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QRD #61 - Guitarist Interview Series Part VIII
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Guitarist Interviews:
Alan Bishop
Grégory Duby
Nathan Joyner
Nick Jonah Davies
Claudia Gregory
Matthew Filler
Julien Ottavi
Chris Brokaw
Andrea Vascellari
Jeff Barsky
Chas McKeown
Jean D.L.
Adam Cooper
Chris Summerlin
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Guitarist Interview with Julien Ottavi of Massacre
April 2013

Name: Julien Ottavi
Bands: Solo, Massacre, Formanex, NG4 (Guitar quartet)
Websites: www.noiser.orgwww.apo33.org/formanexextrasystole.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!!!