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Anthimos Manti is one of Greece’s top rock/shred guitar players, having worked alongside many established musicians and with two solo releases under his belt. His latest album “Time to Turn”, a blend of funk, rock and shred guitar with catchy melodies, has received excellent reviews so far. We caught up with him shortly after his performance as the support act for Paul Gilbert…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself – when did you pick up the guitar and what were your first influences?

I started playing when I was about 12 years old – I actually got my first guitar from my father… He is a musician as well and used to tour with many bands in Europe during the 70’s, so I grew up in a musical environment. I remember the first time I listened to a record by Steve Vai I was so fascinated by his music! That was it, from that moment on I knew I wanted to be a guitarist and make my own music. My early band influences were Cacophony, Mr. Big and Racer X - also guitar players like Richie Kotzen, Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen.

 

What were the first bands you got into and when did you start composing your own music?

My first band was a hardcore thrash band, or something like that. I played in many bands when I was a kid, but had already started to compose my own music. Paul Gilbert was my guitar hero at the time and I was really inspired by him to record a solo guitar album. I already had a few ideas down, then worked on some new songs and in 2009 released “Alligator Lick”, which contained 14 tracks in total. This was my first complete home studio production too. I used my Ibanez for the recordings, except for a couple of tracks where I used my Telecaster. Most of the promotion for “Alligator Lick” was done online, including an official video clip for the title track.

ANTHIMOS MANTI "ALIGATOR LICK" OFFICIAL VIDEO CLIP

 

I personally love your new album, “Time to Turn” – the way it combines groove, melody and shred is unique! How do you feel about it compared to your first album and what are your personal favourite tracks from it?

My first album is really a shred album with aggressive riffs and demonically fast solos! I really enjoyed making it, as it reflected all my shred influences, however “Time to Turn” is more special to me. In this one, I wanted to focus on the groove and write some cool funky riffs and nice melodies. I was listening to Richie Kotzen a lot at the time and that’s when I started digging the Tele sound… his album “Slow” was sounding so good that I thought I’d try a Telecaster – I loved the sound and feel straight away, so I recorded all guitars in “Time to Turn” with it. I also wrote more keyboard parts for my arrangements this time. My favourite tracks are “Endless song”, “Orgonite”, “Knob box” and of course the absolute guitar jam “Fuzz split”.

ANTHIMOS MANTI - new album Time to Turn - promo video

 

What was the recording process for “Time to Turn” and what about the musicians involved? The album notes contain quite a few names…

I started recording some demo tracks in my home studio, using guitar and drum loops only. Then I gave the demos to bassist Kostas Domenikiotis and he composed the bass parts. He is a stunning player, also very well-known for his work in the progressive fusion band Uthull. First song we recorded in the studio was the title track, “Time to Turn”. Makis Alefragis recorded drums for it and then we did the bass with Kostas – they both did a great job and I was very excited about the way my song was developing. The rest of the tracks are in a similar funky rock style, so I recorded guitars after drums and bass were done and played the keyboards for most songs, except some parts that were done by Andrew Complainer.  I finally got this idea for a huge guitar jam track, so I included “Fuzz split”, a 10 minute track with 29 amazing guitarists jamming on it…

ANTHIMOS MANTI - Time to Turn

 

You performed as the support act for Paul Gilbert’s gig in Greece – this must have been an amazing experience!

Yes, it was a unique experience to play with one of my guitar heroes! He’s a great guy, really cool and funny all the time. I gave him my album before the gig, then I met him after I played and he was holding it in his hand going “Rock ‘n’ roll, rock ‘n’ roll..!” He really liked my playing and that for me was incredible! I played six songs from “Time to Turn” on stage with Kostas Domenikiotis and got a really good response from the crowd. It was definitely the best way to promote my new album and I was really happy that quite a few people came to me and asked for my CD after the gig!

PAUL GILBERT Live Support by Anthimos Manti grey

 

I understand you’ve worked with a few big names in the rock/metal scene before.

I was selected by Paul Di Anno to play guitar for his tour in Greece last May, which was a really great honour. I recently got to jam in the studio with guitar legend Uli Jon Roth, where we did some of his songs and some Jimi Hendrix covers … great moments! I have also contributed a track with my old band Winters Dawn to the worldwide release “ReUnation”, a tribute to Running Wild.

 

Are you planning more gigs to promote “Time to Turn” and do you have any other side projects at the moment?

Yes, I am currently rehearsing with my band for some possible gigs. I am also recording alongside people like Kip Winger, Reb Beach, Glenn Hughes, Mark Cross, Joe Lynn Turner and many more great musicians for George Gakis’s new album release. Finally, I’m touring and doing some TV performances with ATMA, a high profile pop band in Greece. Other than that, I don’t have time for any other side project, although I still do a bit of session work occasionally.

 

What kind of guitars/effects did you use for the album recordings and what is your preferred live gear these days?

For the album I used my main distortion pedals, Telegun MSD, Tech 21 XXL, Tech 21 Tri-A.C. and Digitech Bad Monkey straight into my Laney LC 15 amp. I use many different effects pedals when I play live, such as Boss DD3 and Vox Time Machine delay pedals, HBE Detox EQ, HBE Bajo Mos booster, Ibanez Airplane flanger, Dunlop Crybaby wah and Majik Box Fuzz Universe drive booster. I am also happy to be endorsed by BULK strings – I generally like to dig in with the pick quite a lot when I play and these strings are guaranteed to last!

 

As a highly skilled player, your tips on how to achieve this would be really appreciated by our marketplace members. What does your practice schedule include and what are your favourite techniques when composing/improvising?

For me, it’s all about rhythm. I think playing on time and having the rhythm in your head is very important in order to play in a musical way. When I compose a solo, I always make sure it grooves with the band and also builds up naturally, so that even a listener who’s not a musician will be able to sing along to it and remember it. Of course practising is important as well. I remember when I started playing I used to practise for up to 15 hours a day! I am mostly working on improvisation at the moment, so I practise different types of phrasing either with a backing track or other times only to a click. My favourite techniques are legato and string skipping arpeggios combined with tapping. I do love my flashy 80’s rock licks of course…

 

Anthimos’ new album is available at  http://www.guitar9.com/timetoturn.html

You can also check out his official page http://www.myspace.com/anthimosmantis