Now And Then/Frontiers Records (Europe) - 2002

Interviewed by Luc Ponelle

1. For the French fans, can you tell us more about your career ?
When I lived in Serbia I had a band called "Bride". We played clubs, guitar festivals and received radio airplay. In 1993 our instrumental "Water Of Life" was the best song of the year on one of the most popular Serbian radio station "202" and it's show "501". We were one of the most talented bands in the country but unfortunately the music that we played wasn't receiving the attention that we expected. At that point I decided to relocate to Canada in order to pursue my musical career. It took me a few years to build my recording studio and to start working on my debut album "Water Of Life". In 1998 the album was completed and released on my own label "Later Rain Records". In November 2000 the album was re-released with two bonus tracks in Japan and South East Asia on "Marqee Avalon" Record Label. This year "Water Of Life" will be released in Europe on "Now and Then/Frontiers" Record Label together with my second album "Let It Go".

2. Few years ago, you released an instrumental album "Water Of Life"? What were media and fans reactions about it ?
Releasing "Water Of Life" was my dream come true and everything that followed confirmed that I did the right thing when I believed in this project. The album received great reviews, international attention, airplay and distribution. On my web site there is a section where I posted E-mails and letters from those who were touched by "Water Of Life".

3. You were featured on several tribute albums (Joe SATRIANI, Jeff BECK, ...). Why ?
Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and Jason Becker are among those guitarists that I respect and admire very much. To play on their tribute albums was a way of appreciating the influence that they made on my musical development. It was a great pleasure for me to participate on those tribute albums. The pleasure was even greater when I personally told to Joe Satriani that I will be a featured guitarist on his tribute album.

4. Why did you sign with Frontiers Records ?
Now and Then / Frontiers Records is one of the World's largest melodic rock labels and on it's roster they have some of the finest names in Rock music today. Being signed with them is a big step forward in my musical career.

5. You re-release your first album with the new. Is it your will or the label will ?
I suggested to Now and Then / Frontiers Records to release "Water Of Life" together with my new album "Let It Go". "Water Of Life" was released in Japan in November 2000 on Marqee/Avalon label and I am glad that my new label accepted the idea since the album was never released in Europe before.

6. Could you introduce us to your musicians ?
The band line up on "Let It Go" was:
Phil Naro - vocals
Zsolt Henczely - bass
Morgan Evans - drums
Slav Simanic - guitars

7. Why did you choose Phil NARO to sing on your album ?
When I first heard Phil sing live I knew that he would be the singer on my album. We started our collaboration on "Water Of Life" and continued it on 24K's "Pure" and "Mark St. John Project". I must say that Phil also contributed some great melody lines in a few songs of the album and his voice definitely was one of the highlights on "Let It Go".

8. Did you write differently for a instrumental song or for a sung song ? When you begin to write a song, do you know if it will be instrumental or sung ?
When I write new songs most of the time I know if a song is going to be a vocal song or an instrumental.

9. Could you comment each song of the album ?

Holy, Holy, Holy...
The album opener that creates an ambient of THX-like sound check that we can hear in movie theaters before the movie starts. In such ambient created by: Spoken Word Quotes taken from the Bible (Rev 4:8,11) and Guitar motif played with use of digital delay...the song sets the mood for the whole album. It can be visualized and the action can take place right in front of our eyes.

Let It Go
The Album title song. It is about a person who can't find his place among Christians because of his long hair etc. and the rock music that he plays. Also he can't find his place among the rest of the World because of his attachment to the Gospel. The song starts with very catchy guitar riff and continues with a very melodic and hummable vocal line.

I'm Going Up Higher
Fast Heavy Rock song. Describes the moment of ascension. Starts with powerful guitar riff and intro theme. Like most songs on the album it has the main solo and fade out guitar solo.

Never Gonna Die
God Father talks to a person (that symbolizes each one of us) how much he means to Him and what was done (The plan of salvation, Jesus' sacrifice...) for his (our) salvation. The song starts with nylon string classical guitar intro and changes into fast hard rock song with neo-classical elements.

