with Julien Ottavi of Massacre
Name: Julien Ottavi
Bands: Solo, Massacre, Formanex, NG4 (Guitar quartet)
Websites: www.noiser.org, www.apo33.org/formanex, extrasystole.bandcamp.com/album/massacre
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Julien – Speedster traveler guitar, still playing with it!
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Julien – I like to play with Kaospad & computer & go through the PA. The guitar is like a sound generator for me.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Julien – Guitar+ebow+pitch+PA+room resonances.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Julien – Mainly PA or amps that I found on the road.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Julien – Speedster - easy to pack & travel with.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Julien – Sign by me, yes. Short as possible for the travel, sound at its best, integrated computer effects in it, that will be perfect!
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Julien – Integrated in the guitar with control by touching & moving axis of the guitar. Brilliant! I need to design one!!!
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Julien – 3 guitars.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Julien – In my studio.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Julien – Special part to transport bow!!
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Julien – Mainly the size.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Julien – $500 max.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Julien – Stick with what I get & explore it.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Julien –2/3months, reading about it, or playing with before hand.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Julien – It depends on the band or the project.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Julien – I could change tone depending on the project & the band.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Julien – Easy to travel guitar, impossible for amps to do with really good stuff & pedals, a classic Kaospad effect for the touching side of it.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Julien – It depends on the type of music you are making.
QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?
Julien – So far I didn’t start with beginner’s guitar, so it is fine for me.
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Julien – Beginner’s stuff.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Julien – The body & the general timbre of the guitar (pick-up).
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Julien – 30 years old.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Julien – Ever & never!
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Julien – Easy to carry, great sound generator all in one (nearly) & good in the hand.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Julien – It depends, it doesn’t really matter for me.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Julien – I see it as a sound generator, it is not humanized in that sense. Anything is good for me to make music.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Julien – Keith Rowe, Derek Bailey, KK Null.…
QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly (e.g. naming their guitar)?
Julien – If they need to do so, why not? If they don’t need it, that’s fine too.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Julien – Bang it on the wall, scratch on metal scraps.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Julien – Look at others guitarists.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Julien – Sometimes never, sometimes every day, it depends if I have a gig or a recording to do.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Julien – As little as possible
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Julien – Not a lot, less than 1 year.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Julien – I love all those styles, something with bow, sometimes I hardly touch the guitar & use ebow.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Julien – Myself, it’s more accurate.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Julien – Open tunings for some projects & more classic for some others.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Julien – Nope I’d rather not; I play a lot with graphical score or improvised structure.
QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?
Julien – Most of the time on the table & for Massacre with a hand banging on the wall or with a bow.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Julien – No habit that I don’t like.
QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?
Julien – Drums for sure!
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Julien – A-ha-ha-ha! :-D
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Julien – Play 100 guitars at once!
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Julien – Oooops. ;-)
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Julien – Ebow for sure!
QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?
Julien – None.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Julien – Nope!
QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?
Julien – Learn how to not play the guitar! Learn how to play the sound of it directly & not necessary the notes.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Julien – Not learn guitar. ;-)
QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?
Julien – Not really interested in tremolo
QRD – How often do you adjust your tone knob?
Julien – Before a gig or to play for myself.
QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?
Julien – It doesn’t matter for me.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Julien – No, impossible.
QRD – What famous musician’s guitar would you like to own & why?
Julien – I am not a fetishist, any guitar will do depending on the project.
QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?
Julien – Me ;-) because I don’t care about the guitar & that I love to play it!
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Julien – I just released a guitar solo album on an italian label:
QRD – Anything else?
Julien – Vive la no-guitar!!!