Check out the song: “Black Hole Device”

Australian guitarist extraordinaire Paul Wardingham has certainly developed quite a number of backers over the last year for his outstanding talents at guitar playing. His talents are never more on display than on his debut instrumental solo record Assimilate Regenerate released last February 2011. This isn’t just any usual instrumental record though, with a sound described as “instrumental cyber metal.” The album is a guitar lover’s dream, combining all sorts of different guitar sounds in creating a really original sound like nothing else you’ll hear in music today. Paul is currently finishing up his second instrumental album that should be out in mid-2012. We spoke to Paul about his guitar playing, Assimilate Regenerate and who some of his favorite guitarists are.

It’s safe to say that you’ve certainly accomplished a lot over the last year since the release of your solo album Assimilate Regenerate. How do you feel now looking back on 2011 since the record was released last February?
Paul: It has been an amazing year actually. Assimilate Regenerate was an album I had been working on for some time, so to finally release it and receive such an overwhelming response from fans all over the world has been incredible.

The album has been described as “instrumental cyber metal.” This isn’t a genre you hear every day. Where did this classification come from?
Paul: The industrial elements and futuristic nature of my music and production would put the album in that genre. I listen to a lot of other cyber metal bands such as Fear Factory, Sybreed, and Mnemic to name a few, so it has certainly influenced my style. It’s hard to put my music in a specific genre, but if you had to, “instrumental cyber metal” would be an accurate one.

Your music combines many different instruments and sounds and is truly innovative. Do you play all the instruments when you record or do you work with other musicians?
Paul: On Assimilate Regenerate, I wrote, recorded and produced everything myself. I played the guitars and keyboards while the drums were programmed. As a producer, I think music technology has reached a point, where the results that can be achieved in this way, allows me to create the music and sounds I envision. In the future, it would be great to collaborate with other musicians and producers.

What did you grow up listening to? Who provides you with the inspiration for this sound you’ve created?
Paul: I’ve always had a very broad taste in music. I grew up listening to jazz and fusion like George Benson, Allan Holdsworth, Tribal Tech and Frank Gambale; instrumental rock guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Greg Howe; and also metal bands like Fear Factory, Megadeth, Strapping Young Lad and Dream Theater. More recently metal bands like Meshuggah and Scar Symmetry have been influences on my music too. After working as a producer on many pop, electronica and some soundtrack, incidental music projects, I became more focused on film and TV scores, and composers like Danny Elfman and Bear McCreary. Science fiction, and in particular the works of Philip K Dick and William Gibson on a conceptual level have provided a lot of inspiration for the direction of my music as well as my perspectives on the world we live in.

Do you have a guitar hero that you really look up to?
Paul: There are so many, but Scott Henderson springs to mind. He’s always been a big hero of mine.

You’re working on a follow-up record right now called Human Affliction due out later this year. What can fans expect from this new album?
Paul: The Human Affliction will be a concept album based on a classic good versus evil story set in a dystopian future. I’ve always wanted to do an album like this because I believe that it elevates the listening experience to beyond just the music. It will allow me to share my inspiration for the music more directly with the audience too. There is a focus on catchy melody like on Assimilate Regenerate and of course, an abundance of technical shred guitar. I have also been working closely with Johnny Cheng from my label Enigmatic Records and we’re very excited about the album artwork and the plans we have for the release of the album.

How would you say the sound of Human Affliction is going to differ from that of Assimilate Regenerate?
Paul: The fact that it’s a concept album, it’s going to be a more complete work from start to finish. It’s a bit darker, more progressive, overall a more epic sounding album and progresses further into the development of my own sound, on a compositional and production level. It’s certainly going to be my best work to date.

Check out the song: “Cyber Warfare”

What is your favorite guitar? Is there one particular model or brand that you really love?
Paul: I’ve always loved Ibanez guitars, and in particular 7 strings. I have an Ibanez RGD2127z which is my current favourite, but I’m also using a Schecter Loomis on the new album like I did on Assimilate Regenerate.

Do you think you may try to incorporate vocals into any of your songs or is this strictly an instrumental type project?
Paul: For now, my solo albums will be instrumental, but I would be open to working with a vocalist if the right project came along.

What’s next for you aside from finishing your new record? Do you have any touring or other musical plans in store in the next few months?
Paul: I have a few potential projects coming up later this year, but aside from that I’ll continue with writing, tuition, mixing and other production work. Live touring is certainly a possibility in the future. Traveling from Australia and performing overseas would require some time and preparation. But you never know, we will see what happens…