Vince LuPone is a metal guitarist from Phoenix, Arizona that writes and records emotive and powerful music. Vince doesn’t do something different just for the sake of being different, his music is written from the heart as an array of versatile tracks that run the gambit between moving melodies and aggressive chaos. Vince’s influences range from virtuosos Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, to modern metal bands In Flames and Soilwork. His new self-produced solo album, Embers of Ares, is an explosive & modern take on instrumental guitar music.
Entertwine: Could you tell us a bit about your musical background? Who or what influenced your decision to begin writing music in the first place?
I grew up listening to a lot of different metal bands. It was fun to learn songs on guitar and play music I heard on the radio or on CDs. I began writing music early on, mostly just emulating what I heard, but as I learned more about music it became an outlet. I saw it could be a real outlet for stress, frustration and a range of emotions.
What is it like living in Phoenix, Arizona? What is the music scene of Phoenix like? More importantly, what is the metal scene like there?
I love Phoenix, I’ve lived here most of my life. The music scene is up and down. It’s unstable with a lot of clubs going under and it can be hard to get people out to see original local bands play. With the bands I’ve been in, we found that if we can get groups of people out, packs of people, we can fill a venue. Metal and rock fans in AZ are a fun, rowdy bunch. A full house at Club Red or The Venue of Scottsdale beats any LA show I’ve ever played, hands down!
What experiences and events led to the writing and recording of your solo guitar album “Embers of Ares” (which will be released digitally on February 3rd)? How will you market the record once it is released digitally?
I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my personal life in the past few years, and this album is me returning to a pretty content place in my life. I simply love writing and recording music, and it’s been 6 years since I last released an album (“In Death and Tragedy” in 2009 with the band The Asylum). I felt inspired and reinvigorated to write and record this last year and I have this awesome album I’m really happy with to show for it.
To market the album, I’m asking everyone and anyone that enjoys it to spread the word. I’m independent, so to get it going I’m pounding the pavement like a salesman prospecting for leads. I am planning to get everyone that could possibly hear this album a chance to hear it and I think they will want to buy it. That’s why you can listen to it for free on my website at vincelupone.com, and its available for purchase on iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon. I’m putting a band together and we’ll be shooting a few videos this year supporting the album and I plan to be out there in clubs regionally playing and promoting.
What guitars do you use live and in studio? What DAW, amplifiers, and other musical and recording equipment was used to capture the songs on “Embers of Ares”? What was the recording process for the album like?
I’m picky about guitars, but I still don’t see the point in spending $6k and waiting two years to get a custom axe, but that seems to be the trendy thing to do now. I have always been incredibly happy with Ibanez guitars, and the RG and S-Series lines from them are top-notch for my playing style, with a few custom tweaks here and there. I used a mix of 6 and 7-string guitars on this album, and I love the extended range and heaviness a 7-string guitar gives me.
My main guitar rig is pretty simple, I use a Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier amp and a Line 6 POD HD500. I’ve had really crazy rack systems before, but honestly I just found myself messing around with nifty sounds and not really playing or writing any real music. That’s why I went back to basics with a tube amp and an effects board. It’s simple, does what I need and keeps me thinking about the song and not so much the sound.
My DAW of choice is Cockos Reaper. It’s simple, easy, inexpensive, and isn’t a resource hound. I run it with my laptop and a couple studio monitors, and it does the trick.
What does the songwriting process look and sound like for Vince LuPone?
I generally just play guitar with my recording software up, and if I find something I like, I record it. I build on it and begin putting pieces together. Before I know it I have a song. Sometimes that’s a day, sometimes it’s a month, sometimes I come back to tracks 3 years later and finish them. I always have about 5-10 unfinished pieces of music at any one time and it keeps me creative and always moving forward. For me, a song has to be something original, melodic, and varied from the last piece I wrote, otherwise I wind up constantly re-writing it until I’m happy with it.
Could you tell us about the most exciting or interesting live performances you’ve been a part of?
I think my most interesting live performance was a few years ago when our crowd was too big for the venue. We were playing this little dive bar in Tempe that could maybe hold 50 people, and we brought about 200. We over-packed the place, and played our heaviest music. The club kept warning the crowd to stop moshing but they had no ability to turn the music off or control us, and we just played a great, high-energy set. The show was rowdy, noisy, and a blast to play.
How was the album artwork conceptualized and designed?
I went into it wanting it to show a cross between refined and explosive, with a bit of a digital edge to it. I wanted someone to see the cover and instantly know it was a metal guitar record. With that in mind, I started with a guitar and Photoshopped it until I had what I wanted. I always talk about hiring artists to round out projects like this, but in the end I really enjoy just doing stuff like that myself, similarly to how on my first solo album 10 years ago, I considered hiring a cello player and wound up recording the cello lines to a song myself.
Are there any hobbies or activities you enjoy outside of music?
I find new and interesting ways to poke fun of my old drummer friend Danny. I’m a fine cultivator of dad jokes and I like hiking, biking, and long walks on the beach. Other than that and music I have no hobbies.
What does 2015 hold in store for Vince LuPone?
Well it started off with a bang, let’s see where it goes from here!
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