People Say
Love song. Describes the love between God and man. Fullness of the life can be achieved only through unity with God. "Out of sight is out of mind people say But my lonely heart dies every day..." We often ask ourselves where He is when we need Him but we forget that we live and breathe through Him.

The song starts with the verse: "You came along and You picked me up when I was so down..." It is about a person who experienced healing of his heart after he met God. Very optimistic song with catchy guitar riff and vocal line.

Promised Land
Rock ballad. Starts with fingerpicking acoustic guitar. Hummable vocal lines and guitar fills with delayed guitar to give the song a fresh sound.

Can't Stop On A Dime
Hard Rock song. God invites a person to give up his old self and walk along with Him... Catchy intro Riff makes you want to listen to the end.

Disciples of ... ...The Almighty
One of the instrumentals on the album with two parts. I felt that it would be cool to split the title (with ...) instead of putting part 1 and part 2. As the title says it is about those who consider themselves disciples of the Almighty God. Opening guitar riff sounds very powerful and the main theme is melodic and energetic.

See The Light
It is about a person who starts to recognize and walk in the light which symbolizes Jesus. "... I'm beginning to see the light now that He's given me second sight..."

The Fallen Angel
The story about satan who betrayed everything that was given to him. He was given the fullness of love and he answered with the fullness of hate. He was given the fullness of responsibility and he answered with the fullness of irresponsibility. As great as God's love is as much as satan's hate. Satan is a cause of all suffer in this World and this song reveals that.

The Message Of Three Angels
Another "Storyteller song". I like to experiment with song structure and came up with "Storyteller" song. I like to use this structure in my songs because it creates a cinematic mood. Song is written in neo-classical fashion and tells that we should "Fear God, and give glory to Him..."(Rev 14:7)

Heaven Waits For You
Describes suffering, disease in this World as well as a constant rat race to the top. Song ends with sounds of the mega city (alarm clock, subway, office noise...) and has two fade outs. Between two fade outs there is a spoken word part which describes apostle Paul's vision of the second coming of Jesus and ends with the main message of the album: "...But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". (1 Corinthians 15: 57)

10. Who produced this album and why ?
I produced "Water Of Life" and "Let It Go" albums. The reason for that was because I knew how my albums would sound long before they were recorded.

11. What is the meaning of the artwork ?
The photo for the artwork of the album cover I received from NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) in Nevada, U.S.A. If you look at the cover photo from the certain angle there is an image of my interpretation of evil.

12. Will you tour to support the album ? If yes, will you come in France ?
We would love to tour and support the album but it all depends of our label's marketing strategy since there is many other bands on their roster. If we go on tour we would love to play in France.

13. What is the situation for melodic and prog music in Canada, in this moment ?
It is not doing well at this moment. That is probably the reason why many Canadian melodic rock bands are signed either in Japan or Europe. I hope that the situation will change in the near future and that Melodic and Progressive Rock will get more airplay and attention here in Canada.

14. What are your influences ?
My musical influences went from J. S. Bach to Joe Satriani and many others in between.

15. What kind of music do you listen to ?
I listen to huge spectrum of various kinds of music. That is probably the reason why various musical styles could be heard on both of my albums: Classical, Ambiental, Spoken Word, Blues, Rock, Progressive, Neo-Classical, AOR/Melodic Rock...

16. Which 5 CDs would you bring with you on a deserted island ?
"Snow Goose" - Camel
"Hemispheres" - Rush
"Friday Night In San Francisco" - McLaughlin/DiMeola/De Lucia
"Surfing With The Allien" - Joe Satriani
"Let It Go/Water Of Life" - Slav Simanic

but I would definitely try to sneak in few more CD-s.

17. What is it the last CD you bought and are you satisfied with it ?
The last CD I bought was digitally remastered a great Jeff Beck's "Blow By Blow" album. Just to add to my CD collection.

18. Would you like to add anything else for the French fans ?
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody in ASAPROD for taking interest in my music. I would also like to send my regards to those who support me and have taken time to read this interview.
God Bless.