Austrian solo guitarist Klaus Passegger’s instrumental debut album ‘Reconnected’ is coming out later this year. The first single from the record, ‘Then Came Brightness’, was released in July. The track opens with a melancholic solo that transforms in intensity until it reaches a heavy and abstract peak.
Passegger’s playing style is technical and heartfelt at the same time. He admirably walks the listener through emotions of many different kinds using no words but the language of his instrument.
When did you realize that you wanted music to be more than just a hobby?
Oh, that happened when I started playing electric guitar! I wanted to be able to do these squeezy and incredible sounds with it like my idols. I spent hours and hours learning the techniques to get the best tone and I started to write my own licks and riffs.
How old were you when you first started playing the guitar?
I was 14 when I started playing classical guitar at my local music school. It was good practice to learn and understand the theoretical background, but at 14 I wasn’t really interested in playing etudes. I rather wanted to be able to play along to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and Van Halen songs. I bought my first electric guitar at 16 and started to take lessons from my guitar teacher Martin Ludwig sometimes even three times a week, spending all my pocket money. At this time I knew this was it: I practiced hard, and the result was that I was able to imitate these really-really cool sounds!
When did you start writing your own songs?
I wrote my first songs when I was 18. I had a very simple software, and I recorded the guitar with a microphone from a very cheap amp to my parent’s hi-fi system and to a simple audio cassette. I added some techno and house beats, and it sounded awesome with the electric guitar.
Have you ever played in a band?
I have played in two bands, but I didn’t want to spend much time practising songs with others. I preferred practising just by myself to improve my playing and develop my own style. Practicing and playing in a band was too time consuming for me, that’s why I had the idea to do a solo album at some point.
Tell us about your upcoming debut album ‘Reconnected’. How would you describe its sound? What phase of production is it currently in?
‘Reconnected’ will contain 10 instrumental tracks, each of which tells its own story, only expressed through music. ‘Then Came Brightness’ starts very slowly in Pink Floyd-style, making the listener feel a bit of relief when the solo guitar begins. The transition from darkness and heaviness into “brightness” occurs with the exploding guitar solo at 1:49. ‘Mystic Trend’ is a song packed with action, like a James Bond or Jason Bourne soundtrack. ‘The Heavy March Through Darkland’ tells a story about an exhausting trip through a dark fantasy land, marching through dreary valleys and climbing cold and spooky mountains. ‘Grandson Of Scary’ is a tribute to guitarist George Lynch and my unofficial third part to his ‘Mr. Scary’ and ‘Son Of Scary’, with very fast and heavy beats. ‘High Hopes’ is a positive song, more like a celebration of the good things in life. ‘Whodunnit’ is about a murder case, the inexplicable pain for the relatives, and its slow and complicated clear up. ‘Cruising Around’ is just a song that’s great to listen to while driving, especially at night. ‘Funkademic’ is a funky metal song with perhaps some similarities to Nuno Bettencourt’s playing. I’m currently working on the title song ‘Reconnected’ and another one. The title ‘Reconnected’ refers to the re-establishment of a bond of communication or emotion, in a technical and in a spiritual way. After mixing and mastering the last songs, the album will be released in Autumn this year. The exact release date will depend on the formal and bureaucratic procedures.
How long did it take to write and record all of the new tracks?
I started to compose and record the first song 10 months ago, so it has taken almost one month for every song. I could have been finished earlier or later, but my gut feeling tells me that this is the right pace to do things.
Do you have any favourite tracks from ‘Reconnected’?
At the moment my favourite song is ‘Cruising Around’, because I have it on a CD in my car and I enjoy listening to it while driving!
Where did you take inspiration from while writing the songs for the album?
My inspirations came from everyday life, from certain feelings and experiences we have as human beings, but also from TV series like CSI for ‘Whodunnit’.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I have hundreds of influences that come from many different genres like blues, rock, metal and house. There are a lot of very old influences like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses, but as a guitar player my biggest influences were and still are Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Lynch and Nuno Bettencourt. Influences are not a question of how old or new they are, it is more like when you love a certain song, you start to soak it up.
Give us an insight into your songwriting process. Where does the first idea tend to come from and how do you develop it into a track?
Every song starts with a certain idea in my songwriting. It can be a main riff or a small lick, and then I start to build a song around it, like doing a puzzle. I don’t just sit down and finish a song from the beginning to the end. Sometimes an idea comes during playing, and I record it with my phone, for example. I also had some great ideas that I didn’t record and they got out of my head. I thought of the main riff for ‘Cruising Around’ during my photo shoots with photographer Daniel Ouimet. It’s quicker and easier with some tracks than others: I recorded ‘High Hopes’ in one week, but others took months because I kept added new things.
Have you ever collaborated with a vocalist?
Sure, I did two collabs with the Canadian singer Swilly. I played two guest solos for him. Now that we have the internet and Dropbox, this is quite easy and fun. You can get a song ready without ever meeting in person. I think my focus lies on doing guest solos for other artists.
60s Today is all about innovation in music. Do you believe that music can still be innovative, or has everything been done before?
There is definitely always innovation in music, though I personally think that music nowadays is very short-lived. I hear all these pop songs that are on the charts, but most of the time I don’t even have a face to the artist. And events like Woodstock and Live Aid don’t really happen anymore.
Are you planning to tour with your new album?
Nothing is planned yet. Let’s see what the future brings.
Where will people be able to listen to and purchase ‘Reconnected’?
The album will be available for digital streaming and download on all the popular sites like Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, Deezer, iHeart and so on, and also on physical CD. Right now I am focusing on getting it played on radio and TV stations, and I will also try to get into the soundtrack business.
For more information, see Klaus Passegger’s website and Facebook page: