Guitarist Greg Marra Interview

Guitarist Greg Marra Interview

Scott - Hi Greg, thank you for agreeing to do an interview w/ my website Guitarz ...

Greg - Thank you Scott.
Scott - Give our readers a short but descriptive label for your style of music.

Greg - I'm not a big fan of the word "labels" to describe music but here goes. My first record Collective Disorder is in the instrumental shred guitar genre, my second record Marra is a vocal based record that could be called heavy melodic rock and the music in my newest band, Plenty Heavy, could best be described as punk pop while still retaining the more progressive style of playing.
Scott - What is the name of your New Album and why the title?

Greg - My new band is called Plenty Heavy and yet to be titled, forthcoming record has two singles: Another Bad Day and Face First. The band name will hopefully be self-explanatory when people hear the music.
Scott - What is the genesis for the NEW Album?

Greg - I've wanted to create a power trio in the pop punk genre for many years. The timing has finally worked out and everyone in the band had a little time off so we went for it.
Scott - What differentiates this album from your other recordings?

Greg - My other records have some elements of the punk pop genre but Plenty Heavy is much more filtered and to the point. Kinda like a right hook to the face.
Scott - How do you come up with your songs? Is it one song writer or more of a collaborated effort with other musicians?

Greg - I write all of the music and lyrics and then send the songs to Bjorn Englen and Mike Hansen so they can put their creative spin and stylistic playing on the tunes in the recording sessions.
Scott - So Greg, tell me a little bit of what you’ve learned about human nature during making this new production.

Greg - Well, you won't find better guys than Bjorn and Mike. They are very hard working players and to say they gave it 100% in the sessions is a huge understatement.
Scott - What are your personal highlights on the new album? Why?

Greg - The record should be completed in Spring 2017 and so far the singles we have released, as well as the songs that are tracked, are among some of my most natural sounding tunes. I really want to stop overthinking my productions and just let the music do what it does without over analyzing.
Scott - Where do you live, play live, and  record?

Greg - I have lived in Southern California for about 20 years now. My studio is here too. In 2016, we toured all throughout California as well as the East Coast. I would like to hit some new markets when the record is finished and have already discussed plans for a tour of the Pacific Northwest in 2017.

Scott - Are there a lot of places to play your style of music in and around your area? If so, could you name some venues?

Greg - There is now that the band is vocal-based and in a more popular genre. The instrumental shred guitar game is a hard, uphill struggle. I'll leave that to Satriani and Vai!
Scott - How often when you start an idea for song, does it actually get finished?
Greg - When I block out everything else, I can usually complete a song rather quickly these days. It goes hand in hand with me not overthinking things as much. If I can't make it happen in the first few takes I've gotta put it down and come back to it later.

Scott - I was wondering if you ever hear music in your dreams and turn them into songs?

Greg - That has happened but my conscience mind will usually produce melodies and parts as I'm working on tunes. I try not to think too hard about where the music comes from. I'm just happy that it does!
Scott - Are you a schooled guitar player or a self-taught guitar player?

Greg - I have taken theory classes in every city I've lived and love the math behind music harmony. I studied with Greg Howe when I lived in the Philadelphia area. These days anything you want to learn is online and that's a great resource. In regards to Jazz Harmony, I recently purchased some lessons from Tom Quayle. Tom is a monster jazzer and a super nice guy as well.
Scott - Did You develop your style by concept or by messing around on the neck playing what sounded cool to you?

Greg - I guess my style has developed over the years with studio work, live shows, influences, and practice. I digest all styles of music and so maybe that's what helps my playing evolve.
Scott - So, what type of guitars do you play and why?
Greg - I'm an Ibanez endorsed artist. I have collected and played Ibanez for many years, since I'm 18 years old, so for me it's like home. I'm currently in love with my Ibanez Talman Prestige guitar. I'm also endorsed by Fishman pickups, Friedman Amps and Wampler pedals.

Scott - What type of amps do you use? Do you use different amps for the studio vs live shows... If so, why?

Greg - Like I said, I'm a Friedman artist and I think Dave Friedman is a genius amp builder. I use the BE100 and the Pink Taco. I use the PT20 for most all gigs and the BE100 for studio. It's kind of backwards to use a smaller amp for live but it works for me to crank the 20 watt in a live situation.

Scott - Do you have any endorsement with instrument and gear companies?

Greg - Ibanez Guitars, Fishman Pickups, Friedman Amplifiers, Wampler Pedals.

Scott - What were your favorite recording artists and or bands a teenager?

Greg - In my teens, I was all about Steve Vai and the instrumental shredders although I loved anything that had great vocals and strong melodies. It wasn't all heavy music and shred. I was and still am a huge Journey fan.
Scott - Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

Greg - Man that's a tough one because I'm influenced by so much. Everything really.
Scott - How has your guitar playing evolved over the years?

Greg - Hopefully, I'm better at playing in tune and on time these days!

Scott - What are you listening to these days?

Greg - Podcasts! Haha! Seriously though, I like the sound of silence when I'm not beating up my eardrums with music.
Scott - I also don't want to forget this... Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart?

Greg - I have a small video production company and have produced many videos for smaller music companies as well as some really big names. I love working on video editing as well as shooting videos. Maybe someday I'll be able to transition into video production full time.
Scott - Greg, I would like to thank you for your time and candor with our loyal readers and keep on fighting the good fight to bring us some awesome music.

Greg - Thank you Scott! It's my pleasure. Peace

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