Saturday, May 1, 2010

Anders Blakkheim Nyström talks about his Mayones Gothic

Welcome to "May Month", that is, "Mayones" month. This month wanted to do something different with our blog for our customers, (those who have purchased a mayones and those planning on it) so we decided to track down as many Mayones Players as possible, the result, the first of a 5 part series.

For all of may we will publish a new interview per week, on the final week we will publish two interviews of our mayones players...Yes the 5th interview is a bonus which will give us insight to Mayones guitars and basses.

Anders Blakkheim Nyström has covered alot of ground over the past two decades. A founding member of the swedish band Katatonia, anders has remained busy with other project like Bloodbath.

Other notable projects include: Diabolical Masquerade and betwitched.

Anders took some time to talk to us about where the inspiration for the Mayones Gothic Regius and Setius Series started, touring, influences and much'll see.

CustomGuitarBoutique: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: That would take us back to the 80's when I was in this russian balalajka school orchestra. It actually helped me learn alternate speed picking playing that three string instrument! I also ended up playing my own melodies and tried to copy song segments I liked by ear on that little thing, but the significant change of entering the world of guitars and heavy metal dawned when I not long after got a Gibson Les Paul clone guitar called "Fresher" for birthday along with a 30 watt amplifier called "Gorilla"! I remember it had a sticker on it which said "it will knock your socks off!" ha-ha! Back then it was Judas Priest's duo Downing and Tipton with all their harmonic leads that set my love for guitar tone, licks and melodies.The Gibson Flying-V's set ablaze on the cover of Accept's 'Restless and Wild' was THE image that made me even want to pick up a guitar and become a guitar player. I think the tone that Hoffman had was extremely modern for it's time. What a sustain, and such a brutal tone for heavy metal that early. His melodic guitar leads were spiced with the perfect amount of delay and reverb, he had such a great core in his tone and I even ended up emailing him many many many years later and to my surprise I even got a reply with a full explanation on what he used and how he achieved it, how cool is that? Later on I took a lot of inspiration from Fields of The Nephilim in how they incorporated their ping pong delays and blending in half clean/dirty sounds which was very refreshing for us as a metal band, but i guess it was Greg Mackintosh from Paradise Lost that really made the biggest impression on me when they released their 'Gothic' album, that's a guy that had his trademark tone in his fingers. His tone and vibrato totally stood out and made the leads weep.

CGB: How did your endorsement with Mayones Guitars come about?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Our current tour manager tipped them off about me and it didn't take long until they got in touch with me directly for an introduction of their brand. At that time, I was already looking over a couple of other endorsement offers, so they really stepped into the picture in the last second. They were unknown to me at that time and didn't have many international players, but that has changed dramatically. I see lots of respected musicians playing Mayones guitars and basses these days. We've been working together for five years now and I have not the slightest desire to work with another brand. I'm staying mayo!

CGB: As I understand Mayones was inspired to put out the Gothic Series Regius and Setius Models because of you. Can you elaborate a bit on this?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Yeah, you could say this was the main reason of convincing me to collaborate with them and what won me over. I think there's a lot of great guitar brands out there, but I kept telling myself why play a standard model that has nothing that really connects it with your identity or a guitar that simply thousands of other players already own and all look and plays the same, when you can have a customised model that reflects your personaliy, characteristics and preferences into every detail of a top notch handcrafted guitar. So, I simply told them this is what i wanted and always was looking for in a guitar and they said they'd be delighted to bring this line into their production with my signature as the inspiration behind it. I'm currenty using four of these models now for live and studio use. My latest guitar is a little bit different in the finish and coincidentally matches the color theme of our new album. black, grey with deep dark bleeding red veins throughout. It has to be seen!

CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living Playing professionally?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I don't know if I've ever realized that! It's just a sacrifice you have to make somewhere down the road to keep up with this business and lifestyle it involves. You will go through many years being broke and have to get used to it because it's necessary if you wanna be able to step up the ladder. Everyone starts out at the bottom but not all go reach for the sky with a long term vision, they just don't have the patience and endurance for it. It's a sacrifice. Most bands became really big through the "overnight sensation" syndrome, but just as they rose from nothingness - they crash into oblivion when the limelight fades out. We've now been doing this for, well next year it's gonna be 20 years! So we've built Katatonia really slowly and steadily and unlike many other artists we are yet to reach our peak and not desperately chasing the glory days of past times. I think our fanbase has grown with us and stayed very loyal. At the moment, we're playing so much live that you end up spending more of your life on the road than back home, so it's all about keeping the wheels in motion and roll with the good times while it lasts. I still feel like an happy amateur rather than a playing professional though.

CGB: Be honest! What part of the world do you prefer to play the most and why?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: It's different. Up north around the Scandinavian territory we always get a fantastic reception in Finland. Mexico was an unbelievable place to play. Greek, Turkey is always fantastic! Italy and Spain have been good. Russia has been nice! A few city's in America have been some of our best as well, so I can't say I prefer one over the other, it depends on the cirumstances. I'm more concerned about where we're having our "day off's" rather then were we play because staying in anywhere in Greece is definitely nicer than hanging around a bus parking place in Germany.

CGB: Besides Mayones Guitars, what is some of the other gear you are using these days?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I'm using TC Electronic's effect pedals such as the G-system and the Nova pedal while in the studio and when writing. On the live side, I've been using the Boss GT-3 and GT-10 multi-effect pedals for many many years. Amplification wise, I'm playing on both the Mr.Hector and Alligator amps and cab models from Laboga, a great manufacturer out of Poland. I use a couple of stomboxes from Guyatone. I also use a pedal called Morpheus Droptune from XP Audio on every gig. It's a really neat polyphonic pedal that lets you alter your tuning by a footswitch instead of having an extra spare guitars with you, or saves all the hassle it would take to re-tune a guitar manually. I also have a Audio Technica wireless system and a Sennheiser in-ear monitor system. All my instrument, power and speaker cables are from DL cables, another company based out of Poland and the strings I use are custom gagues from the well known quality brand Rotosound. That's pretty much about it!

CGB: So we know you have the chops to hold your own with the heavy weights of metal of the world, what other style of guitar playing would you like to pursue in the future if any?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I could surely get more experienced improving other styles such as blues, jazz and also more finger picking singer-songwriter acoustic work. Never been much of a shredder either, but there's never really been much room for that in my career. If Katatonia would have started out 1981 instead of 1991 things would probably have sounded different and not to mention looked different ha-ha!

CGB: What doesn’t the guitar world know about Anders Blakkheim Nyström, the Swedish guitar virtuoso?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Well, I guess I more or less made myself infamous for the expression "beeroverhead" which more or less would result in me pouring beers over my head where ever we'd go and play. It's been a while now tho... and it's not good at all for the guitars! i noticed some of the hardware had rusted pretty bad...but who ever said rock n roll was housetrained!

CGB: What can your American fans expect to see in 2010 from Katatonia?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: We have a full headline tour coming up in autumn and I can also promise plenty of more frequent visits from there on.

CGB: What advice would you give to up and coming guitar players that want a career in music?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: Listen with your ears and play from your heart! Don't rush and skip the basics only to become a "youtube shredder" in no time, let everything have it's due course. I think there are thousand of shredders out there, but a lot less equally good songwriters, so take the time to learn to use the guitar as a tool for your talent in songwriting as well. Shredding is impressive, but can easily sound soulless if you don't also know the basics of playing with emotion and soul - you gotta have "the blues"! The most simple lead melody done from the heart will outshine all same old boring ripping scales. Jam and have fun finding your own tone and sound, seek your style and specialize deeper when you have found it. You know when you have!

CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Guitar Player of all time?

Anders Blakkheim Nyström: I should now be contradictive to my advices above and say Yngwie J Malmsteen! is the premier dealer for Mayones guitars and Basses, and the exclusive dealer for DL Cables.

Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing Mayones and DL cables.

See ya next week


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