Monday, 4 March 2013

Spotlight On James Williams: Eclectic Shred

01 March 2013

Classic Rock Radio Dot EU - Interview
Spot Light: James Williams
Interview Conducted by: Gary Brown

I had the pleasure some short time back to review the newest James Williams CD entitled; Eclectic Shred. As one whose a serious music fan, I tend to enjoy those musicians who show ability to stand out. The ones that apparently devote their every waking moment to their craft. Always seeking to improve on their ability to play it or sing it even better than the time before. Showing the proficiency needed to separate oneself from the wannabes, or help become a vital part of a band where it's only a matter of time before success comes a-knocking.

In today's world, we all got to make a buck. To then turn that creativity into something one can make a living doing isn't the easiest thing to accomplish. A lot of hard work between being an amateur and being a paid professional who is making it in the music business.

Here's a gentlemen who,besides myself, also happens to be living in Texas and whose musical creativity impresses me. I like the style of music he represents; metal. Can't say I'm a devoted Metalhead per-say, but I sure as shit can rock out when the time comes. After many repeated listens I concluded that I dug Mr. Williams music enough that I would seek him out for an interview. I asked a few questions in an attempt to get to know the man behind this modern day masterpiece; James Williams - Eclectic Shred.

Gary Brown:
James, You come to your newest CD Eclectic Shred off the success of another CD, X Opus - The Epiphany (Magna Carta 2011). It's pretty much the same formula in which you have the majority of the involvement in most aspects of the CD itself. What was your attitude going into this new project?

James Williams 

I wanted to combine all the elements of my favorite music I have played and written through my life experience as an artist. I wanted to capture the elements of jazz, metal, blues, classical and fusion molded with compositional songs having a consistency throughout the record. I wanted the music to stand out as not just to be a bunch of techniques of guitar soloing over random grooves. Add to that a desire to play something different than I haven't played before, most importantly the Holy Spirit, which teaches man the truth and the Wisdom of God.
You do share a few duties with other musicians on Eclectic Shred. Can you tell us about them please?


Yes I used my good friend Mike Le Pond, the bass master with Symphony X, on three songs; B17 Flying Fortress, Dropa Stones, and Eclectic Shred. I also used Matt Guillroy who is James Labrie's keyboard player, and he played with Yngwie Malmsteen. Matt did the key solos on Dropa Stones and Eclectic Shred.


On Eclectic Shred and on The Epiphany, I hear moments that could pass for film scores to some very cool Hollywood movies. In a way, one could say with your instruments that you paint pictures with sound. Would you agree?


Yes I love the great classical composers. Wish I was one (laughs) !! I wanted to have the big motion picture soundtrack scores that I do on this stuff. I do use it for the purpose of the serious themes at which the titles were named. The piece on my new CD "Unborn Massacre", style form in classical called "a variation on a theme". Inspired by Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. I wrote the piece as an inspired work to reference and embellish our current world-wide policy on abortion. Also World War 2 and the brutal massacre of Jews, Christians, children of all Eastern European countries by Hitler and his Nazis death camps, Mussolini, and Stalin's murderess reign of terror. The Epiphany from my X Opus CD means a divine revelation from God. A sudden understanding of truth. That piece was based musically from the style of the great Bernard Herrmann.


What were some of the scales and techniques you played on Eclectic Shred that guitar players would be interested in learning about?


