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 Strats 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
a few dates together, I think Less Off Patient has more of a freedom
to it. Jeffs piano playing once again is terrific and soul-inspiringthis
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 worlds 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 Strats late friend Freddy Brown (1939-2016),
yet Less Of Patient is clearly a celebration of life and Strats
guitar music honors the illustrious past. www.stratmusic.net
mwe3.com presents an interview with
The Less Off Patient interview
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
a few dates together, I think Less Off Patient has more of
a freedom to it. Jeffs 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
youre 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 theres not
too many solos, clearly the music is the main vehicle for the sonic
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
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 youre 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 Bobs overall contributions to Less Off Patient and
how about Amy Kings mastering of the album? The mastering sounds
very full and bright, nothing gets buried in the mix and theres
not too much echo. Hence my Django comparison!
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 its, if thats the case,
thats 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?
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 youve assimilated your Greek
roots when it comes to writing music? You did mention that, even though
you left Canada and youve 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)
Also what can you tell us about your finger-picking techniques? Do
you use a pick?
Andriotis: I am a pick-playing guitarist. I do use a little finger
picking playing which you can hear in 185 To Freedom.
mwe3: Whats 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.
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
it takes a few spins to get into it. You might like what hear in the