Guitarist Gus G Discusses His New Solo Album “Quantum Leap”

Gus G is the guitarist for Greek power metal band Firewind. Gus has also played with Kamelot, Arch Enemy and Ozzy Osbourne. Gus’s latest release is an instrumental solo album titled “Quantum Leap”. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Gus about the creation of the album and his progression as a guitarist.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the creation of “Quantum Leap”?

Gus G: This is my first fully instrumental record. I had the idea to do an album like this in the back of my mind for awhile however just never decided to do it until now. With all the lock downs I knew I was going to be stuck home for a while. I was doing press for the latest Firewind record and we were gearing up to start touring and then everything got cancelled. In between all of those interviews I started writing down different thoughts and ideas. Before I knew it, I had seven or eight new ideas. This was around springtime and I knew it was still going to be awhile until we could do any live shows. I figured now was the time do a solo record on my own. My plan was to not have any outside collaboration. I spent all of last summer working on this record.

AL: Did the effects of the pandemic help mold this material in any way?

GG: It could be! I think it had a lot to do with it. To me when you are making albums it’s like a snapshot in time of where you are at. The material reflects my psychology and where I was at during this time. Like everyone dealing with this I had a lot of ups and downs where some days I had a lot of energy while others I had none. This is not your typical metal album as there are a lot of different styles and vibes.

AL: Do you have a different approach for working on an instrumental record compared to one with vocals?

GG: It is a different process. Making music without vocals in general is a whole different process in because you must fill that gap. I wasn’t really used to that. It was an interesting learning experience. I had made instrumental music in the past, but I never really dug deep into that. With this I wanted to find a balance. I wasn’t interested in making a shred album as I wanted to make an album that had cool songs with good music. I wanted there to be a musical statement instead of just a collection of guitar licks and riffs.

AL: Did you build the songs around vocal melodies, or did you add those passages later?

GG: It usually starts with riffs. This part of the process was the same for me as when I am writing for Firewind as it all starts with the riffs. The big difference was where to go after the initial riff starts. You could go any where be it a melody or certain key change. Those are the things I had to find out and build from scratch. At the end of the day, it was about balance as well as the hooks and melodies. At the time I didn’t really have vocal ideas but now looking back maybe I did have ideas about big vocal melody parts that would grab the listener.

AL: What was your process like for producing and editing being it was just you working on the record?


GG: That’s one of those things where how do you really know when something is done. A track is done when you have listened to it enough times through that you are happy with it and you send it on for mixing. There were a few tracks that went through many re-writes and edits. You just get a feeling when you are writing something that it is done. This can be a double-edged sword though because you can always think it could be better. I try and keep a little bit of a distance with the music I make. When I think something is finished, I will not listen to it for a few days and then come back to it with fresh ears. That’s when if I need to, I will make changes. It’s really all a feeling.

AL: Was this all newly written material or did you have some of the material prior to deciding to make the record?

GG: It’s both. I always have riffs laying around. I keep a file of different ideas. Some stuff I didn’t use for other projects and other ones are ones that I came up with at that moment with no specific place for them in mind. I never know what these will end up being used for, but I do go back and listen through them for ideas. Sometimes its weeks or months later that I go back but that folder tends to be a great starting point. I might use things as they are or completely start from scratch.

AL: How do you decide what material to keep for yourself and what to use for other projects?

GG: Sometimes it is hard to do that. It is all my writing and my style. There are times I set out to write something specifically for Firewind or for my solo stuff and during the process that material goes the opposite direction and ends up on something it was originally intended for. Firewind has a certain sound and style so I am less likely to experiment with that material but like I said things have a way of working their way into places they were not originally intended for.

AL: You worked by yourself and provided all the instrumentation for this record. Is that how you prefer to work, or do you prefer the more traditional route of recording with other musicians?

GG: I have always done things on my own for the most part. Firewind actually started out as a file exchanging band in the early 2000’s. I have become very used to putting together a complete and good sounding demo that it was a pretty natural process for me when it came time to record the parts for “Quantum Leap”.

