Alex Hutchings: shred knowledge interview

Alex Hutchings
Alex Hutchings reveals he's a very busy guy and that he's working on a CD. Alex also gives his low down on musical questions including the extraordinary response "BEER= no"... all this and more in questions posed by the guys over at shred knowledge:
SK When I watched your playing you seem to always hold back the shredding just a little and gave me the feeling you were like driving a superbike at 30mph in a 50mph zone, I mean this in a good way. When you did open it up it really registered. What I really mean to say is you don’t shred for shredding sake. It’s not beyond your limitations to rip all over the neck, I mean you could if you wanted but you hold it back where some don't. Is there a philosophy behind holding back and phrasing more or is it just a natural part of your own style?
Alex I think of music from a melodic point of view, you can start a tune with some shredding, but in my opinion you need to have some melodic content. If the melody goes off with shredding parts then that’s cool if it sounds good, so I rather think of it as melodic content. Runs do just that, they run to a note or come from a note as opposed to just lots of shred, it needs to have a purpose. I think of the whole lick as it were, as a tool, to get from one place to the other or from one melodic part to the next and so on. So I don’t think of shredding as something that I would do constantly, I’d get very bored if I did that too long anyway.

SK What advice can you give anyone who finds ‘superlocrian’ like an alien word?
Alex Yeah, you just need to know that superlocrian is a mode of the melodic minor scale and as long as you understand which chords it relates with and experiment with it you'll find a way of using it. The great thing about superlocrian is that it works over all of the relavent modes and it doesn't matter which position you’re in it will sound good . The best thing is to go and get a book on melodic minor and its modes; this will help you clear it up.

SK What advice can you give anyone who knows his or her theory well but find it hard to play fast and clean, or just has a sloppy technique
Alex Practice!! Don’t just think of fast and clean, but think of musical ideas and phrases, practice things you like and don’t just have a perception of fast, think of musical phrases and if they happen to be fast then work at them until you can play them. Licks and phrases should be played at all tempos, some of the licks people use are just fast licks slowed down and vice versa, its important to play things at all tempos. full interview