1. How did you get to know each other, and how did you come up with the idea of working together?
ATMA: If I remember correctly, Jani contacted me on Facebook about the possibility of working on some of his (new) recordings. I had not yet met him but after listening to the things he sent me I thought it would be a cool collaboration (at this point I try to not play music that I don’t enjoy).
We spent a lot of time chatting, getting to know each other. We found we had many things in common and basically had a good time in conversation (his English is much better than he thinks… lol
JANI: Well, back in 2010 I sent a demo of five songs to Mike Varney (Shrapnel Records) who replied and suggested to record the drums with Atma Anur. So I contacted Atma and sent him the songs, and from that point we started comunicating and systematically working on the songs and the musical ideas that came to us.
2. From which CDs did you know Atma before and which is your favorite one?
JANI: The first CD I heard on which Atma is drumming was Cacophony’s Speed Metal Symphony, and shortly after that Jason Becker’s Perpetual Burn. Both of these are reference CDs for me till today.
It is very hard to pick one, because Atma’s legacy is so wide after playing with so many artists. There are more than 140 CDs (Cacophony, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen …… to name a few) and all of them are outstanding, but for the sake of giving an answer I will pick the Cacophony and Jason Becker CDs because both of them are close to my musical taste and heart.
3. Atma, it seems that you like Hungarian musicians because you are working with two great Hungarian guitarists at the same time, with the same name. Is this a coincidence or something more?
ATMA: The fact that they have the same name is actually quite funny… to me
I like working with good musicians, it’s really as simple as that. I don’t actually care much where someone is from or whatever may or may not be going on with them… other than what the music sounds like.
With that said, I will also say that I have found many great musicians (especially guitar players) in the Central and Eastern European area since leaving the States… and that’s quite cool I think. Jani and Janos are both talented cool people… so what’s not to like?
4. How do you remember your first meeting with Jani, and what were your first impressions when you heard his music?
ATMA: We first met in person at the Marty Friedman show in Budapest back in 2011, lots of good fun. Jani showed me quite a lot of Budapest and we had a chance to hang with Marty as well. I made a few other new friends there on that trip as well.
As for his music, I thought he sounded great, had a cool feel and an exciting vibe. I like playing good music, I love Progressive Rock and Fusion, and I saw an opportunity to play my style and have a good time doing it… Jani also thought that my style would fit his writing… so it was a good match.
JANI: LOL ……. there is always a smile on my face when I remember the moment I met Atma. Besides the awesome time we spent together at Marty Friedman’s gig in Budapest, and having the opportunity to hang with one of my favourite guitar players, Atma and I also started mixing our first recording, Canon Rock, and I could tell that Atma is an ENERGY BOMB (literally). He is so disciplined that he shocked me (in a positive way). In those moments I realized that I was dealing with one of the best of the best. He is the guy who used to go to sleep the last, no matter what time it was when we went to sleep…and he woke up first (a funny story I remember is that we went home from Marty’s gig very late, I went to sleep but Atma was still doing things, then I woke up in the morning to Atma was mixing his drum tracks ……. hahaha). In this short period of time we also became close friends, and this relationship is still the same till today.
5. Which are Jani’s most impressive skills? Is there anyone of your previous musical partners who is playing in a similar way to him?
ATMA: The best thing about Jani is his personality, he is simply a great person. He is quite serious about music and about life in general… I have a lot of respect for those things.
Jani shares a particular quality with most of the exceptional musicians that I have played with, that is Joy. Expressing the joy that is at the core of music is a special but simple element that I find in the best of the best…
I also find Jani to be quite open minded, besides the fact that he is a talented musician.
6. You are very busy and I’m sure you get invitations all the time to take part in various musical endeavors. How do you find time to do such projects and how do you decide to take part in such sessions?
ATMA: As I said before I am always into playing good music, my decisions are based on the music first and the relationship next. I am, and have been a working professional for many years, there is always time for good music. If I like the sound and the vibe of the music I will most likely want to play…
7. How do you write the songs, how can we imagine the process?
JANI: We started with the songs which were included on my demo but I also shared with Atma all of my musical ideas, and from that point we shared our thoughts and vision. Actually Atma changed almost everything rhythmically….. lol. He’s thoughts and ideas are so brilliant and inspiring.(as we used to say jokingly: These Berklee guys think musically different ……lol)
So, we dont have a specific way of working, we simply just share ideas, thoughts and so on but, I need to mention here that Atma is taking part in the composition section too. On all of the songs he is a co-writer.
8. How would you sum up the essence of the music?
ATMA: From the drumming side of things I can say that these songs have the groove and the creativity that anyone that likes my style will recognize and enjoy…
JANI: I’m sure that those who like guitar music and especially the ’shred’ style will love it. I feel that sometimes it’s a bit “progressive” influenced, sometimes neo-classical but we also have slow, melancholic lines and parts.
9. How did Piero Trevisan come into the picture as a bass player?
ATMA: I met Piero when I first met Steve Saluto (Italian guitarist/composer). I worked with Piero on at least 3 recording sessions and also some live shows.
Jani and I were working with a few bass players on the recordings and I also suggested that Jani check out Piero for some possible gigs… So far everything sounds and feels great. Piero has a talent for finding the most groovy simple parts that fit the vibe very well.
10. What we need to know about the upcoming EP? Will there be a sequel, any concerts?
JANI: The EP will contain 5 songs and it looks like it will be released by a Hungarian label. Sequel? Definitely. Yes, we want to take those songs to the stage, and continue recording.
ATMA: I hope to record a full CD’s worth of songs and do live shows of this music…
11. What other projects are you working on?
ATMA: Right now I am working on a bunch of things with some European and South American musicians, I am also trying to finish my first solo CD and am writing for my second one… there is a lot to be done still to get these finished!
I am also putting finishing touches on my Theoretical book on rhythmic understanding… I try to stay busy being creative… I want to leave as much of what God has given me to do as possible after I have had my time in this life.
JANI: Right now I’m not working in other projects. I’m doing some studio work, for example I recorded guitars on two songs for Alina Alens (Romanian pop-rock artist).
12. Which are the best three albums of all times?
JANI: Speed Metal Symphony by Cacophony
A Dramatic Turn of Events by Dream Theater
1987 by Whitesnake
ATMA: Impressions by John Coltrane
Inner mounting Flame by the Mahavishnu Orchestra
Are You Experienced by Jimi Hendrix
13. What is the meaning of life?
ATMA: Beauty, Love, Loss… Peace, Anger, Music… Passion and Forgiveness.
To understand time and the basic human condition that we ALL share.
To make something useful of what is presented to you, and to express gratitude and joyfulness in every situation.
Life is about relationship… to one another, and to God.
JANI: Atma’s answer is so wide ….. so all I can say is that I identify myself with his answer.