Interview: Adrian Weiss

Dan McAvinchey: Adrian, congratulations on the new album. When did you start working on the tracks for this album, and what was your goal this time around?

Adrian Weiss: Dan, thanks! Well, I actually really started working on the new album intensively in the summer of 2013 when I wrote about half of the material. The rest I had worked on sporadically starting a about year earlier - and a couple of the songs even go way back to the earlier 2000s. So "Easy Game" is a mixture of older and brand new songs.

Dan McAvinchey: What did you do differently on "Easy Game" compared to your previous

Adrian Weiss: My first album "Big Time" started out as a pure studio project. I had eleven songs and a producer and we took it from there. All the drum and bass tracks were recorded by guest musicians (six different bassists and three drummers) and I wasn't well organized, so the whole recording process took lots of time. Plus the producer also had lots of other stuff to do, so often enough we had long production breaks.

Recording the new album "Easy Game" was a lot different. I had a steady line up with Lars Zehner on drums and Marcel Willnat on bass who each took care of their instruments on the entire album of course. Before hitting the studio I had the chance to rehearse most of the songs with the guys several times. That made the recording of the album a cake walk in comparison. We had the drums in the can in two days, my rhythm tracking came right after that and Marcel's bass followed really fast and a couple weeks later I was already starting to record leads. Within six months from day one of recording the album was recorded, mixed, mastered and released.

Dan McAvinchey: Has your approach to constructing a great solo changed over time?

Adrian Weiss: I wouldn't say so. I think a great solo cannot be forced or artificially constructed to be one. At least it doesn't work that way for me. For me a good solo flows "out of the jam" or it simply doesn't. When recording solos I usually loop a certain sequence and improvise - just letting it flow. Usually after a while the intensity starts building up and I start having some good ideas. Then I either suddenly record a great take and keep it or I try do rerecord an interesting take that just didn't quite nail it until I finally get it right. Sometimes this happens fast and sometimes it takes me three hours to record one solo.

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Dan McAvinchey: How did you get the word out there about your new album?

Adrian Weiss: On quite a few different levels. First of all I got my physical and digital distribution all set up. For this I used CD Baby. In addition I'm also directly connected to individual distributors that feature my album in their catalogues like Guitar 9 used to.

Next step is the release an announcement in my e-Mail newsletter, following that (of course) was my Facebook profile. Then there is my home page and my Bandcamp shop. Those were the first steps in releasing the album.

After that I released a production video trailer on YouTube. Then the press work began - by far the most time consuming of all activities - print magazines, online zines, blog - you name it. Next is radio promo, mainly online underground stuff, but also some public, mainstream radio.

Then I organized and played several concerts, the center piece being the official CD release show on Dec 5th 2014.

Dan McAvinchey: Are you also using social media sites to attract attention to your music?

Adrian Weiss: Yes - in addition to Facebook I also use Twitter, but I'm just starting out with it. Youtube and Bandcamp you almost can consider social media as well.

Dan McAvinchey: How is the concert scene right now, will you get the opportunity to
perform these new tracks in front of an audience?

Adrian Weiss: Yes I have been playing my music live since 2012. Of course the shows aren't too big, but the general response is usually very positive.

On Friday, December 5th, 2014, I hosted a concert in my home town of Dusseldorf, Germany and invited Christian Muenzner and his band to headline. This was Christian's instrumental band's first solo concert ever and a memorable event. One fan flew in from Switzerland just to see Christian and his guys (high profile drummer Hannes Grossmann, bassist Linus Klausenitzer and second guitarist Tom Geldschlager aka Fountainhead) play. Muenzner has also released two solo albums so far and we are planning to do more instrumental shows together.

Dan McAvinchey: Beyond what you've accomplished on your solo albums, do you find work in other musical areas or styles?

Adrian Weiss: Yes, I'm currently a permanent band member of Gloryful, a power metal outfit. This year I played about 20 shows with them including several cool open air festivals and some spectacular club and concert hall shows. So this is really going well. I'll be recording a new album with Gloryful in 2015. The first two albums of the band came out before I joined the band, but I did contribute two guest solos to the last album Ocean Blade as a guest musician.

Before Gloryful I was active in progressive metal bands Forces At Work and ThoughtSphere with which I altogether released 8 albums and EPs between 1997 and 2012.

I also have contributed guest solos on several albums of German bands like Pictura, N-Jected, Korsakow and on Demian Heuke's solo album Treumal.

With Forces At Work - back in 2004 - I arranged and recorded a track for Victor Smolski's "Majesty And Passion" (Track 12).

Dan McAvinchey: Does the fact that the majority of music now is consumed through downloading of mp3s rather than physical media change the way you prepare and record an "album"? Does the concept of an album have the meaning it once did, when an artist can release a couple of tracks at any time?

Adrian Weiss: For me it doesn't make a difference really. My vision and formal concept of an album is always a full length CD. And I'm surprised at how many people actually order my physical CD album. Actually I'm selling quite a few more CDs than downloads. But of course - and in that sense you're right - there's lots of unauthorized downloading which is uncontrollable and probably in much higher volume than any sales.

Dan McAvinchey: If a fan of heavy guitar music has never heard of Adrian Weiss, what are three tracks off of "Easy Game" that you'd prefer a busy, distracted listener would have to hear?

Adrian Weiss: That is not an easy question, but I think I would recommend to give "Awkward Silence" (Track 1), "Aim To Please" (Track 3) and "Camel's Dance" (Track 7) a listen. Track 1 has some unusual guitar slapping in it and quite an intriguing verse melody I find. "Aim To Please" is a blend of relaxing lounge blues and modern progressive metal. "Camel's Dance" is a dynamic, progressive yet catchy oriental metal piece that never stops moving.

Dan McAvinchey: Finally, what are you looking forward to in 2015, what's on your musical agenda?

Adrian Weiss: Well, as I mentioned I'll be making an album with Gloryful and we already have several shows scheduled for next year. I will also start working on material for a third solo album. Plus of course I want to continue promoting my albums live with my trio (Lars Zehner - drums, Marcel Willnat - bass). I hope that new and good opportunities for instrumental live shows will come up. There already are some vague plannings, so I'm sure something cool will work out. It would be great to organize a little tour through Germany with the Christian Muenzner Band. And Gloryful might also be playing a regular tour next year.

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Born in Germany, Adrian Weiss has been playing guitar since the age of 15, and has been active in the music business for well over fifteen years. Gripping melodies, heavy riffs, catchy themes and playful musical excursions mark his solo work, including his first instrumental album "Big Time" in 2011, and now his second solo record "Easy Game".

Dan McAvinchey reconnected with Weiss for this e-interview to discuss his new album, promoting in the digital age, and playing live.