Interview date

December 2007


Yann G


First of all, can you please introduce yourself ?

Hello, I am Theodore Ziras, born in Athens/Greece. I am professional Guitarist and guitar instructor. Already released 3 instrumental CD's (2001 Trained to play, 2003 Virtual Virtuosity, 2007 Hyperpyrexia and 1 CD with vocals with a band called Euroforce (2005). Also I have released a series of 9 instructional DVD's.

You're not very well known for the French audience. How do you explain this ?

There are several reasons.
1. Lack of promotion from my previous record labels.
2. The style of music I played on my previous records was maybe "out of fashion"
3. Lack of real distribution in France

Let's now talk about your new release "Hyperpyrexia". You spent 2 years preparing it. Are you satisfied of the result?

Yes, I am very happy. I had the chance and honour to play with top guys like the legendary keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex Dream Theater, Y.J Malmsteen, Alice cooper etc) and the top L.A session drummer Brian Tichy (Zakk Wylde, Ozzy, Foreigner, Billy Idol) When you play with guys like that your job is much easier. The whole production and sound are great, the performances are outstanding. I am proud for this release. The majority of the press wrote that this is a world class instrumental production.

How did you get in touch with Derek Sherinian on keyboards and Brian Tichy ?

I wanted to change my style from Neoclassical (my first 2 releases) to something more progressive and modern. My first priority was Derek Sherinian for the keyboards. I asked him to participate and after 2-3 weeks he answered and accepted to play on my CD. He really liked the music I wrote. Then Derek introduced me his friend and great drummer Brian Tichy.

Don't you think that it can be a risk to release a full metal instrumental album in 2007 ?

No ... I don't think so... I am a pro-guitarist. A part of my job is to make good instrumental CD's. The sales so far are very good and I am sure that they will be even better in the future. I am not a businessman but an artist. I like doing that and I will definitely do it again in the future.

How do you proceed when you compose ? And how do you find your songs' titles ?

Inspiration can come anytime. There are no rules for that. Sometimes I listen to a song that I like and that inspires me to write something similar. Other times I am just listening a simple drum groove and that helps me to write a melody or a nice chord progression. Also I have studied composition and orchestration. So there are a lot of "tips", as aresult it's easy for me to compose even on days that the inspiration is not "knocking on my door".

What does the word "Hyperpyrexia" mean for you ?

Hyperpyrexia means high fever situation. For me Hyperyrexia is 2 years of hard work. I played with world class players on this CD so Hyperpyxia is "a dream come true" for me.

All your songs are very catchy with excellent melodies. Do you think that the shredders killed the instrumental style in the 90s by demonstrating only their technique without melody and feeling ?

Thank you for you comment, yes...all the songs on Hyperpyrexia are catchy with melody as the first priority. But also you can listen some crazy stuff there in terms of guitar techniques etc. In my first 2 instrumental releases (Trained to Play + Virtual Virtuosity) technique was coming first and then the melodies and themes. Now I am more mature as a composer, now I am on the other side. I am trying to keep a balance between melody/elegance and virtuosity. I don't think that shredding killed instrumental music. It is all matter of taste.

We can hear a lot of influences on this album : Joe Satriani period "Surfing With The Alien", Malmsteen for the neoclassical style, Petrucci for the progressive influence, even Metallica riffs on "Night Of The Dead". What did all these people bring to your life and personality ? Who are your other influences ?

I am listening to everything. Also I am teaching guitar 8+ hours a day. So during my lessons I am performing anything really, from Santana to Satriani, from Metallica to Dream Theater... so this is a part of my job when I am teaching. So I am influenced from a wide variety of players and groups. I am always open minded, I can be influenced even from a pop song etc...

Please give advise to the readers about technique. Your technique is amazing, sweep-picking on "Rapid Eye Movement" kicks ass, you're able to play at the speed of light without any bug. How ofter do you practice ? Maybe could you advise the readers with a learning method ?

I was practising a lot from my teenage years until start teaching. About 6-8 hours a day. Now I am teaching about 8 hours a day so everyday I am with a guitar in my hand but I still practise my chops and improvisation skills about an hour per day. I am trying to be disciplined and trying to learn and listen new things to get better. There are no rules really. Just hard work and practising, setting specific long and short term goals, good organization of practising and time management and finally listening to many styles of music and jamming with different musicians. You can learn from anything.

Which label did release "Hyperpyrexia" ? Is it difficult to find a label for a guitar-hero playing instrumental metal ? What's about the worldwide distribution ? Any opportunity to find "Hyperpyrexia" in the french music shops ?

It was hard to find a record label. I talked with many record labels. Big labels...smaller labels...too many, Hyperpyrexia was a relatively high budget CD so it was not easy to find a record label to invest money in this work. I released Hyperpyrexia from Sleaszy Rider Records. So far I am happy working with them. The CD his now available in France from a webstore called The owner of Guitareuroshop is a great guy (Franck Ribiere) and his is doing a super cool work. Also another one distributor will be added very soon. The CD just released so the fans must wait for a while.

Which new bands or new artists do you believe in ? Which CDs are you listening these times ?

There are few.
Guthrie Govan-Erotic Cakes
Alex Argento- Ego
Symphony X-Paradise Lost
and many others...

What are your future projects ? Will we have any opportunity to see you live in France for clinics or shows ?

Now I am just before finishing another instrumental CD. I cannot tell you too much things but many big names will play again on this release, Just stay tuned and details will be revealed when the time is right. Now a have a new CD out called "Hyperpyrexia" and i want to concentrate on promoting this CD. About clinics... I am working on that with few companies in order to get endorsements and do some clinics in Europe. Date and venues will be announced.

Thank you very much for the interview. All your readesd are invited to check my website I t is cool site with many stuff for free download like lessons, backing track and many other things for every fan of guitar oriented music.