I did a lot of my own techniques in scales, arpeggios, and string skipping. I actually wrote almost about half the CD with a open tuning I use that I have never heard anyone use before. Around 1992 I was listening to a lot of Kings X with the drop D Ty Tabor used on the Dog Man LP. In 1995 I was enjoying Sound Garden's, Superunknown . I loved the sound Chris Cornell got with his open tunings, so one day I came up with 3 of my own. Well I only remember two of them and the best one I use to play insane chords and scales not possible with regular tuned guitar. I can jump octaves and play scales that would hurt your fingers without the note grouping that the open tuning allows you to reach pretty easy. I also can get like 32 fret high notes with it. So it is pretty cool sounding. When you hear it, mostly it sounds normal, but when you start to try to play what I'm doing on a regular tuned guitar. It doesn't take long to say, "what the heck" or "what chord is that?", or "how can I get the open string notes on my guitar?", and lastly "how can I jump to those patterns and octaves like this on my guitar???" Open tuning? To answer my own question, yep. No worries, I'll tell you the bottom E to top E is C/G C/G c/G...better put a 8 gauge string on your top e, or it will break when you tune that one up (insert laugh). My secret is out. Listen to the song Eclectic Shred {every note with my open tuning} and the Journey To Andromeda acoustic part chords.


On Eclectic Shred you display your guitar shredding talents, but you also display great keyboard abilities on the song called, Keltol. I hear keyboard work reminiscent of a young Rick Wakeman. Is it the fact you are both classically trained musicians, or is your paying a nod to one of the great masters behind the keyboards?


Well let me say thank you but I'm no Rick Wakeman on keys, (insert laugh). Far from that. I can hit some OK solos and some chords. I use the keyboard to compose a lot of music but actually if it's real complex, I utilize the modern technology of a DAW system midi sequencing. It's very involved, and would take a week to explain.
Some of the song titles on Eclectic Shed reflect you having a personal opinion on certain heavy subjects like abortion. Do you feel being public with your thoughts on topics people in general feel passionate about could cost you fans or CD sales?

I don't care if someone chooses not to buy my CD because I don't support the murder of little babies, which are human babies not dogs, cats, or monkeys unborn. It is pure evil to murder the unborn. If we don't speak out for the most Innocent of God’s creation what kind of immoral society will we have? Just look at every past and present civilization where anything goes, when the laws of God are not applied to society, evil will prevail.


Being a multi-instrumentalist and song writer, who are some of your musical influences that make you strive to do your best? Your answer(s) could be past or modern day musicians.
Jimi Hendrix, Al Di Meola, Pat Travers, Shaun Lane, Yes, Kansas, Jeff Beck, Gary Moore with the Colosseum II. His two albums with them in the 1970's. Also Alan Holdsworth ,Todd Rundgren, and Larry Carlton. I like early Malmsteen...and all the great classical composers and all the period music works.


In closing, any future plans you care to pass on? What can we expect out of James Williams for the remainder of 2013?


I'm looking to keep pushing Eclectic Shred because it came out so late in 2012. Late October it was. Also I'm going to do a jazz fusion, funk fusion album next. I plan to make available on line lessons and to further pray to hear Gods voice for my direction musically. I want to say to the fans of Prog music, thanks for getting the CD or mp3 download legally. So much today is stolen from us musicians and we can’t keep recording records when we can’t generate legitimate record sales. There is a lot of piracy (Torrent Downloads). Also, I think many people are complacent to watch a You Tube posting of the CD or songs and not actually order the music. Progressive music is a hard sale as it’s a fast paced world and it takes a well-disciplined music listener to digest a 58 minute CD with 6 to 7 minute average songs. However, the uplifting experience is long lasting as you can listen to this music and hear something you didn't hear the first 100 times a year later (laughs).

Thanks for the interview Gary and CRR Dot EU, and God bless everyone.

Keep it Prog \m/


Thank you James. We wish you much success. Keep on rockin'. Remember folks, independent artists have to eat, folks. Not all professional musicians have mansions and limos. If interested in giving support to Mr. Williams, please buy his official products.

Official James Williams Internet Links

To buy James Williams latest CD, Eclectic Shred, please go here...

...or here (Amazon Dot Com -- JamesWilliamsGuitars)

James Williams Official YouTube

James Williams Official Facebook Page

James Williams Official Website

James Williams Interview with CRR Dot EU -- (2013)

Gary Brown
American Corespondent for Classic Rock Radio Dot EU

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