last record, yes, I had a record label which understood progressive music and had label mates including Dream Theater. But it didn't really apply to what I was doing. There was a lot of misunderstanding about what I'm trying to do and who my audience is.
Even heavy Metal fans and fans of progressive music really liked the album when they listened to it, but I wanted to knock on the door of people who were more open-minded and want to cross categories.
MT: How do you describe your music then?
AM: I always wanted to go after a wide spectrum - I love all types of music, jazz, classical...
I don't want to be categorised in just one area, that is self-defeating. I want to explore. If it doesn't make me a huge star, I don't give a shit. I want to feel I go out and do what I love.
MT: Wouldn't you like to be more commercially successful for financial reasons?
AM: You are absolutely right - I am aware of that. I'm actually doing another project with a singer which is a lot more 'traditional', a little more classic rock - more like Hendrix, Queen, kind of rock 'n' roll/ funk. It might work, it may be more commercial.
But I don't really do this for huge commercial success. I had that in the past about twenty years ago. There's a huge difference between doing something you love and doing something for work to pay the bills. I am in music because I love music and not because I love bank accounts!
MT: Are you using social media to promote your music?
AM: I'm aware of the power of the internet and, yes, you can reach more people these days with new media. Problem is that when you have a music democracy, it means everyone has access to all media and there's the risk of all these things losing value.
When a record came out twenty years ago, it was a special event. There was tons of work behind the scenes. There was a lot of movement going on, whereas now everybody has ProTools, and it means there's a ton of raw material coming out, and you have to filter through to find something that will appeal. It kind of devalues the product.
MT: So which channels will you use?
AM: I am opening a new website soon, to go alongside MySpace, which is dying, and Facebook, which is mainly good for picking up chicks online! It's not a huge priority for me, I'm not a huge believer in online, but You Tube, however, works well. I'm a You Tube addict. I go there to listen to music, clips etc. It's a really powerful tool. I want to have a big presence on You Tube.
MT: Which You Tube track best showcases your music?
AM: 'Ladies Of The House' from my last album 'Theory Of Everything'. This is a really good guide as to where I am now with the new record.
MT: Will you be playing this record live?
AM: One thing I'd love to do is come to London and play live. That's where I shine. Making a record is a beautiful thing, however everybody can make a record these days, but what separates the men from the boys is stepping on stage and playing.
If there's one thing I'd like to get across, it's that I'd love to come and play live in London.
MT: Good luck with the new album. Thanks for chatting to MetalTalk.net.
Jonathan Churchill. MetalTalk.net
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