1. Hey Guys, thanks for taking your time to answer some questions for the Readers of German alternative Music Magazine whiskey-soda.de. So the most important thing for the start: Whiskey Soda or some Spanish Brandy?
JULIO: I wouldn’t go for brandy, but for a Pedro Ximénez instead, or any of the sweet Sherry wines from southern Spain.
ÁLVARO: Fresh gazpacho!
ARTURO: Sorry, not too much into neither of them! Give me some tequila instead 😀
2. Why don’t we start giving you the opportunity to introduce yourself as a band? You´re quite new to the scene, especially outside of your homecountry Spain.
JULIO: Well, we are a progressive metal band hailing from Seville, in Andalusia. The band was started by Juan Pablo (guitarist), Barranco (guitarist) and Luisma (drummer), in the end of 2010’s summer. The last two eventually left the band, and since then we’ve been trying to stablish a solid line-up that was completed on November 2012 with Álvaro (guitarist) and Alejandro (vocalist). Also we managed to write, record and release ‚No way but forwards‘, our first album, and did about twelve gigs. Now we’re trying to reach every corner of the world with the album and planning both a tour in Spain and a second album.
3. Who are you guys, and can you tell us something about the meaning of your bands name?
ARTURO: We’re six guys who used to play in different bands until we discovered, one way or another, that we had the chance to create something special with this band and chose to give it a try. We have no previous remarkable career, and our lives outside music are not too relevant, though for the record I can say we comprise a couple of web developers, a pizza chef, a biologist…
Carving Colours is a name we liked because it’s an impossible concept (a colour itself can’t be carved). The impossible is great fuel for imagination; besides, it sounds funny and catchy due to the alliteration of letter C and it also depicts our intent to craft something diverse and eclectic („in many colours“).
4. Tell us something about your musical education, maybe you have an anecodte from your childhood days that has to do with it?
ÁLVARO: I haven’t studied music theory in any academy (but I would like to have done it), I’ve studied it on my own by some books, but I still have a lot to learn. At university, I took a subject about History of Music in which I learnt a lot about how occidental music evolved over time, that’s great. I don’t remember any important anecdote.
JULIO: Well, I haven’t got any formal musical education, apart from the horrible Music subject I had at elementary school. We got to learn to read sheet music, some rythmic expression, musical history and appreciation and to play the recorder (a small kind of flute). Seriously, no one could ever get out of that class and say „hey, I want to learn to play an instrument!“. Many years later, Alberto, a friend of mine, was trying to form a rock band. I told him I liked the bass guitar and that it would be nice to learn to play, and he encouraged me to buy my first bass and amp. He and another friend, Fre, gave me the basic lessons. Apart from that, I’m mostly self-taught. Occasionally, other band members teach me some musical theory, concepts and techinques that are necessary to play our songs. I must admit, I still have lots and lots to learn!
ARTURO: I was in a music school for five years. I learnt a lot, but I didn’t get to make use of it until I joined my first band. Until then, I knew a thing or two about making songs but I didn’t know how to make them work for an ensemble. That’s something you can only learn when you play the real thing.
5. What kind of music do you stand for and what do you think is your unique feature musically?
ARTURO: We stand for music made from the heart. Being technical is only useful when you have a soul to play with; otherwise, music becomes just a mathematical filigree – beautiful, but not inspiring. We’re not too technical ourselves: some of our material is a bit more complex, but it’s not what we focus on. We try to be passionate, that’s the feature I’d highlight.
6. Your recently published your debut „No Way But Forwards“ independently. I know, music stands for its own and can’t be described easily, but will you take the challenge to describe it? What do you consider important to know about it/is there something you are especially proud of? I think I read it is an concept album?
