The latest “15 questions” feature is with guitarist Kiko Loureiro. Brazilian Kiko has just released a new album, “FullBlast” that highlights his versatility and talent. Guitar Jar caught up with Kiko to quiz him on his guitar equipment, technique and the projects he’s currently involved with…
I’m always playing, maybe not practicing for real, but playing for fun… just as I need to eat, I need to play…
- Hi Kiko, before we get into the details of your equipment and technique, can you give Guitar Jar readers an insight to why you first picked up the guitar and how long you’ve been playing?
I started playing when I was 11. First I took the classical acoustic guitar. I learned the first chords and songs and then I started playing some classical pieces and Brazilian songs (Bossa Nova style). When I was 14 I got my first electric guitar and went totally into rock but always keeping the classical guitar around to practice the Brazilian harmonies and grooves.
- In the first few years in learning the instrument, which guitarist(s) were you influenced by the most and why?
I had a teacher that showed me Hendrix, Page and Van Halen. I was at that time a big fan of Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Sabbath but also some Baden Powell, Paco de Lucia, Hermeto Pascoal. Also Jeff Beck and the 80’s American guitar players such as Vai, Satriani, Malmsteen had influenced me a lot.
- What guitars do you play when performing live?
I have a Brazilian hand made named Tagima K1 model. Also some Strats and I have a signature model from ESP. Mainly these ones.
- What is your preferred choice of amplifier and do you use pedals to achieve your overdrive sound or do you prefer to use the amp overdrive?
I’m using LANEY- VH100R. It is a head that has a large tone variety. Thick crystal clean, crunch, heavy distortion and cool lead sound. So I mainly use the amp distortion and effects loop. I have an overdrive pedal for a little boost when necessary.
- Can you tell our readers more about your album “Fullblast”? How long did it take to write the songs and what was the biggest challenge for you when recording the album?
For me the biggest challenge is to come to a good balance of rock, heavy, melody, interesting and surprising harmonies and Brazilian and Latin grooves. Also how to use my music background and Brazilian native music mixed with rock/blues/heavy music. It is my third solo album and every time is more challenging to bring new ideas that can satisfy me and make sense to do an album. An album has to say something new and different, so it always take time to propose something real and artistically interesting to everyone. Fullblast was recorded with Mike Terrana on drums and Felipe Andreoli on bass, but the main difference was to have a percussionist as part of the group, so I could achieve another approach for a rock guitar album.
- Do you have to work hard at creating the guitar parts or is it something that comes easy to you?
It depends. Sometimes it happens that the entire song comes easily, sometimes I need many days to complete an idea. I work differently in every song. Some times with a guitar and a computer, or a classical guitar, or piano, or keyboards. Always in different situations as a good way to have different sources of inspiration.
- Are you a fan of amp/guitar modelling? In the studio, are you averse to using this technology?
I’m still old fashioned in this regard. I have my Laneys 100% tubes. Hard to change from that.
- How often do you practice and what do you focus on to improve your technique?
I’m always playing, maybe not practicing for real, but playing for fun, just as I need to eat, I need to play. Guitar, piano or classical guitar, composing, improvising, jamming it is a way of life for me. I did a lot of technique exercises, but nowadays I just play. My songs normally requires a good technique, so the gigs keep me in shape most of the time.
- Do you currently play in any other bands or are you purely a solo act?
Yes, I’ve played in a band called Angra for 18 years.
- Have you had any nightmare experiences whilst gigging?
I remember in Ecuador at an Angra concert. It was packed and some more fans wanted to come inside anyway. The police came and started to throw tear gas. We were playing and suddenly everyone on stage and in the audience started to cry and nobody understood why. It was a weird situation. Normally my nightmares are when I don’t like my playing for a specific night. It happens sometimes when you’re not on the mood for playing for some unpredictable reason.
- Your house is burning down. What’s the one guitar item you would save?
My first guitar!
- What album(s) are you currently listening to?
I like a lot Hamilton the Holanda. An amazing mandolin player. Also Guthrie Govan and Mattias AI Eklund.
- If you could form a super group using famous musicians past or present, who would you have on drums and why?
Maybe it’s a crazy mix but what about that: John Bonham, Jaco Pastorius, Hendrix and Jeff Beck, Nacao Zumbi percussion, Hermeto Pascoal keys and arrangements.
- Lager or Cider?
Caipirinha or Koskenkorva
- What’s the plan for you for the next 12 months?
Promoting FULLBLAST and the new Angra material. I’ve many gigs as solo, clinics and Angra this year in South America, Japan (Loud Park Fest) clinics in Asia. I’ve a Fullblast tour in Italy in November and California shows in January.