Sunday, 29 July 2012

Kenny Serane: Laurie Monk meets the metallic revolfusionary

Kenny Serane interview: the metallic revolfusionary

The super French guitar fusion guitar player, Kenny Serane, started playing guitar at age 14. After 2 years of self directed learning he decide to attend music school, studying the sort of techniques you cover at GIT or Berklee.

Since then he has made a living as a well respected professional guitarist. He has had gigs with a number of recognised French bands and also in his studio based session work, including the Eurovision contest and work for the popular Guitar Xtreme magazine.

In 2003, Kenny founded the band Workshop whose music ranges from electro to metal styles. In 2010, he composed and recorded for many artists, his guitars featuring on more than 40 albums. After a second Workshop album, Beyond The Unknown Territory, Kenny released the splendid Rainbowmaker, in June 2012, all the guitars of which have been recorded with his beloved Torpedo VB-101.

We caught up with Kenny at the release of his new CD to dig deeper and find out a little more about this talented player.

[Laurie Monk]
I know you started playing guitar at the age of 14, were you from a musical family and did they encourage you to play guitar?

[Kenny Serane]
In fact, my family were not musical at all! But they were always here for me. I can't remember how many times my mother came to pick me up at the end of some late night concerts when I was just 17,18. Arriving at 2AM while, even though she had to wake up at 6 am the next day to go to work. That's funny because when you see my parents, from the outside they appear to be "normal”, tea drinking and down to earth, and yet they keep coming to my shows, even until 4AM in the morning! And, unlike normal parents, they can tell the difference between a planet waves and a monster cable! Yeah they can!!

Démo Kenny Serane 3

[Laurie Monk]
Well that is because they must be so proud of you, it takes a lot of effort and dedication to succeed and if your parents are there for you, it must be a great help! Note to self... be more supportive of the Shred kids!!

With your parents being supportive, when did you decide that guitar was going to be something more that some fun, but something you wanted to take further and make a career out of?

[Kenny Serane]
I was 14, hanging out with my friends. And this boy played a Lâg guitar (I'm not kidding) in front of me: he plays like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. It was a revelation to me and my friends, I can remember that moment as though it was just yesterday. I do not know if we can say it like this, but I had a love at first sight moment just watching the instrument.

At 16, my parents could see in my eyes that I needed to stop academic studies. I was eating, drinking, thinking guitar all day long, all night long. To be honest I was not a normal teenager. I was not going out with my friends, quite often during this period I locked myself into the dark of my bedroom, and there I worked on my playing, spending time with the guitar, for hours, days, weeks, months! I only left my bedroom to eat or to go to my concerts! Fortunately, that was just a period of my life and now I manage to have a more normal life. But this is the thing... (of which I am sure of) it is necessary to work very hard to learn how to play guitar at a high level.

Démo Kenny Serane 1

[Laurie Monk]
There are so many great players in France, players like Patrick Rondat, Chistophe Godin, Jean Fontanille, Stéphan Forté, Richard Daudé, Tristan Klein, Franck Ribiere, Charly Sahona, Kermheat, to name but a few. What is the guitar scene like in France?

[Kenny Serane]
Yes, there are many guitarists in France, but not enough places to play. And then in France we do not support instrumental guitar music. This was one of the things Nelly Tadjer and I thought about, when we talked and Nelly originally proposed the concept of the "French Guitar Contest".

[Laurie Monk]
Well that seems to be the story globally, it is a niche market, but there is so much joy to be got out of the creative aspects of the art form. I am sure that competitions like "French Guitar Contest" will help raise the profile or draw attention to guitar fans. Looking at my web stats the big fans of guitar are in America and France is number 7. Here’s the list by popularity from the the previous 12 months:

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Italy
4. Brazil
5. Canada
6. Germany
7. France
8. Netherlands
9. Spain
10. Japan

One thing's for sure is that this is a global phenomenon, and the really interesting thing is playing translates globally, there are different inflections in playing style, but over all the playing needs no musical translation!

Many players decide that they should go to America, may be go to GIT or Berklee. I know that you did not take that route. So had did you progress musically, how do you advance your musical playing?

[Kenny Serane]
I was lucky to have guitar tuition from teachers who had already studied in the USA, and they taught me the methods of playing that are prevalent at these schools. I really think that I was lucky to meet Thierry Pontet and Alain Cahuzac as they made a difference. Thierry Pontet also taught the guitar to Stéphan Forté and many other… But as I said before, the teaching alone will not take you higher, you must practise A LOT!

