Ben Randall is
only 17 but one of the UK's most promising young rock guitarists, winning that title
at the international 'Guitar Idol' competition held at London ExCel in June
Since that time
he's continued to add to his repertoire (and MySpace), recorded a session for
the forthcoming Chasing The Monsoon album, and picked up an endorsement with
legendary USA guitar maker Schecter - the first of its kind in the UK.
interview, Ben has joined established melodic power metallers Power Quest
What are you
currently up to?
Recently I have
been recording new music, with the view of completing an album in the future. My
newest song is entitled 'Beyond the Flames of Dawn', which can be heard on my
I am really
pleased with how it turned out, and it is definitely the most technical song I
have written so far! My new Schecter Hellraiser C7 FR really helped to give it
that heavy sound!
played a session for the forthcoming Chasing The Monsoon project.
I have also just
signed an endorsement deal with Schecter Guitars which I am really pleased
about. I hope to be doing some clinics/demonstrations soon!
Also I'm endorsing
G-Lab products, they're getting some good reviews in the guitar press at the
What was it like
making the Guitar Idol final? How did the day go for you and what were the
It was fantastic!
I remember practicing really hard when I found out I had made it to the finals -
up to 6 hours a day! Going to the rehearsals at the Institute of Contemporary
Music was a great experience.
I really enjoyed
talking guitar with the other finalists in the waiting room - everyone was so
friendly! At the finals, I can remember walking to the main stage, and being
amazed by the sheer scale of it!
I was the second
to last person to perform, so I was quite nervous waiting for my turn. I can
remember vividly the moment when I went back on stage to collect the 'Most
Promising Young Guitarist' award and £1000 from Rockschool - that was definitely
a big highlight!
Since the Guitar
Idol final have you had any follow-up? E.g. bands approaching you as a possible
I haven't had any
band follow-ups yet, but hopefully with the release of the Guitar Idol 2008 CD
that could change! I am currently looking to form/join a band - it's about time
I got back on stage again!
You have recently
hooked-up with US guitar maker Schecter. How did this come about and what will
it mean for you in terms of getting your profile/music more known?
I am really happy
about the Schecter endorsement! It came about from contacting the UK distributor
of Schecter - Arbiter Group. They liked what they heard, and offered me the
I can honestly say
that I don't think I would be at the stage I am today with my guitar playing if
I hadn't discovered Schecter Guitars, and consequently may never have had the
success in the Guitar Idol competition!
I came across
Schecter Guitars a couple of years ago when I was looking for a guitar that had
a high specification, looked cool, and wasn't too expensive. I found the
Schecter Hellraiser C1 FR on EBay, and it seemed to be just what I was looking
When I got the
guitar, I was amazed at the playability, tone and build quality. It just felt so
natural to play - as if it was made for me! It also had the capability of having
incredibly low string height adjustment, which is something I have come to
realise is very important for my style, and hard to achieve with other guitars.
From trying other
more expensive guitars, I have found that they just don't come close to the
playability of Schecter's models, and that is why I am so proud to be associated
with the company.
In terms of
raising my profile, I think it will be very helpful! I am looking forward to
doing some clinics/demonstrations, and that will be a good chance to raise my
profile, whilst spreading the word about these fantastic guitars!
How do you go
about promoting your music? Do sites like MySpace, Facebook etc bring you in new
fans and potentially sales? Or is it a case of having lots of 'friends' many of
whom never bother with the music?
The internet has
very much helped me to promote my music, and progress my career so far. MySpace
gives me the ability to promote myself and my music, and people can easily
contact me with questions/feedback - I'm not sure what I would do without it!
experience, I have found that almost all of the people who contact me through
MySpace are passionate about the guitar, and are genuinely interested in my
music which is fantastic!
Who are your
musical influences and what inspired you to take up the guitar?
influences were bands like Linkin Park and The Rasmus! I soon started to get
into heavier music after hearing the Killswitch Engage album 'The End of
Heartache'. It seemed pretty extreme to me at the time, but I grew to like it!
I was also heavily
influenced by the band Trivium initially. I really liked their melodic style,
combined with heavy riffs and solos. They were the main band which inspired me
to pick up the guitar, and strive to improve my technique.
At the moment, my
main influences are melodic/progressive rock guitarists like John Norum, Marco
Sfogli and John Petrucci.
Ideally what would
you like to have achieved musically in twelve months time...
I would like to be
studying music at a music college, nearing the completion of an album, and
touring with a band! Fingers crossed!
How do you view
the current music scene? Have you seen an upswing in interest over the past
couple of years in rock music and live gig?
I know the record
companies are generally suffering because of illegal downloads, but I think rock
and metal is more popular than ever these days - shred guitar is very much
coming back with a vengeance!
I'm not sure that
we'll ever see a return to the heights of the 'golden period' in the late 80s
when melodic, technical guitar playing was in its prime, but there has
definitely been a significant upswing in its popularity.
experience, live gigs are extremely popular and there seems to be a lot more
bands doing group tours, such as the Unholy Alliance tour with up to 4 bands on
the bill! This seems to be good value for money, but not great if you want to
see a full set from your favourite band!
What do you like
doing with your spare time outside of music?
Watching videos of
guitar players, reading about guitar and talking about guitar! Well, apart from
anything to do with guitar, I enjoy graphic design and web design.
Message for your
Thanks to everyone
who showed their support by voting for my Guitar Idol entry, and thanks to
anyone who has shown an interest in my guitar playing - I really appreciate your
Interview © 2008 Jason Ritchie.
All rights reserved.
25 Yard Screamer/Ben
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