October 2010 Interview

Interview with JT West (Samurai Guitar)

I got an interview with JT West. He told me the story about himself and a little bit about his new Album “Industrial Complex”.

 Here is a somewhat shortened version of the interview.

SamuraiGuitar.com:      Let’s start with the new album “Industrial Complex” out in January 2011 on Samurai Music Entertainment.  I’ve lived with it for the last 12 weeks and love it

JT West: Thanks

SamuraiGuitar.com:      What’s the background history of Industrial Complex?

JT West: 1992/1993 I was in a band called Tommy knockers. Then I wrote a few songs first one was industrial complex the album was not clear in my head at this stage. 1994 end the Tommy Knockers split and then I started to arrange my own material. The funny thing there was another guitarist in from the Tommy Knockers who was my guitar teacher. We played together in the band and on other projects. After we split we went our separate ways. Then a few years later I met my guitar friend from my old band TK. He then played a demo tape of an arrangement of my song I wrote called Industrial Complex. The arrangement was completely different to what I expected. Then I realized myself that I was the only one to know about this song and how it should sound like. From there I started working on my arrangement of Industrial complex. I think that the split was a good turning point in my life. During my time in Japan I was also involved in a very large earthquake. I then started writing more songs and my list grew to over a 100. Then in 1998 I moved to Australia and began teaching music, which took, up most of my time. I then recorded an acoustic album called Rising Sun in 2001. After rising sun was finished I took a few months break. Then my situation was tough and I could not start to record my new album until 2006.

SamuraiGuitar.com:      What was the major influence for your new album?

JT West: Well my first album “Rising Sun” was a happy melancholy and motivational acoustic album. Then I wanted to show the opposite of this album, which became a fusion of Rock, Pop and Jazz Fusion. I wanted to tell a story about the negative side of society and how this affects so many people around the world using Electric, Acoustic and Synth guitar.

SamuraiGuitar.com: What are your musical influences?

JT West: Hard questions I like a lot of guitarists but my influences come from 80’s Guitar and synth sounds. I can say Steve Lukather, lee Ritenour, Trevor Levin, Wes Montgomery and Earl Klugh

SamuraiGuitar.com: Do you feel that the cd captures the essence of who you are in 2010?  

JT West: This album tested me greatly. Especially my technical skills as a guitarist, my inspirational, creativity and human communication skills came out in such a short period of time.

SamuraiGuitar.com: What gear did you use on the new cd?

JT West: Every recording in the past I used a new guitar. However I had my own guitar custom-made just for this album from the USA. Valley Arts Custom Pro with Ebony frets and active EMG Pickups. This was a big change for me to use Active pickups. I also used Acoustic 12 string and 6-string nylon and a GK3 Roland Guitar Synthesizer.

SamuraiGuitar.com: Does your live set up change much to the studio set up?

JT West: Yes a lot I used Chorus and Flanger effects at the same time and used a Guitar Synthesizer for the first time and the use of over dubs.

SamuraiGuitar.com: Was there a particular feeling you were trying to capture on the album?

JT West: It’s not black or white with the feelings because I am Japanese and Japanese artists love abstract emotions.

SamuraiGuitar.com: What makes you pick a particular sound for your recordings?

JT West: Most sounds I choose are based around 80’s guitar, Drums and synth keyboard. But this time I wanted to create not only instrument sounds but also sound effects from industry to nature.

SamuraiGuitar.com: Your first album was an acoustic recording and your new album “Industrial Complex” is a more rock/Jazz Fusion any reason for this sudden change in musical style?

JT West: Yes my first album was more earthy and subtle however I wanted to cross over to a more edgy 80’s pop rock jazz and world music influence. I wanted to also capture an electric orchestral sound a bit like “Jean Michel Jarre”

SamuraiGuitar.com:      What are your plans for the rest of 2010/2011?

JT West: First to release my new album in January 2011 then take a nice break and back to teaching and start to get ready for my 3rd Album which I will start in 2012.