FACE THE MAYBE: Emotional Understanding

Face The Maybe

Spanish metallers Face The Maybe put out their sophomore studio album titled “The Wanderer” in March this year, and going through the 12-track release it can easily be concluded that Spaniards from Barcelona created one of the best albums of the year. If there would be justice in the world, many magazines would include “The Wanderer” on their best-of-the-year lists. 

Bassist Frederic Alexandre Torres talked with Prog Sphere about the band’s new album, and more.

Define the mission of Face The Maybe.

Among us, sometimes we remind each other that music needs its own space. It’s not the same to put some music in the background and start doing something else than staying still and get concentrated on what you hear. Music is something way more fruitful if one just lets himself go through it. If not our mission, this would be at least a statement of how we like to approach this art.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your second album “The Wanderer” and the themes it captures.

It has been five years since our first release, ‘Insight’, and a lot of things have changed. A lot of experimental mixtures have emerged and it has encouraged us to keep working on music as the blank canvas it is. When we first released our single ‘Seth’, back in 2013, it was clear to us that we wanted to put out a conceptual album, despite not knowing exactly what it meant back then. ‘Seth’ was a very good start point and we wanted to keep expanding our capabilities. We started to work on music in parallel to the lyrics and story Tom had been creating by mixing poetry, ancient myths and personal reflections. The result was a tale with many narrative pillars like the use of many mythical characters like Seth itself or the Danaides, both of them representing rebellious poses as the story goes by.

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Wanderer”?

Well, for me “The Wanderer” is a compilation of glances at the world. The story is an invitation to step into the shoes of “Seth”, who’s entry to the community of a lost civilization can be seen as a “start from scratch” for the apprehension of some fundamentals inside relations of power or role. As the story progresses and each element brings out its more corrupt or pure appearance, inherently you can perceive a sequence of karmic events that conclude in a clash between rebellion and observance. Both the beginning and end of the story are symbolically open, isolating the narration as a piece of imaginary that can be retold in many ways, just as the history of our civilization is being repeatedly and tirelessly rewritten.

The Wanderer

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Each one of us has his own way to do that. The very first ideas of grooves, structures, and riffs where mostly recorded in the rehearsal room by Joan and Eimel, as they kept everything evolving from the beginning, ending up with hours and hours of music and ideas inside Joan’s recorder. After that we started recording demo versions of the songs to start adding other layers and make everything sound more round. We’ve recorded some songs many times before entering the studio, so I would not be lying if I say that pieces like “New Dawn” have gone through three or four versions before the final take.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

There is a certain connection between the evolution of the music throughout the album and the narration, and that’s because we used that last one as the main guideline to focus on music with a particular approach, in most of cases. We didn’t really want everything to be mathematically planned and timed, so it was actually more a kind of an intuitive process, where we also ended up using the spaces between the songs as the opposite of the songs. That meant considering these space as chances to relocate the listener into the flow of the story, and kind of “restoring” its attention by working mainly from silence rather than from musical arrangements.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It was a challenge for each one of us. Basically it was to find a way to give the best of ourselves for the good of a work to end up being like a good book. We did not want to fatten the sound with too many layers of atmosphere (which can be very recurrent in a conceptual album), while we sought for a mix where each element would be placed as something tangible, by preserving the acoustic feel of the drums and without over-producing the voices.

How long “The Wanderer” was in the making?

At the moment we felt able to stop divagating and the assembly of the different songs we were having was taking shape, is when we kind of felt aware that the actual countdown was starting, so we planned everything and put some deadlines, as we also had to choose carefully the dates for the recording. It took about a year and a half, during which we finished composing and producing most of the songs.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

It has been a task of collecting the maximum of what we had at our disposal, including early musical and artistic influences in general. Moreover, our drummer gets lots of inputs from the jazz world, which helps a lot on the point of view during work. On the contemporary side, bands that have inspired us a lot are Textures, Gojira, Karnivool and Sikth, to mention few, and some unknown gems that we’ve had pleasure to listen to like Amia Venera Landscape and Follow The White Rabbit. In terms of making a conceptual album, I would mention classics like Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’, Protest The Hero’s ‘Kezia’ and Porcupine Tree’s ‘The Incident’.

Face The Maybe live

What is your view on technology in music?

I think it’s a matter of what you want to reach with your music. Some artists like Squarepusher, Aphex Twin or Igorrr have blown minds with their music and technology was a big part of it, but music still remained in the spotlight. Right now there’s a lot of new stuff, improved midi-based devices or amplifier simulation, to mention some, and in my opinion, it’s seemingly becoming a major topic. As a user of both music and technology, I need to find my own balance, because technology is there for a use, and its usefulness is undeniable at this point. But music is a very different thing, and technology is not responsible for that.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Of course. I think it’s the most powerful medium we’ve got right now to get to an emotional understanding. And it’s never enough if it comes to using music as a duct for personal and social enrichment. In the act of art there is always a mutual need for empathizing, and also as a cultural act its greatest power resides in being able to become part of something momentous, which can actually change things.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re scheduling some tour dates from September on, and in the end of the year, depending on the point we get, we’ll figure out whether to write new stuff or keep touring, or just both things! We would love start playing in other countries, so we’ll see how it goes. We would like to thank you for your support and your interest on our music, hope to meet you soon again!

Face The Maybe‘s “The Wanderer” is available now from Bandcamp. The band is on Facebook here.

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