Q&A with Balkan virtuoso guitarist Gele Vaso - sound oriented toward to dynamic and fierce rockin blues

"In Rock n' Roll culture can demonstrate not only their experiences in love, but also social problems, policies, ecology, uncivilized driving on the roads ... Blues is the basis of everything, musical forms and the topics covered in the texts."

Gele Vaso: On The Rocky Blues Road

Balkan virtuoso Rockin Blues guitarist Gele Vaso was born in Skopje, FYROM. Balkan area can come up with guitar heroes of their own, and this hard rock guitarist's name is Gele Van Vaso. He is a guitar player and recording artist, playing in the style/genre of instrumental rock guitar music. During his career, he did a lot of session studio work, gigs and concerts.

"The music philosophy of my songs is the songs need to be simple with not a lot of big texts and ordinary love theme. It does happen sometimes for me to write lyrics about the social themes and the uncivilized driving on the roads." (Photo: Skopje virtuoso Rockin Blues guitarist Gele Vaso)

His debut album project called ‘The Biker On The Rocky Road’ (2009), and features eight rockin' instrumentals. 

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the Rock n’ Roll culture and what does the blues mean to you?

In Rock n' Roll culture can demonstrate not only their experiences in love, but also social problems, policies, ecology, uncivilized driving on the roads ... Blues is the basis of everything, musical forms and the topics covered in the texts. I’m not fond of the blues simply cause of that, the blues are not wise, not very complex, pretty simple, but I still like them.

How do you describe Gele Vaso sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?

Gele Vaso sound oriented toward rock, which means that the sound is dynamic and fierce, it is known that with words it’s hard to describe the sound, that the ear has to judge. The songs are made to sound good when played live. The music philosophy of my songs is the songs need to be simple with not a lot of big texts and ordinary love theme. It does happen sometimes for me to write lyrics about the social themes and the uncivilized driving on the roads.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Once I kept a diary of all the gigs that I worked, date, place, people...I had a moment when people did not want to pay me, but the same people sang and played the rest of the guests all night meaning the loved the performance, some sometimes were hiding simply not willing to pay me justifying that they had to go somewhere, and with some had multiple fights over the phone for payment...But there were so much more beautiful moments that give you the strength to continue proceeding and wanting to do harder and better because of those moments.

"The human ignorance humors me that they want to present it as a genius, fortunately the number of people that do not understand the Blues Rock is rather small. There are also quality bands, that work hard and when they get a chance for a gig they do a very good job."

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The most I miss the sounds of 60's and 70's. The time when they set the basis of today's blues rock. There were times when we did well and we thought it will be like that constantly, and periods when we asked for those good times. Times are changing, we all know that, the security from it is not completely here anymore, and you have to put a lot of effort to receive a small amount of what you used to get before…And each time there are some moments, some people, who give you strength and you will say that this is worth doing and fought for.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Hard to say what good or bad music, but not to touch the bottom of quality, but we need to find a variety of good and high-quality vocalists, guitarists, quality songs, texts ....So let it just good music has to come to the surface.

Make an account of the case of Blues Rock in Skopje. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

The eighties were a dynamic years for the Skopje scene, when the 80s came many bands followed the world stage so it was a bunch of bands that played from the commercial to the avant-garde types of rock. We had Rock Fest which has helped many bands to come out of anonymity, Television and radio made a lot of shows about new bands. The press also the supported the young musicians.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues Rock from United States and UK to Skopje?

This year an encyclopedia of our rock scene is going to be published, where it will be easy to see how many bands got out of this foreign influence. Many bands have worked for years, they were filming, they were guests in the whole region, but because of many reasons they do not play anymore. Thanks to the Internet today we can hear and see a lot of these old bands...

"The impact is huge, whether you write about the political situations, social status of ordinary people and the artists involve themselves into these movements. The nation follows its heroes and their influence is big."

What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the local music circuits?

The human ignorance humors me that they want to present it as a genius, fortunately the number of people that do not understand the Blues Rock is rather small. There are also quality bands, that work hard and when they get a chance for a gig they do a very good job.

Are there any similarities between the blues and the genres of Skopje and Balkan folk music and traditional forms?

I find similarities in the texts, which speak of human pain, torment and love.

What is the impact of Blues and Rock n’ Roll music and culture to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

The impact is huge, whether you write about the political situations, social status of ordinary people and the artists involve themselves into these movements. The nation follows its heroes and their influence is big.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

It was April 6, 74, California Jam, performed Eagles, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, ELP and many others. Created the history of the day, changing the terms, standards...after that nothing was the same.

"The most I miss the sounds of 60's and 70's. The time when they set the basis of today's blues rock. There were times when we did well and we thought it will be like that constantly, and periods when we asked for those good times." 

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