Interview with Gus G.

Robert Gray of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with FIREWIND/OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Gus G. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.


Ultimate-Guitar.com: How did "Days Of Defiance", FIREWIND's sixth album, come to fruition?

Gus: We took our time writing "Days Of Defiance"; we didn't rush. We wrote a couple of songs on the road in 2008, songs like "Embrace The Sun" and "Heading For The Dawn". Apart from that though, we basically waited until the touring for "The Premonition" was done. We then took a break, and then we got together and wrote stuff together, comparing ideas. We spent the first half of 2009, working on the songs and arrangements. Around mid summer, we then started recording everything and basically took our time doing it.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: In what ways did the current global economic crisis — in Greece especially — influence the mood of "Days Of Defiance"?

Gus: The financial, economic crisis is a general phenomenon; it's hitting almost every country right now in the world. You can see people complaining and voting and protesting. There was a little bit of that vibe on a couple of songs, especially on the first song "The Ark Of Lies". It's all about that, really; it's all about people not trusting in any political or religious leaders anymore. "Days Of Defiance"'s title actually came from one of the lines in "The Ark Of Lies"; it's mentioned on that first track, and actually, it's also mentioned on the last track of the record as well ("When All Is Said and Done"). It's cool that the first song and the last song on "Days Of Defiance" feature that line.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Would you say that "Days Of Defiance" features a dark, rebellious mood?

Gus: On a couple of songs, maybe. Maybe musically "Days Of Defiance" is a bit darker, but lyrically speaking, maybe on a couple of songs we talk about these things but this isn't a concept album. There's other topics on there as well; for example, "Heading For The Dawn" is about us and our fans, us travelling the world and playing to our fans. There's other stuff as well; there's songs with positive messages like "Embrace The Sun" and songs like that, so "Days Of Defiance" isn't all dark and gloomy or whatever.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: In what ways would you say "Days Of Defiance" is heavier than past FIREWIND albums?

Gus: "Days Of Defiance" is as heavy as "The Premonition", maybe a little bit heavier on a few tracks, but I think what makes this album even heavier is its raw production. We have a different production and a different sound this time. We actually moved studios; we didn't mix with Fredrik Nordström this time, but went to Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, Finland. We had a different approach to "Days Of Defiance"; we wanted it to be less polished, a bit more stripped down, and a bit more organic. I think it really fits our music this mix, and it actually made our music sound heavier.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You've gone on record as saying your guitar playing on "Days Of Defiance" is better than your guitar playing on past FIREWIND albums. In what ways do you feel your guitar playing is better on this full-length?

Gus: I just felt that I wasn't so stressed, because we recorded everything in our own studio really and we kind of did it ourselves. I didn't have that clock ticking, that "Oh, I only have a few more days to finish all guitars." I just recorded whenever I felt I was ready. It's actually a relief to know you're not paying tons of money every day to record in a studio. You're playing whenever you feel like playing actually, and I feel more creative that way. I think there's a little bit of that little extra thing on our playing on "Days Of Defiance" compared to the previous ones. Not to put any of our previous albums down, though, because they're really good and I'm still proud of them. I don't think I'm just speaking for myself actually, and I should speak up for the rest of FIREWIND's members as well because I think everybody captured their best performances yet on this album.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: What was your approach to providing guitar parts to "Scream"? After all, the Ozzy Osbourne group has been around for a number of years and has had many other guitarists in its ranks.

Gus: I wanted to maintain the classic element, the Ozzy sound, obviously, and I wanted to have a little bit of guitar playing from the past on there. I wanted to have a little bit of that vibe on "Scream", but I also wanted my own stamp on the record as well, and make it sound like the new chapter of Ozzy, the new era of Ozzy — because it is. That was my approach; being respectful to who's been there before me and to his past, but also making my own mark. I didn't get to do any writing, but I don't think that was necessarily bad because I think it was a very challenging situation for me, to play on an album and put my stamp on music that I didn't write. All things considered, I think it came out really great. There are a lot of great songs on "Scream".

Ultimate-Guitar.com: When the time comes for Ozzy to record another album, can you see songwriting opportunities arising?

Gus: Oh yeah, man. I've already started writing stuff for him, and we've already discussed the possibility of doing another one. We've been jamming on some riffs, and he's really excited about them. Hopefully, we're gonna get to do that after this world tour ends. Hopefully we'll take a break, and then we'll go back in and do another record. Ozzy's been talking about going in and doing the next record like they were done in the old days, like the first two albums (September 1980's "Blizzard Of Ozz" and November 1981's "Diary Of A Madman") were done; getting the actual band together to jam, and doing it together. I think if we had the chance to do that, we can create a really killer record.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How would you compare these ideas to those on "Scream", though, an album you didn't write for?

Read the entire interview on Ultimate-Guitar.com.


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