● ‘Curfew Archives’ is a very unique acoustic record indeed. Well done! Your bio says that MTV had a huge influence on you back then, how did it all start?

My siblings are older by far 6 years, so from listening to “The Smurfs” cassette I started listening to Bon Jovi and Guns ‘n Roses, so the first time I bought a record with my hard-earned money was Nevermind, in 3rd grade, and the third record was Nirvana Unplugged. Fifth was maybe Eric Clapton Unplugged, but MTV was in the front of every album, so later I found Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, etc. before my obsession with Metallica, Pantera, and Megadeth. Picked up the guitar in 7th grade with these unplugged in mind for a couple of years learning everything by ear until a great friend “Pedro Mendez” taught me how to read Tabs and internet searches, not all was written, luckily it was correct, back when making an internet connection waked up the entire block with the modem’s noise.

● I believe you use different influences in your acoustic from, still, blues would be the strongest inspiration here. Tell me more about your story with the blues.
The Erick Clapton Unplugged is a perfect example of what I like but my recently blues knowledge started in 2014 maybe, with David Hamburger, he is an awesome teacher and songwriter that is my actual “teacher” on an online community he started 2 years ago (Oct 2019), every month I learn an old song he arranges and we as individuals on the community finish with his guidance material, it’s awesome. (Fingerstyle Five Community)
The blues are a recent addition to my listening repertoire, except for the Eric Clapton Unplugged, as mentioned earlier, which stapled a taste that back then I couldn’t grasp, the difference was the fingerstyle factor, I can’t stand electric blues played with a pick, I loved the fingerstyle blues and jazzy takes, letting go from my pick was crucial to my style, scary, why do you think guitar players are so apprehensive about losing the pick? It’s scary to feel so naked behind this wood and steel instrument, so David hamburger was the key to let go and start learning from scratch, and with that in mind, I started a new listening point of view, and if I talk about teachers, well Mary Flower is one of my best influences, and Bob Brozman for the bottleneck style you can hear on Miracle Adventure song.

 

● On Spotify, From the Thrash Vault with Javier & Jorge, is a thrash metal EP that is very amazing, I loved the raw riffs indeed, still, won’t this be confusing for your acoustic fan-base?

Not confusing, luckily those songs all start with an acoustic ballad that transforms into a thrash metal instrumentals that are in my core, my first creations back, way back, the bands help to focus my energy in a controlled aggressive environment was in my biography a great outcome that needed to be free in this world, the idea behind The Thrash Vault in its conception was to make anyone start listening to heavy metal and develop a taste for it, the songs start slow and mellow and try to grasp the listener’s attention and rhythmic appreciation. It’s under my Ruben O artistic name because of the lack of name that band had, which was disintegrated before that happened, a remastered work worth listening to.

● Would you consider forming a rock/metal band someday soon, or keep it acoustic-only?

I’ll stay acoustic and finger-styled, the only way for me to start a Metal Band again is maybe just with the same people, hard to perform, my right hand on guitar is Jorge Quan and he is living in Taiwan, we have a language of our own to be understood, and Javier Borrayo is a very successful filmmaker in Guatemala that understands my weird song structures and helps me develop further pushing my intellect.

 

● Based on the previous question, if you will continue acoustically, would you consider adding members to your solo project?

Yes, it’s considered and soon a collab work with Lucia Montepeque is on logistics to make it happen, her voice is something people will need to listen to in a blues environment.
Any other percussionist, bass player, electric guitar, is welcomed as a collab.

 

● I noticed that you’re a skillful guitar craftsman on your YouTube channel. Is it your main profession nowadays?
No, I wish, I have a day job and the videos are a binnacle of songs or projects.

 

● Also, I couldn’t find any music video out there, are planning to film one soon?

I consider my songs to be live, so a live performance recording is more likely to be soon on the channel, as “Atlanta” is the instrumental song on the Curfew Album and solo live performance video on my YouTube channel.

 

● ‘Tired of Try’ topic is very touching, same as most of your lyrics. Usually, do you prefer to write about your daily life issues and personal topics?

Yes, I like to open up my feelings, my old songs written in Spanish reflect that with strange metaphors to hide personal topics a little, but the Curfew Archives lyrics a so emotional-based that I had nothing to put in front and hide behind, structured also to be a cathartic scenario to get those issues behind, heal, move on or retake with no hard effort, blues song structure, AAB format without choruses implants this lyrical expression. Line “A” is a struggle, repeated twice, or expressed twice, a problem, a way to let out what bothers or what is the subject line “B” is going to solve or teach. It must come from inside.

 

 

● I’d like to know more about music in Guatemala, and in your opinion how it got evolved over the years?
Guatemala has a vast variety of music on a professional level, for example, one of my previous teachers was Master and composer William Orbaugh, classical music guitarist an old instruments bachelor’s degree expert, or other teacher and Jazz Master German Giordano, making him the electric guitar virtuoso, pop star Ricardo Arjona and Gaby Moreno, Rock stars “Bohemia Suburbana” or “Viento en Contra”, Metal bands like “Extincion” and “El Destazador” are common and always on small venue concerts full of angry distorted instruments, and the old-time peoples rock band favorite “Alux Nahual”. Guatemala is a cumbia, pop, reggaton radio variety, some marimba classics and Tex Mex.
In the region is not common to find original material bands and often found to cover on weddings, great singers wasted in the short time money making reward that pays the bills, and outsiders with original music have a real struggle to stand out.

 

● Finally, I’d like to thank you for the chat, tell your fans more about your comping plans.
Plans are to develop future material with a more dedicated time to structure the songs, learning a bunch on this topic on the Fingerstyle Five Community, chord substitutions, instrumental arrangements that challenge my current skills, I’m creating new music that is never that hard to uninspire guitar players with similar taste, I would love to find one of this days a cover of one of my songs, how many Tommy Emanual covers do we find? meanwhile, the first song is in the oven with a couple of verses for the other two songs, searching the hooks, so exciting news for my repertoire and collection for 2022 and I want to thank you so much (the reader) to take a space in your day to read about me and Rock Era Magazine to give me space to do so.

Follow Ruben O on InstagramYouTubeApple MusicSpotify, and Bandcamp.

 

Mena Ezzat

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