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      Articles Home » Music Talk » Shred Gal - Interview with Phoenix van der Weyden By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
      Shred Gal - Interview with Phoenix van der Weyden By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

      Shred Gal

      Interview with Shredguy Records Recording Artist Phoenix van der Weyden

      By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

      Boston Rock Radio



      Shredguy Records is an independent label out of Columbus, Ohio that specializes in presenting instrumental guitar projects that focus on melodic guitar virtuosity in the vein of the Shrapnel Records roster from the middle to late nineteen eighties.  The label has released more than thirty-five recordings as physical product compact disks since 2008 with notable "next level" players such as Toby Knapp, Lars Lind, Tom Kopyto, and the late great Adrian English.  Label president Michael McDowell discovered and signed Brazilian shredder Phoenix van der Weyden as the first woman musician to appear on his label.  He has said about her, "I first saw Phoenix on YouTube, in a number of videos.  And she was not just playing fast licks or cover songs, but also her own compositions, and that's very important.  You have to be able to compose your own songs, and be true to who you really are to the fans, and Phoenix checks both of those boxes.  She is great to work with and also a great instructor in her country of Brazil.  In two years since I started working with her, it is amazing what she has done…recording and releasing a critically acclaimed album of her own, collaborating on other projects, and having her own signature guitar and pickup.  Phoenix is definitely rising!!"  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Phoenix for this exclusive interview.  


      On your Shredguy Records debut Defying Destiny, during the recording process for the eight instrumentals, did you also do all of the programming of drums and play the bass?  Did you mix it as well?  

      Defying Destiny was a DIY album!  I recorded all the instruments and did all the mixing and mastering. It was a great experience of self-discovery as a musician and I learned a lot during the process.



      How has your experience been working with Shredguy Records and founder Michael McDowell?  Your recording was their 35th release. What are a few other recordings that they have released?

      I met Michael on Facebook and he saw the videos of my original songs on social media and contacted me about the possibility of getting signed by Shredguy. We actually became very good friends and we work together on collaborations and even share licks and guitar ideas with each other. Michael lived during the glory days of the scene, saw the days of Malmsteen charting on MTV but also saw the scene going full underground. He understands the young musician and how the modern scene works for us today.  Back in the good old days no musicians would be friends with a record label CEO, so it´s great to have this teamwork feeling with Michael. There are many great releases by the label including Michael Abdo's Life Symbolic, Toby Knapp's The Campaign, and Shadow Eden's Perpetual Motion.


      With that in mind, what were a few of your favorite releases on the Sharpnel Label?

      Shrapnel gave us some of the best instrumental albums out there and it´s hard to pick favorites but I would say Jason Becker's Perpetual Burn, Marty Friedman's Dragon's Kiss, Tony MacAlpine's Maximum Security, Joey Tafolla's Out of the Sun, and Blues Saraceno's Never Look Back were the soundtracks of my guitar journey.


      You have a growing fan base via various social media outlets.  Which medium do you feel has worked best for you in your career so far?  

      I'm very grateful to have such a great support on social media actually. I started focusing on YouTube videos, but over the years that platform changed and we also saw the growth of Facebook and Instagram. All three platforms I mentioned are still very good for the musician's exposure, but Instagram and Facebook are a little bit ahead now in my humble opinion.





      You have respectfully secured endorsement deals with Kramer Guitars and Swiss Picks.  Obviously you believe in these products for the music that you create.  How has it been working with these companies and how important do you feel it is for musicians in your genre to have the stamp of approval from the product manufacturer?

      It´s been not only a pleasure to be working with them but also an honor. We grew up seeing our idols playing with products from these companies and wanted to have a similar tone and fantasized about having the same quality gear, so it´s a dream come true. It´s more than a seal of approval!  A company saw and heard your work and believed you to the point of having your name to represent their products and it´s an honor and achievement for any musician.  And again, there´s the teamwork feeling with all these companies, this is priceless for me.  


      Being from Brazil, did you grow up on traditional music of Jobim, Gilberto, Villa Lobos?   What led you to American heavy metal with whammy bars and pointy headstocks?  Also do you currently reside in Brazil?

      I actually grew up listening to the "Hard n Heavy" sounds from the 1980's and classical music. My mother was a late 80's early 90's teenager so I was always listening to Whitesnake, Skid Row and Kiss in my house. Both my mother and my grandmother loved classical music also, so the environment I grew up with was a mix of Van Halen, Wagner, Beethoven and many others. In time, it led me to the pointy headstocks and whammy bars. I still reside in my hometown of Niterói. It's a small town in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.


      You teach guitar lessons via Skype.  What areas of expertise in the technique department do you feel are your strongest asset to pass onto students? 

      I studied technique and theory including classical harmony for many years, I feel that it´s important to help the students to find their own voices and styles in the musical universe. I strongly believe that technique and theory are one of the keys for your journey, but it´s also important for the student to discover himself. Which style he wants to play, which techniques will be his trademark, that´s why I believe in custom lessons for each student. Satriani and Yngwie are different players, but great in their own ways, that´s what music lessons must lead in my opinion, to shape great musicians in their own ways.


      You are obviously stylized in a 1980's presentation from clothing attire, guitar choice and many of the rhythmic accents and riffs in you instrumentals?  Who were a few of your biggest inspirations from that era?

      Eddie Van Halen, Jason Becker, George Lynch, Nuno Bettencourt, Patrick Rondat, Steve Vai, Harry K Cody, among many others were and are influences of mine. Their music is so rich and I dove into it so deep that I ended up absorbing a bit of their clothing style in the process! Ha ha! 


      Do you plan to have a follow up recording anytime soon and what are some of your other musical plans for 2020? 

      I'm actually working on my second release through Shredguy called "Eyes on the Prize" set for 2020, it will be my personal ode to the music I grew up with. I´ve been very influenced by the concept of Jason Becker's The Rapsberry Jams for it.  I started a band called Replay Heroes which also focus on 80s music but more AOR influenced.  I´m also hoping to make it to NAMM this year and I'll be working in guitar clinics for Kramer in South America.  I´m very optimistic about 2020. 



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      Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at https://thomasamoriello.com

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