JOVIAC: Therapeutical Experience

JOVIAC Ready to Launch "Here and Now" Album on April 3

Progressive metal trio from Tampere in Finland, Joviac are set to return with their sophomore album ‘Here and Now‘ this April, released via Inverse Records. The group has recently launched the single “Straws,” which was featured on our January 2020 edition of the Progotronics compilation series.

Singer, guitarist and keyboardist Viljami Wenttola spoke for Prog Sphere about the group’s vision, the upcoming album, its message and more.

Define the mission of Joviac.

I founded Joviac for very selfish reasons. Ever since I was a teen, I’ve felt compelled to express myself through the medium of music, and after learning from trial and error, I realised that I needed a channel where I could do that freely and without compromise. Apart from self expression, music to me is about self actualisation and therapy. So my mission with Joviac is to just be myself and share that in a musical form. What’s most interesting for me is seeing if people relate to the music and lyrics and how they interpret them. It’s like talking with people from other cultures to see what you have in common and how you differ from each other.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your upcoming album “Here and Now” and the themes it captures.

I’ve set out to write a concept album a few times in my life, but I’ve always failed (happily) in that mission. Surely enough that’s the mindset that I had when I started writing this album. I have a rough idea or outline of a story in my head, but then the material wants to go in different directions and I gladly let it do so. That’s one of the most interesting parts of the songwriting process for me. If you let the music take you where it wants to go, you can never really be sure of where you’ll end up. At this point in time I’ve always taken that leap and never regretted it.

There are some recurring themes themes on the album though. Since music is (among other things) a form of therapy for me, most songs deal with personal struggles. Especially with anxiety, something I’ve dealt with for many years. For example the song “Straws” is literally about a panic attack I once had on a bus and trying to analyse the underlying cause, while the album’s title track “Here And Now” is about trying to live in the present and to try and avoid obsessing and stressing about hypothetical eventualities. There are also a couple of songs “Black Mirror” and “Decay” that deal with social media and the discourse that we engage in on the internet and otherwise nowadays, and how negative emotions get more engagement. There’s certainly a bit of venting on that subject.

Joviac - Here and Now

What is the message you are trying to give with “Here and Now”? 

To be honest, I’m not really trying to give the listener anything per se, but to rather see if the listener gives me anything back, if they respond in some way. I always try to steer away from being preachy or forcing anything down the listener’s throat, whether the song deals with political matters or something else. If there’s something that I’m giving to the listener, then it’s my figurative hand to see if they reach back.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Recording demos is very much front and center of my creative process. I write the songs, record demo bass and program demo drums, then send them to Antti and Rudy respectively. Then they record their parts into the demo based on how they would play them and give their feedback and ideas at the same time.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

If you’re talking about track order on the album, then not really! Like I said, it’s not a concept album so it doesn’t really matter what order you listen to the songs in. That being said, I did intend for the first and last songs to be as they are, their working titles were even “Intro” (and it still is!) and “Outro”. Other than that I just tried out different song orders and this one felt best to me. Full disclosure: I don’t mind at all if you listen to the album on shuffle! :)

Describe the approach to recording the album.

This album was such a pleasure to record! We really went with the comfortable option of recording most of it at our homes, and unless something mindblowing happens, I think that’s also the way that I want to go with the next one. Up until this album, I had mixed and produced all of our material myself. I studied music production and our first album was actually the project part of my Bachelor’s thesis. Looking back on it now it feels more like a glorified demo, but I’m still proud of the songs! Since graduating, I hadn’t done a lot of mixing though so I decided to outsource that part of the process to our very good friend Janne Korpela who used to play live guitars for us. He did a splendid job and was such a joy to work with, and I could focus on merely the artistic side of the production. For the drum sessions we went to Jyväskylä to the wonderful Electric Fox Studios. Rudy did a spectacular job and banged out the drums for the album in a couple days. Bass we recorded at Janne Korpela’s home studio and the rest at my apartment. If you’re really interested, you can find a vlog on the whole “making of” process on our YouTube channel. ;)

How long “Here and Now” was in the making?

I consciously started writing the album in August of 2018. I gave myself half a year as an arbitrary deadline to write the whole thing. I find that deadlines help motivate me and keep me focused. We started the recording process early 2019 with drums and the album was mixed and mastered somewhere around August of 2019. All in all from writing to mastering it took about a year.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

There are so many, and I can only speak for myself! Most of my influences come from the progressive metal genre, but there’s a good deal from outside of it too. I wear my influences on my sleeve, and I think you can make out pretty well which band or artist I was vibing with each song part, but if I were to name a few of the most obvious ones, I would have to mention Dream Theater, Circus Maximus, A.C.T, Devin Townsend, Pain of Salvation, David Maxim Micic and… TOTO! A few bands that you may not hear on the surface but are very much a part of Joviac’s DNA would be Vulfpeck, The Midnight, Van Halen and Queen.

Joviac live (Photo by Carolin Büttner Photography)

Joviac live (Photo by Carolin Büttner Photography)

What is your view on technology in music?

That’s a difficult one. On one hand, especially when it comes to songwriting, I am totally dependant on it, but on the other hand it’s made a lot of things (such as compensation) in the music industry difficult. The songs “Black Mirror” and “Decay” on the upcoming album deal with the negative side of it all, but in my day-to-day life I try and focus on the positives. It’s amazing that we have virtually all the world’s music at our finger tips at any given moment and the software for making music means that you don’t have to know much about music to make music. There are drawbacks and challenges to go with all revolutionary advancements in technology, but I choose to believe that when it comes to the negative sides, we’re living in a time of growing pains and that we’ll all be better for it on the other side. At least I hope…

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

At the present? I think it mostly serves a purpose only to myself. It remains to be seen if it will mean something to people on a larger scale one day. I’d love to know.
What are your plans for the future?

More of the same! When it comes down to it, we just want to make good music and play it for people. If there’s something that I wish for, it’s to make better music for more people to listen to. We want to grow as a band and have fun doing it!

Here and Now is out on April 3 via Inverse Records. Pre-save the album on Spotify, and follow Joviac on Facebook.

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