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Van Canto’s Stefan Schmidt Plays (and Sings) His Favorite Riffs

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And now for something a little different in this edition of Loudwire’s Gear Factor, as Van Canto vocalist Stefan Schmidt is our guest. Van Canto are an a cappella metal group who replicate riffs onstage utilizing their voices, but of course, there is some guitar inspiration involved too.

Schmidt reveals to us that he was first inspired to play the guitar by ’80s power metal outfit Europe. He recalls that it was the band’s early ’90s record Prisoners of Paradise that really garnered his attention, though “The Final Countdown” was the big song when he was a child. He also points to the Prisoners of Paradise bonus track “Yesterday’s News” as the track that really inspired him.

From there, he reveals Metallica was an early influence, revealing that “Master of Puppets” was one of the first songs he tried to adapt. He also dishes out a little bit of “Battery.”

One of the more interesting things in this edition of Gear Factor is Schmidt discussing the band’s unique approach to their live performance, explaining how he’s able to replicate the sound that a guitar makes live while adding his own brand of distortion.

He also serves up demonstrations of how his favorite riff in AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” gets translated to the band’s vocal style and rocks out a bit of Amon Amarth’s “Raise Your Horns” as well.

While most Van Canto original songs start with guitar or piano before being subjected to a vocal translation, there are exceptions in how the music is created. One of those was “Dead by the Night,” a track that came to Schmidt as he started singing a riff. Working backwards, he pictured which notes needed to be played on guitar to achieve the perfect sound.

Check out the full Gear Factor episode with Van Canto’s Stefan Schmidt below and grab the band’s newest album, To the Power of Eight, here.

Van Canto’s Stefan Schmidt Plays (and Sings) His Favorite Riffs

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