AL: Looking at your guitar playing do you feel it has progressed more naturally or have you taken conscious steps to ensure it has progressed in a specific direction?

GG: I think I am sort of somewhere in the middle. The last few years I don’t think I have practiced as much as I would have liked to. When I do go into practice mode, I really get into it. I try and learn or develop new techniques and licks. Then there are times where I don’t pick the guitar up as much. I don’t allow myself to get sloppy, so I am on top of things, but I am not putting in ten-hour practice days like I did as a teenager.

AL: Now that “Quantum Leap” is out have you started thinking about your next project yet or are you giving yourself a little breathing room?

GG: I did a side project with Rob Chapman from Chapman Guitars and Youtube. It’s called “Criterium” and we did a three song EP. We are not sure when its going to be coming out, but we have been recording and Rob is getting ready to do the vocals for it very soon. I have known Rob since 2006 or 2007 so it has been great working with him on music after being friends for so long.

For more info on Gus G visit or on Instagram and Twitter @gusgofficial

Firewind’s Gus G. talks about new solo album “I Am The Fire”

Gus G. is probably best known as the guitarist for heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne and for his own band Firewind. Gus can no add solo artist to his impressive list as in early March he will release his debut solo album titled ”I Am The Fire” via Century Media Records. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Gus recently about the new album and its creation.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about your new album “I Am the Fire”?
Gus G.: This is my first solo album and it features a lot of different collaborations with a variety of musicians. There are guest bass players, singers and drummers. It’s a bit of a different approach this time around especially if you compare it to what I have done with Firewind.  This solo album I wouldn’t even classify as heavy metal. I think it’s definitely more of a hard rock album. There a mixture of styles and it showcases a different side and background of my playing. You will hear a lot of acoustic and instrumental type sounds on this record.

AL: What made now the best time to release a solo album?
GG: We were on a break from Ozzy because he was out working with Black Sabbath and after our singer left Firewind in 2012 I had some ideas that I wanted explore however they didn’t really fit Firewind. After completing some prior commitments we decided to take a break while we searched for a new singer. This time off from both projects gave me the time to start working on these ideas while I was at home.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the guest appearances on the album?
GG: The main singer on the album is Mats Leven from the band Candlemass. He and I wrote 5 songs together and he sings on 4 of those. I did a song with the band Devour the Day which is actually the first single off the record titled. I also worked with Michael Starr from Steel

Panther and David Ellefson from Megadeth. There were a lot of people involved in the creation of this album. Jay Ruston who produced the album was very instrumental in bringing a lot of these guys in to the project. I took things track by track and Jay guided me through things.

AL: How did you go about putting the songs together for the record and did you make any adjustments to your guitar tone or playing?
GG: I mainly write the music. I will start from there and then go back and work on lyrics. I wanted to have people co-write with so I may have had a song title or something like that but for the most part I would send the tracks out and just tell whoever to surprise me. That’s really how we did things on this album. For the tone side of things I pretty much used all the same gear I normally use. I did experiment a little but you can still hear my sound and style on the record. I tried some new tones on this one and also id some acoustic guitar playing as well.

AL: Can you tell us why you chose “My Will Be Done” to be the first single release?
GG: I thought that track was going to be pretty suitable for radio. It has a sound that I think would fit well in to that format. I had hooked up with Devour the Day through my label and when I first heard their material it blew me away. When we started writing the song I knew it was going to one that was very strong and could be a single.

AL: Have you started to plan out any touring to help support the release?
GG: Yes. I will be starting out with some shows in Greece and then in May I will be tour with Marty Friedman called “Guitar Universe”. There have been talks about hitting some of the festivals this summer and I would love to tour the States as well.

AL: Has there been anything mentioned as to when you and Ozzy will start working together again?
GG: There has been nothing official yet. He is pretty busy with Black Sabbath and there is nothing I can really confirm. I don’t know a lot about that stuff. (Laughs) I know when he is ready we will all be there with him.