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CHRIS DUARTE GROUP: "Lucky 13 "
The latest album of Chris Duarte Lucky 13 was released on 13 October. Duarte’s recordings have always been rooted firmly in the blues with a rock and roll edge. Lucky 13 continues in the tradition of contemporary blues rock with bursts of fusion, pop, and heavy psychedelia throughout. So here’s all about Lucky 13.
How were the reactions on your new album?
“As of today (the day of the interview in Oct. - Ed) the album is one week from release, but I’ve been playing some of the songs out live on the road for a month and other songs we’ve been playing for months. The fans seem to dig the new stuff with some songs getting better responses than others, but that’s to be expected, and the few that have gotten a sneak peak of the entire album have been commenting on the adventurous diversity of songs.”
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish?
“This project was once again an economic affaire when it came to time constraints, as were the last 7 cds that preceded this latest. We had to record this album in two different sessions; two weeks in June and ten days in July and last but not least four days in August for the mix. So roughly about a month.”
What kind of sound – production wise – did you have in mind prior to recording?
“I’m always looking for a way to change up the sonic qualities of every album if it can be done. Unfortunately with so little time, it’s not always that easy, plus it depends on a lot of other factors when trying to achieve those sonic properties: studio gear, guitars and amps, microphones, engineer, etc. You just have to do the best you can and I am afraid the recording with some blues songs I want a real vintage type of sound on the guitar with using a lot of room mic sounds and on the pop sounding songs I want some drier tones. With the Hendrix-like stuff you gotta have a Marshall and so on. But with a little time to do these projects it’s hard to get exactly what you hear in your head and you just have to go with what feels good.”
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
“The producer’s job is to always bring out the best in the artist they are working with at the time. Mike Varney is a musical encyclopaedia personified. He really is, so what he does is helps construct the melodic content and vibe of the guitar parts. When I bring lyrics and a melody line in for a song he will help shape and mold those, while also cross-referencing in that encyclopaedic mind of his hooks and phrases from songs past to either compare or borrow from so as to better enhance the song. Varney has really been a huge influence on every album we have done since our coming together eight years ago.”
Are you pleased with the final outcome?
“I am a perfectionist and so I am never completely satisfied with the final product. I always right tone? If only I had more time, but then again that would be just a whole different can of worms I would be opening up if I was put in that situation. To be totally honest, every project is ruled by time constraints and so when it comes down to the end, musical and sonic compromises are made and you just have to live with it. Welcome to the music biz.”
Please inform us about your favourite songs on the album.
“The songs are my children and I love them all equally. But of course some evoke more feelings than others. I do like my musical suite that I made for this album – meus via vita – I’ve been a huge fan of Bob Ezrin since his days with Alice Cooper and the dramatic effects he uses to add drama to songs. Man Up is a fun song. You Know You’re Wrong, oh I just like before, compromises had to be made. Still a fun romp though.”
Is there an overall theme, mood or sound that you are trying to capture while writing the songs?
“How I wish I could one day do a concept album. So, no there is not an overall theme or message or visual image I am trying to project. Each song just had to get its own style and audience for which to connect to.”
What are the lyrics about in general?
“The typical genres: love, matters of the heart, good and bad, personal journeys, muscle cars, betrayals and internal transformations. Just the usual novice subjects for song writing.”
How would you describe your new album to any potential new fan?
“Come to the Guitar Buffet, many choices to peruse. From meat and potato staples to ample side dishes and with a few sweet selections from our desert section. I only ask them to give them a try.”
Who are your influences and heroes?
“Coltrane, McLaughin, Hendrix, Beck (Jeff, of course), the three Kings (BB, Albert and Freddie), Stevie, Metheny, Beethoven and the list goes on and on.”
If you have anything to add, please so do.
Interview by Martien Koolen
Photos from CDG Facebook page
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