George Bellas Interview

Netherlands Magazine

by Menno von Brucken Fock

Name:

George Bellas

Land of Origin:

USA

Instrument:

Guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals and orchestration

Profile:

Solo artist, Ring Of Fire, John West Group, Mogg/Way, Palace Terrace, and others...

Education

Have studied harmony, orchestration, form, and advanced composition techniques since the age of 7.

Most important influences:

Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Liszt, Chopin and Walter Piston

Most important sources of inspiration:

Carl Sagan, Albert Einstien, Michio Kaku, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Liszt and Chopin.

Other instruments:

I thoroughly compose (note by note) all the instrument parts for all my music, which includes scoring for: guitar, bass, drums, piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, english horn, bassoon, french horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, harp, glockenspiel, tubular bells, xylophone, timpani, choir, synthesizer and other miscellaneous instruments. Every single note for all of the aforementioned instruments are written down on a score as they are conceived.

How did you learn to play keys and bass?

The same way I learn most everything else; from intense studying, exploring, and being extremely disciplined and focused.

Favorite tracks/albums by other artist(s) and why?

  1. J.S. Bach - Vocal and instrumental works.
  2. Beethoven - Piano Sonatas, String Quartetts and Symphonies
  3. Franz Liszt - Transendental Etudes
  4. Chopin - Preludes and Etudes
  5. Brahms - Symphonies
  6. Mahler - Symphonies
  7. John Williams - Film Scores
  8. Hans Zimmer - Film Scores
  9. Danny Elfman - Film Scores

I love all of the above music for differing reasons that are unique to each composer, but the main thing that I find appealing in all of the aforementioned is the superior composing skills that these composers posses.

Favorite instrument (brand/make, characteristics, explain choice please)?

  1. French Horn
  2. Oboe
  3. English Horn
  4. Fender 1957 RI Stratocaster
  5. Gibson 60's Classic Les Paul
  6. Gibson Flying V
  7. Fender Precision/Jazz Bass
  8. Musicman Stingray Bass

What role do amplifiers, MIDI, software, strings, accessories play in establishing your sound?

While equipment and production certainly do contribute to the sound of music, it is the writing and performances that are far more important; and it is they that most strongly contribute to making a recognizable style. While I certainly enjoy playing through high-end gear, the real power and uniqueness lies in the mind.

How did you actually define your own sound and how important is it to you that people recognize it?

With the power of knowledge and creativity combined through my own individuality along with courage and an exploratory spirit. My style evolved very naturally without any purposeful pursuit of it. Undoubtedly though, and based on decisions I made, it developed by continuos work while harnessing modern and classical composing techniques, which when combined, yields a uniqueness to my music and playing. The more educated a listener is the better they be able to recognize the elements in which I use, but that's not to say you need to understand something to be able to enjoy it.

How often do you perform live on average each year? As a band, a solo artist or both?

In recent years I have dedicated most all of my time to composing. I feel fortunate to have never been without ideas, and it is an ongoing challenge for me to bring to fruition as many as I possibly can.

Other occupations (guitar teacher for example); how much time per week?

I am a full-time composer and multi-instrumentalist. I only teach a few select students and spend the majority of my time composing.

Last album "The Dawn Of Time": composer, guitarist, bass player, keyboardist, orchestrator and producer: can you comment briefly on the making of this fine album?

I composed and scored all the parts for all the instruments one note at a time. I then orchestrated it, learned and recorded the guitar, bass and keyboard parts, and finally had Marco Minnemann record the drum parts. After all that was completed I mixed, mastered and created the artwork. It is very intellectually and emotionally stimulating for me to be at the helm in the entire creation process, which is indeed a lot of work, but at this stage I can't imagine handing over my artistic creation for someone else to complete.

Could you describe the music on this album? Why are odd meters and classical influences important to you? How/why did you choose Marco Minnemann (UKZ)?

The music on the album is a combination of baroque, classical, romantic, and modern styles. Common Practice and modern composing techniques are important to me because that's what I like. The reasons I chose Marco Minnemann to record the drum parts were 1) because he is one of the most incredible drummers I have ever heard , and 2) he is actually capable of playing the scores I send him.

You also play jazz and classical; did you record this genre of music at all or do you perform live with this genre of music?

I have recorded a vast amount of music that has never been released, including classical, jazz, blues, funk and ethnic styles. I have studied jazz and classical since my early youth and have always had a deep interest in common practice techniques and form.

How do you think you can move/touch the hearts of listeners?

By composing and playing music that a listener may be able to connect with in some metaphysical way. When that happens, it is magical. It is very interesting to me how individuality selects what is enjoyable to listen to and what moves us within what is heard; very intriguing.

Special interests (science, astrophysics) ?

I have always loved science very much, in particular astrophysics. Contemplating the grand scheme of things has always fueled my imagination and exploratory spirit more than anything else, but for me, I imaginatively project this through my music.

Please name a few artists you'd love to work with in the future?

Marco Minnemann, Rachael Barton-Pine, Franz Liszt, Itzhak Perlman, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Any additional comments?

I would like to thank all of my fans for all their support throughout my career. It is not only for me, but for all of you too, that I will continue to release new music for as long as I possibly can.