SLASH Talks About VELVET REVOLVER's Songwriting Process

PegasusNews.com recently conducted an interview with VELVET REVOLVER/ex-GUNS N' ROSES guitarist Slash. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

PegasusNews.com: Last night I was listening to "Libertad" and I noticed that your sound has really broadened out, as far as use of effects and orchestration. I wanted to know how that came about and why you've made those decisions.

Slash: Well, I haven't listened to the record too recently, but I didn't really use a lot more effects. I actually used a lot less. But the places where I do use them, you can definitely hear them. Because it's a pronounced, "I'm using this effect for this," as opposed to making it sort of like, a hint of it. On this record if I use an effect, you definitely hear it. But most of it is just really raw straight guitar. So that's really more of a contrast to the last record as far as what I equipment that I used. But I think the places and times that I wanted to use effects and why I felt comfortable doing it is that when we were making this record there was a lot less rush involved. And everybody was a lot more comfortable and relaxed making this record. So if there was a sound I was trying to get, I didn't have a problem sitting down and going, "Ok, this is what I want to use." It's a very creative environment. If I wanted to express something in a defined way, I felt very comfortable doing it.

PegasusNews.com: Speaking of the creative process, what exactly takes place in the studio? How does VELVET REVOLVER write their music?

Slash: We do everything in the writing process and preproduction. That's where everything happens for us. When we go into the studio it gets done really quickly. But when we go into writing — what happens is — we just go into a room and jam. Sometimes if I have an idea, or Duff has an idea, or whatever, we will bring that to the table and jam on it and start to put it together. We usually put a song together instrumentally in about a day. It's a fucking force of habit. When we were working with Rick Rubin he was telling us, "Why don't you take that idea, tape it and move on to the next one." And we tried doing that. But every time we start jamming, we end up having to jam from, "This is the beginning, then this is a verse, then this is a chorus." And then next thing you know, we've written a whole song. It's hard for us not to do that because we get inspired to complete the song. And so that's basically what we do. We just go in with like whoever has got an idea, work on it, and if it works, you know if everybody goes for it, then it gets finished that afternoon. Then Scott will hear it and he'll start writing lyrics for it if it works for him. And that's basically it.

PegasusNews.com: So it definitely is a group effort. Nobody is coming in with songs going, "Ok. The song goes this way, then this way and this way."

Slash: It happens. Very rarely. But sometimes there will be a song that's almost completely written musically, and we'll find that in jamming, if we find that there is no real reason to change it or there are no new ideas that come to make it any different, and that does happen from time to time, but not in the norm.

PegasusNews.com: You have been playing for quite awhile now, since you were fourteen, is that correct?

Slash: Fifteen.

PegasusNews.com: Fifteen, ok. So, have you always strayed towards the blues-rock genre or do you delve into any other genres that haven't made it to any of your albums? Do you ever sit around and play jazz?

Slash: You know, free form jazz has never done anything for me. As much as I try to keep my horizons broadened, certain kinds of music don't do very much for me. It might be really good and I might have a lot of respect for it, its integrity and what not, but it doesn't necessarily inspire me to play. What I do is definitely a sort of blues-rock thing, but that fits into a lot of different kinds of music. You know what I'm saying? So I think that's where my heart is. But there's a lot of Spanish music, or Latin-influenced music that I like to do. There is a little bit difference in choice of notes here and there, but it's still got the same feel. And there is some jazz, but it still fits within a kind of blues or soul format. So that kind of guitar playing fits into a lot of different kinds of music. Some of it which you don't find me playing in VELVET REVOLVER necessarily, but I might do it on somebody else's record.

Read the entire interview at PegasusNews.com.

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