In conjunction with Relapse Records, metalsucks.net, and IndieMerchstore, Metal band Red Fang ran a contest on SoundCloud inviting fans to put their own solos on the band’s latest single Blood Like Cream. They removed the band’s solos and made the song available for download via their label’s SoundCloud profile, then asked people to upload to a group made for the contest.
Over 75 people submitted solos. Red Fang said: “The response to the contest was really overwhelming! Thanks to everyone for submitting so many amazing interpretations of these solos! We won’t bore you with cliches about how hard it was to pick a winner. Just check it out and see what you think…”
Here are the Grand Prize winning solos, from Owen Gibbons, known around SoundCloud as tOCK: (The first one begins at “1:40” and the second one starts at “2:44”)
Owen’s confidence carried him through: “When [I saw] the Red Fang guitar solo competition on Facebook, I [said], ‘I just hope my solo is not so bitchin’ that it causes them to disband when they hear it.’ ” He’s kidding, of course: he describes himself as a “huge fan” of the band.
For his own solo, Owen “tried to mimic what they would play (loose, groovy, chaotic and lots of feel) but it sounded too contrived. I ended up using patterns from my own style which are usually in darker, minor keys. The chord progression was a little off-the-wall for a solo break, so what I did on the first one was largely follow the shape of a minor barre chord and play around that shape. The second solo was a variant of the classic blues scale.”
Runners Up Ocean Of Emptiness and Overcaust were also excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Red Fang as well as the potential to win boutique guitar pedals, an LP, and concert tickets.
Eric Zann from the band Ocean of Emptiness, “wanted to do a sleazy, over the top 3 part guitar harmony to start out the first solo, and then just see where things went from there.” His second solo, “oscillates between some harmonic minor and some good old pentatonic minor blues box lines.”
SoundCloud creator Manuel Higuera Pascual, who plays under the name OverCaust, decided on a slide solo: “I was trying to do a very wild solo with good structure, so it was 80% composed. The solo was recorded three times, so you’re hearing three guitars playing at the same time, which was an accident while recording, but I liked it so there it is. The other solo was improvised in the opening and I changed the phaser rate manually with my picking hand to get this wave effect. The chord progression was a bit tricky with those tritones so I used a harmonic scale on the slide solo and arranged the notes on the middle part of the second solo in relation to the backing chords, to create a melody.”
Initially, Red Fang was only going to choose 3 winners. They were so impressed with a number of the solos, however, that they decided to award a couple of honorable mentions as well.
Like a couple of the other contestants, creator Palle Demant was open to serendipity and ended up leaving something that was initially a mistake in his solo: “I ran the guitar through an old Space Echo and then through a POD 2 box and by accident connected it wrong, but it sounded fun/good and kept it like that. Creatively, it was [an] inspiring and fun challenge.”
Wieczny Powrót thinks, “the idea of a solo contest with a “real” song is pretty cool. Usually you have to record a solo to some lame backing track.” His solo was, “100% improvisation. It took me two or three attempts to record it. I used the minor pentatonic, the eolian scale and some chromatic notes.” Like a lot of good guitar players he believes, “in the rule that you can play whatever you want If you land on the notes from the right scale.”
If you’d like to hear some of the other entries, they’re all still available in the group formed for the contest.