James Norbert Ivanyi is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, producer and musician hailing from Sydney, Australia. He performed and toured with a diverse range of musicians and bands for many years before finding his voice and going solo in 2013, and has since self-released three internationally acclaimed instrumental albums “Aphasia“, “The Matter Circumvention” and “The Usurper” – and has recently finished up a brand new EP titled ‘Denalavis’ which was released on June 1st, 2017 to critical acclaim.
He is considered by his fans, peers and industry to be one of the most original, commanding and versatile young guitarists on the scene today. His unique style of technical modern metal fused with the classic sounds of 1960’s and 1970’s progressive rock music have seen his fan base transcend generations and genres.
We got the chance to catch up with James during his busy schedule to have a chat.
What sparked your interest in learning guitar?
I grew up the son of artistic and creative parents, and was exposed to all kinds of music from an early age. My father had been a drummer is his day, so naturally I showed a keen interest in it and began learning the drums. Growing up in apartments it was tricky to play my drums, but my need to make music really started intensifying through high school, and around that time I discovered an electric guitar at my friend’s house that his sister owned, and I would tinker on it whenever I was there. For my birthday my mother got me a Led Zeppelin and AC/DC live DVD and from that moment I was absolutely hooked, and I focused all my energy on learning how to bring similar sounds out of the guitar. It was a really magical time of discovery.
What’s your approach to songwriting? Do you have any tips or tricks to help maintain your inspiration and workflow?
I try to listen to as much music as I can that I enjoy in the moment, whatever it is. Most people know me for my somewhat ‘metal’ orientated sound, by I rarely listen to any metal at all, especially over the last few years. I love the physical intensity and exciting tonalities of heavier styles, but also enjoy melding that with my love of classic progressive rock of the 60’s and 70’s. It’s a sound I’ve been enjoying exploring over the last 5 years or so. I also draw inspiration from all forms of art, especially paintings. I write my records while using the artwork (that becomes the cover art) as inspiration, and try to translate strokes, colours and messages in the form of music that the piece is telling me.
What’s the current live rig? How much does it differ to your studio setup?
The current live rig is my trusty custom Suhr Modern guitar (pictured) and a Fractal AX8 direct to front of house. Where a cab is available, I’ve been using this great little power amp by Seymour Duncan called the PS170 for monitoring. In the studio I run an AXEFX-II for most of my tracking needs. I also use my Friedman BE100 for reamping with a Suhr Reactive load, which sounds great.
Do you have a piece of gear you just can’t live without?
That would be my Suhr Antique Classic Custom-S series guitar. It’s hands down the best guitar I have ever played or owned, and it’s actually the sound you hear on all my records. I have used this guitar on 99% of the records I’ve made, and it really is my favourite instrument.
Right now I’m busy with session work, teaching and working on a full length record, which I’m hoping to have out by the end of 2018 or early 2019. I’ve also got some great tours in the works, with an Australian run for August with Caligula’s Horse which should be great fun!