Interview with Guitarist Jonathan Vanderbilt of Celtic Hills (Italy)

Photo by Nicole Piccoli

By Mick Michaels 

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Jonathan! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

CV: Do you feel Heavy Metal music in general is viewed differently by fans in Europe compared to fans elsewhere, especially in America, and if so why?
Jonathan Vanderbilt:   I believe that each country has a different way of approaching music, the reason being to be found in the mass tastes of that specific country. In Italy almost everyone listens to neomelodic and in Germany rock.

CV: What do you feel makes Heavy Metal music so alluring to the fans? What is it about the music that personally resonates so strongly with you?
JV: Heavy Metal arouses emotions that few other genres are capable of creating. Fans of this type of rock find the power of the sound, the majesty of the songs, a good dose of instrumental technique.

CV: Has Metal splintered into too many sub-genres in your opinion, thus, making it harder for newer bands to actually classify themselves as one style over another?  Is it confusing for fans as well?
JV:  I find it wrong to want to put labels on every product, in my opinion it is right to say metal to imply that it is not pop, but wanting to go into detail at any cost cannot replace listening to a band! To understand what you want to drink you just need to know if it is alcoholic or non-alcoholic: then (for example a wine) you have to taste to know if you like it or not. You can't trust the label.

CV: How would you describe the current state of the music business considering we are now living in a COVID aware, and maybe even feared world? Have things drastically changed long-term for artists and bands given the recent pandemic? What are your thoughts?
JV:  You must know that in the course of human history the powerful have told us a lot of lies, even now with COVID we cannot say that we know in depth what is happening.The music business was already in trouble, and now it is in declared crisis. The strength to react, however, has grown beyond any measure taken so far.

CV: What do you feel makes your band and its particular approach to songwriting work? What keeps the band together and making music?
JV:  First of all for us music is an expression of art and not a trade! So we play to satisfy ourselves and we write looking for a personal evolution, an elevation of the soul...if you can understand what I mean.

CV: On a more global view, how do you see your band’s music and songwriting separating itself from just being another Heavy Metal act?
JV: We try to have our own personality. "Those who follow others never come first" If you listen to our songs you will feel that they are different while maintaining a coherent soul.

CV: Can an artist truly be unique? Some would argue there is no such thing as being unique; that it’s nothing more than a compounding of influences making an artist who or what they are. Would this then say that artists today are destined to be just copies of those who have already come to pass?
JV: Yes, I think that's quite correct as a statement, on the other hand, the guitar neck has 12 notes that you have to mix using repetitions and rhythms. What has really changed over the years is the sounds, I think it's the sounds that make the difference today.

CV: Are there life lessons to learn being in a Heavy Metal band that you feel cannot be taught elsewhere? If so, what are they?
JV: A band is a small team where everyone, in addition to doing their job, has to help others so that everything works well overall. The lesson of life is to help your neighbor!

CV: What do you feel makes someone a “rock star”? Does being a rock star automatically make one iconic or are the two completely different in your opinion?
JV: You can be a rock star in many things. Niki Lauda was the rock star of F1. To become a rock star you need to have a character and personality that sets you apart from everyone else! The rock star is that person who has become aware of his abilities.... To become aware of himself and as the Oracle of the god Apollo in Delphi said: "Know yourself."

CV: What's next for you? What can fans expect to see coming as the world looks to surmount a new normal laced with a load of restrictions?
JV: If you don't make decisions in life, someone else will make them for you! To be successful you don't have to be afraid of making mistakes! lessons are learned from mistakes! The Great Men of History are those who the number of right decisions was greater than the wrong ones!

CV: Thank you again Jonathan for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
JV: Thank you for letting me express my thoughts! I love it when it comes not only about music, but also about the character and heart behind each person.

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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