Mexican symphonic progressive rock band Cast has been active for 40 years, and their most recent release ‘Power and Outcome‘ is the group’s 19th studio album. Brothers Alfonso and Rene Vidales spoke for Prog Sphere about what it took to create the new album, but they also told us about influences, technology and future plans.
Define the mission of Cast.
Alfonso Vidales: I think that our band’s mission is to provide music in the way that we feel as composers, arrangers, performers, lyricists and doing our best for a great performance in studio or at stage.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your recently released album Power and Outcome and the themes it captures.
Alfonso Vidales: Power and Outcome is the band’s 19th studio album and captures our essence in a blend of themes that I really look to include in every album. As a composer putting new elements in the way that really looks like one long song captivates the interest from our old and new followers. Most of the music was done during 2016 and four tracks were part of material that was kept since 2007.
What is the message you are trying to give with Power and Outcome?
Rene Vidales: There are a number of songs on Power and Outcome which lyrics were inspired to counter movements designed to take rights away from people who are already disadvantaged, as well as movements to take rights away from people who may not know that their rights are in jeopardy and how the outcome may affect them. In today’s political environment, it’s very important to empower people by the virtue of knowledge, however “having the knowledge doesn’t mean guaranteed power and outcome.” On the other hand, the lyrics on “Through a Stained Glass” peek thru a window to show us a misunderstood genius who only lived to see one out of three façades completed from his masterpiece the Sagrada Familia, and we are still waiting “years to come for the great façade.”
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
Alfonso Vidales: Basically it comes out like inspiration and improvisation and I like to jump into diferent atmospheres of classical music that really is in my veins and adapt it into Cast music. Spending moments or more than that with the piano really gives me the oportunity for creating; that really is my main contribution.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
There is no specific order on which song or instrumental are going to be in the album, but the concept really becomes when we record most of the music and we focus on lyrics that arrange to fit in the elements that we develop.
Describe the approach to recording the album.
Alfonso Vidales: Every Cast album becomes a challenge to us to move onto another level. We record during months keeping every aspect the most carefully reviewed. Every time we are looking for new audiences, new listeners and new followers.
How long Power and Outcome was in the making?
Alfonso Vidales: The recording was very smooth, the most of the album was made in studio in Mexicali, and some recordings were made at my home. There is always friendship and laughing when we meet that really becomes essential in keeping the unity more stronger.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
Alfonso Vidales: I think Jethro Tull, Genesis (early, of course), Procol Harum (especially the Live with the Edmonton Simphony Orchestra album), Kayak (the concept albums), Manfred Mann are some of the essentials in my list.
What is your view on technology in music?
Alfonso Vidales: Personally technology is adapting into the music of Cast gradually and every time we learn more about the posibilties of including much more. Of course technology is every day growing and many steps ahead of us. But for me, I do not use any sequences in our recordings or at concerts.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
Alfonso Vidales: Music always makes good friends and it is a bridge for contributing to have a better world. When Baja Prog was alive we were like the united nations of prog rock and everybody that attend feel the same because we had representatives from many countries.
What are your plans for the future?
Alfonso Vidales: My plan is to continue composing for Cast for many years and performing the most we can. For this year there are many concerts. Some of them will be with orchestra that is a new concept for the band. The symphonic Blu-ray release will come out very soon!
Power and Outcome is available here.