Holdsworth Radio Interview (1990)

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     [Music]

for internal records in Steinberger

guitars

this is feign tyranny with allan

holdsworth in his home studio and

beautiful Tustin California on a

sweltering hot day in the middle of July

we're going to talk with him a little

bit about his new internet album secrets

which will be coming out here shortly

and talked about his playing and some of

his techniques and recording methods and

I guess you mix the album right in here

yeah I him right over there at that

console that no one can see yeah earlier

when we were talking he said that this

time you were able to do some things in

terms of mixing that you hadn't been

able to do on your earlier albums just

exactly what did you do well usually

it's a money problem if you're going to

the studio and you're mixing an album

you know you have a set amount of time

to do it and you usually try and do it

as quickly as you can and quite often

I've made a lot of mistakes so then we

finished up having to remix a song or

then you run out many or every week out

okay so you try often don't get exactly

what you want but nobody ever does but

this time doing it at home or well I

don't have the same equipment is a lot

of the you know like a really awesome

studio the thing is that I can make up

for it by the amount of time that I can

take on the mixing for example if I

started mixing one song instead of just

getting it ready to look so then putting

it down onto the to track I'd spend more

time listening to it I get a rough mix

up or a pretty good mix and make adapter

for it make cassettes play in the car

playing with my friends house play it

with a lot of different systems

therefore you know being able to go back

to the board in and make the necessary

changes

is that they give was a big thing for me

on this working as a result you probably

must feel pretty good about it having

heard it both on the studio monitors and

as you said in a variety of environments

I think it turned out good with regard

to that that you can listen to it all a

lot of different you know in a lot of

different environments in it sounds

pretty good I was quite pleased as

pleased as you can be with anything that

you can feel speaking of that I mean

with each successive album it seems that

critics and fans alike are always racing

to the dictionary for new adjectives try

and find one more superlative that they

can say about your playing how do you

feel about the way you play well I'll

ever I'll ever a hundred percent happy

with anything that I do but I think

that's normal

and I just try and do the best I can at

any point in time you know what the

thing that keeps me going is that if I

look back to an older album that I can

hear some progress which up till now

thankfully I can and that's enough

inspiration for me and keep going if I

listen to an album to always be going

for all boy and that's about how much

other improvement from them that I'd

maybe take up engineering full-time and

put the guitar away but let's take a

listen to the first track from your new

album secrets

it's called Joshua

I just heard a little bit of Joshua from

Allan Holdsworth new album on intimate

records called secrets let's talk a

little bit about the actual guitars

the stuff that you're playing on that

and as a musician I'm kind of interested

in how you go about getting the sound

that you do and what kind of equipment

and and just your mental approach in

order to get the kind of the kind of

sounds and what you do both on leads and

during the rest of the time I think most

people have a kind of like a sound in

their head you know like that's what I

like to think of is that as and for me

like with the guitar or anything else

it's just like a quest to try and get

closer to that and for this particular

track it was pretty straight forward in

terms of equipment I used a steinberger

guitar which I pretty well in fact I use

it exclusively now it's like you can

have a wood guitar anymore and I use the

50 caliber boogie and that was it that's

it it's pretty pretty simple setup for

this particular track I usually record

guitar like that that way sometimes I

record the processing if it was

important to the sounds like it has been

on some of the last recordings

but with the lead guitar thing or solo

sound usually that I like to try and get

as good as good as sad as I can and then

move on the mental approach to going

into a studio and recording as opposed

to playing live how do you select

yourself up to get that that one perfect

solo or get as close to that it's

because you can't feed off the energy of

the audience that you can when you're

when you're on a stage and that's true

always really hard I mean the recording

poses totally different problems for me

that like I especially if it was done in

inovative situation if you play a things

like live like some of the tracks that

we did and in the past between live and

somehow they're always easier than when

you start to go in and over them

something because it's really difficult

to make to make it sound like it was

part of the the thing you know the whole

event but I've really so I really listen

to the if it's an overdub situation I

really usually listen to them basic

track a lot until I actually know

exactly what everybody else is doing

that way I find it easier to place all

over the same line understand where all

the look where all the little things are

going to be and I try and make it sound

as natural as possible

[Music]

we just heard a little bit of spokes

from Allan Holdsworth no intima album

secrets this time you wrote about half

of the compositions on the album before

you were the primary composer that mean

you're getting out of the composing

business and more into the playing or

this is really calling sort of two

different sets of skills that are

complementary well one for the first

question I think I just liked a few some

of the tunes that some of the guys had

written and I always like to experiment

and with those things in the particular

pieces of music that I did like and felt

that they would be they would sound a

lot incorrect from the album just

because of the personnel you know I

figured out these come out with you know

like a uniformity which it had

[Music]