Démo Kenny Serane 2

[Laurie Monk] You have got a great ear for production. Do you have your own studio and how did you learn the recording techniques?

[Kenny Serane]
Yes, that is correct, I do indeed have my own studio. I learnt production skills by looking at the other sound engineers and by testing out the many techniques available. I also bought books on production, studied tutorials on the Internet, and asked many questions in the forums!

[Laurie Monk] You started a project with the Stephane Boutinaud, how did that come about and can you tell us a little bit about the projects that came out of that band and the recording of the albums.

[Kenny Serane]
It was a great experience to work with my friend Stephane Boutinaud on these two albums. It is a friend and a musician whom I esteem a lot.

Now, we took each of the different roads, and I go to a much more personal work. Stephane helped a lot me to get over any shyness to the working with the media particularly when I became a musical demonstrator to him!

1. Departure (Introduction) 0:42
2. Spectral Anarchy (feat. Richard Daude) 7:45
3. Fire Kiss (feat. Christophe Godin) 7:31
4. Don't Forget 6:56
5. Speach Recognition (Interlude) 0:38
6. Last Word (feat. Joel Hoekstra) 6:01
7. Without My Soul 6:21
8. Beyond the Unknown Territory (Part I - Leaving Home) 1:24
9. Beyond the Unknown Territory (Part II - Destination) 4:01
10. Retrospection (Interlude) 0:54
11. Black Light

[Laurie Monk] Tell me a little about the amps and pedals that you use live and in the recording studio. You use Torpedo gear right?

Yes, that’s correct, the Torpedo is really a high quality technology. That is really what think about it, the success of the Torpedo gear really speaks for itself. Along with the Torpedo gear I use the Bogner Shiva amp. Indeedm I used the Two Notes Engineering Torpedo for the recording of entire album "Rainbowmaker". Guillaume Pille, the CEO of Two Notes Engineering, is also a great friend for the last 5 years and he has helped me out a lot.

[Laurie Monk] In your opinion, what is the single most important thing that defines your guitar sound?

[Kenny Serane]
That's not easy to answer but certainly think that it is my hybrid picking and the fact I use low saturation!

[Laurie Monk] I see you play Lâg Guitars, can you tell us how you got the Lâg endorsement and about the models you use, and what you like about those guitars?

[Kenny Serane]
I knew Michel Lâg before we started on The French Guitar Contest. Jeff Dinat had introduced me to Michel about two years earlier. Before that point I used to play with Tom Anderson guitars.

Working with Nelly Tadjer we organised the The French Guitar Contest and she concentrated on putting together the best French guitar industry can offer, and that is why she choose Lâg. Michel and I met many times after that and I visited his custom shop factory in Bedarieux, and discovered how much I love to play with his guitars!

Currently, I play the Lâg a standard model, the Lâg Jet 3000, the Lâg Arkane and the Lâg Imperator custom Bedarieux, plus the acoustic range Tramontane... I said for the moment, because we are working hard on a Lâg signature model. But shhhhh, that's a secret!

[Laurie Monk] Ha, yes, sure... I’ll keep quiet and make sure no one knows... I I know you play many live shows, have you had any disasters when playing live?

[Kenny Serane]
I guess I am the same as all guitarists! You know, a cable which doesn't work, or an amp will blow, or a lamp will crash down! Well theses are the things make the guitarists life exciting!

[Laurie Monk] Guitar Addiction - A Tribute To Modern Guitar was one of the best guitar albums of 2011. How did you get involved with this project?

Franck Ribiere, the project creator, and myself have been friends for a long time. We don’t live that far from each other. So we had this idea that the project would feature many great guitarists and that this idea was simply great! Plus all idea was that all the money raised by the record sale went to good causes! (For each CD sold 2 Euros will go to the Red Cross)

[Laurie Monk] You’ve just released your new album “Rainbowmaker”, to much critical acclaim. Can you tell us a bit about this, the recording process and some more details on what you were trying to capture with your playing on this album?

