Chatting with Ballard

In going through the process of assembling Darkstereo’s spotify playlists, we came upon a wonderful prog rock instrumental project, Ballard. Paolo Ballardini is the mastermind and guitarist behind the project, and he works with three other talent musicians in the group. He has collaborated with the likes of Derek Sherinian (ex DREAM THEATER) and Colin Edwin (PORCUPINE TREE) to name a few.

We found the music to be gentle and inspiring, dreamy and technical. There are touches of new metal forms, jazz, and extensively wonderful searing solos.

Hi folks! Thanks to Darkstereo for the interview!

My name is Paolo Ballardini and I’m an Italian session guitarist. I come from Liguria and grew up in a very little village on the sea, and in the 90’s there was a great community of musicians in my area. Many artists have day jobs, but with strong passion for music 3-4 times a week you could find little concerts and jam sessions, and during the year several workshops held by some really great guitarists. So in that musical context, and with a sister who played a bit, I started to play guitar at around 12 years old, and never stopped.

My first dream was absolutely to make a living on guitar, so I studied to prepare myself to do session work and little by little the dreams came true.

The project “Ballard” is a creative need, after many years of studio sessions, gigs, orchestra works etc, I felt a deep need to write my own music and tell some stories with my guitar.

What kind of music were you exposed to in Liguria, and what styles of music first attracted you to playing guitar? Has your taste in music changed over time? What do you enjoy listening to these days?

When I was a teen in my region, Liguria, there was a lot of interest in live music and I was surrounded by several styles; from rock-blues bands to funk-fusion ensembles and jazz-latin trios and quartets. I feel lucky to have grown up in such musical surroundings.

Playing guitar I was attracted also by heavy music and shred guitarists, so I started to study electric guitar in the Lizard Academy, focusing on the music of my heroes like Jimi Hendrix, Steve Ray Vaughan, Van Halen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson and many more.

My music taste changed over time, I fell in love withr classical music and recently I discovered very interesting and inspiring young artists like Plini, David Maxim Micic, Nick Johnston, Intervals, Animals As Leaders, Sithu Aye etc.

What new music are you working on for the rest of 2022? What themes and styles can we expect from your new recordings?

I’m back on the scene with a brand new release “SYZYGY” (Featuring Brett Garsed). This new release features diverse influences and styles, a groovy track that features a collaboration with Brett Garsed, the legendary Australian guitar virtuoso who has worked with artists as diverse as  Planet X, John Farman and TJ Helmerich, only to mention a few. Falling somewhere between the vast soundscapes of progressive music and the massive weight of rock-metal, “SYZYGY” I hope is going to lift up your spirit with a stunning and immersive listening experience. The music is dedicated to an astronomical event and also has a philosophical reading (Syzygy is a term used by Carl Jung to indicate the union of opposites).

Ballard on Bandcamp:

Ballard Official Website:

Ballard on Spotify: