Tuesday, January 31, 2017

You Own the World: Interview with Gitaron

In 2006, guitarist Giovanni "Gio" Smet formed Gitaron. The concept was clear and simple: creating heavy metal in the purest way, with an innovative vision. No nonsense, just pure headbanging heavy metal.

The band worked on several songs and recorded the first album in the summer of 2007 at 'Midas Studios'. The album called 'The First Battle' and had the following songs on it: 'Enter My Church', 'Excalibur', 'We're Knights', 'Blood On The Wall' and 'Flame Of Hate'. The line-up at that time was: Gio (vocals/guitars), Tom Willems (drums), Aaron Onghena (guitars), Wilfried Vandenberghe (bass) and Femke Waterschoot (backing vocals).

Gitaron had some changes in the line-up, as Aaron Onghena, Tom Willems and Femke Waterschoot left the band. Replacements were found in David Van Gompel (guitars) and Steven Van Dijck (drums). Gio also decided to concentrate on the guitar parts only and Nico De Clerq became the new vocalist.

In 2009, Gitaron recorded another album called 'Mental Visions', again at 'Midas Studios'. The album got great reviews and the band played a promo tour for the new album. Gitaron played shows together with bands such as Mystic Prophecy, Blaze Bayley, Killer, Mother Of Sin, Fireforce,... Shortly after the promo tour, vocalist Nico De Clerq left the band and was replaced by Kevin Andries.

In 2012, three members decided to leave the band. Both drummer Steven Van Dijck and vocalist Kevin Andries moved to Denmark. With both them leaving, guitar player David Van Gompel also made the decision of leaving the band.

After a sabbath year, the band was born again. Guitarist Aaron Onghena re-joined and another
guitarist was found in Philip Pedraza, as Gio became vocalist only. On drums was Jef Boons shortly, as he was replaced by Michael Bauwens. Wilfried Vandenberghe was again the bassplayer for the band. With this formation, Gitaron started to play new shows. At the end of 2014, Gio had the idea of recording a new album along with several national and international guest musicians. Lots of musicians agreed to be a part on it and a special project was born. Sadly, some band members didn't want te be a part of it and only Gio and drummer Michael Bauwens worked on the project. The duo build a home studio and lots of guest musicians came and did there part for the new album, that was given the title 'You Own The World'. The release for the new album is scheduled for late 2016.

How did you start with this project?

Gio: There was always the idea of starting a project with guest musicians. The time was also right to start preparations for a new album, since the 10th anniversary of Gitaron came very close. When there was some disagreement with other band members, the idea of creating the new album with guest musicians was suddenly the right way to go. I made a personal wish list of musicians that inspired my when I was still a teenager and other musicians that I’ve got to know along the way.

Tell us more about the musicians taking part in it.

Gio: The responses I’ve got from everyone were really very positive. Everyone took part of this project with the very best intentions. Musicians like Paul “Shorty” Van Camp” (Killer), Filip “Flype” Lemmens (Fireforce), Mark Van Luijk (Civilian),… are musicians that inspired me since along way back. Other musicians, like Srdjan Brankovic (Alogia, Expedition Delta) and Sten Veiths (Breakfast At Midnight), are very talented guys that I’ve met along the way. I am overjoyed with every single guest appearance on the album.

What’s your working method? How was the songwriting and then the recording process?

Gio: Every song, except “Camelot Rising” and “Feudal Obligation” which are co-written songs, is composed by myself. Most of the guest musicians recorded their bit in our studio. Others recorded their part at home, because the travelling distance was too far. Everything was done with the best communications and planning. The mixing and mastering was also done at the Gitaron Studio.

Every artist has his music influences; which are yours?

Gio: Ever since I was a kid, my father inspired me to listen to Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Queen, Helloween,… I really rolled into it to be honest. Later, when I went to my very first concert (Manowar, at the age of 12), I knew right away…that’s what I want. I fell in love with the sound of the guitar, the beating of the drums, the powerful vocals,… I really “felt” the music. Since then, there was no stopping, I bought my first Strat guitar and started to play along with my favorite tunes.

What makes you different from all the other guitar-oriented projects?

Gio: We really have the freedom since Mike (drummer) and I plan everything by ourselves. There’s no pressure of other band members or record labels. We do what we like, when we want it. When we feel the need to enter the studio and write some new material, we have the freedom to do so, without obligations.

Is there any particular message you would like to spread with your music?

Gio: Not really. Most of the lyrics are straight forward, medieval war songs and other songs have a personal kind of touch. There’s no real message, just stuff we like or want to share. What’s next in Gitaron’s world? Can we expect a Gitaron II?

Gio: I really think so. Like I’ve said, I really enjoy the working method alongside Mike. And the work we’ve done with every guest musician was really exciting and reward full. I don’t see myself playing in a full band anymore. We’ve done that and just didn’t “feel” it anymore. I’ve already made up a new wish list of guest musicians, since we started working on new songs straight away.

Any other plans on the future we should be aware of?

Gio: Writing new songs, enjoying them and taking our time to make them into real Gitaron songs. Maybe there will be some exclusive live shows together with some guest musicians. There are some talks, but it’s really too early to speak of. We also made our own parody project “Genietdarom” (which simply means “Enjoy It”). We changed the Gitaron lyrics and recorded them in our mother language. Just for the fun of it of course, nothing to serious, but still hilarious as hell!

Where can we find more about your music?

Gio: The new triple album “You Own The World” can only be ordered online by mailing merchandise@gitaron.eu or at our website www.gitaron.eu. The instructions are very easy and you will receive immediate response. Some lyric videos like “Camelot Rising” and “You Own The World” can also be found on the website and on YouTube!

Any latest words to all our readers out there?

Gio: Feel free to get to know Gitaron and enjoy our music! Thanks for your time and always follow your metalheart!

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