Interview: Guitarsnake

Willem Ipema: Trying to make a living through guitar music, you took an outstanding name - "Guitarsnake". Did you also check the market for what people might like to hear and write accordingly, or did you try to develop your own sound in the the hope consumers would like it?

Nicolas Notarianni: Today it is quite hard to set yourself apart in the instrumental rock domain. There are a lot of great guitarists! Unfortunately, lots of them do the same kind of stuff. I don't play music to show people what I am capable of, I am just playing and not demonstrating. I often take a new look at my work, and every time I am composing, I try to stand back.

Philippe Thirionet: Why did you choose to play a Mayones guitar?

Nicolas Notarianni: That is simple! They are the best guitars in the world! I've had lots of different brands in my hands since I started to play the guitar but the Mayones are extraordinary. This company produce matchless quality instruments. All the people I know who have tried the models I am playing have bought one!

Dan McAvinchey: Are you using social media sites to promote your CD?

Nicolas Notarianni: Yes, I use the most famous web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace in addition to my official website. It is very useful for keeping in touch with people, and to give my musical news to my fans. Unfortunately, it takes lots of time to do my own promotion, and time is hard to find when you have to do everything by yourself.

Dan McAvinchey: Why do you think certain music fans prefer instrumental music over traditional vocal-oriented music?

Nicolas Notarianni: It's just different taste, or a different musical culture maybe? There are many bands I like, but sometimes I am not a huge fan of the singer's voice. Even if nowadays these two kinds of music can reach high technical levels, instrumental music will mainly attract people who are already musicians and already playing their own music (themselves). The fans like to align themselves with this music's sound and technique.

Richard Baines: You learned to play the cornet and the trumpet from a very early age. Do you think this made it easier to develop skill on the guitar? Would you recommend people learn other instruments alongside the guitar?

Nicolas Notarianni: Personally, the trumpet had no influence on my guitar playing. You know I started the trumpet at the age of 6, and when my brother bought his first electric guitar, the trumpet didn't exist anymore for me!

I will always remember what my trumpet teacher told me at the end, "Well, you would not be starting to play the guitar? You are wearing a nice shirt of JS!" Then, in time I learned to appreciate the trumpet through artists such as John Williams, Erik Truffaz or Miles Davis. Knowing how to play another instrument besides the guitar at this stage of my life does influence my composing.

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Olivier Mesnier: How do you build your instrumental development into your daily practice?

Nicolas Notarianni: I don't compose every day. When I am playing and I have a riff that comes back often, I know it is a basis of a work I have to go into at a deeper level. It has to be natural. This is my method of composition. If I am forcing myself, it just will not work, I need time to compose.

Roo: You have been invited recently to contribute to the album "Guitar Addiction: A Tribute To Modern Guitar", can you tell us a bit about this experience and how you enjoyed it?

Nicolas Notarianni: I had been invited to be a part of that fantastic project a few days after the release of my second album. When I saw the list of the other invited musicians, I was really scared at first, and then I just felt honored to be a part of it. Franck (Ribiere) sent me a part of the song I was supposed to play. The other parts (played by the other guitarists) were not recorded yet. I had to stay quite conservative on my part; I could not do a solo that would not blend wellwith the rest of the music. Franck is really open-minded, talented, and is dedicated to what he is doing. This is rare.

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Nicolas Notarianni, a French guitarist who uses the stage name Guitarsnake, is a virtuoso who released his solo CD, "Around The World" in 2011 on Mad Guitar Records. The instrumental album is a masterpiece of colorful and emotional guitar music, crafted with flawless guitar technique and a unique feel.

This "group panel" interview was conducted with Notarianni in cyberspace to get answers to questions concerning his gear, promotion and his early development.