STRAT ANDRIOTIS
Less Off Patient
(Dekatria Records)

 

Influenced by the great jazz guitar legendsfrom Django Reinhardt to John McLaughlinGreece-born / Canada-based guitarist Strat Andriotis is making waves in the music world with his 2016 CD entitled Less Off Patient. Less Off Patient is the follow up to Strat’s critically acclaimed 2015 CD, Liars Incorporated. Featuring eleven original tracks of enchanting instrumental guitar music, blending Gypsy Jazz and Neoclassical music, on Less Off Patient, Strat is joined by his trio mates Adrianna Lee (violin) and Jeff Vidov (piano). Speaking to mwe3.com about working with the same musicians on both Liars Incorporated and his 2016 CD, Less Off Patient, Strat adds, "I gave Adrianna more of a featured role, I'm writing her a lot more solos and passages. Because we had all played a few dates together, I think Less Off Patient has more of a freedom to it. Jeff’s piano playing once again is terrific and soul-inspiring—this album came together rather quickly because of our familiarity from playing with each other." Ripe with imaginative guitar musings that make vintage sounds modern again, Less Off Patient takes 21st century classical music and Gypsy jazz in a bright and bold direction. With eleven tracks that fly by in just over 36 minutes, Less Off Patient features Strat Andriotis recording in Grant Avenue studio in Hamilton, Canada with production by both Strat and Bob Doidge. Strat Andriotis has released two albums over the past few years and, with Less Off Patient he is breaking new ground for both instrumental Gypsy jazz guitar and neoclassical music. Gypsy Jazz is one of the guitar world’s most treasured art forms and fans and disciples of Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli as well as modern day guitar heroes like John Jorgenson and Biréli Lagrène will enjoy the Euro-flavored guitar music of Strat Andriotis. With eye-catching cover artwork of a hospital patient, Less Off Patient is dedicated to Strat’s late friend Freddy Brown (1939-2016), yet Less Of Patient is clearly a celebration of life and Strat’s guitar music honors the illustrious past. www.stratmusic.net





mwe3.com presents an interview with
STRAT ANDRIOTIS
The “Less Off Patient” interview


mwe3
: Less Off Patient is a great follow up CD to Liars Incorporated. Being that both albums feature your guitar backed up by Jeff Vidov on piano and Adrianna Lee on violin, how are the two albums different as far as your approach to composing, performance and recording?

Strat Andriotis: I gave Adrianna more of a featured role, writing her a lot more solos and passages. Because we had
all played a few dates together, I think Less Off Patient has more of a freedom to it. Jeff’s piano playing once again is terrific and soul-inspiring. This album came together rather quickly because of our familiarity from playing with each other.

mwe3: Liars Incorporated took five years to make. Was it somewhat easier this time around for Less Off Patient as you’re working with the same crew of musicians and the same producer? Was the chemistry the same this time around?

Strat Andriotis: Absolutely. Everybody involved with Less Off Patient had a much easier guide to the music, largely in part because of our previous work together.

mwe3: On Less Off Patient, did you write all the music out by hand or do you use a computer program? Most of the melodic lines on Less Off Patient are played by all the instruments simultaneously which is quite unique these days! As there’s not too many solos, clearly the music is the main vehicle for the sonic ideas!

Strat Andriotis: For writing the music I use a computer program, which makes it easier. In most cases I will start to write the songs on the guitar first but after a few times I will start with a piano first approach. I have to say there are a lot more solos for guitar and violin than on Liars Incorporated. Sometimes two guitar solos in one song.

mwe3: You say John McLaughlin is your main influence on the guitar. Is the Django connection valid on Less Off Patient and why do you think Gypsy Jazz has remained so popular in the music world?

Strat Andriotis: The funny thing is I first heard John McLaughlin before Django, when I was a kid. I was introduced to Django's music a few years later. I guess from listening to McLaughlin, whose biggest guitar influence was Django, I soaked up some of the guitar work. I guess you can hear the influence of Django especially when I play acoustic guitar. When you think about Django's music, it has been around close to a hundred years and his playing stands the test of time, just ask any guitar player.

mwe3: Were the Less Off Patient recording sessions done the same way as Liars Incorporated in that you say that the piano was recorded first, followed by guitar and then violin? How did that approach translate into the finished Less Off Patient recording? The Less Off Patient recording sound is so perfect that it really seems like you’re recording with the trio together at the same time! Was Bob Doidge in the room with you when all the artists were recording their parts?

