(IV Records)


Back during the heyday of 1970’s prog-rock, it was unheard of but these days, the idea of a one man instrumental prog-rock orchestra is not unusual. The age of the internet and the rise of the do-it-yourself one man rock orchestra has brought a new, previously unattainable level to rising 21st century artists. Case in point is Sentience by U.K. based guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Ivan Verrastro. Living and working in the U.K. rock scene, in the Birmingham / Midlands scene, Ivan’s solo debut proves he has a fertile musical imagination and impressive electric guitar skills. The nine track CD covers a wealth of moods that runs the gamut from experimental music to instrumental rock to jazz-rock fusion. Ivan cites his guitar influences such as Shawn Lane and Marty Friedman and there’s plenty of hard hitting metal prog instrumental sounds to keep your interest peaking throughout. For a self-produced project, Sentience is a most impressive debut CD from U.K. guitarist Ivan Verrastro. www.IvanVerrastro.com

mwe3.com presents an interview with


: Where are you from originally and where do you live now and what do you like best about it?

Ivan Verrastro: I was born in Potenza, a mountain city in Southern Italy and I lived in a few different places around Italy before moving to England in 2012. One good thing about U.K. is the great number of different cultures that can be found, especially in the art and music scenes. This multicolored atmosphere creates opportunities for the musicians based here to grow stylistically and to explore new ways to express their art.

mwe3: What was it like growing up in Italy, where and when were you born, and what was early exposure to music like and who were your favorite musicians while growing up? What are some albums or CDs that you were influenced by?

Ivan Verrastro: I grew up in a very quiet place, where the music scene was – and currently is – rather limited. Luckily, I was born in a family of musicians and music enthusiasts. My mother was a classical pianist, so I was exposed to Chopin, Debussy, Liszt and Beethoven in my early childhood. My father is a true, genuine music fan... he let me listen to thousands of different jazz and rock artists that I would never have chance to know otherwise. If had to choose 3 titles that had the greatest impact on me over the years I would say: Bryan Adams - Reckless; Led Zeppelin IV; Shawn Lane - Powers of Ten.

mwe3: What was the original idea with your album Sentience and what did you set out to accomplish and how did the release come together? What does the term Sentience mean to you?

Ivan Verrastro: I am a great fan of the “Final Fantasy” series, and I really love the soundtracks of the games (composed by Nobuo Uematsu). I think that Sentience represents an attempt to create the soundtrack of my own fantasy story. Check out my web site to learn more, or at least this was the original idea.

However, I think that the concept behind Sentience is a little more complex than that, but I really like the idea of composing from this perspective. Sentience is a word that has many meanings, one of which is the ability to feel and perceive emotions and sensations. I chose this title because everything in music is about sentience to me.

mwe3: What guitars are you featuring on the CD and what are your favorite guitars, amps, strings and effects?

Ivan Verrastro: I have used a modified Fender Stratocaster and a modified Jackson DK for the guitar parts. Both guitars have been with me for many years. I have also tried a lot of other guitars but I eventually chose those because of my emotional connection to them.

As far as amplification goes, in studio I use a Marshall 1987x MK2. My pedal board includes Boss SD-1, Ibanez TS-9, and Mad Professor’s Deep Blue Delay among others. I use Ernie Ball and D’Addario strings on my guitars.

mwe3: Where and when was the music written and rehearsed and what was the recording process like for the Sentience CD? Being that you recorded it on your own what computer program and other gear did you use during the making of the album? Who engineered, mixed and mastered the CD?

Ivan Verrastro: The music was composed and rehearsed roughly between 2011 and 2013 initially in my home studio in Italy, and then in England from 2012 onwards. Most of the album was recorded in Birmingham, using SonarX1 and Cakewalk UA-4FX as audio interface. I played every instrument on the record and also engineered and mixed every track. The album was then mastered by Chris Graham in the U.S.A.

mwe3: Do you maintain a practice schedule or do you mostly spend time writing music? Does your practicing improve your writing or does your writing improve your practicing? In what ways do you strive to become a better guitarist and composer?

Ivan Verrastro: I used to practice a lot when I was about 19-20 years old, and then I started to focus more and more on writing music. These days I don’t even really practice anymore, yet my technique seems to improve day by day. As far as practicing goes, I have always tried not to be one of those boring shredders you see on YouTube. To me music is not an exercise repeated over and over again. I am only interested in creating atmospheres and sharing emotions with people who are willing to listen. I spend most of my time listening to other people’s music, because I think this is the only way one can be a better musician and maybe a better human being as well.

mwe3: What are your musical plans as far as writing, recording and performing for 2014? Any other interesting new things planned for 2014 or is it just a continuation onwards?

Ivan Verrastro: I have a lot of things to do this year; I am going to be very busy! There are some side projects and collaborations going on, which may also include live performances and guest appearances in a new record. In the meanwhile I have already started to write music for the next album. I am so excited!

Thanks to Ivan Verrastro @ IvanVerrastro.com


Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com
Send to
: MWE3.com Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein
2351 West Atlantic Blvd. #667754
Pompano Beach, Florida 33066

E-mail: mwe3nyc@gmail.com
New York address (for legal matters only)
P.O. Box 222151, Great Neck, N.Y. 11022-2151

CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home


Copyright 1999-2013
MWE3.com - All Rights Reserved