SEPTEMBER 11th 2019 
JD MCGIBNEY EXCLUSIVE


Welcome to MetalTitans, we are here with JD MCGIBNEY (http://www.onthewingsofdragons.com/), a guitarist, session musician, and the force behind the band Angels on the Battlefield. Let's take some time to find out what he is all about.There are going to be some people out there that know nothing about you, so let’s give them something . . .

Interview By: Metal Mom

You are a musician, but what made you decide to be one?

Well, like a lot of musicians I fell in love with music when I was a teenager.  It's always a tough time trying to figure out who you are, what you want, what to stand for.  I wasn't aware of this at the time, but looking back, I started struggling with anxiety (something that I still deal with to this day).  Music helped me make sense of this emotionally crazy and confusing time.  As I got older and as I studied music more, it became a stronger and stronger coping mechanism for me, until I came to a point where I decided I wanted to give back to people what other bands and artists gave to me.
 
Did you have anyone as you were growing up that inspired you to go that way?

There have been many people throughout my life that inspired me to pursue music.  My parents were very supportive of my learning guitar.  Looking back now, I am beyond grateful that they let me play guitar as loud as I wanted and as terribly as humanly possibly when I first picked it up.  My grandfather was very encouraging of the fact that I wanted to start performing out and do shows.  My aunt and uncle were extremely pivotal in my moving to Los Angeles in 2015 to pursue my career seriously.  And my best friend, and now manager, has always supported pretty much every crazy idea I've had.  Especially when they involve dragons.

What made you decide to pick up the guitar?

My dad was driving me home from school one afternoon and this song came on the radio: Primus covering "NIB" by Black Sabbath.  From the opening notes of the bass solo, to the final outr� guitar solo, I was drawn in.  The song ended the MOMENT the car stopped in the driveway.  I turned to my dad right then and said "I want to learn guitar."

Was it an acoustic or electric one that you had in your hands first?

The very first guitar I had was a beat up old acoustic guitar that my dad had tried learning when he was 10 years old.  My grandparents kept it in a closet for decades before digging it out for me.  It was beat to shit and barely playable, but I didn't care.  I played it every day until my fingers literally bled.  After two or three months my parents bought me my first electric guitar, and I have not stopped playing since.

What type of guitarist inspired you to create music?

I've had a few guitar icons over the years.  My very first guitar icon was Santana, and I learned how to solo in the phrygian mode because of that.  I moved on to Black Sabbath and Tony Iommi from there, going down the heavier side of classic rock, which lead to discovering Randy Rhoads.  To this day, he is my favorite guitarist.  Eventually I got into the realm heavy metal and expanded into heavy music, as well as getting into classical, but Randy's method for composition and his emotional performances have always stood out to me. 

What was the very first song you played?

The very first song I EVER played was the James Bond theme song.

As a teen did you have friends that got together to try and make up a band?

I started my first band when I was in 11th grade.  It was me, a bassist, and a singer.  We never got passed practicing in my buddy's basement.  The singer from that band is literally my oldest friendship, and I still keep in touch with him to this day.  Saying it like that makes me feel old!

You have your own album out now, called “Over Darkened Skies”, what made you pick that for a name of your album?

As I mentioned earlier, anxiety has been a constant struggle for me.  Mental health in general has always been something that I've been passionate about helping people with.  "Over Darkened Skies" is symbolic of the struggles we all face at any given point in our lives.  The idea is that we must recognize our struggles in order to face them and overcome them.

Where did your inspiration come from to create the album?

The songs on the album have been written and recorded over the course of several years.  I started recording them before I moved to Los Angeles, and finished them up in between session work for other bands, composers, and even some acting gigs.  Each song has a different source of inspiration; there isn't really a common source.  Some were inspired by certain situations, feelings, or even books.  There is a common them between them all which is they are meant to inspire confidence.  Like I said earlier, music has been my source of focus and strength, and so I write to share hat with others.

Your music is metal, and instrumental, is there no one else that helps pull this album all together, or do you do everything for it?

All of the songs were written by me, except one which was written by myself and a friend.  Most of the songs have session players on them because I find working with a group creates a more organic flow.  A song comes to life more because even though I write something, other musicians will perform the parts in ways that I never would have thought to.
 
It says on your page, playing guitar while riding a dragon, what exactly does that mean?

Pretty much just that.  I play guitar, and I have a pet dragon named Elroy.  I ride on his back with a little practice amp while he flies around.

You have worked with Voodoo Kungfu and Nekrogoblikon, did you learn things from performing with them?

I certainly did!  Performing with Nekrogoblikon as John Goblikon was my very first experience touring.  One of the biggest things I learned was the vastness of cultural differences everywhere.  Even here in the United States.  It is one thing to know about how different some place is, but it is completely different to be in a different city every day; or a different country if you're in Europe.  That was driven home even more when I toured with Voodoo Kungfu on their North America tour with Orphaned land.  Nan Lee (the singer of Voodoo Kungfu) is from China, Orphaned Land is from Israel, and the other band on the tour with us, Pain, is from Sweden.  It was such an eye-opening experience to have such a diverse group of people surrounding each other every day.  So many ideas and traditions were shared, and I can't really express how much I loved the experience.  Touring with both bands really made me fall in love with this "In Person" side of the music industry because it brings so many people together with a force of positivity.

Tell us what we can expect to hear from “Over Darkened Skies”?

I suppose you'd probably hear some guitars from time to time.
 
Do you have someone that is a critic when you start to work on songs, someone that can say, well maybe not that way, switch it around, or something like that?

I tend to bounce a lot of ideas off of my manager, Thomas J. Bellezza.  I'll usually write a song and do a rough demo, and then send it to him for review.  He's very good about bringing out my voice and taking an unbiased viewpoint when I send him songs.
 
How does it feel to have this album done now?

It feels great!  Having released this as an independent artist and doing it kind of "unconventionally" in a lot of ways feel alike I've gotten over a pretty big hurdle.  There has been a bunch of feedback on it so far, and It's truly humbling to hear so much positivity because of it.  I'm already planning ahead and looking forward to the next step and the next challenge!
 
Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t know?

I really love Star Trek.

Now that this album is done, are you already working on your next one?  I imagine it is hard to just relax for a bit, especially if you love music, you just want to continue nonstop.

I have two and a half albums written so far, and I have a ten-year plan in place.  Next on the list, though, is moving back to the east coast to Brooklyn.  I'll be combining forces with my buddy and his production company, BBR Productions (https://www.bbrproductions.com/), in order to further help people bring their dreams to reality!
 
Well thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us here at MetalTitans, and we wish you all the success with "Over Darkened Skies"

The pleasure is all mine!  Thank you for having me!

Frankenstein Song - ANGELS ON THE BATTLEFIELD - Modern Prometheus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vROMexYxgZ4

Website: http://www.onthewingsofdragons.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jdmcgibney/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jdmcgibney/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AOTB_band