Strat Andriotis: The same approach was used on Less Off Patient as on Liars Incorporated. The song “Duet” was done live off the floor with Adrianna and I. Bob was at all the sessions we recorded. His mic-ing technique is amazing. The violin, piano and guitar have such a rich texture to them.

mwe3: Bob Doidge recorded some cello on Liars Incorporated so did Bob add in any parts this time and can you tell us something about Bob’s overall contributions to Less Off Patient and how about Amy King’s mastering of the album? The mastering sounds very full and bright, nothing gets buried in the mix and there’s not too much echo. Hence my Django comparison!

Strat Andriotis: Bob did not play on this record. His ear is truly amazing and he helped with some decisions on the outcome of the record. I find sometimes I get too caught up in making sure everything is perfect sounding that I might lose some moments that are happy accidents. Bob is good at recognizing those moments. I asked Amy to master the record a little hotter than usual and the added bass and treble sounds great. Very intimate.

mwe3: You seem to have an inclination towards using controversial cover art on your albums! You mentioned how you rushed a friend to the hospital and saw all the patients, all the sick and destitute ones so that was one reason why you named the album Less Off Patient. Do you think you might scare some more conservative fans away with the CD cover art? I guess it’s, if that’s the case, that’s their loss.

Strat Andriotis: I love the artwork on both Less Off Patient and Liars. I feel the artwork sets up the music that accompanies it. It is truly different than most instrumental records you might see and also listen to. The music, I feel, is as original as its cover and that means the world to me. Showing the world some injustices at the same time puts a smile on my face.

mwe3: You say you practice arpeggios and scales to stay in shape. What are your favorite scales and arpeggios and chord progressions to practice and how else did you stay in shape to prepare for the Less Off Patient sessions? When did you learn to read and write music and how does that impact both your guitar playing, your practicing and your compositional approach to writing music?

Strat Andriotis: I pretty well use major and minor scales with some diminished scales, diminished arpeggios and some passing tones for color. I started to read music when I was eleven years old and I started to write music a few years later. To me composition is the most important thing in creating songs. Solos always sound better when you have created a nice canvas.

mwe3: As far as getting the Less Off Patient CD better heard and listened to by the audiences, are you planning to target the jazz or classical music markets?

Strat Andriotis: I would like for both genres to be excited about Less Off Patient and also would be nice to see some rock music fans into it.

mwe3: Do you mind people mentioning your Greek heritage when describing your music? Do you think you’ve assimilated your Greek roots when it comes to writing music? You did mention that, even though you left Canada and you’ve lived in Canada since you were four, you did get some exposure to Greek music.

Strat Andriotis: I don't think I play too much Greek influenced music. My dad would play some Greek music at home but not too much. I guess some might say when I am doing a solo it reminds them a little of a bouzouki player.

mwe3: On Liars Incorporated, you used the Godin 5th Avenue guitar and the 1956 Gibson ES 225. Are those the guitars you also recorded Less Off Patient with?

Strat Andriotis: For this record I used my 2014 Gibson SJ200 exclusively with the exception of a 1959 Gibson L-48 which I used for “Somewhere In Time My Love”. The L-48 belongs to one of my best friends, Neil Brown whose father was Freddy Brown. (To whom the record is dedicated – editor)

mwe3: Also what can you tell us about your finger-picking techniques? Do you use a pick?

Strat Andriotis: I am a pick-playing guitarist. I do use a little finger picking playing which you can hear in “185 To Freedom”.

mwe3: What’s been the reaction to your music in Canada? Is the Canada market open to your adventurous music or are you looking more to the US and beyond for exposure and airplay / reviews? Are you happy with the internet as many are complaining of infringement and even theft from not receiving royalties from all the downloading and sites like YouTube, etc?

Strat Andriotis: Canada has been very supportive to my music but the U.S. is a much bigger market with more avenues for airplay and touring. As far as internet downloads go, what can you do? I have received some royalties from YouTube but then again my music only attracts maybe 5 percent of music listeners.

mwe3: With Less Off Patient being released on CD internationally in September 2016, what can you say to music fans to open their ears to the great music on your amazing new album?

Strat Andriotis: I hope people will have a listen… Sometimes it takes a few spins to get into it. You might like what hear in the end.


 

 
   
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