Shred Lords: Lelio Padovani
Interview by Brett Kihlmire
Due to busy schedules and a large timezone difference, our Editor-in-Chief conducted this Shred Lords interview via email. Regardless, this is one of the best thanks to the passion of our subject. Welcome Lelio Padovani, a guitar hero from Parma, Italy.
Brett Kihlmire: Hi Lelio, let’s start it off easy. When did you start playing guitar?
Lelio: I began playing guitar along with drums and bass in my early teens. I just loved playing every instrument I could put my hands on! Things haven’t changed that much in this respect; I would like to be able to play every instrument I see. After attending some afterschool music classes I eventually chose the guitar as main instrument, but I still play bass whenever I can. I am in no way a bass player, but I can fake it convincingly and it’s great fun!
BK: How long have you been playing?
Lelio: I have been playing and writing instrumental music for a long time, and from 2002 on I recorded several CD’s and wrote a couple soundtracks for two Italian indie movies. Some of the tracks from my CD’s are on SoundCloud, (https://soundcloud.com/lelio-padovani) along with some unreleased tracks.
BK: What was your first guitar and how did you acquire it?
Lelio: My first guitar was a cheap nylon string classical guitar that was laying around the house. It was my sister’s, but she did not have much interest in it, so I picked it up. I still have it and play it from time to time, mainly to keep it tuned and ready. The following was a Charvel; a proper electric guitar on which I began to play heavier music with a cool Marshall combo amp, which I stupidly sold some years ago.
BK: When did you first discover heavy metal?
Lelio: One of my friends was into it and handed me some cassettes of Iron Maiden, Van Halen and the first Malmsteen record. It was shocking, to say the least. I could not believe guitar could be played with such degree of intensity and virtuosity! I was hooked immediately and began woodshedding; haven’t stopped since!
BK: Have you taken lessons or are you self-taught?
Lelio: I began self-taught, then attended the National Guitar Workshop in New Milford, CT where I attended classes with guitarists Harry Jacobson and Chris Amelar and a vocals minor. I graduated in metal/fusion guitar at an Italian music school, then attended a sound engineering course at one of Italy’s major recording studios. I’m still learning! I try to stay up-to-date on everything regarding music and of course guitar in general. I read cover to cover all guitar mags I can put my hands on and read books on recording, music history, etc., besides watching hours of guitar related videos on Youtube.
BK: What is your preferred play style?
Lelio: I love to play rock and metal style. My main tone is distorted! A cross between a Marshall 800 and a MESA/Boogie Recto. I also love guitar harmonies, it is obvious in my latest EP on ‘Siren Song’ and ‘Waves.’
BK: What bands or guitarists inspire you?
Lelio: There are many guitarists that I love: George Lynch and Steve Stevens for their aggressive tone and phrasing, Vinnie Moore and Frank Gambale for how they use triads, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Brett Garsed; all have influenced my playing in a way or another, though of course I don’t play like them. Fave bands are Dream Theater, Queensryche, Opeth, Megadeth, Killing Joke, Van Halen, Tool, A Perfect Circle, and bands in any style where the guitar is prominent.
BK: What are some of your favorite techniques?
Lelio: I like all techniques, guess this comes from teaching, because as a teacher I have to be able to explain all modern techniques and put them to use; I usually tend to play more legato than alternate picking though. I like the fluid tone I can get. Next fave would be sweep picking. I try to use it to play extended arpeggios, avoiding the more recognisable triads.
BK: When did you join your first band?
Lelio: I played in a band as soon as I was able to form two or three chords on the fingerboard, around the time I began playing, in fact I recall exchanging instruments with the other guitar player, playing guitar on some songs and bass on others.
BK: When did you join your current band?
Lelio: I don’t have a band at the moment; the last one I played in was A2A, a progressive/metal trio of drums, guitar and keyboards. We recorded an instrumental EP I produced that should be on the Internet somewhere. The band never split, we just could not find time to rehearse and gig as the other band members have proper jobs. We always talk about beginning to play together again, and who knows. I played electric, acoustic and synth guitar; in a trio format there’s much space to fill sonically.
BK: What have been your greatest struggles as a musician?
Lelio: Making ends meet would be the #1 issue for anybody trying to be a full time artist, I feel VERY lucky and am thankful to have music in my life full time and be able to pay the bills. Being a musician is a nonstop struggle, but doing something you love is never a chore, so I always try to do my best and I’m happy to put in the time and effort.
BK: What have been your greatest achievements as a musician?
Lelio: In 2010 I was nominated for David Di Donatello and Ciak D’Oro, two important Italian movie prizes; I was then finalist twice at Rimusicazioni Film Festival, an Italian film festival dedicated to writing soundtracks to silent movies.
BK: What are you currently doing? Recording a new album, writing new music, touring, making a video?
Lelio: I’m writing new instrumentals for my next CD, which I would like to release next year. Also, just for fun I study classical music and am working on some pieces I would like to record or put on my Youtube channel.
BK: Outside of your main band what are you doing with your time? Are you teaching, studying, playing in a side project, making tutorials, etc?
Lelio: 10 years ago I founded a music school in my hometown together with a fellow guitar player. I teach guitar, ensemble and theory classes and am one of the directors. I never stopped studying and deepening my knowledge of the instrument, even though time is always tight. I translated several music books, like Technique Book 1 by Frank Gambale, from english and write instrumental music. Every now and then I do sessions for some local artists, working on arrangements and guitar parts. I try to keep myself busy!
BK: What are your plans as a musician for the coming years?
Lelio: I’d like to keep doing what I am currently doing, playing guitar, teaching, writing new music and recording it, while still being able to pay bills and have the fridge stocked! That would be a real success.
BK: What are you biggest goals for the immediate future?
Lelio: Play. More. Guitar.
BK: What is your best advice for beginners and guitarists just starting to find themselves musically with the instrument?
Lelio: Playing an instrument is a lifelong journey that will fill your soul with joy and possibly make you a better human being. It is not a competition and it is free. Never stop playing!
Hear Lelio’s music here at his Official SoundCloud