27 enero 2016

“To me it means something pure.” An interview with In Virgo.

Para leer en español, clic aquí.

Nowadays we can found a really big number of rock and metal bands, most of them a shameful mix of sounds and random words they call lyrics, or, in the other case, copied styles without any originality.
Just a few of the new ones which name we see in Internet are worth listening to. Today I want to speak about one of them: In Virgo.
Rock, metal, darkness, and great lyrics are the main elements that create their unique musical style, and considering they’ve released just one album so far (for free download, by the way), anyone who listens it can say they have a very solid sound, an already formed proposal.
As you can imagine, I already have the album, which has become one of my favorites for both music and lyrics. That was the reason that made me search more and have an interview with them.
Hope you like it as much as I liked doing it and give these guys a chance to sound in your ears, you won’t be disappointed.

In Virgo are:
CH - Chris Hodges (vocals)
CE - Chris Egert (guitar)
VC - Vincent Cabagnot (guitar)
DW - David Wright (bass)
1. What made you decide to become a band?
CE - Chris Hodges and I actually met over SoundCloud. I had just split with my last band and was feeling pretty low, but thought I'd make a Soundcloud page and throw some of my demos out there. Within like, an hour, Hodges somehow stumbled across my page and was really into a couple of the demos I posted and offered to do some vocals. He was the first person I connected with... it was such a funny, serendipitous happening, like it was destiny! We met up and became friends pretty quickly, sharing a lot of similar musical influences, passion and drive. The first tracks we worked on were Breaking Apart and Public Enemy, and found that we worked extraordinarily well together.
VC - I came into the band at a certain point of the group's inception and couldn't wait to work with great musicians I respected. Chris and I worked together in another band and it was always a pleasure to play music and hang out together.
DW - Personally, I love the process of collaboration, something always comes from the unexpected when different energies are weighing in on a song, coming at it from different directions, bouncing ideas around. Also, playing out is just too damn fun.

2. Why did you choose "In Virgo" as a name? It's because of the zodiac or does it have any other meaning for you?
CE - Hodges actually came up with the band name. 
CH - To me it means something pure. We started this group to write what we feel, not what’s popular. In Virgo technically means “the untouched virgin”, so maybe it’s my childish nature lashing out… Could be a double meaning.
CE - I just thought it had a memorable ring to it and I could make a great logo out of it!

3. How do you get inspired to write and compose your music?
CH - The lyrics and melodies always write themselves. I’ll listen to a piece of music, zone out for a few hours and come back to reality with a fully written song. Some are harder than others but this seems to be the norm for me.
VC - I love a few genres of music, and I'm continually inspired by so many great musicians and songs. The experiences I've been through also give me song ideas.
DW - For me, inspiration can come from a lot of different mediums: music, nature, art, a conversation, band-mates, friends and not-so-good-friends.  Seeing shows is a big one.  Sometimes a bass line will literally pop into my head.  My favorite is when I'm learning something new, pushing my abilities and a new bass melody, riff, progression pops into my hands, or head. 
CE - I definitely channel a lot of anger, energy and passion into my writing - it's sort of how I process things... so even when I'm not feeling particularly inspired, I'm still writing and working through it. I'm always my best self when I'm writing! Finding inspiration is incredibly important to me. Firstly, I find that I often feel inspired by weird, new sounds and timbres in the studio. Often times, playing around with a new plugin or guitar pedal can trip a switch in my brain and inspire a whole song immediately. Such was the case with 'Breaking Apart', which started with me playing around with a lo-fi guitar pedal and filter, creating a riff that would build up and explode into this huge wall of sound. Another fun way to find inspiration is changing up the recording or writing process in any way that I can. Working with the vast array of samples and synthesizers presented in the modern DAW makes the possibilities feel overwhelming, so setting up certain rules and parameters to work within can often lead to great results, and keep you relatively sane.

4. Some lyrics speak about so much hurt, hatred, are you singing to someone in specific or to yourselves?
CH - I like to write using analogies. A lot of the songs aren’t even about what looks obvious, but some are sitting there in plain sight. My favorite way of writing is under layers of meaning.
VC - I have a few people that directly affected my life that some of the songs could relate to. But those events are in the past, life is such a greater place to be in the present.

5. Is there a story behind this album you'd like to share?
CE - A lot of this album was finding ourselves and finding our sound. It was a really fun process, and a lot of the songs came together very easily and organically. I remember going into the studio with Hodges for the first time to record "Public Enemy", one of our first tracks. From the moment he stepped up to the mic and sang the first chorus, I knew we were on to something amazing!
VC - I love our promos clip outtakes where we flub lines. I could watch those over and over and crack up at our on-screen delivery of a script.

