S1 E10: KIKO LOUREIRO – GUITAR HERO
While preparing to interview genuine guitar hero Kiko Loureiro, we found ourselves somewhat intimidated. This is a guy we pictured shredding and screaming with Megadeth in front of an 80,000-strong crowd in Wembley Stadium or something like that. After researching him more and more, we realized that only scratched the surface. A few more accomplishments:
-Grew up in Brazil, far from the epicenter of metal, and started a metal band called Angra.
-Became an elite guitarist while also becoming proficient at many other instruments.
-Composed and performed multiple solo albums.
-Joined the world-renowned band Megadeth, a band noted for its stratospheric expectations as well as its music.
-Won a Grammy with Megadeth.
-Teaches guitar master classes all over the world.
-Speaks multiple languages.
-Is able to achieve extremely complex and stressful creative work while also being the father to three kids (including twins!).
To say we were excited about this would be an understatement. And to say we felt a bit outclassed would be a massive understatement. As it turns out, Kiko was humble, down to earth, insightful, impressive, intelligent, funny, and highly, highly creative. He was incredibly generous with his time and his knowledge. (By the way, a huge THANK YOU to our friend Roger Lima at White Noise Lab for connecting us with Kiko.)
Kiko discussed an array of topics that will surely inspire anyone thinking about guitar, music, writing, or generally creating anything. From the very beginning of picking up a guitar for the first time to everything that is going through his mind during a huge performance on the stage to developing concepts for his own albums, he shares many functional thoughts that you can act on in your own creative work.
A quick note to articulate one example:
Kiko referenced the English poet William Blake when talking about his solo album “Sounds of Innocence.” The juxtaposition of innocence and experience illuminated in Blake’s collection of poetry published in 1789 influenced Kiko’s concept within the album. We found ourselves mesmerized (and humbled) by Kiko’s thoughtfulness and imagination while talking about trying to recapture that feeling of newness and energy through his music. In the interview, Kiko actually talks about some ways he was able to bring that feeling of innocence back into his process.
Once you spend time with Kiko, it’s very easy to understand how you’d want to work with him. He clearly understands both the creative process and how to work well within a team of creative people, along with being an elite craftsman. Here are Three Big How’s from a guy we could have talked to for another 10 hours:
THREE BIG HOW’S
PRACTICE YOUR SKILL
Practicing is different than playing. Kiko expressed the need for purposeful practicing…researching, learning, and becoming technically proficient. “Playing” absolutely has its place, but unlocking your real creativity will only be possible if you have that technical foundation first.
LET IT FLOW
Let go of any self-criticism. You’re going to hate what you sound like sometimes…and often. You have to get rid of that mindset and stop judging yourself. Kiko said that even at his level, it’s great to come up with two good ideas out of a hundred. That won’t happen unless you let yourself explore.
To develop your own style and move away from the mode of imitating others, you have to build your knowledge of other styles and forms of inspiration. Researching diverse musical genres and listening to artists of all kinds will expand your creative brain. You’ll start making connections that will manifest in your own music. These combinations are the driving force behind new and different sounds.
BONUS HOW: UNDERSTAND THE BUSINESS OF YOUR ART
Kiko kept it simple here: A + B = C. (Art + Business = Career) If you really want to make a career out of your passion, you may have to get uncomfortable and learn the business side of things. That’s something we’ve heard from other creators during our investigations. Seems obvious, but you’ll have to put in the effort.
Talking with Kiko was an awesome experience. Having a chance to learn from someone with his credentials is a rare opportunity, so take it all in and let us know what you think.