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Interview - Michael Angelo Battio

Interview with Michael Angelo Battio from Michael Angelo
by YngwieViking & Emily Coulter at 15 May 2014, 11:25 AM

Michael Angelo Battio has been one of the most insane and influential guitarists shredding the arts of Metal and Rock. Through a vast career with bands and solo efforts, Battio has been showing off his stellar ability on various of wicked guitar oriented instruments that caused quite an astonishment. Recently “Intermezzo” was released after a funding campaign. YngwieViking and Emily talked to Michael for the commemoration of the new album. 

Hi Michael, Congratulations and big Applause!!! I think that “Intermezzo” is an overwhelmingly amazing album right up in the legacy line of the legendary “No Boundaries”. As a fan of your music and Instrumental Shredding Metal in general, it was for me a real blast. How would you describe this album for those who haven't heard it?

Thanks for the compliments! I would describe "Intermezzo" as being in the "instrumental progressive rock" genre and in my opinion, it is the best album I have ever recorded and released. I played with as much emotion and intensity as I could. I also feel that my songwriting was not only different from my other albums but the highest quality of music that I could write at that time. I think that the production of "Intermezzo" is also the best that I have ever done as well.

Tell us please about your past involvement in Projects and bands. I want to know everything. Take us way back.

I have performed in bands since I first started playing the guitar at age 10. I have been signed to 2 major labels in bands. Both groups had dynamic lead singers that I could collaborate with musically and we worked well together on stage.

Concerning your former band NITRO, are you still in touch with Jim Gillette?

Yes. Jim and I are very close. We talk all of the time. I consider him family. Jim is an amazing person - highly intelligent and his work ethic is incredible!

Can you tell us more about the much external collaboration for “Intermezzo” with high profile players such as Michael Romeo, George Lynch, Guthrie Govan, Jeff Loomis etc?

Guitarist Dave Reffett had a lot to do with getting the guest stars for "Intermezzo." Dave is a great young guitarist. When we both started talking about adding additional artists, Dave and I came up with several names. My criteria was that I had to be a fan of their work, not just having a name player to promote the record. It turned out that Dave knew most of them personally. Once we got Jeff Loomis and George Lynch to play, we knew we had something special. Then when Guthrie Govan and Michael Romeo said they would perform solos, I felt that this could become a legendary work.

You funded your new album with a kickstarter Campaign, why did you decide to do that? Were you satisfied with the results?

Doug Marks from Metal Method Productions is the person that told me about Kickstarter. We did a very successful campaign that achieved and surpassed our goals so yes, I was satisfied. I have great fans and they were there to support me. I really appreciate that and never take it for granted.

In my review for the superb & vertiginous new album “Intermezzo”, I state that the album reveals a unique personality, fighting against the mediocrity of contemporary mainstream US Rock scene…What is your feelings about this quote?

I feel it is a great quote. Thank you! My feeling is that I always do the very best that I can. If I can honestly say that I did my best and I believe in what I just created, then I am happy and it is now up to the people to decide for themselves. I will never sacrifice what I think is good to follow a current trend when it comes to the way I play guitar or write and produce music.

What new guitarists impress you lately?

There are so many great young guitarists out today. The new players are really pushing the boundaries of what people like myself set. Some of the names would be Dave Reffett, Guthrie Govan, Jeff Loomis - many of the guitarists that are on "Intermezzo!"

Do you think that the technical level, the complexity of some song structures or the shredding parts in your music can be a block for some listeners, do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just let the inspiration flow?

I think maybe that it stops some listeners, but I cannot concern myself with that. I will not simplify a part of a song or a solo just to please "the mainstream." I would not want to be in the music industry if I had to do that. I am very fortunate. I get to play exactly what I want to play with music that is written the way I want to write it. When I compose, I just let things flow. When I like every part of a song, that's when I know it's finished. Sometimes my songs are written without many revisions - like "No Boundaries" and sometimes songs are worked and re worked until they sound right to me - like the song "Intermezzo." There are a lot of complex parts and complex harmonic sequences in "Intermezzo." I worked extremely hard to make every note be exactly the way I wanted it to be.

Michael tell us about your new passion for 7 strings guitars?

I was one of the first electric guitarists to ever use a 7 string guitar. My 4 necked "Quad" guitar, the one used in the "Freight Train" music video had 7 strings on the top left and right handed guitars. I have always loved extended range instruments, whether they had more frets or more strings or both! I feel that 7 string guitars are here to stay. I don't think they will become more popular than the 6 string guitar, but in 10 years from now, I feel that the 7 string guitar will still be used. To me, it is like a 5 string banjo. Many players used the traditional 4 string banjo, but the 5 string version is here and is still used, many years after it became popular.

What are your top 5 albums for Instrumental Metal Music?

I'm not sure about just Metal albums but my top 5 are - and not in any order -

1. Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy
2. Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame
3. Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry the VIII
4. Vinnie Moore - Minds Eye
5. George Bellas - Turn Of The Millenium

I could name a hundred more albums that I love as well that could easily be in the top 5!

I want to thank you for this interview and wish you the best of luck with the new album and on the fast picking shredding path ahead. Anything else you want to share with the fans and our readers out there?

I would like to say that I hope you like "Intermezzo" as much as I liked recording it! Please go to my website for all things MAB! Thanks!


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