MELIORIST: Interview with Andrew Apte

Andrew Apte (Meliorist)

Andrew Apte is a guitarist and composer for Australian progressive metal six-piece Meliorist, who back in December released their second EP titled ‘ii.‘ We talked with Andrew about his guitars, his guitar rig for the new EP, favourite pieces of gear, and more. 

How would you describe your initial exposure to music?

Growing up I was always around music. Then when I realised you didn’t have to be a special person to play it I got obsessed!

Were you in the music programs in school while you were growing up?

Yes, in high school although I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have. I later attended university to study but that is on hold at the moment! [laughs]

How did you get into playing guitar?

Just got obsessed with it as soon as I learned what tabs where. I basically haven’t stopped since then.

Did you start to listen to music differently once you discovered guitar?

Definitely, it made me need to know what was going on in music I was listening too. Something that I am always still trying to figure out.

Who were some of your early guitar influences?

JB Brubaker from August Burns Red, I think when I found them that’s what really got me playing all the time.

Andrew Apte (Photo: Snapt by Sarah)

Andrew Apte (Photo: Snapt by Sarah)

Tell me about your guitar technique.

I play primarily using the hybrid picking technique. For example the start of our song “My Reflection” is a hybrid picking lick. I try and pick things quite heavily when doing our rhythm and lead because of the genre. I like to play with my fingers on the clean channel but this doesn’t really work in the studio for our songs unfortunately so I just use the hybrid technique again.

What guitars are in your collection? What is your a guitar that you trust the most?

I have an Ibanez PM2, LTD M-1000, Ibanez RGA 321 and Fender Telecaster CS. I would say I trust the Fender the most but I am too scared to take it out of my room! It’s really a very beautiful guitar, one a kind. It made a few appearances on the EP.

With the advancement of the technology and amp/effect simulation, do you still use pedals?

We all recently purchased Line 6 Helix, and I haven’t used any pedals since. I do have a Fender Princeton Reverb however and I don’t think that could ever be replaced with an amp sim.

In your opinion, what are the three skills that every guitarist must bring to perfection?

Well, I’m no expert firstly. I would say for me.

1) Working knowledge of music theory

2) Ability to listen to instruments other than the guitar

3) Have something inside them that needs to get out onto the guitar.

How did you work on perfecting your rhythm and solo parts?

Practicing lots of hours for lots of years! [laughs]

Meliorist live (Photo: Snapt by Sarah)

Meliorist live (Photo: Snapt by Sarah)

Back to music… You have launched your sophomore EP with Meliorist entitled ii. Lead me through its creative process.

It just starts with anything that catches my ear. I will be playing on my guitar, usually practicing, I might make a mistake or play something random that just sounds like it should be worked out. I think once I have the initial idea then it’s just a process of developing into a full song.

What evolution do you feel ii. represents for you as a composer and guitarist?

I think I knew what I was doing a lot more clearly, and that helped when it came to song writing. For example, knowing I am on an altered dominant chord and where I am resolving after that chord. That helps me to pick scales and arpeggios that outline the chords more clearly. But in general I think everything is just a bit more mature.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as a guitarist when making ii.?

Maybe recording the clean intro section for Hollow haha!

How do you go about channeling inspiration into writing?

I think I am at a point where I always trust that I know what sounds good to me. I try to think like, you know when you like someone elses song or not, so as long as you’re honest with yourself about whether you like what you are writing it will turn out good. Sometimes I will spend 10 hours on something that goes for 30 seconds, but it’s just a process of really ironing everything out. I try not to think about inspiration or anything, I’d rather just start writing and listening.

Meliorist - ii

Back to tech talk, tell me about your guitar rig you used for recording ii.?

LTD-EC1000 for all the distorted guitars. Fender Telecaster CS for all of the clean single note and lead stuff. And Ibanez PM2 for all of the clean chordal / arpeggiated stuff.

What are your five favourite pieces of gear in 2018, and why?

Well this is tricky because it’s still so early, I will say:

  1. Nick Sampson is working on a very cool guitar for studio work where everything is changeable. So for example, you can put a Floyd Rose and then an Evertune in. Then perhaps a 6 or 7 string neck. Wild stuff.

  2. Moog DFAM - this one I must have, please everyone that has got this far in the interview buy copies of our album!! :D

  3. Behringer Model D - very cool attempt to recreate a Minimoog for $300.

  4. Ableton Live 10.

  5. I like the look of the Ibanez AZ series, and Martin Miller who did a solo on our album has his own signature guitar coming out this year based on the AZ series, very cool again.

Now with the album out, what other dragons are you looking forward to slaying?

We are writing new stuff right now!

ii. by Meliorist is available from Bandcamp. Follow Meliorist on Facebook here.

Cover photo: Alexander Nisiriou