Check out this interview that I did for Robex Lundgren:
interview with Gregor Docherty
Have any of you played in other bands? Yes, I used to play Guitar in the established Scottish power metal band Ascension.
How is it that you started playing music? My father is very musical, having been a folk guitarist for a very long time. He showed me how to play a couple of chords after he looked out his old electric guitar and I was hooked.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? I am a solo recording artist and I wrote all of the music for all of my albums.
Did you make music even when you were young? Ever since the age of 14 I have been writing music, although the music I have been writing has drastically changed over the years. I started writing solo shred/progressive metal guitar music in 2010.
Where are you from? Aberdeen, Scotland
What's your style of genre? Progressive Metal/Shred Guitar/Instrumental/World Music
What inspires you? My vision for what I want to write about. That is the primary driver. I always write songs that are based in one of my own experience, merging this with another story. I am not motivated by creating what is scalable, which is why my new double album is more than 2 hours long, with songs that are not shorter than 9 minutes.
How often and where do you reherse? I practice every day, I write music as often as I can and publish performance videos as often as is possible.
How have you developed since you started with the music? I used to write metal music for bands, which I am now returning to. The songs are always based on a theme and are not prescriptive by design. For my solo stuff, there is no plan but only concepts which I incorporate.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Love reading (one of my main song writing processes), films, cooking and photography.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Absolutely – at present, it would be really difficult to play my music live as I am a solo artist, but am in the process of organizing performance clinics which incorporate lessons and live performance.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? No – I have an excellent team behind me. In terms of artwork, music production, sound engineering, mastering – I would have no need or desire for assistance than what I have at present. Perhaps in organizing live performances, but my process for writing and recording is pretty static.
What made you decide to make this music? There is no decision making process, it occurs naturally, when I stumble across a cool concept, riff or lick. The majority of my music is spontaneously written in my head then translated onto the guitar.
What are your songs about? Personal experience – interwoven through themes and stories which I find interesting, or literature. History, Politics, Science Fiction. For example, I have a song on my new album The Revelation Stockpile entitle ‘Outside Context Problem’, which is in part based on the book ‘Excession’ by the late Scottish author Iain M. Banks. I use this as an analogy for the story I want to tell in the song. All of my songs are accompanied by a quote on the physical copies of my disks which elude in part to the story of the song.
Do you compose in a certain inviroment? Yes, I usually need a blank cheque in terms of time and a quiet place. Unless I find a cool riff whilst practising or in my imagination.
Have you done any covers live? Not particularly – When I used to play in bands, yes – We did some Blind Guardian covers (Lost in the Twilight Hall/Banish from Sanctuary). I plan to record a Metallica medley for my new band – the video is on youtube but the recording quality is low. It’s an 8 string song mixing old school Metallica transcribed for 8 string guitar (I called it Eightallica haha).
What was your first gig like? Excellent and terrifying – I was only 13 at the time when I was a lead guitarist in a local band.
What was your latest gig? Years ago, but that’s going to change as I am in the process of building a brand new band, which I already have a full set list for, so once I have the correct line-up, that will happen very quickly.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? Nationwide at present, I really have no plan at the moment, but I am now ready to perform so will beable to react to any opportunity as it arises.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? 2011 with my first album Hyper Kinetics. I sell physical digipack CD’s of my two new albums The Revelation Stockpile and Alexandria Before the Fire. I also sell T-Shirts through my website. I am privileged to have an endorsement and represent an American pick company called SwissPicks, which I actively promote and am an ambassador of.
Where can people buy your merchandise? From my website. My music is available to download on iTunes, Amazon, Tunecore, CDBaby and many other online sites.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I grew up in this generation so I do not have an issue with it. With my new album, I was really delighted when people were torrenting my music – I think it’s a positive sign, albiet no buying it. Fans will support you in other ways which is really cool. I understand if someone buys one of my discs, perhaps they wont listen the physical copy, but like to have a tangible disc (Plus the artwork is absolutely amazing, thanks to the artist which did it for me), so I always try to include bonuses, such as a hand written letter of thanks or a free SwissPick. I still buy CD’s but only to support the band – I think people generally don’t download music anymore, as sites such as Spotify or even youtube are how people enjoy their favorite music or discover new artists.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Absolutely – its wholesale proliferation, of talent. This is art after all (at least to me), not industry. Music is really exciting, although those who make a career out of it cant grasp the same world that this generation of musicians/artists reside in. Live music will always be salient. In a way, the entire bureaucratic/administrative infrastructure of the music industry has been eliminated, for better or worse that is gone now.
What do you think of my work? Its great – an important component of music these days – it’s the smaller communities that are important now, such as blogs, online stations, playlists, websites and forums. In the past, it used to be that you would be dictated to find new music from magazines and other mediums. People truly passionate about their favorite music are far more proactive in finding these new communities. I think this is great.
Do you have any role models or idols? In terms of influences, the list is endless and not even confined to music. Its important to have this, in my process anyways, in order to continue to be inspired and create new material.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? It’s a healthy mix, as I find that how people ‘consume’ music is so diverse these days. Be it, on mobile phone or chilling out for a long listening session. The older stuff is cool, like discovering new stuff that appears to be lost in time. As an example, I recently discovered a band called Haji’s Kitchen, which is now one of my favorite bands.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Finding audiences is tough, but not a driver. Definatly the biggest obstacle is infrastructure and expertise. For example, I have just now set up a modest studio in my flat, which is now operational. I needed technical help to do so. Unfortunately you have to be an expert as a musician, sound engineer, artist, marketer and promoter to succeed. My biggest obstacle is a lack of knowledge of how to record music properly (ie Cubase), fortunately I have friends and family which do have this knowledge. Time is an obstacle – the older you get, the less you have. In terms of planning, its simply planning time in which to make content.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Always follow your vision or objective. Do not get detracted from this. Ever. If you forget why you originally wanted to do what you are doing, I think you are done. Also, do not be dictated to – Especially deadlines. Too many artists put out the same material year on year (similar with the guitar product industry, which create new products simply because it’s a new year, not because its good or needed). Do what you love, not what you think will work. I mean, unless your objective is to make lots of money and be a rockstar, in which case, disregard all of my advice as its not applicable. Take inspiration from every source possible, with an open mind.
Do you have any new material? Tons – I am about to launch my new band ‘The Willing Flesh’ and am also working on new solo material spontaneously. Really looking forward to playing live again so I have also been practicing my set, but when I come up with new stuff, I always try to capture it as I might forget it. It is this situation that has led me to have an enormous imbalance of material not yet recorded.
What are your web sites?
How can people reach you?
What are your plans for the future? Live shows, performance videos, new band, new cds.Do you have something to add? Thank you for the opportunity for this interview.