Patrick Ziadé, a young Lebanese guitarist living in France has recently self-released his first full length entitled “String Theory” as a free download. The album showcases his guitar as well as his composing skills, with a main space rock theme constant throughout the release. The album shows both potential and variety with a jazzy run on “Indifferent”, post rock multi-layered tunes on “Away” / “Acrasia” and prog metal on “Hittin the Highway” / “Dawn of A New Era”, one of the best tracks on this 40 minute release.
Here’s an interview with Patrick regarding the recording process of the album, his personal influences, equipment / gear and more.
Tell us more about your background in the local Lebanese scene: bands you’ve played with, major gigs you’ve played at, etc.
Well first of all I want to thank the LebMetal crew for this interview, and I want to congratulate you Patrick for the amount of effort you put into the website.
As for my background in the local Lebanese scene, I did nothing serious, joined a couple of local bands, played covers most of the times. My biggest event was actually in France, with 700 attendees. It’s sad though, would have loved to play in a big event in Lebanon.
What inspired you to record the album? What musical influences went into it?
Well I think any musician dreams of having his own album and I had mine ever since I started playing. My playing was influenced by Marco Sfogli and John Petrucci mostly, although the songs have nothing in common with them. The reason for that is because I don’t write anything based on a preexisting song. I don’t like following other people’s way of writing. First I choose the theme, then I imagine the scene in my head and proceed to write the guitar / key lines. Sometimes, when I jam, I play a cool lick or riff, save it for later and then reassemble what fits most in a song.
I understand that the album is self-released. Could you tell us more about the recording process (software, hardware, etc).
Back in Lebanon, my bands were eager to record singles. However, since we were teenagers, most of us could not pay for a whole album. None of my band members were enthusiast to record, but I was.
Over the years I told myself it’s too hard to record, mix and master and getting a decent sound. I even tried some things and they sounded horrible, so I gave up on that project. When I traveled to France, I had more time to figure things out and decided to challenge a bit myself. If you think about it, what is recording? It’s electronics. The biggest and most important rule is to get a clear sound for the guitar/bass, regardless how good or horrible it sounds. Because with our technology nowadays, you can modify any electrical signal.
Here’s the funny part: I recorded “String Theory” with my laptop’s sound card, a jack to put my guitar into the audio input of the pc, and I bought one mic for occasional vocals… I put my investment into software instead of hardware. It was actually Misha Mansoor, Periphery’s guitarist who actually encouraged me to go through with that idea. Periphery’s sound quality is better than any professional studio, and they record at Misha’s place. I can’t say it was a pleasant experience though, because no one helped me out. I figured things out on my own without any help nor support, on the contrary I was constantly discouraged by my entourage to the point that I wanted to quit playing.
Is it true that you used an 8 string guitar on this record? Tell us more about your gear / equipment.
It’s true. It’s an RG2228 GK Prestige model. That is perhaps the best guitar I have ever played on. I love it, it has a very wide neck and works fine with my fingers. The only disadvantage is that it has no whammy bar and I tend to use that a lot. For the bass, I used my friend’s bass and I chose guitar rig for the guitar sound. I sampled the novice drums of course.
I understand that the album is free for download under a Creative Commons license. How does that work out for you?
I actually didn’t go for a Creative Commons License. I actually got a real one for only 30 $. I wasn’t sure how Creative Commons worked, so decided to not take any risk.
About the material itself, there are a lot of significant symphonic elements aside from the guitar work. That’s quite clear from the opening track “Journey To The End” which is different from your average solo guitarist project…
Actually I never wanted to make a solo guitarist album, I aimed for instrumentals and I only solo on a couple of songs. The reason for that is because it’s now easier for me to showcase my guitar playing. Most of the time, the new people I meet ask me if I’m a good guitarist. I can never answer that question, because modesty is a virtue (of course that didn’t stop me from making an 8 second track with an advanced showoff tapping technique haha). So now I just give them a copy of my album and they can judge for themselves. Either they like my playing or not… different strokes for different folks.
The album is entirely instrumental. Will future releases be any different?
I’m currently working with my French band and we’re actually working on producing an album at the moment. But as for my future releases, I think they will remain instrumentals, since I don’t have enough vocal skills.
Are you considering finding some sessionists for live shows?
Of course, I’m still searching for members.
Is there any artist you’d like to cooperate with on future efforts?
I would have loved to cooperate with my main influence Alan Azar. Also my other guitarist friends, I would love them to play on my future releases.
Us here at LebMetal have taken the initiative to help and promote your album by distributing a number of free CDs at upcoming local concerts. Any thoughts on that?
I think that is a wonderful initiative and I believe any local band aiming for fame should not charge EPs, demos. Better post it for free so that people can hear and know you more. When you have enough fan base, you could do whatever you want. Thank you for the promotion, means a lot to me, you did it while my own friends and ex-band members didn’t..