VITRUVIUS: A Way Out

Vitruvius

Mexican prog / fusion metal trio Vitruvius released their sophomore studio album “Above the Silvered Sky” back in March this year. We talked with the singer Dulce Robles and guitarist Oskar Villarreal about their work, the mentioned album, and their future plans.

Define the mission of Vitruvius.

Oskar: It might sound a little selfish but primarily the focus is to satisfy our own hunger and have fun in the process, that’s why our sound is so free, we have no limitations or guidelines, the next album might be totally different, so if anyone out there enjoys our music that’s a bonus.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album “Above the Silvered Sky” and the themes it captures.

Oskar: About the creative process I can say inspiration can be misunderstood by a lot of artists, it’s not something that comes to you while you’re watching TV or drinking in a bar, it’s sitting on your butt with your instrument or your pen/notepad while your buddies are partying, you suck it up and play the hell out of it until you get a good groove/riff/progression/verse and then make a second part that has something in common harmonically/rhythmically/lyrically then maybe think about instrumentation, a chorus, an intro, an interlude, an instrumental section an ending and then make it all work out together, or lose the love for a part that doesn’t fit in the context, sometimes that can be frustrating, but you can’t let that discourage you because that’s when things start going south, you just ignore that part and come up with a different idea that fits in, or in the worst case scenario dump the whole song and start over without looking back. The consequence is after a while you have tons of material you can choose from and then magic happens, this is basically how this album came to life, hard work and paying no attention to negative comments unless we consider it to be relevant to the final product but always sticking to our original ideas.

Dulce: The themes for the lyrics were inspired on the things we experience in this modern chaotic world, violence and destruction between nations and religions, also personal points of view about past and present love experiences, search and introspection, resentments and regrets.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Above the Silvered Sky”?

Oskar: Music should not be influenced by “sales” or “what’s popular these days” it should come from the heart as dangerous as that can be.

Dulce: Everything shall pass and there is always a way out.

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

We have always been lucky enough to be have at least our project studios or even ipads handy when inspiration hits.

Above the Silvered Sky

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

As much as possible but there’s a lot of spontaneous elements and happy coincidences as well.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Once we had the demos ready, we laid down the drum tracks in one week, same thing with the bass, Lucas’ keyboards were finished at this point, the guitars took a long time because we decided on doing it the traditional way, no reamping or anything like that, you know, try to find the right amp head, cab, mics and mics placement beforehand, after tracking the whole thing I moved to Canada so I lost the chance to use the same studio in Mexico and got a new studio setup, so with new monitors and a new room the game changed completely, those guitars sounded muffled and dead so I re-recorded most of the guitars. After that we looked for someone to mix it but after a couple of samples we thought it sounded great but sort of artificial so I decided to mix it myself,at the end of the day having a new studio setup resulted in kind of having a new pair of ears, I deliberately took my time to mix because there was no pressure from labels or contracts of any kind. Then there’s a moment during the mixing process where you have to say stop! Otherwise you can keep adding and deleting things for the rest of your life, and so I did and sent to Mike at Sound beacon studios in NY to master it, obviously after mastering I found mixing errors that will haunt me for the rest of my life but I try to ignore them as much as I can.

How long “Above the Silvered Sky” was in the making?

From day one? Hmmm… About 5 years.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I can start with the most obvious comparison I’ve seen on previous reviews to Dream theater, and I don’t think it’s a crime to sound similar to one of your old time favourite bands, Symphony-X of course, Above Symmetry (Aspera) now this band was a huge influence in the composition as we were crazy about them at the time (and still are) every aspect of their sadly only album released sounds perfect, out of the realm of metal we wanted to try new textures for one of the songs “gust of wind” that one was inspired by Black flowers by Geoff Smith Band, that whole album is a jewel, I recommend it to anyone. And well many other bands like NIN inspired textures for background synth sounds and such.

What is your view on technology in music?

Without the tools that are available nowadays this and millions of great albums out there wouldn’t exist, for us right now the only way we collaborate is by sending demos, backing tracks and finished takes over the internet so the possibilities are endless, I’m so thrilled to have the fortune of living in this era of technological achievements, not so sure how long it will be sustainable for, but today as it is, I can say without a doubt life has never been easier and cheaper to enable a musician to be creative.

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

We sure hope we could influence people in a positive way, whether it is to learn how to play an instrument, start a band, fight against social inequality, help to heal someone’s wounded soul, etc…. I have never underestimated the power of music and it’s reach.

What are your plans for the future?

We’ve been talking about the possibility of a third album aiming to have enough songs written by the end of the year, even though it’s going to be challenging due to the distance between us, but we love challenges and we love to use the technology that makes these modern collaboration methods possible.

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