[Kenny Serane]
Yes, I am very happy when I see the good comments and positive critiques of my new album Rainbowmaker! And even more so, because I was never sure If I would ever finish this album! I had composed most of the tracks almost two years ago, and so it was a very long project... The thing is with all the working, I did not have the time to finalise this album, with all of the live shows, studio session work and the endorsement work…

Fortunately for me, my girlfriend kicked my ass and said that I must not let grass grow under my feet! So she helped me a lot with the CD, developing the website, designing the cover.. getting all the artwork to match my musical universe! This is also the reason I recorded a special track, by the composer Claude Debussy, on the album and I dedicated that to her. I think that we don't realise how much wives/girlfriends are good for self-fulfilment. I don't know if it is really rock'n roll to say that but it is the truth!

Clair de Lune - Claude Debussy cover by Kenny Serane (Song for Nelly) RAINBOWMAKER

Then I searched a drummer and a bassist who could really extend themselves musically on this personal project. I think this album really captures, exactly, my actual way of playing, my playing style. The album is less technical in approach and has more on the feeling, more improvisation. This is in direct contrast to the last albums, here I improvise more, listening to the track, rather than spending time precisely writing the guitar solos. I think it’s more more fresh like that.

Plus using the Torpedo (Two Notes engineering) saved me a lot of precious time in the recording process… leaving me with more time for the mix and mastering. I had to do all this aspect by myself.

[Laurie Monk]
That’s a lot of hard work and I think it shows, the extra time and dedication has paid off, you have put together a great record and the more organic approach is noticeable. So my congratulations to you for that!

I’m always interested to know what players are listening to. Can you name some top albums that you would recommend musicians and guitar players to listen and that have made a difference to you.

[Kenny Serane]
As I have grown musically, and over the last few years, I have been listening less and less to metal music and more and more to Jazz and Funk music. In terms of guitar players, I love guys like Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson or Greg Howe. I have also found a new “golden nugget” the amazing Oz Noy, who inspires me each time I hear him.

[Laurie Monk]
What is your view on the use of the Internet to promote your work and what do you think about the illegal downloading situation?

[Kenny Serane]
My opinion, (and I know that a lot of people will not necessarily agree with me) is : the world has changed. This means we need to earn more money with playing live concerts. If you like my playing, then come and participate to my master class, buy my t-shirt or a cap with the name of my group. Or be the first to buy a physical CD, like a collector. But if my music is on the net, I think it is better for me rather than worse.

If I try to be "legal" using the pay-per-stream, then on iTunes, if I want to earn $200, then I have to sell at least 20,000 singles! And then with Spotify they will only pay me $0.005 when someone listens to a track from my album! If I put my album in a loop, I can then earn just $50 in a month?… That is the way it is. However, during most of this time the major artists still earn A LOT... And even now they keep earning a lot of money.

Kenny Serane @ Music & You 2010 - Funky Tune

Kenny Serane @ Music & You 2010 - Funky Tune from Kenny Serane on Vimeo.

[Laurie Monk]
Yes, it is disconcerting that music, as art, has been so commoditised. I often times feel that the commoditisation of music is one of the main reason why there is so much illegal downloading, there is little or no understanding that there is an individual being deprived of a regular income based on the quality of their art. It’s just some bits of binary data, disposable and throw away.

OK, nearing the home straight. You have just been part of the International guitar competition as a judge, are there plans for more of these, and is this something you enjoyed being part of?

[Kenny Serane]
It was very nice to share the jury with Patrick Rondat, Jean-Michel Kajdan, Kevin Cintas and Michel Lâg for the French Guitar Contest 2012. We discovered some incredible talents from everywhere in the world, 47 different countries participated to this French Guitar Contest! So many guitarists deserved to be in the front of the scene, and I had the luck to meet some of the guitarists in Paris, they said to me that being in the French Guitar Contest had lead to people contacting them to offer some gigs.

That's great, it shows that these things are working. Nelly Tadjer ( is actually working on the next part of the French Guitar Contest, this time may be a little bit different, maybe with a live final, but I am not allowed to say that ;) I hope I will participate in the project anyway.

[Laurie Monk]

Well I’ll look forward to that, as I enjoyed French Guitar Contest a lot last time. OK, thanks so much for your time with this interview, good luck with the new album and the live shows.

[Kenny Serane]
Thanks to YOU Laurie. I read your blog since a long long time and I really enjoy to read your posts. You make a very good job. See you!

[Web Links]

Pat Metheny: announces Summer Music Workshop


Two weeks ago the National Guitar Workshop filed for bankruptcy, and cancelled all their workshops. Pat decided he wanted to do everything in his power to make the workshop happen.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that the Pat Metheny Summer Music Workshop will go on as scheduled, August 20-24 at the Norwich Inn in Norwich, CT. The faculty this year is made up of some of the great jazz masters performing today. Don't miss this rare opportunity to study with them in an intimate setting.

