UTOPIAN TRAP: Thought-Provoking Music

Utopian Trap

Utopian Trap from San Jose in California released their sophomore studio album titled “The Human Price” recently. About the seven-track album and more, the band talked with Prog Sphere in the interview below.

Define the mission of Utopian Trap.

Chandra: Thanks Prog Sphere for the interview. The mission of Utopian Trap is quite simple. Write, perform and release music that we love and stick to our guns. It’s pretty much that.

Tell me about the creative process that formed your second album “The Human Price” and the themes it captures.

The main theme of the album is the cost of brutal acts of violence on innocent lives. The songs that focus on this theme are The Human Price, Verge, Devil’s Promenade. It is an expression of frustration and disbelief over the new lows we are hitting as human beings. The other themes include our obsession with social media and connected lives (Wired Ruins, Atephobic), an eulogy (The Final Figure), Doomsday-prepping societies (Walls of Justice). In general, the themes, song names and lyrics start taking shape around the time we write the first riffs.

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

We are alive and kicking and still making prog metal music. With our new line up, the album shows some new facets of our repertoire and we hope you enjoy this music as much as we do.

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

The first ideas usually start with a cell phone recording if we are jamming away from the studio. Once we have substantial number of ideas, we start putting together a demo and transcribe it for each other if needed.

The Human Price

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, it is. The songs go through a lot of reviews and revisions. Fortunately, we are quite patient and we don’t finalize the song until it really hits a spot. There are times when everything falls into place quickly and there are times when the song could take much longer to finish.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Chandra: Vinod and I usually start with some riffs and the initial arrangement. We may add sequenced drums to get a feel of how things may sound. Typically, the arrangement goes through a few revisions over a few days, weeks or longer. Then Eric takes over for lyrics and vocals, followed by Rohil’s drums and finally, Farhan’s basslines. There is one exception though. “Atephobic” is a bass solo instrumental song (track #4 on The Human Price) where the writing process was reversed completely. The bassline and arrangement was done first (by Farhan). Then came in drums, keys and finally the guitars.

How long “The Human Price” was in the making?

Chandra: This album was in the making for a long time. It took around 4-5 years because we had quite a few interruptions due to line-up changes, auditions, hiatuses.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Eric: The bands I was hearing in the writing was interesting, which led me in the direction I took it from a vocal melody and lyrical point of view. U.T. has an old school thrash meets progressive metal as well as the indian scale structures at times gives this band a very unique sound. Musically, I hear Forbidden, Nevermore, Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, Opeth and the closest thing to what they are doing from a non-western influenced sound has got to be Orphaned Land. As vocalist I’ve been influenced by many genres but as it relates to metal, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, James Labrie, Warrel Dane, Devon Graves & Russells Allen come to mind. \m/

What is your view on technology in music?

Rohil: Technology is starting to get even further incorporated into music, especially progressive rock, through sampling, regardless of the genre–it’s basically a fusion of electronic music with rock. Once a good balance is achieved between the two a whole new sound can emerge as result, making the music sound a lot more different and better put together.

Vinod: Wholeheartedly embrace it. In our lyrics we write a lot about how we are slaves to technology, but technology adds a dimension that when used right can greatly enhance the aural experience. Hell, if one day computers can compose and make good music all by themselves then I’ll bow to our overlords, kick back and relax.

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

Vinod: We do incorporate thought provoking and challenging themes in our lyrics but we wouldn’t want it to be taken seriously beyond the music.

What are your plans for the future?

Compose, Jam, Record, Release, Jam, Gig….. Repeat.. :-)

The Human Price” by Utopian Trap is available now from Bandcamp. Follow the band on Facebook for future updates.

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