“People put too much stock in vibrato. It’s like putting explicit value into one feature on a person’s face”: Angel Vivaldi is exploring the relationship between the human psyche and the guitar via mind-blowing virtuosity

Angel Vivaldi
(Image credit: Cosa Nostra PR)

“These days, I’m much more influenced by events in my life than other artists,” Angel Vivaldi says. “If something makes me feel a certain way, I’ll let that seep into my writing.”

On latest EP, Away with Words: Part 2, Vivaldi is true to his word. The EP continues the New Jersey guitarist’s leanings toward the conceptual side of music – but that doesn’t mean the EP’s five tracks are loaded with bouts of guitar extravagance.

“I often focus on the relationship between the human psyche and my guitar,” Vivaldi says. “Each of the five songs on this EP has a unique color. And once I had them in place, I proceeded to my studio in those colors. It’s something I also did when I recorded [2017 album] Synapse. Having a concept in mind helps express my artistic expression as an instrumental songwriter.

Away with Words: Part 2 is the second part of a yin-and-yang concept that explores taking risks to meet your full potential despite what others expect of you. It’s a crime to shortchange yourself to appease anyone. But it’s easy to do when you rely on a precedent to put food on your table.”

Vivaldi is expressive with his opinions on life – especially as they pertain to his music. Moreover, as an artist who conveys his intentions without the help of words, each lick, chord change and moment of empty space is critical to getting his message across.

“Vibrato is high on the list and is the easiest way to tell who is behind the instrument,” he says. 

“I use that often when trying to speak to the listener. But having said that, I feel people put too much stock in vibrato. It’s like putting explicit value into one feature on a person’s face. There’s more to a face than just a nose, you know?”

When asked which of his latest cuts represents him best today, Vivaldi eases back before answering with trademark vigor, “Having delved into various genres over the years, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one song. But I’d say Six is the truest song from a compositional, arrangement and melodic sense. It’s the one that best shows my ‘signature sound,’ as they say.”

Vivaldi’s outlook as he moves forward is positive. Despite the world’s ever-shrinking attention span and continued pressure to “assimilate or die,” the veteran guitarist isn’t buckling. 

“I’m not bothered by any of that,” he says. “Trends signal what not to do for me. I’ve always stood my ground and firmly stuck to my roots. I have to play from a place of authenticity, or I won’t play at all. But it’s important to know what people relate to at any moment. Timing and execution are everything.”

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.