FACULTY: Pat Metheny, Bassist, Larry Grenadier and Drummer Antonio Sanchez.

We have space available if you are still interested. For more information please contact Allyson McFerren at 203-688-6729 or


Pat Metheny Management

Víctor Santiago: fusion as smooth as butter!

"Cool" Fusion Impro (BT by infernalgr) -Víctor Santiago

Richard Hallebeek, Lalle Larsson, Eric Gales: Eric added to RHPII along with Greg Howe!

Richard Hallebeek
The 2nd guest I’d like to introduce for the upcoming Richard Hallebeek Project II is ERIC GALES! The Memphis born and raised blues rocker plays a burning solo on the '70's inspired grooving outro of the title track 'Pain In The Jazz'.

Having an unorthodox playing style - Gales plays the guitar left handed, upside down - he won his first blues contest at age 11 and released his first album at age 15 together with his brothers as the Gales Brothers. In 1994 Eric performed with Carlos Santana at the ‘Woodstock 94' concert. Eric has recently toured with Laurynn Hill in Europe and The States and plays the Experience Hendrix Tribute tour 2012. I have been following Eric ever since he released his first album and am a big fan of his playing.

I wrote this track a couple of years ago, imagining a powerful Hendrix type player taking a solo for the outro. I am completely thrilled that Eric wanted to play a solo over it and that he mentioned afterwards he got a big kick out of the vintage grooving track.

When I sent this track out to Lalle Larsson, Lalle replied: Man, this guy sounds *real*! Couldn't agree more. Thanks for playing Eric!

Already announced... Greg Howe!

- be the first one get the full new album from Richard Hallebeek - RHPII - minimal a week before it's actual release
- receive two charts from two songs on the album, original actual charts used by the band and the special guests to perform and record the music
- receive a 4 page guitar lesson 'Intervallic Designs' (not published anywhere else to this date) from Rich
- receive a 4 page keyboard theory lesson from Lalle
- your cd will be signed personally (no copies) by all four band members: Lalle, Seb, Frans and Rich
- 10 randomly selected pre-orderers will receive a1/2 hour FREE skype or mail (your choice!) lesson from Rich
- Support the music and buy straight from the artist!

The title track for RHPII 'Pain In The Jazz', featuring Eric Gales playing the outtro solo. Sebastiaan Cornelissen - drums, Frans Vollink - bass, Lalle Larsson - keys. Preorder the album at

Larry Carlton,Steve Lukather: two titans in Paris

Concert movies legally at

For a handful of concerts in the summer of 2001 got together two of the busiest American studio guitarist Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather. The two guitarists have known each other since the seventies, but were never appeared in public together. No wonder, for Carlton, who has played with Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and countless other stars, it does - in his own words - about 300 sessions per year. No less busy is Lukather, Toto has been known and has next seized for Rod Stewart, Van Halen, Lionel Richie, Cheap Trick and the Pointer Sisters in the strings. 
01 The Pump | 
02 Blues Force | 
03 It Was Only Yesterday | 
04 Red House | 
05 Do not Give It Up | 
06 Room 335 | 
07 Put It Where You Want It

Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather Band - The Paris Concert

Fernando Miyata: Truth In Shredding, in this Olympic, year strokes past 4 million video views

Gold medal goes to Fernando Miyata who tops the list of video views for Truth In Shredding TV, which has just passed a new milestone, with over 4 million video views.

I would like to thank all the viewers, but more specifically all the guitar players who added their notes, technique and musicality to make this a great channel for any guitar fan to watch.
6,622 subscribers
4,004,079 video views

550 uploaded videos
735 video playlists

Fernando Miyata: gold medal winner!

With 307,519 views, 1,010 likes, 45 dislikes

Fernando Miyata: guitar idol 2008

Russ Parrish: Steel Panther... Overloaded

Yes, I know... just spend a working day with the hard rocking Steel Panther. Some great guest appearances in this 111 video playlist in this one fan filmed play list!


Russ Parrish: Steel Panther... Overloaded

Lari Basilio: look what came to my door!

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the new EP from Lari Basilio. If you would like to get a copy of this great EP, then please send an email to Lari Basilio  and you will be contacted from there.