6. What's the Revolution you want to start? And sorry if it's not the concept of this song, but what’s the most important thing to change nowadays?
VC - The Revolution begins within. People need to choose what to believe on their own and not what people tell them they SHOULD believe.
CE - I think people putting down their mobile phones and devices and learning to reconnect with one another on a basic human level. I hate how numb and self-centered technology has made us, and how disconnected we've become as a global society.

7. You say that "The songwriting is front and center always", why did you decide to focus on the lyrics?
CE - I feel like one of my greatest realizations as an instrumentalist and guitar player has been recognizing that the lyrics and vocals are the most important aspect of the music. They connect with the listener simultaneously on a very basic and extremely high level, and drive the emotion of the song. I love catchy riffs and interesting sounds and progressions, but if you strip everything away, the vocals are really what resonate the most.
8. If you should pick one word to describe your music, which would it be? Why?
CE - Massive. I wanted to make the songs on this record sound huge and epic to let the vocal melodies soar.
VC - Primed, Charged? - Detonating! - Because we can't wait to bring it live.
DW - Is grimyemotionalswingheavymetal a word? 

9. Which ones are your favorite bands?
CE - We all have pretty different influences, which kind of meld together to form our unique sound! For me: Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and lots of older industrial, electronic music and metal... but most of that music hasn't aged well and I'm finding myself listening to a lot of really different things these days, even old country and blues music.
VC - Led Zeppelin, White Zombie, Prince, and Queen!
DW - My favorite bands are the ones that have a point of view, something to say.  I'm not a fan of all shred and no heart, you gotta have the heart in there.  Who cares if your look is amazing and you have a perfect stage picture if you're not up there to bleed a little bit.  Today's metal scene seems to me to be just as amazing as all the other epochs of music-it's just that there's so much out there, not everyone is listening to the same 20 bands and saying, "That's fucking amazing and groundbreaking!"  

10. What's your opinion about today's rock and metal music? Do you feel it's better or worse than yesterday?
VC - There are a lot of great bands out there as long as you avoid the mainstream. It's not as great as it used to be since some genres dominate and musicianship is not as valued these days as much as talent shows are. Being contrived is a jackpot for some people.
CH - Ugh… I’m not sure if it’s just me getting older, but I find myself listening to everything BUT rock these days. It seems like every other style of music has learned how to evolve over the past 20 years, but rock hasn’t aged well. It’s like what happened to Blockbuster Video - movie downloading and streaming became the new thing and Blockbuster refused to adapt their business model to the changing times and ended up going bankrupt. That’s how I feel about rock right now. It needs… a Revolution. Metal on the other hand I think is better than ever, with more technique and professionalism. It’s just on a smaller stage now.
CE - I don't think rock will ever die, but it is certainly in a sad state at the moment, with the radio airwaves being dominated by all of this dull, folk-infused indie rock. It's some of the dullest, safest music I've ever heard.
11. Before leaving, if someone asks you two which is your advice to do music, what would you say?
CH - Dedicate time to your profession, be open to change and write from the heart. 
CE - Read everything you can and learn to do everything yourself reasonably well. Get out of your comfort zone and learn different styles outside of your genre. Finally, being a musician is a very poor way to make a living, so do it for the love and passion you have for writing and playing, and don't lose sight of that!
DW - You have to enjoy the process, simple as that. From playing in your home alone and doing your own practice or creative exploration, to collaborating, to recording. You gotta enjoy most of that or at least some parts immensely. Stay inspired, write, play, be critical with yourself. Find a way to focus. What can you do better, what can you express more purely, more from the heart. How does that music radiate out through your vibe, your stage set up, the actual tone of your instrument? 
VC - Practice, stay focused, be honest about what you want to say and listen to your heart and not those who discourage you.

12. When are we going to hear from you guys again? What future plans do you have?
CE - Right now, we are focusing on the live aspect of the band. We've been rehearsing quite a bit and will be playing some shows around the LA area. We are always writing too, and we are currently concepting out some ideas for a follow up album, or maybe just an EP we can release sooner.
DW - Speaking for myself, I'd love to do another EP, or LP, (time permitting/material worthy) this year!
VC - I'm looking forward to working on more music, a new album and the upcoming live shows.

13. Thank you so much for your time, and your music, obviously! We fans will be waiting for your next release!
In Virgo - Thank you so much! It's your support that helps keep independent musicians like us going!

If you want to know them better, click in any of these links, and be sure to enter to their Bandcamp page so you can download their self-titled album.

Greetings and hugs!

¡Un saludo y un abrazo!

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