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Interview - Marty Friedman

Interview with Marty Friedman from
by Aaron Price at 28 June 2014, 1:38 PM

Guitar legend Marty Friedman has released a new album through Prosthetic Records, “Inferno” is full of instrumentals and guests. Marty Friedman recently sat down and had a conversation with Aaron Price talking about the album and even a few off topic things some people wanted to know.

Good Afternoon Marty, earlier this week you released your new album “Inferno” through Prosthetic Records, would you mind explaining the writing and recording process for you?

It was a long arduous process, about 15 or 16 months all together. It was basically the same as any other album I’ve done just times four as far as times concerned. I usually only spend three or four months making an album, but this time i spent a lot more time listening rather than just playing and adding and adding. I stopped and listened for a long period of time so i kind of live with stuff a long longer before i got to the final stages of it, so by the time it was done there was really nothing left i hadn’t fully exploited to the fullest.

Throughout the album you also incorporated different musicians, what was it like trying to bring their style into the album with you?

Well, I knew that I wanted guys that had their own style and had their own sound, so it would make my own sound feel a little different. I didn’t want somebody trying to be a clone of me or something like that, I wanted a specifically different sound so my own playing and my own sense would have something to contrast it. That was the most important thing, everybody was so enthusiastic and wanted to add so much and work super hard, everyone bared with me. I had a lot of demo rewrites and demo edits and i had all the guests do a lot of different versions of these things, so I was kind of a pain in the ass to these guys but they were fantastic and i couldn't be happier with the guest contribution.

Speaking of the guests, what was it like trying to get Children of Bodomès Alexi Laiho and Danko Jones on the same song?

It actually started off with Alexi and I doing the song and it started coming together, it just started snowballing into this bigger thing. We started off writing this sort of Punk-Metalish type song with a lot of ripping guitar in it, but then the song started to get longer and kind of more like an epic song, a big long high energy song. I had been working with Danko on another song called “I Can’t Relax” and it was going so well that i was really getting use to hearing his voice on thing, so I had the idea to do a duet so to speak, a double vocal and Danko was up to it and it made the whole song go to a whole new dimension that I started to hear about halfway through.

So for the recording process, how do you feel it’s changed between now and back in Cacophony?

Well, the technology is obviously a lot better. Luckily I have a lot better studios and a lot better recording facilities and time. At that time we basically had two or two and a half weeks to record an album. It was just done so quickly and there wasn’t a whole lot of attention paid to detail. Now, not only is there time to pay attention to detail but you can really get into detail with the technology so I’m all for everything new now I look back and go “how the hell did we do all that stuff in such a show period of time?” There’s so many things if I were to listen to that older stuff, id probably want to change quite a bit of it and not because the content is bad because it could have been mixed better or played better or something like that.

And do you still have contact with Jason Becker?

Absolutely, we did a song together on “Inferno,” we’ve been best friends since we played together so nothing has really changed as far as that goes.

Would you say he still influences how you play?

Absolutely, if you listen to the song “Horrors’ it was really written the way it was back in Cacophony, we would both have separate ideas and then i’d arrange them and produce it. That’s basically what we did now, he sent me some awesome ideas to get started with then I wrote my own stuff around it. It’s not a whole lot different from the way we did it in Cacophony days.

There were a bunch of great guest musicians on inferno, are there any you maybe wish you asked or did ask and weren’t able to join you?

No really, there's more than enough guest action on this record and I’m more than happy with it. It’s not lacking in that department in the slightest, there were a few people that wanted to do it but didn't have the proper scheduling availability or my timing just didn't work out. For the most part it’s pretty much just the dream team and everything just worked out on each song perfectly and nothings lacking.

Have you ever thought about having Dave Mustaine back from the old days with Megadeth or has he ever contacted you about doing a song together?

That’s just not something i really feel like revisiting for my solo music. I think we left a wonderful enough history, what else is left to be said? It’s all fantastic as it is.

Have you kept up to date with Megadeth and their albums?

You know not actually very much, not much of what they’ve done has come into my radar over here in Japan but I’m definitely their biggest supporter and I wish them nothing but the absolute fantastic best and I’m sure they’re doing an awesome job with whatever it is they’re doing.

So how is “Inferno” different from what you’ve been doing recently, living in Japan?

There’s really not a whole lot of Japanese influence in the actual music as much as say “Tokyo Jukebox” albums and stuff like that. The Japanese influence i would have to say is in the arranging department because I’ve done so much adventurous arrangements with not only my own music but other peoples music here in Japan that, that’s really grown so much for me as a musician, as an artist just being able to arrange stuff in really exciting ways so that shows up on inferno probably more than any other album. I mean half of it has vocals, half of it doesn't but i feel it stays exciting the entire time whether you care about vocals or not which is a big for me so, I think the main difference is my arrangement abilities when it comes to my own music have just gone leaps and bounds into a new please, and i think that’s just a step ahead.

So thinking back, can you remember the first song you thoroughly learnt to play on guitar?

Well i never learnt anything that thoroughly, but I’m sure i learnt all of The Ramones songs and all of the Kiss songs and even when I first started i was writing original songs with my band, Deuce, at the time I was a little bit more concerned with our music than copying other peoples music and it turned out to be a good way to do things because i think when you spend too much time copying other peoples music you get too caught up in the mechanics of copying other peoples music, where is i kind of half assed copied other people's music and whole assed my own stuff, so to speak. I paid so much more attention making my own stuff as good as it could be and if i could play a part of another person's song that’s fantastic but i never put a whole lot of work into copying other peoples thing.

Back then and even now who would you say really influences your guitar playing?

It would be hard to really put a person on it because i wouldn’t even be able to think of it, maybe you could? I couldn’t even answer that. I’m not really a guy that picked up stuff from other guitarists because there are so many guys that i couldn't even touch and i hopefully like learned things from this guy and that guy but everybody, all the professional guitar players out there, they’re so good at their own thing that, well why bother?

Since you’re living in Japan, what are your thoughts on Babymetal?

Babymetal’s fantastic! The guitarist in Babymetal, hes actually the guitarist in my solo band. So, when i go on tour, i actually just got off tour from Europe and he was in my band and people in Japan are starting to get to know Babymetal which is an amazing thing for me, i was extremely happy about that and metals been around for a long time and it takes a lot to do something unique and fun with metal. Any time something stands out i'm a big supporter of it, i just think they're fantastic and it's a whole lot of fun.

So with “Inferno” out now, what are your plans? Do you have any secrets to share?

No secrets but definitely plan to tour elsewhere, Japan, America, South America and Europe again. All that information will be up on my web page, Facebook, twitter all that stuff. Thing’s should be announced soon, probably about end of June but with this album it’s definitely important for me to get out there and do as much touring as i possibly can.

Of course, that makes sense. Is there anything else you’d like to tell everyone?

That’s just about it man, i hope you enjoyed the record. I’m still liking it, it’s been out for almost a week now and i still like it so thats a good sign.

Yeah, if you like your own album after working on it for 15 months then there ya go.

Yeah, usually about half way through you start to have second thoughts about what you’re doing, but i'm happy.

Well, thank you very much for talking to me Marty, it was amazing to be able to talk to you.

Likewise man, let’s do it again but until then, take care.


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