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  • Tracy Heck

Yiannis Papadopoulos on touring with Scott Stapp and new music

Award-winning guitarist/composer Yiannis Papadopoulos is gearing up for a break after spending the last few months out on the road with Scott Stapp promoting his new album.

The tour has been the most ambitious and extensive one of Stapp's career and they will be heading back out on the road next month and will continue to tour next year.

This week, Rock Life got a chance to speak with Papadopoulos as he wrapped up their North American dates.

Q: So this is the last week of this leg of your tour with Scott Stapp. How do you feel it's been going so far?

Yiannis Papadopoulos: It's been going great actually. We've been on the road for four months more-or-less promoting Scott's new album, The Space Between the Shadows. It came out July 19 and we've been very excited because the crowds seem to like the music. You can see the joy when they hear the new songs. They know the lyrics and they feel very passionate about it and they have been expressing it on social media and at the live shows.

Yeah, the songs have been doing well on the radio, the two singles "Purpose of Pain" and the latest one "Name." The album in the first week charted at #10 on the Billboard, which is quite an accomplishment.

Q: When you came through Detroit on this tour the crowd was definitely geared up for both the new and the older stuff. There was also a heavy dose of positivity during the set. Would you agree with that?

YP: Yeah, definitely. I mean the band has been the same since we were formed and this is the fourth year I believe for us together. We've been together touring for all of this time and we are having a lot of fun on all of the different stages. I think that's what brings us success because at the end of the day it's a job like anything else and it's always more productive and a better time when you enjoy being around the people that you work with. With this camp we definitely have this; we are friends above all and so the smiles that you see on stage are still there when we are off the stage. People can tell that we like each other. It's something that comes naturally. We don't have to force it and it transfers over to the crowd.

Q: And after this you have a short break and then you will be touring overseas?

YP: Yeah, we are going to be touring quite a lot to promote this album so we will have a short break for around 20 days and then we are hitting another leg for the tour in South America. We are going to Brazil and Mexico and we have around three weeks before we finish for the year. We don't have any other plans for now, but then we start touring again in the new year.

Q: And you've already been working on some music. How is that coming along?

YP: Yeah, definitely. I've been writing songs throughout the tour with Scott and even on previous tours preparing songs for the current album and we have a very good chemistry between us. Things are going very well and we have many more songs that didn't make it onto the album and may go onto the next one. The new stuff is great: it's rocking, it's fresh and current. It's modern with tons of riffs inside and great melodies and lyrics that will connect to the people. So yeah, it's been going great.

Aside from that, I have a side project, which is a trio with two fellow Greek guys, the drummer from Nile, George Kollias and a great bass player called Michael Evdemon. Our project is called Royal Time Machine and we are in a pre-production phase with our album. It's going to be a prog-fusion with rock and metal and some new technical stuff inside. It also features some great melodies. So that takes up most of my time when I'm out on the road touring with Scott. We're hoping the album will be out sometime in 2020. And then right after that my personal solo album is going to fall. I've been working on it for years and have just been waiting for the right time to release it.

Q: What do you want people to know about your solo work?

YP: So I'm a guitar player who likes dark stuff obviously so it's going to be metal guitar work. People that more-or-less know my playing know that I like players like the early John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Slash and John Mclaughlin, so I like a lot of different styles of music and then shows up in my music alongside my own personal touch. We are going to release ten of the songs that I have together now and I"m pretty excited about it. Actually, a couple of the songs are out already. People can find them on Youtube. One is called "One With the Waves" and the other is called "Castle Black," which was a entry for the Guitar Idol competition, in which I was one of the live finalists.

Q: You have a very strong social media presence. Do you feel that has been important for your career so far?

YP: Yeah, I mean nowadays social media, like it or not, is important. Having a big following means that you are doing something right. I can't say I'm a huge fan in the sense that I prefer to have a real person to talk with, rather than sitting behind a computer and typing, but I have to admit that it opens many doors to conversations and tours and other things that wouldn't be possible for me without it. I try to stay active as much as I can and promote my music and the tour.

Q: I had seen that you and Scott had met through email, but how did that initially come about?

YP: That's a funny story actually. At some point I was listening to Creed and I was really making a attempt to go outside of Greece and play internationally and while listening to Creed, I was like, I'm going to send a message. So I sent a message to the Creed Facebook page and I got a response the next day from Scott! I told him I was a fan and I sent him everything that I thought was worth mentioning and I told him I wanted to come and play for him if he was interested. He wrote me the next day and said I like what I see and I'm hitting the road. I mean, man, what are the chances, you know? So yeah, sometimes life is funny and the impossible is brought to the surface.

Q: And through the touring, you've gotten the chance to get out with Scott and his wife and perform charity work and visit Ecuador on a ambassador mission. What does that mean to you to be able to do that?

YP: That was a life-changing experience. Scott has partnered with ChildFund International for quite a few years now. So we decided to take a trip and visit one of the communities that they are helping out and working with the children in need. I mean it's one thing when somebody describes a situation, but it's another thing to live it and see it with your own eyes. Just seeing children starving and not having basic things and necessities; no clothes, no food, no medicine. I was blessed to be able to experience that and to help in anyway I could. It helped me to recalculate and rethink what I think is basic for me because sometimes we forget what's happening around us and we tend to want even more, but we forget how blessed we really are. We need to learn to give and help as much as we can. After that trip we came back even more passionate about providing even more help.

Q: Finally, now that you've got a break like this one, what's your favorite way to pass the time away from music?

YP: My favorite thing apart from playing guitar is my family. Nothing matters more than my wife and my child and I can't wait to go home and see them again because I miss them a lot. I'm a full-time musician obviously and when I'm touring I'm always teaching or composing , but when I'm home all of my focus and my energy goes to my wife and my child.

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