is basically because I I like the pieces

that the other guys had written in and I

wanted to give the guys an opportunity

to write things so it it didn't style as

a deliberate thing like saying well this

time I'm not going to write everything

it was just that Gary played me a tune

and I really liked that which was

sitting nice and then Steve had two

tunes one of which made Mary and we'd

done live in Joshua we actually didn't

do that tune in life and I liked both of

those tunes and then Chad would written

the piece which I really like that piece

too so it was just more or less that I

liked them rather than saying well I

couldn't be bothered to write any

musical I felt that I didn't have enough

music and when it comes to playing a

little bit about playing with synthetics

I mean how is it different than playing

other guitars for what what how it was a

hard to learn

well it's completely different and

that's one of the things I really like

about it because I guess I mentioned it

a few times in magazines and things I've

done before that I never really I never

really wanted to play guitar in the

first place it just kind of happened and

when I first started playing the syntax

it was a real big emotional experience

it felt better to me than the new

account it felt like that I could

develop a

a relationship with the instrument has

allowed me to express myself more than I

could with the guitar just because I'd

always wanted to play a wind instrument

and using the breath controller on the

syntax give me that kind of ability to

do that so I really love the thing but

as far as it being like a guitar it's

very much unlike a guitar and I guess

that's why a lot of guitar players don't

like it so I guess now in a sense then

you're you're more of a

multi-instrumentalist and you were a few

years ago well only in only in the only

through Sonics program I'm not I'm

definitely not a multi-instrumentalist

it's just that obviously anything that

you've learned on the guitar being is

that it's a stringed instrument in the

notes on particular frets or whatever

and I can you know I still understand

that on the syntax that part if it

doesn't change which is great but the

way the instrument feels is completely

different let's go back and listen to a

little bit more of the record

this track is called City nights we're

back in the Tustin studio of allan

holdsworth with Helen Howe who's into

muharram secrets is going to be coming

out this August we just heard a little

bit of City nights and you've been at

this for quite some time now haven't you

what sixth album yeah yes six and a

little bit cio you've came first in

nineteen I was recruited I owe you Alvin

was recorded I think in 1980 and I think

it came out in mistakes around 81 or

somewhere around there and then we did

the road games album for another label

that we won't mention hideous record and

then there did the metal fatigue

Saavik roll sound and then see Druz what

do you see

other than of course the band and

yourself as being the sort of common

thread or what is it that ties us all

together if you were to to take say a

day of your life and listen to it all

chronologically what would you say about

the progression that you've made as a

musician and as a composer I don't know

other than the fact that I think I made

some progress but other than that I

wouldn't know exactly specifically what

it was you know because I think each

each individual is an individual and

sometimes that they're not aware of what

makes them self so I think all all that

I try to do is just kind of follow my

heart through the whole thing you know

if I feel like I should do this that's

what I do and if I feel like I should do

that that's what I feel I guess I've

always felt that way about music I just

try to the best of my ability to keep

moving you know keep this changing

moving from the concept of the

individual to the group this last track

that we're about to hear 50 for Duncan

Terrace

doesn't feature you as prominently as

many of the other tunes on on secrets

yeah how come

well it's died out unintentional because

there was basically only one solo

section in the piece and I wrote the

piece for a friend of mine who died a

few years ago he was a really great gala

player his name was Pat's life and all

the pieces that he used to compose were

always very they were always very pretty

or very melodic soft kind of them

pieces so on I wrote this kind of in

memory of him and he was like I said a

piano player and after I started

listening to the basic track when we did

it the studio as I thought then Alan

pasqua was tossing piano Flair and I

just asked him if he'd like to and play

on the track and he did and I just loved

what he did so and he played the bulk of

the soul and then I played this very

short solo section at the end from Allan

Holdsworth album secrets 54 Duncan

terrorists

[Music]

we're back in the Tustin Studio Vallon

holdsworth where we've just heard 50 for

Duncan Terrace from his new album

secrets which is going to be out this

August on intimate tapes and records and

compact discs and gosh probably at some

point we'll have a little computer disk

that we can play play it as well through

your Mac a little ways off we were

talking during the break about guitars

and he said something real interesting

about steinberger so they they had

something very special about them and

I'd like to elaborate on that just a

little bit all right I was a very first

time I played when it was I just got an

incredible feeling from it I just loved

the thing and it made me feel like I

felt when I very first picked up the

very first guitar you know you there's a

kind of like I had a resurgence of

energy that I felt really oh I wanted to

play the guitar again you know after I

got this time barrier which is which was

an interesting thing to happen and also

I loved it because of the creative

aspect of it too because most everybody

else for the last 20 years it's just

being a copy of some form of offender or

a Gibson and I think that the

Steinberger is the only true only truly

significant development electric guitar

for the last 20 years and I think that

they're not only that but the thing just

sounds great to me I mean I love it and

it's the only food I play if you were

going to I I realized this putting you

on the spot a little bit but if you're

going to give some advice to someone who

is currently practicing and playing and

perhaps aspiring someday to gain

professional musician what is it the you

talent

well actually I was talking to Gary

husband about this a few weeks ago and

he made a very keen observation which

was that everybody starts out when they

first start playing with something very

special of their own and what happens is

they're losing and the key is to keep it

and rather than being totally engrossed

in what other people are doing to try

and figure out what it is is it unique

about themselves and nurture that you

know I think it's really great to be

inspired by people and obviously I'm

still inspired by lots of musicians and

what I hear but I try not to like din

from his kind of infiltrate what I

really want to do myself so I try to

absorb the quality aspect of it but not

actually what it is in terms of likely

mimicry and I think that's the best

possible advice I could give to anyone

well thank you very much for your time

on behalf of steinberger guitars and

intima records I'm sayin tyranny we've

been speaking with Allan Holdsworth

his new album secrets will be out of the

stores this August so in addition to

those you're carrying right now if you'd

like to do the entire thing we encourage

you highly to find your way down there

and get a copy for your own self

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