JACEK HIRO (Virgin Snatch) – The sound is in your fingers
Jacek Hiro er en polsk gitarist. Han spiller i thrash metal bandet Virgin Snatch, i de tekniske death metal bandene Sceptic og Never samt at han medlem i death metal bandet Dies Irae, som for tiden har en pause. Han er også livegitarist i Decapitated. Thrash metal bandet Virgin Snatch slapp sitt tredje album tilbake i 2008, men skiva er endelig gjort tilgjengelige utenfor Polens grenser nå i år. Derfor benyttet vi anledningen til å dra inn Hiro i vår The G-String Series.
When did you start playing the guitar? In what age and which band was actually the one that made you wanting to grab a guitar and start playing?
I started playing when I was 12. My dad used to play and I took first lessons from him. At first it was just fun. I started to treat playing more serious when I heard Death. I learned how to play listening to their (his) albums. There was a time when I spent days ripping off Death songs.
What actually makes a guitarist unique? Feeling or technique? Many people for example cannot stand Satriani…who is absolutely a master when it comes to technique!
I don't like Satriani either. To be honest I don't like most of soloist. I prefer the guitar to be part of the band, not the main instrument leaving no space for others. As for the uniqueness I think that both things you mentioned are important although I personally prefer guitarists with less technique but cool ideas than virtuosos who doesn't have anything to say musically. Everyone can learn to play but nobody can learn to feel. Music is to come out of one's heart not brain.
What was your first guitar? Do you still have it?
My first guitar was polish Trella. I got it from Santa, hehe. Unfortunately I got rid of it to buy a better one which was pretty easy, nothing could be worse than that.
Do you think that the guitarist is making the quality or maybe the equipment can do magic?
Equipment can do nothing without an operator. No guitar, amp, pedal or cab can play on its own. The problem is that sometimes people depend on their stuff a little too much. I love everything that can make music interesting but I hate hiding lack of ability to play behind wahs, delays and other magical boxes. Good guitarist will even with nothing more than a guitar, cable and amp. The sound is in your fingers.
What kind of equipment do you use? Guitars…pick ups…amps…? Do you use different equipment in the studio and different while playing live? If yes then what is the reason?
I use Hohner the Jack guitars with Seymour Duncan Live Wire and Bill Lawrence L500 pickups, Line6 Flextone II head and Randall cabs. This is everything I need when I play live and I don't have to worry about broken tubes or cable connections which are pain in the ass when you're on tour. As for the studio I always take as much as I can and experiment. I think that you should always do everything to make your album sound as good as possible. Looking for new combinations is very inspiring too.
Construct the guitar of your dreams…brand, pick ups, strings..everything!
I already did. Hohner the Jack, Seymour Duncan and Bill Lawrence pickups. Yes I know I'm strange but that's what fits me. They're most comfortable instruments I ever played, they sound great and they're weird. That's all I need.
Now form the band of your dreams…with you participating of course…Which individuals you think would fit like a glove to your style?
This band would consist of 50 musicians and 40 drummers. It's really hard to say what fits your style. For example when I compose the music I always have ideas about drum parts in the song but then the drummer comes out with something totally different and it turns out that it's way better than my idea. The thing is to find people who know what to do with their instruments and let them do their job. It makes whole process more interesting. Besides no one is all knowing and I thing that the guitarist shouldn't tell the drummer how to play. As for my dream band I'd love to play live with some of my favourite bands like aforementioned Death, Cynic, Pestilence, Nocturnus etc. This would be way more fun than forming a new band.
Are you participating in the composing of your bands material or you're just a performer? How important is it for an artist to be able to express himself? I mean, if for example you were in a band only for performing someone else's musical themes…would you handle it not participating…not being able to express yourself?
If you don't compose you're not an artist but a craftsman. Being an artist is all about composing. On the other hand I don't have any problem with performing somebody else's music as long as I like it or I get paid for doing it. Speaking seriously, performing is always an opportunity to learn. For example, if you have another guitarist in your band and you both compose music you're an artist and a performer at the same time and you both learn from each other. This is a very healthy solution that prevents you from stopping to evolve. People you play with should push you forward instead of holding you back.
Have you ever run out of ideas while composing a new album? How did you fight it? What was the solution?
The solution is very simple…You have to wait and be patient. When I compose I just take the guitar and play, have fun playing lots of different stuff and ideas just come to me. If they don't I still have fun. This is the most important thing, to enjoy the music. If you do the ideas will find you.
Do you have endorsements? Do you think endorsements are important for an artist?
No, I don't have any endorsements. I always look for equipment I like and not one I can get for free. I paid for every single thing I told you about earlier. Of course it would be great to have your own signature model but nothing should be done by force. If I'll one day get an opportunity to have the guitar built exactly how I want it I'll surely do it but for now I look for the best solutions on my own.
In all the years that you've been playing did something go totally wrong during a concert of yours? If yes, what was it? Please go ahead!
I had lots of situations like that. Only people who don't do anything make no mistakes. Luckily with the rest of the band we always managed to finish the song together. A couple of seconds of panic and that's it. I can't remember the particular example, there were so many. I think that the best idea is to turn it into joke.
Ok then…thank you for answering these questions. One last thing now! Who is the guitarist that you admire or that you would like to "punish" by have him answering these same questions?
Thanks again and good luck with your project(s).
Thanks a lot. I think you should try harder to make these questions a punishment. I enjoyed them a lot. I named a few bands I like so pick one guy and make him suffer.
All the best to you and everyone who found time and courage to read it. Cheers.