About Gil Velazquez
My goal when I write , record and produce is the challenge of musically taking an event, an emotion, or a point in someone’s life, something that can be translated into sounds, textures, and lyrics. Regardless if it is a profound emotional moment or just something light, the goal is to take the listener into a world within the song.
— Photography by MD Zund
In the GuitarPlayer Magazine January 2009 Issue, my track "Medius Grind" was selected as one of the Editors Top 8 Guitarist based upon a submission of hundreds of guitarist nationwide. The selected track from my first EP "My Introduction" was selected for its middle-eastern melodic lines backdropped by a pseudo-electronic/acoustic drum performance. As a guitarist, my style is to focus more on a “melodic” approach to my phrasing as opposed to a technical, shredding approach.
While performing, I also utilize the live experience as a part of my method of songwriting and composing. Whether engaged in open jams, or solo performances, my goal is to strive to make the compositions accessible to the audience, while never entirely predictable. Many of my songs have been broadcasted as a featured indie artist on Rock on Radio with Danny Coleman and Calvin Schwartz, Frank Glaz from www.wprb.com at radio 103.3 FM in NJ and PA, WCRX in Chicago, RadioUgly-New York, and HomeGrown Radio NJ. Also, my performances span the gamut of famous clubs and stages in the New Jersey area.
Over the years I have shared the stage both as a jam artist and band member with a fantastic array of musicians from all styles. I've performed with artists 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 amazing artists in the New Jersey music scene whether at shows and/or open mic and jams.
Style-wise I have and continue to touch upon a variety of genres, but in the end, the foundation of my influences indeed appear once the tracks are final. While my guitar instrumental writings over the years continue to be influenced by the likes of Joe Satriani, Jimmy Page, and Carlos Santana, I'm always looking for just a little something to separate my work from those influences just enough to make it my own.
Looking for your “mark” as an artist is always a quest every musician strives to achieve. Personally, I don't believe any “one sound” really needs to be the guide. I would like that to be more of a subconscious process that reveals itself over time, rather than a “forced” intention.
Several of my instrumental tracks have been utilized for various websites as online branding. Customized tracks are written and recorded for both TV and Film usage.
After "My Introduction"
After the release of my debut CD titled "My Introduction" in 2008, I still had a fair 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 during the production of "My Introduction." While 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. The performance would consist of all of the tracks from "My Introduction" along with several other songs that were at the time entirely written with drums and rhythm section previously recorded and programmed to more obscure pieces that were more experimental and jam-like.
After a few years, I 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. Quickly I realized this was where I needed to take my next series of productions. From 2009 on I began refining some of the compositions as well as my writing and recording skills. I was determined to make the future productions or “EP releases” filled with a variety of emotions that were reflective of my own life and struggles.
The Gil Velazquez Experiment
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. It was a great experience to showcase some of the earlier new material at that time. Some of the material we performed were preliminary approaches to tracks such as Poly 527, Where do we go from here, and a mixed bag called Feet First. During this show, it started with me showcasing the tracks of "My Introduction" along with the Bose setup, followed by 2 sets of the live trio with Chris and Dave. Below is one of a few videos shot during that show.
Poppa John Bug (Richie Havens Band Member)
Poppa John Bug and the Jam Band was an even more significant turning point for me as a guitarist when I was asked to join the Poppa John “Bug” & the Jam Band in 2010. Originally, 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 enjoyed the chance to share the stage with them. Here is a small acoustic jam performance to the song “Rebound Girl” by Poppa John Bug that Poppa John and I performed at the Downtown in Redbank, NJ.
The Future looks bright and I don't want to wear shades 🙂
Currently, my ongoing productions will be a series of digital releases consisting of singles or multiple tracks in the form of EPs. My focus is to make each production better in so many ways than the previous. They will be a mix of a few instrumental flavored tracks, but the majority will be vocal-centric. My influences will most certainly carry over into these releases whether it’s the flavors of Santana, Led Zeppelin, Satriani, Jeff Beck and even Prince. As art is in any form, my influences vary even further. I am also very moved by artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Chris Daughtry, Maroon 5, Chris Cornell, and Collective Soul. I guess my list never ends.