Interview & Review: Igor Lisul

I’ve been taking a break from my blog for a while now since I’m working on other writing projects, but once in a while I come across music that is so good that I have to talk about it. This musician is named Igor Lisul and he’s from Kikinda, Serbia, a small city near the Hungarian and Romanian borders. He’s been playing guitar since a young age and he specialises in art/prog rock guitar instrumentals inspired by guitarists like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. A lot of people listen to music for the lyrics or vocals, but I’m someone who has a big appreciation for the guitars and instrumentals and instrumental rock is a very under appreciated genre of rock music, but the truth is these instrumental songs of the early 60s were important in shaping the classic rock we know and love. So many British baby boomer guitarists call The Shadows’ “Apache” one of those life changing songs and one of the first songs that inspired them to play guitar and one of the first they learnt to play.

I love all instrumental rock music from the early 60s stuff like the Ventures and the Shadows to more psychedelic jams to jazz and classical influenced prog rock to heavier instrumental rock of the 80s. It’s all amazing and I love to see musicians from my generation keep the genre alive. Side note: if you want me to write a blog post about my all time favourite rock instrumentals, leave a comment. I want to write things that my readers will enjoy reading.

Alive is Igor’s latest album, released on 21 October 2022. It’s a short album at just six songs long with all being around 3 minutes, but it’s a great album that showcases his talents as a guitarist. The instrumentals are something that speak to the soul and conjure feelings of nostalgia for a time you may not have been alive in, if you’re a millennial or zoomer. The title track is reminiscent of the 80s and I visualise neon lights and retro-futuristic aesthetics when I hear it. “Strong Spirits – Guitarra Virtuossa” is a bit heavier. “Running Free” has a free-spirited feel. “In Your Arms” is more of a slower instrumental. I also love the closer “Amazing Journey” and it’s a perfect bookend for the album, with its sound reminding me of the opening track/title track. It’s an album you can easily fall in love with if you’re a fan of instrumental hard rock with prog characteristics. It makes great music for studying or relaxing. I find I can relax easier when I listen to instrumental music.

You can stream the album below on Spotify:

It’s not his only release this year. The hardworking musician released Magical Dreams just months earlier in August. He’s been releasing music since 2020 and he composes all the music himself. That’s incredible! He also does a lot of the work on the albums himself and I always have so much respect for creators who do everything themselves – DIY is something I love seeing a lot in music.

Without further ado, here’s the interview!

Angie: Tell me a bit about yourself. How would you describe yourself to a new listener?

Igor: I am 38 years old guitarist from Kikinda, Serbia. My main music genre is art rock guitar instrumental. In addition to that I play guitar virtuoso and soft rock guitar ballads. I am a lefthander with the reversed guitar strings order. I began publishing music for profit in 2020. when I released my debut album “Pages of our Lives”.

Angie: What made you want to start learning guitar at the age of 10?

Igor: At that time I was attending the elementary music school. My sister was in high school listening all kinds of rock music popular at that time. I found that very cool. First I began with a school ruler! 😀 😀  but one afternoon I found a small Russian guitar in our house. This guitar had only 3 strings and I found it suitable to began my guitar journey. I turned it upside down at once and that’s how my guitar story began.

Angie: Which guitarists are your biggest influences?

Igor: Joe Satriani and Mike Oldfield. And a bit Steve Vai.

Angie: What are your favourite classic rock bands?

Igor: Definitely The Beatles! But I have a big respect for Kansas band too, at some point.

Angie: What was composing and recording your latest album Alive like?

Igor: Since Alive is a mixture of new and older guitar instrumentals, it was very fun to compose and re-produce or re-record the songs! And since in the past several years, I’ve been playing guitar a lot daily and my guitar speed playing increased, I was very fond to add some virtuoso playing to instrumentals such as “Alive” or “Strong Spirit – Guitarra Virtuossa”.

Angie: What has the reception for Alive been like?

Igor: Well, since I am almost just at the beginning, and since creativity requires balance I am still promoting Alive and all my other music on popular music platforms such as Spotify, Facebook, or Soundcloud. I am looking forward to increasing the number of listeners, although I don’t plan to stop here with Alive. I will continue to compose more and more music, as long as I have the inspiration.

Angie: Who are your favourite Serbian musicians both old and new?

Igor: I do like to hear some older popular pop-rock songs that remind me of my childhood days. I think my favourite Serbian band is “Garavi Sokak” and favourite solo musicians are Hari Mata Hari (although he was popular in former Yugoslavia) and Bora Dugić on flute.

Angie: I see you have a following in Japan, have you been there or do you have plans to go there at some point?

Igor: Yes, Japan is very special to my heart. My personal religion is Japanese (Shinto, I believe in Amaterasu, The Sun Goddess) and also my soulmate Naomi, the grandmaster piano player lives there. I have also met many good people in Japan via Twitter, who I believe would like to hear me performing live someday. Japan is a very distant land, but I would definitely like to visit Japan someday.

Angie: What are your other hobbies outside of music?

Igor: I have a dog Djole, he is my best friend and I love to spend time with him. He is my “Dog of Luck”. ☺

Angie: What have you been listening to lately?

Igor: I love listening in the evening hours to my Naomi on piano. Her amazing music relaxes me before I go to sleep. I also like to listen my friend Allen Bruce Ray on Native American flute, my friend Nenad a wonderful pianist from Novi Sad, Serbia. Sometimes I listen to Joe Satriani on the guitar or Mike Oldfield’s “Voyager” etc.

Angie: What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician?

Igor: The song I composed for Naomi last year (2021.), with the same title  – “For Naomi”.

Angie: What are your goals for next year?

Igor: To continue promoting music as much as possible. I see that Spotify is a very popular platform for both artists and listeners these days, so I think I will put accent mainly on that. And of course, I plan to continue to compose my music!

I’ll end this blog post with another great instrumental, “Sakura”:

You can find Igor’s music on Bandcamp. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and his website.

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