How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
The new album "Infinite Chill (the remix sessions)" marks a radical departure from my usual recordings and was born out of a desire to do something completely different. The 'chill' aspect of the remixes also allowed me to explore a genre - "electronica/chill-out/downtempo" - that I really enjoy listening to. The goal was to remix my very organic, world-fusion, guitar-heavy tracks from my past albums into this chill genre in such a way that preserves the integrity and spirit of the original recordings while infusing them with a totally different, modern sensibility.
What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording the new album?
The challenge was knowing when to play and when not play, and what to strip away and what to preserve in the original recordings from which the remixes were crafted. What I ended up having to do in the remixing process with my co-producer Shahin Shahida was to discard my original guitar tracks and perform new parts that meshed better with the more laid-back, chilled out style of the remix project.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
The inspiration that fuels my drive to put all my energies into making the best music I can comes from my desire to connect with listeners and the joy and fulfillment I derive from knowing the music is enjoyed by a large audience.
How would you finish this sentence? ďI donít like to go a day without_________?
"Playing the guitar" is the easy answer. I play everyday without exception. I will take a collapsible travel guitar with me on a short 2 day vacation just to get in 15 minutes a day of playing. If I take a day off guitar it feels as unnatural as not having coffee in the morning!
What artists do you feel akin to or in the same tribe with?
I have recently been enjoying the music of Israeli singer/composer Idan Raichel. Raichel brings diverse performers and musical influences together into an appealing and at times haunting world-fusion sound that I connect with. Also, the Icelandic experimental pop-rock band Sigur Ros always inspires me to strive to make music that uplifts and touches people with emotional intensity. I am attracted to artists that offer surprising, genre-defying musical combinations combined with the ability to engender intense emotional responses in the listener.