The Impeccable Sound of Solid Musicianship in Rock
"We want people to get goosebumps when they listen to us and when we play live. I want our band to be unforgettable on and off stage."
JP Andrade, KALLIAS
By Abbe Davis, December 2020
TRR: JP, I am not gonna lie, I was given a list from someone with about 7 bands on it, and I really just heard you guys; listened to them all, you guys were different, amazing musicianship, and it blew me away to hear the layering of texture, yet how you guys put it together so that you still hear each person in the band, regardless of how much is going on.
I love the title track, the Fourth Phase, Also PHO (that shredding is amazing by Zak) the intricacy of the guitar lines, the rhythm, dramatic riffs, how is it to record this when you get to a studio, or is it done in pieces?
JP: Thank you so much for having us, Tru Rock Revival! We really appreciate the time you’ve taken to check us out and our recently released EP, ‘The Fourth Phase’.
Before the pandemic hit, we were collectively writing more in the studio. Nicole or Zaki bring whatever ideas they may have and we start working from there. I really enjoyed a lot of freedom on this EP arranging sections. I’ve always admired drummers like Tomas Haake from Meshuggah and Danny Carey from TOOL for being so fundamental in arranging, sometimes even writing lyrics for their bands, and they were my biggest inspirations when writing with the band.
TRR: Have any of you ever wanted to do a single with a singer in mind?
JP: We would love to do a single with a great vocalist, maybe someone that’s known in the Metal/Rock community for their cleans and growls. We have been writing and arranging our full length with vocals in mind; hoping that we can attract someone that is versatile, and would fit our band.
TRR: What is the longest song you have?
JP: Right now, ‘The Fourth Phase’ is our longest track at 5:11. We try to let things flow and if we think a song is complete, we finish it whether it’s 4 minutes or 10!
TRR: If you were to ever do a soundtrack, which style of movie would you do it for, Comedy? (JK) But seriously, which style would all of you gravitate toward?
JP: We love comedies haha! But I do think we would be featured in a Sci-Fi/Action thriller. Picture the beginning of "Black Dream," when the blast beats kick in with some sort of alien invasion!
TRR: Sounds cool! Your forms are progressive and go out, run around, and yet, the songs do come back around, the melody comes back, the progressions do, so when an audience comes to watch you, what kind of listener are you going for? Musicians?
JP: You’re absolutely correct! Yes, we are a Progressive band but I want to be appreciated by all sorts of listeners. With that said, we purposely write to serve the music and keep that in mind at all times. We want to let the music flow, groove, even if we’re playing in 7/4. Being technical for the sake of being technical is not our thing!
TRR: How do your family members feel when they see or hear you guys, do you get any backlash, like, “Why don’t you get a singer?” or the standard, “It’s loud, what does it mean?”
JP: Luckily we haven’t had any backlash or negative feedback from family members/close friends, but they do get curious as to whether we’ll get a singer or not. We’re very open to the public about the possibility of having someone. I’m sure once we do find a singer, we’ll get asked, “Why is he yelling so much?!” haha!
TRR: Yah, wait for it! LOL. What does a show look like, do you incorporate a visual experience and explain what that would look like if someone went to one of your shows?
JP: Unfortunately, because of COVID, we never got to play our first show . Ideally, we would love to incorporate some great lighting effects that go along with our set list, as well as some background videos. We want our shows to be an experience and an inspiration to our audiences and other artists. As an instrumental band, we have to work extra harder at making our shows more appealing, at least until we have a singer that could “work” the crowd; although we still want to make our shows an experience. We want a nice balance of a high energy performance and incredible visuals.
TRR: Would you ever do anything that conforms more, like Heavy Rock, less progressive, or something fist pumping stadium rock? Does anyone in the band ever think of throwing that in as a single ever?
JP: I don’t feel like we ever worry about conforming nor do we pigeonhole ourselves to play just one genre. We’re inspired by all sorts of music and I think it shows in our EP and will most definitely be more prominent in our full length. Heavy Rock is great, so if we happen to write something along that realm that sounds amazing and will get people even more pumped, sure!
TRR: Sounds like a great way to look at it. Being true to yourselves is key. As a bass player, Chris is amazing melodically. He is like an amazing guitarist who happens to play some kick ass bass, is that a fair assessment of his skill level do you think?
JP: I think Chris is a true bass player at his core. More importantly, he is an overall great musician who really understands songwriting and when to play certain parts, and when to hold back. Definitely a fair assessment!
TRR: Tell me, are Nicole and Zak the predominant writers? Are you also writing along with them?
JP: Nicole and Zaki do handle a lot of the writing, especially now that we are working remotely. I do have my own recording gear ready to go, so I can send them drum ideas and work off of that. There’s been plenty of times where I have sent the band videos of grooves/patterns and they write to that. It’s not your typical way of writing, but it’s fun and we’ve been able to use some of that for our full length.
TRR: I'm glad that is working out, so many bands are in that mode now due to the pandemic. Can you tell us the main influences of all of the band members, about three artists they were genuinely drawn to at a young age, and how it affects the band sound?
JP: If I mention TOOL again, Nicole is going to kill me haha! Man, we love it all, but as a band, we’re really inspired by Meshuggah, Opeth, Tesseract, Devin Townsend, Fear Factory, Mudvayne. It’s safe to mention we’ve all been inspired by them for a very long time and now it shows, even if it’s in certain small segments in our songs. Also, it really depends on what we’re listening to a lot of. There've been times when we’ve gotten together, and any one of us starts jamming for a minute, and it’s typically inspired by something that we were obsessed with earlier in the week.
TRR: What do you want for people to think of when they walk away from a show, an album of yours or your sound, what would you four hope people are getting from hearing this musicianship?
JP: We want people to get goosebumps when they listen to us and when we play live. I want our band to be unforgettable on and off stage. We dig deep within ourselves to create something so powerful that our listeners can feel something as well. It’s harder when you don’t have a singer, but It has also propelled us to work even harder at our instruments so people can feel something special.
TRR: We can definitely hear it in those intricate layers and that passion you have as a Progressive Metal band; with influences seeping through. How do you guys get your initial feedback before you release a tune, or do you four rely on each other and release according to that?
JP: At the moment it’s been "Black Dream," because of the music video that was released. We hope and welcome anyone to leave us a comment or message on any of our social media pages with their favorite tracks!
TRR: Thank you for your time, and we look forward to more music from you guys! Best to you out there, keep in touch.
JP: Thank you so much, and to everyone supporting us out there.
Abbe Davis has written for various publications in NYC and Boston. She is also the lead singer/songwriter for Hard Rock band, Sordid Fable. Abbe has performed alongside of Buddy Guy, and enjoys promoting bands and musicians; with a passion for Rock music and all music.