George Bellas Interview
by Duke Wisdom
George Bellas is among the most consistently amazing guitarists producing envelope-pushing music today. His phrasing and technique are breathtaking, his compositions as varied and exploratory as his spirit. I don’t need to do much heavy lifting in summing up Bellas as he speaks volumes in his answers:
What’s the last album you listened to?
"The Dawn Of Time", which is my new album that will be released July 16th, 2010 at Lion Music. "The Dawn Of Time" is an instrumental album rich in Romanticism and Futurism with over-the-top performances by Marco Minnemann and George Bellas. This new album contains a diverse collection of 19 songs that range from simple and delicate, to complex and ferocious. The production is dynamic, clean, and has an open sound to it allowing the music to breath naturally.
"The Dawn Of Time" was inspired by the universe, how it was created, and from where and what it came from. I have always loved science, especially astrophysics, and this album is a creative expression of the visions produced from studying the works of great scientists such as: Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Amy Mainzer, and Brian Green, to name but a few. Their research, thought-provoking lectures and writings have been the most inspiring resources I have ever had.
Marco Minnemann once again performed and recorded some mind blowing drum takes. Working with Marco is always an extreme pleasure. I truly believe Marco to be one of the best drummers that has ever lived. I compose and score all the parts for all instruments in my music, but when I hear Marco’s interpretation and the additional Minnemann pizazz he adds, it just blows me away and really takes the parts to a whole new level.
What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
The one that they get the most enjoyment out of. Music is a very personal thing that stirs each individual's emotions differently, and so it is difficult to say what somebody “should” listen to. Having said that though, I do recommend people to explore new sounds that they aren’t familiar with, it can be very inspiring.
Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?
Franz Liszt or Chopin. I love the Romantic era; it was filled with such beautiful melody, harmonic schemes, rich orchestrations, and intense virtuosity. And those two guys could sure play the piano.
Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?
Dr. Michio Kaku is one of my favorite physicists. His lectures and writings have been very inspiring to me over the years. How does the universe work? Where did it come from, and why? These are the things that I think about every single day. And Dr Michio Kaku (amongst other physicists) help me gain an understanding of some of the possible answers.
Do you read music?
Yes, and extremely fluently; I always have since I was very young. All of my compositions are composed on paper first before ever even touching a guitar or any other instrument. All I need is paper, pencil and an abundance of creativity. I do very much love to improvise too. My compositions are all meticulously notated, but the solos are always improvised.
Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
I have always loved science, especially astrophysics, and the albums I’ve done are creative expressions of the visions produced from studying the works of great scientists such as: Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Amy Mainzer, and Brian Green, to name but a few. Their research, thought-provoking lectures and writings have been the most inspiring resources I have ever had.
What was your first guitar and do you still have it?
My very first guitar was a small scale classical guitar. I was 7 years old when I got it and remember the day quite well… My father, brother, sister and I were out shopping, and I would always ask my father if I could go the music section, so at the department store we were at they had an assortment musical instruments. I could not take my eyes off of the guitar that was hanging on the wall. It was like some inner desire was drawing me to it. There was nobody that ever inspired me to start playing, it was just an intense natural desire.
So, anyway, I wound up getting the guitar that day, and the whole way home I was making a bunch of noise with it in the car; strumming, plucking and pounding on the body. When I got home I ran around the whole neighborhood with my new guitar like some crazy kid. And then the next school day (3rd grade), I went to the school’s library and checked out every single music book I could find. It was hilarious, here’s this little kid with both arms full of these books. I was on a quest to learn everything I could about the instrument and music in general… and that passion has not decreased in the least bit. The more I learn, explore, and create, the more intense the desire and excitement has gotten. I will never feel I am good enough to stop practicing and pushing my abilities in performance and composing.
See what I mean? Killer Inquisition. For much more on George, check out his website or the Lion Music site.
View the original interview here: Pointy Guitar