"Mundo de Glórias" - Instrumental - Lari Basilio

Mike Orlando: Portnoy talks about album recording with noizzeater

The album was recorded at Mike Orlando's studio and you guys produced it yourselves. The final product sounds really good. So, who had the most input on production of "Omerta" and where did the experience in that field come from?

R: I guess it would be me and Orlando at the beginning and Mike Portnoy came in during the recording process. I've had a lot of experience doing recordings and so has Mike Orlando so I guess that's where the recording experience comes from. Me and Orlando have technical background in engineering. And the producing experience comes from me and Mike Portnoy. It started out as a kind of home grown project, you know? We tracked all the drums and the guitars and bass at Mike Orlando's studio and we did the vocals at my place. And then of course when Mike came in he had production and recording experience as well so, it really was a group effort to really wrap it, to bring the album together. Of course his experience in the studio is more than all of ours, ha-ha!

Anthrax producer Jay Ruston mixed the album. Are you happy with the job he's done?

R: I think he did a phenomenal job. He was pleasure to work with, really, really cool guy. He understood what we needed to sound like, understood the language that we used in expressing our ideas to him and he was very instrumental in bringing the sound that we all hoped that we'd have to life and making it the part of the final product.

full interview

Marty Friedman: will join Taiwanese CHTHONIC on stage

Marty Friedman will join Taiwanese metallers CHTHONIC on stage at the Fuji Rock Festival on Sunday, July 29 at Naeba Ski Resort in Yuzawa-machi, Niigata, Japan.

Says Friedman: "[CHTHONIC's] latest album, 'Takasago Army' . . ."is absolutely on fire!"

CHTHONIC's sixth full-length effort, "Takasago Army", was released in North America last September via Spinefarm Records. Produced by Rickard Bengtsson (ARCH ENEMY, NEMESIS) at Sweet Spot Studios in Halmstad, Sweden, this 10-track outing completes a trilogy of CHTHONIC releases, telling a story that binds together the band's "Seediq Bale" and "Mirror Of Retribution" albums, released in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

CHTHONIC will play EU & JP festivals in 2012 summer:
July 14: Rock Harz Open Air (DE) | July 20: Devil Size Festival (DE) | July 21: Aschaffenburg (DE) | July 29: Fuji Rock Festival (JP) | Aug 02: Wacken Open Air (DE) | Aug 04: Vagos Open Air (PL) | Aug 11: Bloodstock festival (UK)

CHTHONIC Facebook:
Buy 'Takasago Army' (English version) in Europe:

Levykauppa Äx (FI)
Amazon (DE)

CHTHONIC - Broken Jade Music Video | 閃靈 [ 玉碎 ] MV (英語版)

George Lynch: Sound Mountain Sessions Sampler

"Sound Mountain Sessions" track listing:

01. Slow Drag
02. World Of Chance
03. City Of Freedom
04. Sucka

LYNCH MOB 2012 is:

Oni Logan - vocals
George Lynch - guitar
Robbie Crane - bass
Brian Tichy - drums

LYNCH MOB 2012 "Sound Mountain Sessions" AUDIO SAMPLER. For more info visit:

LYNCH MOB 2012 "Sound Mountain Sessions" AUDIO SAMPLER

Devin Townsend: Epicloud

"Epicloud", the next album from Canadian musician/producer Devin Townsend to be released under the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT banner, will be made available on September 18 in North America and September 24 in Europe via InsideOut Music. The CD features a guest appearance by former THE GATHERING frontwoman and previous Devin collaborator Anneke Van Giersbergen.

Timo Tolkki: cancels Classical Variations 2 project

Timo Tolkki, who recently launched a campaign to support the release of his fourth solo album, "Classical Variations 2: Credo", has issued the following update:

"While I have been working on the new 'Credo' album, I have started to speak with several friends in the music business to exchange creative ideas.

"A lot of musicians and people I talked to were really impressed with how the material is coming along. This brought me in contact with some people that offered me a really interesting and better situation on both artistic and personal level. However, this new incredible opportunity that I have is not compatible with the PledgeMusic project which I have started with you.

"Considering that I am looking at a way more interesting and exciting project which will ultimately make you happier, dear friends and fans, I have decided to cancel the work done so far on the 'Credo' album. Everybody will be contacted and reimbursed from the pledges I have received. In the case of questions, please turn to PledgeMusic.