IMM Web Edition

Charlie Parra del Riego

The Peruvian guitarist chats with Jenny about his music ...

Jenny: What influenced you to pick up a guitar? What kind of guitar was it?

Charlie: Hello Jen. Thanks a lot for the interview. True story is that a school psychologist told my mother that I needed to play a musical instrument to focus on something. I was doing pretty bad at school. This didn't help me at all on my grades, but did something way bigger for me. It was a Stratocaster look a like guitar.

Jenny: Do you play using music theory or do you play by ear? Or both? Have you had any schooling or lessons?

Charlie: Never studied music, had lessons or learned to read sheet music. Everything I have done until now has been by ear, but did have a great experience to learn the basics on music theory applied for guitar. For a while when I was 20, I started giving lessons on a academy here in Lima. I had to prepare myself to be a teacher. I was a guitar instructor mostly oriented to technique, but I wanted to learn more and took all the books and stuff at this academy to read them and learn by myself. Also, asked a lot to the music theory teachers on my breaks and in live shows or festival sound checks, asked other guitar players to play any lick and became some kind of lick collector for a while.

Jenny: How many guitars do you own? Which one is your most precious and why? What strings, pedals, amps, etc do you use? What piece of gear, besides guitar, would they have to pry from your hands?

Charlie: I have 4 guitars: A Gibson Les Paul Standard, a Gibson Flying V and a Kramer Nite V. My favorite is the Nite V because has the specs I asked for and needed for what I'm doing for now. I use Ernie Ball 10-52 strings, Line 6 pedals and Laney Ironheart Amps. I've been asked a lot about why I use this gauge of strings and the explanation is simple: higher strings are not that thick for bends or shredding moves, while the lower strings are thicker for rhythm and heavy riffs.

Jenny: Who are some of your musical influences? Why? What are your favorite techniques from your them?

Charlie: So many, but mostly: SNES videogame music, Slash, Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, James Hetfield, Johnny Ramone, Eddie Van Halen and Michael Angelo Batio. I think Slash and Randy Rhoads got me into the melodic idea of what kind of music I wanted to do. Always tried to keep the melody. Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrell have this bluesy aggressive sound that you just have to love on their pentatonic runs, while James Hetfield and Johnny Ramone are amazing at the rhythm section (I've met several metalheads that couldn't stand playing any Ramones song downstroking for 2 minutes, just as Master of Puppets intro doing it alternate and its not the same aggressive feel). About EVH and MAB, I guess they showed everyone the importance of practicing. I'm not a big fan of ultra technique music or progressive metal bands, but I do know it takes a lot of time and practice to get to that level.

Jenny: Do you play any other instruments besides guitar?

Charlie: Nope, but did have a very strange period in my life where I started making electronic tracks. This helped me a lot to make my own album and music for some indie video games.

Jenny: Have you been in any competitions and/or won any awards or special titles?

Charlie: Mmmm, besides Youtube honors like most subscribed, most viewed and all that stuff, I've been in a lot of music competitions/battle of the bands in Peru since I was a teenager, even in college competitions without being a student haha! On 2011 my Youtube channel was considered the most important peruvian music vlog, which was a big surprise. Recently got to be Music King on King of the Web and even was qualified for Battle Royale, but didn't participated to support 2 other competitors. For now, I'm working a lot on my bands and projects with the support of 2 great sponsors: Kramer Guitars and Laney Amplification.

Jenny: Who do you think is the world's greatest guitarist? Most underrated? If you had the opportunity to share the stage or collaborate with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

Charlie: I have to say that I will always consider Slash as the best. He's got a unique style and his melodies can tear anyone apart, besides the guy looks very cool (LOL) and got me into rock guitar. Most underrated, Ben Lapps. That kid is amazing.

Jenny: How often do you practice and for how long? Is it simply just warm up and move on, or do you warm up and move on to something else?

Charlie: I practice everyday, at least 2 hours but not as a training mode. I like to sit down and play for a while until I have to do anything besides playing haha!

Jenny: As diverse of a guitarist as you have become, are their still techniques other guitarists employ that continue to elude your abilities or can you master anything you have seen or heard within a few minutes after attempting it yourself?

Charlie: I have several problems with lots of techniques being unsuccessful to get those right, so I focus on my strengths to say it like that. I always put those techniques to my practice time and try to get them right. Every guitar player has strengths and weaknesses.

Jenny: What was your first break in terms of your success? What are some of your live and studio credits and have you received any other press? Who in the music industry can vouch for your ability?

Charlie: I don't think I've had a break yet haha, but there have been very cool moments. One of the best was when I played in Colombia with my band Difonia in front of 25000 people. It was a great day and almost piss my pants. Most festivals in Peru, at least for my genre (indie rock music) are completely full with 5000 people. Playing in front of 25000 and to see people in the crowd that actually knew the songs was an amazing feeling.

Jenny: What do you do when your not playing guitar? Any other interests besides music?

Charlie: I I love food, , classic movies, video games, hot chicks and alcohol. Just like anyone else haha!

Jenny: How do you balance being a professional guitarist, and Machinima as partner/ director Kramer Guitars and Laney Amplification? Tell us a little bit about what all you do and some of your roles and responsibilities.

Charlie: Actually I got to balance it pretty well. I feel very lucky to have this hobby I loved as a teenager and now has become my job. All I can say is that my role is to make music that I like to do. I still can't believe it.

Jenny: Share with us the proudest moment in your career? Tell us about your first album Procrastination. What current projects are you working on?

Charlie: I think that the best thing ever was when my physical album pre-sale sold out. People sending me pics with my album in UK, Russia, Japan, Australia and places so far away from my country (Peru); no words. I'm currently working on my new album with my friends The Castillo Bros and with M.A.S.A.C.R.E, one of the most influential and important metal bands of Peru.

Jenny: In order of importance, what would someone interested in playing guitar be practicing or learning? What courses/classes would you recommended for beginners? What advice would you give to players trying to develop their own style and sound?

Charlie: Troy Stetina has great courses for beginners. His courses are very well explained to all people that ignore sheet music. I've met lots of people that had several courses, titles, papers, studies and stuff like that, but played their instruments like crap. I think that passion and determination are the most important things in music, not money, mainstream or learning a million scales. That's my opinion.

Jenny: What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? What would you change if you had the opportunity?

Charlie: Like I said before, I think that working on something that you really love, has no price. I know I'll do this until the day I die. If I had to change something about it, is everything. Business destroyed talent. At least, I pray everyday to keep internet free for all of us. If you want shit, go turn on TV or Radio. Do you wanna rock? Search for it and feel free to do it.

Jenny: Is their anything else you would like to share with us?

Charlie: My main links are
and my music is in
Some cool live shot pics: fbid=10152028282805497& set=a.10151369648995497. 823414.122546285496&type=1 fbid=122566910496&set=a. 122565150496.198874.122546285496&type=3
Shots of people with My CD: set=a.10151884970455497. 876452.122546285496&type=3