Interview: Harvey "The Snake" Mandel

Dan McAvinchey: Harvey, you've had a long career in music, and you seem to keep delving into fresh musical ground. What goal did you have in mind
when you started planning and recording your latest CD "West Coast Killaz"?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: I like to move around and experiment with different things, and see how I can fit the guitar into those elements - fusion has always been my thing. We are fusing the funk and rap with guitar.

Dan McAvinchey: Where and how was the "West Coast Killaz" CD recorded?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: It was recorded at my home studio, we call "The Electric Snake Studio". I mastered it there also.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you have a particular method you use for writing?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: I basically don't write anything, we just start with an idea then it just evolves on its own. Sometimes it is the lyric we work around, sometimes the rhythm bed.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you plan to continue to record and release instrumental guitar solo albums in the future?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: Yes, I do believe the next project we'll skip the vocals. The reason I've been using vocals is I've been gunning for some kind of commercial success - vocals seem to have it over instrumentals. I have many fans begging for instrumentals so I'll do another one just for them - besides I'm known as an instrumentalist.

Dan McAvinchey: Are there any other guitarists or musicians you'd love to record or collaborate with in the future?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: Jeff Beck firstly. I've had great admiration for him for over 30 years and recently got to meet him for the second time. I'll take on just about anyone as far as collaborations go. I love to do them.

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Dan McAvinchey: What do you have planned for your next recording project?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: Actually I have two records in the can that haven't even been released yet, one is with a band (Mick Martin and The Bluesrockers), and another with Canadian singer Zeeza. As I said before, probably an instrumental CD.

Dan McAvinchey: How have you taken advantage of music sites such as

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: I was on for a while, but my opinion of the web is that piracy seems to be the end result of all the freebies, so we are staying with pressings even though they get copied and sent out for free. I'm a professional recording artist, so I'm committed to charging for my work.

Dan McAvinchey: How do you feel the music press,including the well known guitar magazines, are currently dealing with guitar-oriented music, especially from instrumental artists and bands?

Harvey "The Snake" Mandel: I need them to promote my work. I spend more time reading about everyone but myself, but it is obvious I need them. Maybe one of these days I'll get their attention again.

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Harvey "The Snake" Mandel is no newcomer to the instrumental guitar scene - he's been making and releasing instrumental CDs for over twenty years. His new album however, is a vocal release featuring a fusion of guitar with rap music entitled "West Coast Killaz", which is his second production collaboration with his son, vocalist Eric Mandel.

Dan McAvinchey caught up with Mandel to discuss his latest album project and his goals for the future.