George Bellas Interview

by Underground World Magazine
November 2013 Issue

1. After so many years of recording and playing, where do you find inspiration for new music?

I don’t really know. It is such a metaphysically strong force within my core that I simply can’t imagine not having that drive to create. I enjoy very much thinking on a deep level about the wonders of life, existence, consciousness, our limited perception of reality based on our five senses, and of course various branches of science. I have spent a lifetime pondering questions I may never have the answers for, such as: What is time, when did it begin and will it end? What is consciousness? What is reality like beyond our extremely limited perceptions? What is the scale of the universe(s)? What is matter, and is it real? What is most engaging for me is thinking about and listening to profound ideas.

2. What does “Astral Projection" represent for you?

An expressive sonic journey through an exploratory viewpoint based on various topics pertaining to concepts and ideas of reality, perception, and higher dimensions that culminated from my imagination.

3. What is the story behind "Astral Projection"?

This album came together after writing another album (as of yet unreleased) and decided to release “Astral Projection” first. One of the aspects I really enjoy about this album is having other instruments carry the main or subordinate themes rather than having the guitar do so every time. Usually on the repeat or recapitulation (if I haven’t done so already) I’ll introduce the guitar in some way, either supporting the theme, with contrapuntal lines, or weaving around the theme with decorative flourishes, as in “Interdimensional Travel”. While there are most certainly many songs on the album that are saturated with over-the-edge guitar, to me though, the writing is much more about the overall piece of music.

4. Again you released this album through Lion Music, are you satisfied with that collaboration?

Yes, very much so, Lasse and the team at Lion Music are great people to work with and I have enjoyed the years of collaboration.

5. Are there some concert plans for promoting this album?

At this time my focus is on composing, recording and completing the final production of existing works. I do love performing live very much, the spontaneous improv and energy I feel when performing are beyond what any descriptive text is capable of, especially the improv that comes when I get into a transcendental state of mind. On the flip side of that though is, I love writing and creating so much. It's as though it fuels and satisfies my very existence. The isolated and intensely focused state that I prefer is next to impossible to achieve while gigging extensively.

6. What's critical to you as far as the aspects of your playing?

Emotion, profoundness of the music, a strong sense of uniqueness and pushing beyond the atypical. I enjoy very much exploring and utilizing compositional aspects that are less common. Although, I could write traditional counterpoint effortlessly for weeks on end, as I’m very passionate about that as well too.

7. What is your creative process like?

It is very intense, extremely focused, painfully organized, highly imaginative, and a lot of fun. That’s where my head is at during the process, physically though, composing begins on a blank score one note at a time. One of the funnest parts of composing for me lately is writing melody. It’s such a thrill when a melody comes to me and I’m able to write it down and hear it born out of thin air. I use to compose everything on manuscript paper, but now it’s directly in a score editor either on an iPad, iPhone, or computer, depending upon where I am at the time. I enjoy very much going to an isolated section in a park next to a lake and reflecting, pondering ideas, and just getting lost in my imagination. If I don’t have a means to write down musical ideas when I’m there, I’ll usually come back to my studio with a mindful and unload them in Logic. The albums I write and produce are not a mishmash of songs which I just choose that I deem fit for an album. When I write an album it’s in its entirety, with a sense of unity and consistency throughout, which I suppose is the result of knocking it out within an uninterrupted period of time. It hasn’t always been like that, but that’s how it has been for many years now.

8. How much of a perfectionist are you and how important is that in your music?

I have always been an extreme perfectionist. I cannot imagine my music without that element, as such it is difficult for me to describe the importance of it. However, literally speaking, I am not perfect nor is my music, but I need to be satisfied at a very high level with whatever I do.

9. What are your musical and technical aspirations and did you succeed in them?

To convey a profound level of emotional and musical depth through a myriad of compositional techniques, as well as to have a command on my main instrument in such a way that I am able to not only express myself but do it in a fluid and effortless manner. Some compositions and improvisations bring me a strong sense of satisfaction, but other times not so much. It really depends on the frame of mind I was in when performing or writing, and the uniqueness and profoundness of the end result. Creativity is so peculiar in that it feels like being at the mercy of not just inspiration, but perhaps more so the state that the mind, body and spirit are in during the creative process.

10. People are not paying so much attention to instrumental music, so where do you see this style of music going in the future?

Instrumental music continues to saturate much of the film, game and concert hall genres and has so for hundreds of years. The very essence of (human made) music is sound that has been creatively assembled from emotion, which translates universally to others without the need for linguistics. I will be releasing another solo instrumental album in the very near future. A huge thanks to all of my fans that have listened to my music and or supported this niche instrumental market. Music is such a beautiful universal language, and I am glad to contribute some that others can enjoy.

11. Message for readers?

I truly appreciate the response from everybody that has written to me or shared their thoughts in some way throughout the years, but most of all I feel very grateful for being able to reach out to each and every one of you through the gift of imagination in music. Thank you so much!