Whatever you make of Area 11's potent blend of guitars and electronics, the Bristol synth-rockers have had an inspirational road to success, with a new album, Modern Synthesis, cracking the Top 20 in the UK, not to mention a host of self-booked, sold-out headline tours. It's the stuff dreams are made of.
Guitarist Alex Parvis is the man bringing the six-string muscle with taut riffs and the odd bout of solo fury, and here, he lets us in on his background as a player and a gearhead - just don't bring up his old Paul Gilbert signature model…
1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?
"I got my first guitar in 2003, for my 13th birthday. It was a Gould Stratocaster."
2. The building's burning down - what one guitar do you save?
"Definitely my Ibanez RG3727FZ-BH Prestige."
3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without?
"Right now, it's my Line 6 Helix - if that counts! It does pretty much everything for me, so I certainly couldn't do without it."
4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?
"Yes, I'm very sorry I sold my old Ibanez PGM300 on eBay about eight years ago. I miss it! I'm quite jealous of whoever has it now..."
5. When did you last practise and what did you play?
"We're currently on our UK headline run, The Modsynth Tour, so I was just practising our set. The last song I played is probably Nebula, a track from our last album, Modern Synthesis."
6. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?
"I'd really like to get into hybrid picking; it's something I haven't really touched on much in the past. A few players I know recently have really surprised me with the stuff they can pull off with this technique, so it's definitely something I'll be working on in the near-future."
7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be?
"Paul Gilbert, hands down."
8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?
"Probably an acoustic guitar... I doubt there's a power outlet on the island."
9. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you onstage?
"Once during a soundcheck I managed to pull my entire rack unit off the cab. It fell face first into the floor which was pretty embarrassing. Luckily, the gear still worked fine and the show went really well that evening."
10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?
"If you really want to learn to sweep-pick that's fine, but you won't be getting laid for a while…"