Releasing a violent storm of music

Tell
us about your new project, Violent Storm. What is the story behind it?

I have been writing music all my
life, since I was a kid and lived in Argentina. Then I moved to the UK and continued
composing. I did not have much chance to put my composition into performance in
live bands in the UK or the States, because basically I was playing
professionally; backing up other singers, rock bands, then with Ritchie Balckmore,
Malmsteem, and with these two guys you cannot show your own songs much, you
have to play what they tell you to play. So I was accumulating songs all this
time. And I felt it was about time to make my own CD, so I invited some guests
musicians like KK Downing and Malmsteem, and they were happy to collaborate. KK
became more involved producing the album.

Have you worked before with KK?

No. He came to see Yngwee Malmsteem
when we played in Barcelona,
and we met there for the first time. Then we kept in touch, I went to see him
playing with Judas Priest in Miami
and Las Vegas,
and I mentioned to him that I was in this project. I showed him some songs. I
told him that Malmsteem was going to play a couple of songs, and if he would
fancy to play a couple more. He said “sure”, and that is how the thing kicked off.
Then, he wanted to have a little more of input in the project. He has a lot of
suggestions and I welcomed most of them, so he became a producer in the
project. 

-Was it a problem not to be often
at the same place, working sending material via the InternetNo, not really. With many bands you
work on distance. You send ideas in MP3 and so on; it is not the old fashion
way of gathering with the band. Of course it is nicer when it is like that, but
logistics have improved, and sometimes schedules are busy. KK was busy with Judas Priest
project, I was busy touring with Malmsteem, and so it had to be done at everybody’s
convenient time.

{mosimage}
And the story behind the band’s name? Who came
up with it?

It is a funny story. I liked the violet colour, maybe it also has to do
with the colour purple, since I am a great Deep Purple fan. I figured
out that maybe I could call the project “Violet Storm” but KK told me that he
was not going to be involved in any way in a band with the word Violet in its
name…

So then I called it Violent Storm, that sounds similar, and I think that
sounds great.

Which are your favourite songs in the album?

For me it is difficult to choose because I like all the tracks. I
intended to have quite a lot of diversity. I listen to most of the band's cds,
and then after 2-3 tracks it becomes monotonous, so I tried not to have the
same feeling with my album. I think that all the tracks in the album are very
different. I enjoyed playing and composing all the songs, so I cannot say
“Track number 5 is the one”.  They all
have their own “thing” that I like.

And then it is a funny thing that people who have listened to the album
and critics mention different tracks as favourite ones. For Yngwee, “Empty
Hope” is the favourite because it is the one with more classical stuff, but
some DJs have different ones as favourite.

You did a solo album years ago, Ostinato, and now Violet
Storm. Which one do you feel most satisfied with?

Well, they both come from my creativity. Ostinato was a challenge, to
play classical things with an electric bass, music that was more meant to be
played with a keyboard, so I wanted to see what happened when playing it with
the bass. I had a very nostalgic feeling with that album, and I think that when
I retire, that is the thing I want to do, just to sit in my studio and record
classical stuff.

Any ideas about touring dates for Violent Storm?

We are working on that just at same time we speak. Things will be
confirmed soon, in the next few days. We intend to play all over Europe, including Scandinavia,
Spain, the UK, etc. We are
really eager to take this project on the road.

Are KK Downing and Malmsteem going to appear as guests in some
concerts?

It would be great if they have time to join us in some of the shows, but
well, we are going to have our own band standing on their own feet. We have to prove
ourselves that we can work as a valid band.

You were recently in Finland
playing three gigs with Malmsteem. How was the experience?

Oh, it was great. Finland
became one of my favourite places in the world. I love the people very much; I
think they are very straightforward, very honest. I do not mind the cold
weather, so I enjoyed it. Although it was not so cold, I was looking forward to
lots of snow… and there was not.

Some people think that a Finnish audience can be a bit cold. Did you
notice anything like that?

Not at all. I really enjoyed the concert and the people’s attitude.

Tell me about this G3 project. How was to be in a project involving,
apart from Malmsteem, Satriani and Vai?

Doing the G3 was an amazing project! You can imagine, with these three guitar
monsters! The musicians in each band were amazing as well, for example Billy
Sheehan
was with Steve Vai´s band. Everybody was as good as it gets, so I felt
really privileged to be in a situation like that. You know you have to do your
best every night; you have to do well and perform well. I really learnt a lot
at that experience.

Malmsteem said literally in the Helsinki press conference that on
stage, he does “whatever the fuck he wants”, meaning that he can change the
song, he can play the way he likes. Is it difficult for you to follow the
performance, or do you enjoy with this way of working, this improvisation?

It is challenging, but well, I was “trained” with Ritchie Blackmore
because I played with him before, and he does similar things. Before you have
time to realise, he plays something that is not even in the set list and you
have not even rehearsed and on the spot, you have to play it! Maybe that is the
reason why Malmsteem likes to get “ex-Blackmore musicians”, because we are all
“well trained”

So after working with Blackmore, there are no big surprises for you
anymore on stage.

Being honest, it keeps the show from being boring. It keeps you on your
toes, because you don’t know what comes up next. I have done gigs when it was
the same list every night, and I almost fell asleep in the middle of the show,
so this is quite different.

I saw some pictures where you are dressed up
in these curious medieval clothes while playing with Blackmore. How was that?
Is it not strange to play, disguised like that?

In the Blackmore experience, he and Candy loved the medieval
things. They tried to put the show in medieval times, so a part is to work with
that kind of clothes…Well, I had never worn tights before, so it was a little
bit different. But well, everybody was in the same boat. Blackmore liked to put
this funny Austrian hat on himself. Sometimes we were hanging out, going to a
pub, and he would put one of those ridiculous hats on me. And people were
watching at me like “what is wrong with this guy???”But well, it is part of the
fantasy of working with Blackmore!

So the fantasy is everywhere, it can be on
stage or even in a pub.

Yeah, he really liked that! In his house, all the decoration is medieval
type! He has an old abandoned park nears his house… He owns lots of medieval
stuff, nothing too dark, but just funny stuff owned by him. So he really enjoys
that.

And in the future, what is going to be next after Violent Storm? Any
possibility of having a second album?

Well, I have sort of being planning this project for a long time, so I'm
going to give this a lot of attention. The next step is touring, and not just
in Europe. The album is going to be released
in America
too, so I am going to be touring in America, and hopefully also in South America, Australia… and everywhere else.
Depending on the response, there would be the possibility of planning a second
album – let’s see.

Do you know how long the tour is going to be?

I expect it to be for a long time. Probably it will be starting in May
through the rest of the years. It could be having gigs for 3-4 weeks, and then
resting for a couple of weeks, and then back on the road. So hopefully it will
be a very extended tour, we need to spread the word and show it in many
different places. So you must come and see it!