his 2015 CD, entitled Liars Incorporated, guitarist
Strat Andriotis redefines the role of the guitar in classical
music. The twelve track Liars Incorporated CD clocks in at
just under 28 minutes but its filled with some breathtaking
guitar-centric, classically inspired music. Assisting Strat on this
CD are some gifted accompanistsJeff Vidov (piano) and
Adrianna Lee (violin). Also on the CD are Katie Avery (violin)
and album co-producer Bob Doidge (cello). Although Strat grew
up in Canada listening to Cream and Jimi Hendrix, his love of jazz
was ignited by the Miles Davis album In A Silent Way. His early
solo albums featured nylon string guitar and piano with samples and,
following another venture into the realm of hard rock, in early 2015
Strat returned to the neoclassical guitar style. Inspired by classical
music greatssuch as Paganini, Satie and BeethovenStrat
recorded Liars Incorporated. The results are truly striking
and quite satisfying, both from a guitar perspective and a neoclassical
music perspective. Strats fluid guitar work is in total sync
with the other musicians and instead of stealing the spotlight with
his mercurial guitar skills, he acts as the central cog in a well
oiled musical machine. Perhaps the most fascinating thing is that
Strat has written all the music here, so while it may sound like it
was composed in another century, the music here is actually a well
honed representation of 21st century neo-classical guitar-centric
music at its finest. Another good thing is, how often you play this
amazing CD, it never seems to wear out its welcome. Liars Incorporated
is a masterful guitar statement from neoclassical / rock guitar
maestro Strat Andriotis. www.StratMusic.net
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Tell us how your new CD, Liars Incorporated came together.
Even though you have a rock and jazz background as a guitarist, the
CD is very classical in nature. Would you say your preference in music
is rock, jazz or classical? Also how did you come up with the title?
Seems like a rather jolting title compared to the mellifluous sounds
Strat Andriotis: Liars took close to five years to finish.
I was doing a lot of writing and wanted to involve piano and violin
in the compositions. All the music was written out pretty well note
for note. The piano was my first instrument and I have always loved
writing music for it. I enjoy all types of music but if I had to pick
I would say classical, jazz and rock in that order, but that could
change next year! (lol) I wanted this album to have impact from the
music to the graphics to the title. The handshake says it all, powerful
yet simple and enigmatic.
mwe3: How do you balance and assimilate your guitar influences
on the new CD? For example, I heard that in writing the music for
Liars Incorporated you spent time listening to classical masters
like Paganini, Satie and Beethoven but I also heard that you listen
a lot of Django Reinhardt so one could say theres kind of a
mercurial guitar style and sound working here.
Andriotis: The first thing I listen to or write is melody and
how I can intertwine a passage with the other instruments. Solos are
the last thing I work on for a composition. Now don't get me wrong.
I have practiced endless hours on guitar techniques, scales etc...
But the beauty of writing a nice passage to solo later is very rewarding.
John McLaughlin is probably my biggest guitar influence
mwe3: Who is playing with you on the Liars Incorporated
CD and what were the recording sessions like? Also what was it
like working with co-producer Bob Doidge and what did Bob bring to
the album sessions?
Strat Andriotis: I have Jeff Vidov on piano and Adrianna Lee
on violin. Katie Avery played violin on "Under". These players
did an amazing job. There are a lot of 16th note lines that Jeff and
I played together. Adrianna and Katie played their parts beautifully.
It helps that they are classically trained musicians and can read
music very well. Because of our time schedule all the parts were played
separately. Piano first, guitar second and violin last. Working with
Bob at Grant Avenue Studio was fantastic. He has such a great ear
for acoustic instruments. Most of the parts recorded were done as
full takes and very little punch ins. I love Bob's cello in "The
mwe3: How would you compare Liars Incorporated with
your earlier recorded works that you made with Tom Carney? What other
recordings have you made?
Andriotis: Liars by far for me is the most rewarding. The
music I wrote with Tom Carney was a glimpse of what was coming with
Liars. Other recordings... I was in a rock project in 2006
that featured Roger Banks on drums, Jim Gilmour (Saga) on keyboards
and Tony Levin on bass / chapman stick. The band was called XXX Sublimator.
mwe3: Can you tell us when you started playing guitar and about
your early music studies? Have your practice routines changed over
the years? How do you stay in shape musically as far as exercises
and other practice routines go?
Strat Andriotis: My earliest influence on guitar was Clapton
and Hendrix, then I heard John McLaughlin. I wanted to quit when I
first heard him. He is amazing. I try to practice different things
all the time and I always practice with a clean guitar sound. A lot
of made up arpeggios/scales and chord progressions really.
mwe3: What was your first guitar and what guitars are featured
on the Liars Incorporated CD and what other guitars do you
feature on your other albums, live shows and in guitar guitar arsenal
overall? It sounds like youre playing an electric guitar on
Liars Incorporated even though the music is classical. Is that
a rightful assumption?
Andriotis: I played two guitars on Liars. A Godin 5th Avenue
archtop and a 1956 Gibson ES 225, on "Under" only. Right
now I have a 1991 Gibson ES 175 and a 1980 Les Paul standard. The
nylon string guitar is a Washburn. I only used that guitar for the
Tom Carney records. When I play live no effects are used. Guitar straight
mwe3: In making the Liars Incorporated are you trying
to simultaneously reach out more to the classical music fans and the
rock fans interested in hearing some truly unique classically inspired
guitar music? I was thinking the dynamics of rock but played as classical
Strat Andriotis: Yeah... You pretty well nailed there Robert.
I would like some rock fans to crossover to this music. Even though
it is classically based the music has some aggression to it.
mwe3: Tell us about your family moving from Greece to Canada
and how the Greek musical influence impacts your guitar sound. Would
you say theres a Canadian influence in your music? How would
you compare living in the two countries and where do you live now
and what do you like best about it?
Strat Andriotis: For the most part I do not remember too much
about Greece. I left there when I was around four years old. Growing
up Canada in a Greek household was beneficial to me. Listened to some
bouzouki music. The influence I got growing up in Canada was not from
music but my interactions with people that have crossed my life. Most
of Liars is written about them.
mwe3: What are you hoping music fans will come away with after
listening to the Liars Incorporated CD? Also what other
plans do you have for your music and guitar playing in 2015? Are there
other musical directions youd like to go in next and how about
future musical goals and other future musical moves you are considering?
Strat Andriotis: Hopefully something fresh and inspiring. I
think it is an album that will grow on you the more you listen. Trying
to play some festivals this year I will not know till later in April
if it is going to happen. Hoping to record some classical music but
with more instruments involved maybe a small orchestra.