– Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. How is everything doing right now into the EXIVIOUS’ camp?
Hi Tania, thanks for the interest in our band! Everything’s going great, we’re happy that our record is finally out and we’re slowly beginning to think of what to do for our next album already.
– You have just released your awaited sophomore album, «Liminal». After the good response your debut album had, what were your expectations on this new album?
You know, I don’t think it’s a good thing for an artist to attach too much value to what other people think of his work. We just try to do the absolute best we can, for ourselves. And if other people like it as well, then that’s really great. So I don’t think we had any expectations really.
– And how is its response being so far? Are you personally satisfied with the result obtained?
The response has been crazy so far, people seem to really like it! Yeah, I think we’re all happy with what we accomplished here. We put a lot of work into it, we’re a bunch of perfectionists, you know. But it’s been just long enough for us to already hear some little things we would like to change for a next album. But that’s natural and it’s how bands grow.
– After giving the album some spins I would say «Liminal» is more dynamic than your previous «Exivious». Was this something you were aiming for? After finishing your debut album and making some balance of the final outcome, did you come up with ideas or visions for this second effort?
Thank you, yeah that’s pretty much exactly what we did. We really tried to expand upon the good qualities of our debut and improve or remove the things we didn’t like so much. And add in some new influences and ideas. The concept and artistic vision for Liminal came really natural this time around. For out debut, we were searching for a ‘sound’, an identity, for a long time. Fortunately, we didn’t have that problem for Liminal. It all came fairly easy!
– I personally think one of the best things on your new release is the better balanced between Jazz and Metal, and in general is more balance than your debut I could say. Do you think it will now be easier to reach more people or you would be appealing to people that aren’t used to such an «avantgarde» sound?
Interesting question. We love hectic, busy, complicated music ourselves, but we also love simple music. And for Liminal it was a natural thing for us to make the album more balanced, like you said. To have a record that’s easier and more fun to listen to, but also to play live! Because one thing we realized after our debut, is that it’s not that much fun to look at your fingers all the time when playing these songs haha. Sometimes you just want to relax and have fun, you know? Whether it will appeal to a larger audience because of this? I don’t know, maybe!
– Despite being an album full of changes, twists and singular structures, you have kept some characteristics, as the groove. Is keeping certain trademarks even though the progressive nature of your music something important?
I think it is. It’s easy to go overboard with complexity. You see it happen all the time with progressive bands. And I’m not saying we’re succeeding in keeping things grounded, but at least we try and always have strong core ideas to build on. Whether that’s a strong harmony, melody or groove, as long as the core idea is strong and convincing, you can do many crazy things with it. But in the end, it’s all a matter of perspective and I bet there’s also tons of people out there who think our music is just a bunch of self indulgent wankery. But yeah, our idea is to have a strong foundation and decorate it as we see fit.
– In fact your music can’t be described with just one word, nor fits in a specific category or label. When you started the band, was having a unique sound and doing things your own way something you wanted to achieve with EXIVIOUS?
I’ve always valued originality, but when I just started out, I never pictured myself and my band getting any good at it. I mean, I started the band when I was 17, so naturally I didn’t have a voice or anything going for me back then. But as things progressed and I found the right musicians, we naturally gravitated towards a more original sound and way of doing things. So I don’t think it was ever a clear goal, it was just something that grew.
– As I said, «Exivious» is more balanced, more dynamic… On my eyes you just have taken advantage of the strongest elements on your first record. Was this what you were looking for? Is it easy to be objective with your own material and manage to find what the strongest points of it are?
Thanks, it’s exactly what we set out to do, so that’s good to hear! We are definitely our own worst critics and I hope we have a very healthy dose of self-reflection. So I don’t think it’s very hard for us to hear what the strong and weak points are in our music. Though I’m sure it differs from an audience perspective and of course it’s very subjective.
– It also feels to me like being more honest. Maybe you are now feeling more comfortable with the songwriting and with the band in general? As I guess a debut album is more like a trial and the second one a solidification.
That’s put into words very well. You’re right, our debut was definitely a search for a sound and an identity. And we also felt we had something to prove. With Liminal, we didn’t concern ourselves with those things too much. Like I said, it came really natural and this in turn, makes it into a more honest sounding album. I also tried to reflect this in the way I produced and mixed the album. The mix is more in-your-face, has more character and is just a better fit for our band I think.
– «Liminal» has a lot of emotion, something a lot of experimental/fusion/progressive albums lack of so, what are your non-musical influences? Are you inspired by real life experiences?
Very much so. Of course we get inspired by great music as well, but it can be tricky when you get ‘too inspired’ by specific bands or artists and it gets too obvious. Especially when we’re in writing-mode, we try not to listen to other music too much. So we try and draw inspiration from completely different areas like real life experiences, as you put it.
– And how easy or difficult is to convey emotions to your listeners being an instrumental band?
It takes some time to get comfortable and skilled with it. I think the main thing is not to get carried away by technique and complexity. When we set out to write a song, we have a clear idea of what it should feel like. So as long as we keep that feeling and concept close to our hearts while writing a song, we should be fine I hope! But yeah, it’s a very abstract way of thinking about emotions, because you obviously don’t have lyrics to get your point across. But that’s also the beauty of instrumental music. It’s open to interpretation.
– Talking about such, how is the songwriting process like for a band as EXIVIOUS?
Michel and I are the composers in the band. We brainstorm about new ideas all the time, we are huge influences on each other actually, something I really like about the band dynamics in Exivious. So once we have a plan, we each write our own songs. We both believe in 1 strong vision per song, so we try and not interfere too much with each other’s ideas at that point. Once we get the songs to about 80% finished, we finish the remaining 20% together. At that point we present the songs to Robin and Yuma who in turn do their own thing with it. It’s an awesome approach and it works because Michel and I are almost like one musical mind when it comes to Exivious.
– All this about «Liminal» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Wow that’s hard! I think that’s up to the listener, so I would say: judge for yourself. That’s 3 words haha.
– «Liminal» was possible thanks to a crowd-funding campaign, a tool a lot of bands are lately using. Moreover lately a lot of bands are also selfreleasing their albums, or producing them by themselves. Is a more DIY approach the future of the music «industry»?
I think so, all we know is that the music business is changing and we musicians are just trying to change with it and find ways of making it work. Labels rely more and more on the bands themselves to do the work. These days, you have to be a manager, graphic artist, video editor, bookkeeper, website developer, promoter, etc. Making music is actually just a small part of what we do. But it’s where the business is at and personally, I quite like all the other aspects that come with it. Fortunately we live in times where the technology allows us to have awesome new initiatives like crowd-funding. I see a future where this entire give-and-take principle between musician and audience gets expanded in many more ways.
– Anyway you have just signed to Season of Mist, a well-stablished Metal label, so I think this may give your more facilities than being unsigned…
That’s what we are hoping for as well! It wasn’t an easy decision to go with a label, because we were perfectly happy being independent. But it seems it’s still a necessary step to take if you want to do things on a professional level. And the cool thing about Season of Mist is that they don’t interfere with your artistic vision. They just let you do whatever it is you do and try and sell it afterwards. That’s perfect for us.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
First, we have to start rehearsing again to be able to play all our new music live haha. After that I hope we can do some touring! And hopefully make it to Spain as well. One of my favorite countries in the world and an awesome place to do gigs.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you very much for the interview and like I said, we hope to see you guys soon!