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Interview: Ilya Seleznyov, Winner of Bayside's "Already Gone" Guitar Solo Contest

Recently, Bayside, Indaba Music and Guitar World gave imaginative guitar players the opportunity to create a solo for "Already Gone," Bayside's latest single.

Guitar players from around the world recorded their unique solos, then uploaded their entries to so that a panel of judges, including the band, could decide on a winner.

Earlier this month, the band announced that guitarist Ilya Seleznyov, 25, of Invercargill, New Zealand, had totally nailed the solo and won the contest.

You can check out his winning solo here (He's "bezabraznik," Russian for "hooligan," he says) and see a transcription of the solo below. Seleznyov received an Epiphone guitar, an iOS rig, features on Bayside’s website and, a one-year subscription to Guitar World and a Bayside gift bag including a signed copy of Killing Time, the band's new album.

"The backing track was awesome," Seleznyov told Guitar World. "It felt like it was a good test of objectivity for my development as a guitarist, to see if i could make something for an audience instead of myself."

Seleznyov said he ran into a few challenges along the way.

"I needed to find a way of maintaining continuity while also achieving a climax," he said. "I also tried to integrate familiarity plus some new ideas without sounding too mainstream, but mainstream enough to achieve a wider spectrum of enjoyment. On a technical level, there were a couple of guitar phrases I couldn't play that well until I tackled them in the context of the solo. Having a musical context helped a lot with the development of fresh ideas."

Seleznyov stressed that he didn't want to let the guitar fall back.

"This was a punky upbeat backing track that just reached a vocal climax," he said. "My main idea was to keep it going and use syncopation and dynamics to color it a bit more while fusing it with some memorable licks."

Seleznyov typically plays an Aria MAC series guitar through a Marshall MG15 and a Zoom 505 II effects processor. "For the Bayside solo, I plugged my gat directly into my mate's interface, and we went from there using patches in Amplitube to achieve the tone.

Seleznyov played classical guitar for 10 years and electric for five. His influences include Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Shawn Lane, Larry Carlton, Paco De Lucia and Greg Howe, among countless others. His favorite bands are John Butler Trio, Dream Theater, the Rolling Stones and Van Halen. "When I was young I really enjoyed classical guitarists like Francisco Tarrega, Andres Segovia and Julian Bream," he said.

When asked to describe his philosophy toward guitar playing, Seleznyov kept it simple and to the point: "To achieve the most interesting and weird sound combination available given the resources in chord structure -- also to try and find ways of playing things that sound nothing like the way they are played."

So does Jack O'Shea, Bayside's lead guitarist, feel threatened?

"Not at all," O'Shea said. "I know there are tons of guys out there who can play circles around me all day, but I'm pretty comfortable in my position in Bayside. It was amazing to hear the solo section of 'Already Gone' so many different ways that I would have never thought of. I want to sincerely thank everyone who participated. Keep up the great work!"

Here's a transcription of Seleznyov's winning solo:

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.