JULIO: Yes, it’s a concept album that explores the validity of violence as a way to change our society when it becomes oppressive and unfair. It talks about sacrifices, cycles, consequences and the value of our actions, no matter how small they would be. Musically, is a progressive metal album that combines melodic and harsh elements, such as clean and growled vocals, blastbeats and delicate eerie sections in songs that span from 6 to 15 minutes each. If I had to choose one song from the album, it would be ‚No Way But Forwards‘. It’s a fifteen minutes piece that is divided in 4 sections, and it revisits musical themes of all the other songs of the album as a recollection, prior to the end of the story. I’d say it has all the elements of the sound of the band, so it’s the best example of how we sound like. Finally, we are very very proud of the artwork and design Ideophony did for us. It really sells the album by itself. The cover art is beautiful and the booklet is very original and supports the concept of the album.
7. You describe your style of music as „Progressive Metal“. What does the label ‚Progressive‘ mean to you?
ÁLVARO: I’m not a big fan of putting so many labels on bands. For me, „progressive“ means a way to compose without limiting the songs to a typical structure or armonic progression. But I really don’t care so much about this while I compose, music just flows. I just try not to sound generic.
8. What Band/Album would you choose to convince a newbie to progressive music about how exciting it can be to exceed the conventions and limitations of mainstream/popular music or genres in General ? As you are part of the underground yourself, you certainly know some yet undiscovered treasures when it comes to Metal Bands. Maybe you’ve got a insider tipp, maybe a band not well known or known, but underrated, bands befriended?
ÁLVARO: I really don’t know, it depends very much on what music he or she’s used to listen! I wouldn’t recommend a Jethro Tull album to a person that uses to listen only to Metallica as I wouldn’t recommend a Dream Theater one to another one who only listen to vintage rock. But I think I’d go for Remedy Lane of Pain of Salvation, it has a bit of all and it’s suitable for almost all ears I think.
JULIO: I’d recommend the albums that got me into the modern progressive music. Those would be Opeth’s ‚Deliverance‘ and ‚Damnation‘, Porcupine Tree’s ‚In Absentia‘ and Dream Theater’s ‚Train of Thought‘. Also, Obsidian Kingdom’s masterpiece ‚Mantiis‘ surpasses conventions, limitations and genre in every possible way. As for undiscovered treasures, the Spanish and Sevillian scenes have lots of them. Monkeypriest’s ‚The Psalm‘ was my one-way ticket to the underground scene and I cherish that album a lot.
9. What Bands influenced your Band musically and why especially this bands?
ARTURO: We try to learn a bit from every band we like regardless of its genre, so this could be a veeery long list! If I have to narrow it down to a few names, Opeth and Cynic are early but persistent influences – we share their taste for progressive extreme metal, but we combine that with sweeter motifs such as those from Porcupine Tree or Haken. Leprous is a nice middle point between both sides, we find them amazing. As for me, some particular favourites of mine are Isis and Riverside.
10. Obviously you guys love making music and dedicated quite some time and sweat in your album. Besides being passionate, innovative musicians, do you guys have any other „Secret Talents“ ? What are you not talented in at all? 😉
ARTURO: You’re too kind! We’re actually untalented for many, many things. For instance, we suck at interviews!
ÁLVARO: I think football is my nemesis.
JULIO: I’m the best out there at falling asleep in the car after a gig or a rehearsal. Seriously, I’m the worst copilot ever. Apart from that, I pretty much suck at sports. But I’m really good at drinking beer, so I think it compensates for (or justifies) that.
ARTURO: This might be the right place to mention that Álex (singer) writes short stories from time to time. I’m into it as well; in fact I hope to finish this year my first novel, The Copper Heart – a steampunk adventure story.
11. Imagine you were given the opportunity to participate a musical project with Geddy Lee from Rush or John Myung from Dream Theater. Only problem: You would have to choose one of them! Who would you choose and why?
ÁLVARO: Wow! What a difficult question! I think I’d choose Myung just because I started listening to Dream Theater before than Rush, but I’m not sure at all. It depends on the purpose of the project.
