Friday, April 27, 2007

Matthew Mills ( Forgotten Realm, M.O.S.) Interview


When it comes to Neoclassical Metal, I believe that Matthew Mills must be the most active guitarist out there! A member in 3 projects, teaching music and composing endlessly, he surely has much to offer to the scene! In the following interview, Matt talks about his past, his present as well as his future career. Let's see what he has to reveal...

What forced you to pick up the guitar and at what age?

I started to play guitar when I was 15 and I was completely blown away buy all the great metal albums and bands of the 80s. Metallica, Iron Maiden, Helloween. I really wanted to play guitar after hearing Yngwie Malmsteens instrumental tune Trilogy. I couldn't believe that is was guitar when I first heard it. That album totally changed my life and approach to guitar. The album from Vinnie Moore called Minds Eye was amazing the same way. Everything on the album was harmonized and some of the best melodies in Neoclassical guitar instrumental music.

Why you chose Neoclassical Metal to express yourself?

The love of Neoclassical and playing neoclassical is something that has always stuck with me through out the years. I feel like I have a spiritual connection to music I am able to express my feeling and emotions the best with this style of music. The music combines the power aspect of fast metal guitar with the beautiful melodies of Classical Music. The two seem to be a perfect fit!

Your first solo CD, simply titled "Matt Mills Project" was released in 2002. Looking back at it now, is there anything that you would like to change?

Well, when I listen to the album I find that there would be many things I would change because its a few years old now. I feel like my playing song writing has grown so much in the last few years. My new album that is soon to be released is some of my best writing and playing

In the same period, you form the band FORGOTTEN REALM. Why you chose not to focus only in instrumental music?

Well, when I started Forgotten Realm I always wanted a power metal band that was like Iron Maiden and Yngwie Malmsteen. I wanted to connect to a larger audience then just guitar fanatics but I seem to be known for My instrumental as of now.

Joe Hasselvander handles the drum kit in the band's first recordings. How did that happen?

Well, Joe was living in VA at the time and we thought he would be a great player for the band we parted ways because of certain members that were in the old incarnation of the band. He is a great guy and a great drummer. I hope to work with him again one day. Many false rumors were started about him and why he left the band but it had to do the older incarnation of Forgotten Realm. I consider the bands current line up to be the best and the true Forgotten Realm.

It took you three years to release the follow-up to your debut. Why it took you so long to release "Neoclassical Rock Guitar"?

Well, I really took a lot time away from the instrumental material because I was focused so much on Forgotten Realm. I eventually got around to recording the material when I felt like the older incarnation of Forgotten Realm was feeling restricting. I found that the instrumental material was such a free experience for me. I recorded and wrote the songs on Neoclassical rock guitar exactly the way I wanted them to be. I had the material just done in 2004 but I wasn't able to release it until early 2005. The album has been a collection of songs that are strong and moody and very catchy hooks with plenty of speed and over the top playing.

Joe Stump contributes his soloing in "Shattered Horizons". How that participation took place?

I took some guitar lessons from Joe and I always dreamed of playing with him on a song and the song that soloed on was just perfect for his style. I feel Joe Stump is one the best Guitar players in the world His phrasing and vibrato are perfect. We sent him the song and he recorded his solo parts and then he sent the tracks to us and we mixed it in. It turned out to be a really cool guitar battle between us!

In "NeoClassical…" you name a song as "Freedom Of The Artistic Mind". Tell us why.

"Freedom of the Artistic Mind" was a song that really has Mood and a feel that captures the essence of my style. The melody and Keyboard parts are very haunting to me. When I am able to compose a melody that really captures my true feelings towards love of music I feel that i have done my job as Musician and composer. The song has a lot memories attached to it that make me realize that music can be spiritual.

Which are the main differences between your debut and your second album?

Well, the main differences are that the second album was better produced and I used a lot of keyboards that really gave the album a lot of mood and atmosphere. I felt like the tempos on the second album are faster and the melodies are stronger on the second album. I am always trying to play and write the best I can through each song. I love both albums but Neoclassical Rock is a stronger and better written album to me. I hope that my fans will enjoy my third album and notice the growth of my style.

After the release of "NeoClassical…" we witness a collaboration with you and David Fefolt in FORGOTTEN REALM. Describe us the background that got you together.

I was searching on line for singers and I found David's email address and contact info. I thought he was one of the best singers in hard rock ever! I am so happy to be working with him on this album (Forgotten Realm) He has written such catchy melodies and deep lyrics he is truly amazing talent. His voice is so powerful and clear! At first when I meet Dave I was concerned that he might not want to sing on the Forgotten Realm stuff because he has worked more with hard rock bands than power metal bands. But really loves the material and its great to hear him in the power metal setting.

You have stated in the past in your web-site that LMP was ready to release the FORGOTTEN REALM CD. Why didn't that happen? Have you signed a deal with Sonic Age Records?

Well, the situation between LMP and Forgotten Realm was a big disaster mainly because of the tension and disagreements between members of the band. I lost control of the album the mixing mastering the drum sound every detail certain members felt that they wanted to make into something different. I was almost completely kicked out of my own band!! But luckily I got out with the songs that I WROTE and was able to have more control over the songs and writing. I almost lost the name of the band as well. But luckily I was able to keep the band name. Certain members of the old incarnation of the band had taken over a lot of the paper work regarding the record deal and many decisions regarding the studio for recording. LMP had to witness this tension so they didn't work with us anymore. I approached LMP a year later with a new line up we where almost signed with them again for a second time but they wanted to change our sound into something that was way different from the original vision of what we wanted. So Sonic Age Records came along and the have given us more Musical freedom. I had no problem signing with them. I learned a lot from the years with Forgotten Realm and the most important lesson I learned was never trust members of a band that take to much control everyone has a vision in a band and it all can work together.

Will the FORGOTTEN REALM CD feature any guests?

There will be a few guests. Reynold Butch Carlson has recorded two of the songs "Time" and "Forgotten Realm".

You are currently recording stuff with bassist Steve Sexton and Drummer Gary Oppert. Why you created the M.O.S. Project? Will it feature any vocal songs?

I was asked to play on there album back in the summer and its been a great experience so far they have really allowed me to play the way I wanted to on this album. It going to an album that mixes elements of Neoclassical and progressive metal. The M.O.S project will only be instrumental.

You are really active, while participating in two bands and having also your solo career. Aren't you afraid sometime of running out of ideas?

I am never afraid of running out of ideas. As long as I love the style of music I am playing the ideas will flow. I very happy to be busy with so many projects I love to play as much as I can.

You're also a guitar teacher. What the main idea that you try to advise your students?

I try to encourage my students to improvise and write there own songs. I try to make them have great technique theory and urge them to be creative. There is more to music than playing someone's else's music. a musician should be a great composer as well.

What's your opinion about the NeoClassical Metal scene nowadays and the future of the genre?

I think the Neoclassical scene is doing well because of players like Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Stump and George Bellas. I feel that the style has taken on many new elements like more progressive elements like ood meter things of that nature. The first generation of neoclassical players were focused on writing songs and incorporating a lot of new musical territory with all the techniques that were exploding in the 80s like sweep picking string skipping and tapping. I think that its similar now but the style has gotten faster and heavier!!

Have you ever thought of touring in order to promote your music?

I hope to set up a tour in the future I really do like to perform.

Which is your ultimate dream as a musician?

My ultimate dream as a musician is to keep playing and recording Forever!!

Add anything you may want.

Thank you for interviewing me and I hope that everyone can check out my new site and I hope to have my third album out in the early spring of 2007!

Dimitris Starakis

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