Tina Guo talks about music, video games and concert “Mythos”

Tina Guo has developed an international multi-faceted performance and recording career as a classical cellist and heavy metal electric cellist, erhuist, and composer known for her distinctive sound and improvisatory style in major motion picture, television, and game scores. Tina toured with Japanese superstar Yoshiki of X Japan on his Classical World Tour, and recently appeared with the Tenerife Symphony and Choir in the Canary Islands performing “Batman: The Dark Knight” Suite at the 2014 Tenerife International Film Festival, featured on Electric Cello. In conjunction with New York Comic Con 2014 and the first annual New York Super Week Festival, Tina Guo will be performing as a guest artist in MYTHOS! A thrilling and unique concert experience, MYTHOS, showcases great music from across the spectrum of modern orchestral genres – inclusive of music from the concert stage, television and film, and video games – featuring the all-star orchestra The Third Estate, conducted by Grammy Award nominee, Austin Wintory, composer of Journey, as well as vocalists from Choral Chameleon.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your involvement with “Mythos” video game concert?
Tina Guo: I’ve known Austin (Wintory) since University at USC and have enjoyed working with him over the years on all kinds of musical projects! In the Mythos concert, I will be playing cello on 3 different tracks that are based around the music from his Grammy-nominated score for the PS3 game, Journey, on which I did the original solos as well. I’m super excited and can’t wait to perform these completely new arrangements with a fantastic group of musicians in NYC!

MG: How much of a difference is there between the worlds of a classical cellist and heavy metal electric cellist?
TG: All music is music… for me there’s no difference between genres or even in different kinds of art, whether it be playing the cello, singing, dancing, painting… any kind of expression is expression, and some genres or ways of expression may be more suited to expressing different feelings or energies than others, but in the end, everything is simply a reflection of ourselves. I love dichotomy and extremes, and although there are some extremes between classical music and industrial metal, there are also heavy similarities. For me, the passion, depth, and fury expressed in these two genres make them siblings rather than opposite polarities.

MG: You have worked on various video games including “Diablo III” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”, what do you enjoy most about the genre?
TG: I love to work on all kinds of recording projects- on the Video Game Scores, working with the composers to create a feeling and bringing their notes and their ideas with what the cello and electric cello can bring mood-wise to the score is super fun! Video Games are an important and popular form of entertainment, and the music is such an integral part of it.

MG: Tell us about your one night only solo show “A Journey Through Music”?
TG: That’s my solo show at the Center for the Arts in Escondido, CA which is a gorgeous 1500 seat theatre in the San Diego area. I’ll be playing everything from classical works by Bach and Vivaldi to my Industrial Metal “Queen Bee” to covers of Beatles and Game of Thrones music. (I love Game of Thrones!!) I’ll be joined by a chamber ensemble of amazing musician friends from Los Angeles, my dad will be making a guest appearance to play the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto, wonderfully talented Uyanga who is an ethnic Mongolian singer will be performing a few pieces with me, and my husband who composed the final two pieces in the show will be joining us onstage as well on keyboard/samples/electronics for those Trailer Music “Epic Music” songs. The show is sponsored by the Asian Heritage Awards, which is the evening before my show in which I will be receiving the 2014 Award in Innovation. I feel very honored and a little intimidated to be among the award recipients, who include molecular biologists, the scientist who discovered the greenhouse effect of halocarbons and led the first NASA assessment on the climate effects of non-CO2 greenhouse gasses, a California Assembly Speaker, the founder of the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and scientist responsible for uncovering the structure of neuroligin, the founders of the Global Institute of Stem Cello Therapy and Research… etc… and then… there’s me… Tina, the girl who saws wood. *hand to forehead* I’m very grateful for the Asian Heritage Society for sponsoring my solo show however, and I hope that I can express through the multimedia performance my version of Innovation through music and art. You can find more info here: http://artcenter.org/event/tina-guo/

MG: Tell us about your upcoming albums?
TG: I just released an album on Oct 1, 2014 called “Tina Guo & Composers for Charity” which is available on iTunes, Loudr.fm, Google Play, and other digital retailers. 100% of the album proceeds are going directly to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to support music education in our underfunded music programs here in America. 13 amazing Film, TV, and Video Game Composers (including Austin Wintory) contributed original pieces that feature the cello for the CD.  In February 2015, I will be releasing a Heavy Metal EP of Metal Classics played on Electric Cello with a full band- Raining Blood, Sanitarium, The Trooper, Iron Man, and Cowboys from Hell. The EP features guest guitarists on a few tracks, including my friends Al Di Meola, Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit, and Nita Strauss.