ARTURO: I’d go with Geddy, I’d love to learn some of his multitasking. Besides, Mr. Myung might find me a bit too talkative for his personal taste. By the way, speaking about bass players, can I suggest Les Claypool too? 😀
12. Imagine sitting in your favourite bar in Seville and John Petrucci enters and sits at the table next to you. What will you do, i.e. what would you like to do and what will you REALLY do? 😉
JULIO: We’d surely love to sit with him and talk for hours and if he wanted to, take him to other bars and even to the rehearsal room and play for him. Of course, we’d give him a copy of our album, a t-shirt, and stickers! I don’t think we would act any different than I’ve just described, unless of course, we saw he was with his family, or if he showed reticence to spend some time with us.
13. Rock music is full of four letter words. Which is your favourite word or sentence to insult someone in a classy and sophisticated way? If you can’t think of something, you are allowed to teach our readers a way to insult someone in Spanish. We believe that most interviews lack educational values, so go ahead!
JULIO: Sincerely, I can only recall bad words for insulting in English, being “motherfucker” a personal favorite.For Spanish insults, “mamahostias” is a good one, not the worst sounding, but quite powerful and despective.
ÁLVARO: You can say „mamerto“, I couldn’t think of a more classy word to insult someone. If you are really sophisticated and upper-class, you can also say “fistro” or „torpedo“, but be careful, it could be really offensive!
ARTURO: „Abrazafarolas“ (lamppost hugger) is one of my favourites. An abrazafarolas is such a drunkard that he’s often seen tottering on the streets, so he needs to get hold of something, hence „lamppost hugger“. There’s another one that I like, much less classy, purely disgusting just because. It’s „lamerretretes“ (toilet licker).
14. There is a lot to be heard of the bad economy in Spain. I think it is hard as a musician to earn some bread and butter in any country, but with that special situation in your country, how do you manage making a livelihood and be a musician? Maybe you want to tell something about the topic „Being a musician in Spain today“ in general?
JULIO: Well, “being a musician in Spain today” basically means having to work a real job to pay for that hobby you have of playing music and making albums and doing gigs. I think it’s pretty much the same at some levels everywhere, but the fun (?) starts when having a job is not easy at all here in Spain. In my case I’m a freelance web developer, and although I don’t make much it pays the bills, puts hot meals on the table and allows me to pay some extras (but not all of them at once). I could say I’m lucky, but it’s horrible to label as ‚good luck‘ something that should be ‚basic‘.
15. I believe composing music with an artistic ambition has to be some kind of fascinating, unpredictable voyage, just as life itself. Which moments on that voyage where the most meaningful to you guys?
ÁLVARO: Sometimes, a cool musical idea suddenly arises in your mind. It’s great when you begin to write it and even more ideas flow… after a few hours you realize that you have a proto-song that even sounds well, and that’s amazing! When a couple of days later you realize that another member of the band has been adding new arrangements it’s even more great. I’m really wishful to see the result of this compositive process in our next album.
ARTURO: After the release of the album, playing live for the first time and watching people singing along with you is a wonderful feeling. You realize you’ve actually built something that is touching people, and that’s amazing. All the things we do mean nothing if we can’t share them. And having an album done is great, but we can’t see how do people react and feel while they’re listening to the songs at their homes. It’s more powerful for us if we can be present at that moment; and our live act sounds rawer and more natural than the album, so we think we get more visceral reactions from live crowds and we love to experience them. We’re eager to play everywhere!
16. Anything else you want to tell our readers at the end of the interview?
JULIO: If you like the music, spread the word! Download the album, pass it along, recommend it to your friends! Say ‚hi‘ on Twitter, Facebook or by mail, let us know you’re out there!
ARTURO: And also, not for your readers but rather for you guys at Whiskey Soda: thank you all very much for your attention!!! It’s been a great interview!! 🙂
17. Please point out, WHO answered the interview questions.
Julio Antequera, bassist.
Álvaro Quílez, guitarist.
Arturo Prada, pianist and keyboardist.