A great guitar player, a soulful singer, a brilliant songwriter! Guys, let’s welcome Stelios Ventas, who released a new solo album, “Badass”, a few months ago and gave us a hard rock masterpiece. Stelios spoke to Myth of Rock about many things, but first of all, about his new LP and his passion for dirty, old hard rock music. Meet Stelios, taste his songs and … let the music do the talking!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Hello Stelios. You are a solo artist. Why have you decided to release solo albums instead of being the guitarist of a band?
I have played with many bands during the last 30 years, from pop to heavy metal; most of them were live cover bands which use to gig around Athens. I always wanted to write and perform my own music but I never had the support to make it true. So when I felt tired of playing covers I decided to do the next step eventhough I was alone. I already had many ideas so I took some lessons on recording and music technology and started to write. I was charmed by the progress of writing, composing, recording, mixing etc and soon it was a part of my life. After my first release some people started to believe in me and now I can say that I have quite a few supporters and fans!
You released your new album (“Badass”) some months ago. How do you feel about it? How do you see the album now? Would you change something to it, if you could?
I ‘m very proud of this album. It has 10 tracks and I really love them all. It has no fillers. The production is very cool, I would say it’s vintage-modern, really close to the original recordings with almost no editing and sounds loud and clear. The reviews are awesome until now, the feedback is perfect and some songs have worldwide radio airplay.
Could you introduce us to your discography? Where would you trace the differences between “Badass” and your previous record release? How much have you progressed?
In 2016 I released my debut “Rock ‘n’ Love”, with rough sound but killer musical ideas. In 2018 the 5 tracks EP “Faded Flower” came out, better sound but not yet what I wanted. After four years, I had the time and the expirience to create my most well rounded project, “Badass”. I think that with time I become better.
Give us all the necessary info about the recordings and the production of “Badass”.
Badass is written and produced in my home studio, in Athens. Some recordings have taken place in some other settings. Sotiris Pirounias plays the bass in all songs. Yiannis Goudoulas has written and sing the song “Love”. He also has the back vocals of “Promise Land” and “Confess”. My wife and my daughters participate in “Viva la Revolution”. I ‘ve made mixing and mastering too. The cover is made by Yiannis Papaioannou and the photo is taken by Peter Papapetrou. I tried to have good takes on recording and perform guitars and voices like I was playing live. Those were my little secrets for giving the songs some extra energy.
I like very much your guitar playing and your guitar sound. When did you start learning to play the guitar? Are you a self-taught guitarist?
Thank you man! I really appreciate it. I play the guitar for over 30 years. I ‘m self-taught but I have studied the style of many of my favorite guitarists over the years. I trying to keep it simple when I play; a few notes which mean a lot.
Which are your guitar influences and your favorite guitarists?
All the rock stars of ‘60s to ‘90 have an impact on me. My guitar influences and my favorite guitarists are many, David Gilmour, Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore, Joe Perry, Randy Roads, Michael Schenker, Vivian Campell, John Sykes, Slash, Hendrix to name a few.
You also sing your songs. Why did you choose to sing on your own and not to cooperate with another singer?
There is no particular reason! I just sing outloud the melodies and words that I have in my mind. I think my voice and my accent are a little bit different. There are a lot of copies of Dio, Dickinson and other classic voices but I wanted to bring something new and different.
You compose your songs (music and lyrics). Where do you draw inspiration from? How is a typical song of yours composed?
I collect the words , the melodies, the guitar riffs, the rhythms that I have in my head and combine them to become songs. There is no some specific order or process. I drew inspiration from life, pictures, thoughts, facts, dreams for the future.
Where do your lyrics refer to?
I usually refer to human relationships, dead ends, self-awareness, redemption or the everyday life.
Why did you name the album “Badass”?
Because I think that It’s badass to the bone! Haha… This album is dedicated to the hero of the everyday life, that through all the difficulties and obstacles come his way these days, is searching for his self, for love, for hope, for happiness. All this procedure makes him stronger.
“Badass” is a self-released album. Why didn’t you cooperate with a record label for the release of the album?
I released the album through tunecore and bandcamp. I don’t think that a record label is necessery nowdays. Besides, big labels don’t sign with up-rising artists.
Do you play live in concert? How important are concerts for you? Do you have any plans for some live dates?
How can a musician live without live? Of course I have plans for live performances. I want to communicate my music with the audience, to feel the feedback and the energy. My band is ready and we will be on stage soon!
How did the covid-19 pandemic affect you as a musician and as a person?
I was angry because I could not feel free but that period give me some extra time for music.
What do you think about the war against Ukraine?
I only know that for all political or economical games the bill goes to simple people that are just trying to survive. I ‘m against all wars, of course!
End your message to all the fans of rock music!
Keep on rocking and stay cool! Enjoy good things in life and good rock music! Thank you for the beautiful interview.