With each new piece he writes, Gil feels a story is essential to the writing process. “As a songwriter the challenge is always to visualize an event, emotion, a point in someone’s life, something that can be translated into music.
In the GuitarPlayer Magazine January 2009 Issue, Gil Velazquez was selected as one of the Editors Top 8 Guitarist based upon a submission of hundreds of guitarist nationwide. His style has been compared to a touch of Santana, Satriani, and Jeff Beck, with hints of Zeppelin. His style is also focused more as a “melodic” approach to his guitar phrasing as opposed to a technical, shredding approach.
While performing, Gil also sees the live experience as a part of his method of song writing and composing. Whether engaged in open jams, or solo performances, he is always looking to make his compositions accessible to his audience, while never quite predictable. His credits are such as a featured indie artist on WCRX in Chicago, RadioUgly-New York, and HomeGrown Radio NJ to name a few, in addition his performances span the gamut of reputable clubs and stages in the New Jersey area.
He has shared the stage both as a jam artist and band member with an amazing array of musicians from all styles and experiences such as Poppa John Bug and the Jam Band (former Richie Havens band member), Michael Ghegan, Jack Daley, David Rhee, Rob Dye, Woodfish, Jennifer Jordan, and countless other movers and shakers in the New Jersey music scene.
Gil’s style really has touched upon a variety of genres, but in the end, the foundation of his influences really appear once the tracks are final. While his guitar instrumental writings over the years have been greatly influenced by the likes of Joe Satriani, Jimmy Page and Carlos Santana, he states he is always looking for just a little something to separate his work from his influences just enough. Looking for his “mark” is always a quest every musician strives for. Gil doesn’t believe any “one sound” really needs to be his mark. As he puts it, he would like that to be more of a subconscious process that reveals itself over time, rather than a “forced” intention.
In addition, his instrumental tracks have been incorporated on various websites as online branding. Customized tracks are developed for both TV and Film usage.
After the release of my debut CD in 2008, I still had a good amount of instrumental songs that at the time I didn’t feel were ready to be released. Self-recording, mixing and promotion as a solo instrumentalist was quite a task, but I learned so much. Promoting the first CD at a variety of venues in New Jersey, I began to grow my networking with fellow musicians and professionals who were involved in the music community either on the local or national level. I was also known as the guy with the “Big Bose Stick”. I would use that sound system know as the Bose PSA tower as my backing track setup, while I played the lead guitar parts live.
After a few years, I really wanted to dive back into writing lyrics and tracks that involved vocals. I found a few local musicians that were willing to play with my rough song concepts to see how they evolved in the live setting. Within a few minutes I knew this was were I needed to take my next CD production. Spending years honing the songs as well as my musical skills, I was determined to make the next production an “album” filled with a variety of emotions that were reflective of my own personal life and struggles.
A unique opportunity came up in late 2009. The Gil Velazquez Experiment did a single show at Jamians in RedBank, NJ. With the dedication of Chris Herbst on Bass and Dave Rhee on drums, some of my compositions took a “live” turn. It was a great experience to showcase some of the earlier new stuff at that time. Some of the earlier carnations of tracks as Poly 527, Where do we go from here, and a mix bag called Feet First.
An even bigger turning point was when I was asked to join the Poppa John “Bug” & the Jam Band. Poppa John was part of the rhythm section for Richie Havens during the Fresh Flavor Tour. Poppa’s dedication to his original music, spilled over into my “thinking” as well, and the chemistry was perfect. The Jam Band also gave me the opportunity to showcase some of my original writings at the time. It was a great experience and I enjoy the chance to share the stage with them at shows when the opportunity exists. Here is a small acoustic jam performance to the song “Rebound Girl” by Poppa John Bug.
Currently my next productions will be a series of digital releases consisting of singles or multiple tracks in the form of EPs. They will be a mix of a few instrumental flavored tracks, but the majority will be me singing. My influences do carry over into these tracks whether it’s the flavors of Santana, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck and even Prince-like textures. After a few upgrades to my studio equipment and the never ending guidance of my fellow musical community, my goal is to make the “Next Production” even better in so many ways than the first. Such things as using a tube amp versus amp modeling, a variety of vocal microphones to add some variety to the recordings from one track to the next, learning to be a better critic of my own work and thinking beyond the “guitar player” have been the challenges moving forward.
Some musicians even were hard on me to learn to “listen more”. As an emerging guitarist on the jam scene, it’s easy to self-indulge in our instrument for the sake of the instrument itself. It always should be about the song, the story, and the feel. It is harder than one would think, and requires ego-less thinking. I have taken some of those hard lessons close to heart and I thank those that reminded me of this quite often. Sometimes, it’s an inside joke.
So here I am rewriting, tracking, mixing, and thinking of the bigger picture while focusing on the small sonic details. I look forward sharing with you the news of the release of my “Ongoing Digital EP Productions in 2016”.