Tymon Kruidenier, the hybrid

Photo: Anthony Dubois

Nick: Hi Tymon. Since I got a confirmation for making this interview, I had on my mind an introduction which says “What do Chuck Schuldiner and Allan Holdsworth have in common? Of course, it’s Tymon Kruidenier.” Would you say that’s true? Personally, it seems to me that you are heavily influenced by these two great guitarists.

Tymon: I never think about it that way but if I stop for a second and consider the influence both musicians had on me I guess you are right! Especially the Chuck influence seems such a long time ago for me personally, but I guess it’s still in there somewhere. It’s essentially how I started playing the guitar, playing along with Death songs. Allan Holdsworth has been my favorite guitar player ever since I heard him so he’s still a very current influence for me.

Nick: How was the recent European tour with Cynic? I saw some photos people have uploaded to Facebook, and it looks like you had a blast. Europe and especially Serbia loves seeing you guys here, as you’ve played here twice in the last 3 years. I asked Paul, so I’ll ask you too, what are your memories of playing in Belgrade?

Tymon: We love playing out in Europe, each country has its own unique qualities that are fun to experience when performing there. I’ve only played in Belgrade once with Cynic but that was a blast! It was a very small and intimate club with very passionate people coming to see us.

Nick: Would you tell us about your musical beginnings and what it was like joining Cynic? How is it playing with one of the most influential bands in the genre?

Tymon: It literally was a dream come true for me. Even though I barely listened to any metal anymore back in 2007 when I was asked to join the band, I still considered Focus to be

Photo: Jerome Abramovitch

one of my favorite albums and a true timeless piece of art. Playing in the band is very different from how you would think it would be though. You have to let the dream scenario go because that’s not a very realistic place to work from. We’re all good friends now, respect each other as musicians and are a productive working band. I can’t complain!! Sometimes when playing live I’m being reminded about the influence Cynic had on the prog scene and I feel how it was to be a fan of this band. I’m grateful for the opportunity and for how open the fans were to accepting me in the band.

Nick: Let’s focus on Exivious. You formed it together with the fellow Cynic member Robin Zielhorst and the Textures duo, Michel Nienhuis and Stef Broks. Would you mind telling us about Exivious’ beginnings? How did it go?

Tymon: Exivious has always been my main project ever since I started playing the guitar. It changed so much since the beginning. We went through numerous line up changes and a ton of demo material. Though what I consider Exivious these days is the 2005 reincarnation of the band, the band everyone knows these days. When I started to feel comfortable with the music I wrote and I felt it was time to record and release something I started my search for the right musicians.I found Stef through his band Textures and he brought Michel and Robin in. It all went very fast actually. I remember it took about a year to gel together as a band, to start understanding each other musically but also find the collective sound we were looking for with Exivious.

Nick: I guess that Exivious is exactly a good indicator of the statement from the beginning of this interview, as I can clearly notice the Schuldiner/Holdsworth traces. It’s evident that you are jazz fusion/metal freaks, so maybe you could tell us about the influences and the bands that have been inspired your work with Exivious?

Tymon: We have so many influences it wouldn’t make sense to list them here! We’re obviously into a lot of fusion like Allan Holdsworth and Tribal Tech and we all share the love for metal. But we also love a lot of other styles of music like jazz, ambient, pop, electronic, psychedelic, classical, pretty much everything! I think all those different influences have had a huge impact on our sense of harmony and melody, something you don’t hear right away in our music but are definitely there.

Nick: Are there plans for a new Exivious album at some point in the future? Have you been thinking about it?

Tymon: Not right now, we decided to break up because we just couldn’t find the time anymore to sustain the band, and it doesn’t help that Robin and I live in LA now either. Robin and I are totally focused on Cynic right now and both Michel and Stef have their commitments as well. But who knows… in a distant future…

Nick: How does Exivious stand when it comes to playing live? I think it would be good you are live support for Cynic, since two of you already play with Cynic and the other guys could easily join. What do you think?

Tymon: That seems ideal when you first think about it but unfortunately it’s hard to make that work from a practical point of view. Dividing your attention between two bands that both need your full attention is not a very wise thing to do in my opinion. We also heard some bad stories from guys doing the double duty thing so we decided it’s better to not even try it.

Nick: You’ve succeeded to make a hybrid of progressive metal and fusion jazz. Do you have an interest in discovering other-new music? What are your all-time favorite albums/bands?

Tymon: Definitely. This will be evident on a new Cynic album and even more so on a new Exivious album if that will ever see the light of day. I have so many favorite albums I wouldn’t know where to start honestly!

Nick: What comes next after the upcoming Cynic US tour?

Tymon: Writing a new CYNIC album!

Nick: What kind of gear/equipment do you use in studio/live?

Tymon: Paul and I use Steinberger guitars going through a Fractal Audio Axe-FX for amp modeling and effects. Pretty much the simplest setup you can have in the world of guitar. In

Photo: Anthony Dubois

the studio we also use some old amps, a variety of stomp boxes and other random effects we can find.

Nick: As far as I know, you give guitar lessons in the LA area. How is the feel when you know that you taught someone and helped shape someone’s guitar skills? Have you tried to do online lessons?

Tymon: I like it though I prefer to push my students to find things out on their own. I’ve always been a big supporter of learning things on your own, probably because that’s the way I learned to play guitar. Online lessons is something I’ve been into for a couple of months now. I teach through Skype and it actually works pretty well for most of my students.

Nick: Do you have any particular hobby besides being involved in music or a regular job?

Tymon: I obviously love music but also art, nature, and life in general. Secretly I’m also quite the geek, I love fooling around with new technology and computers. I’m very happy to say my regular job is being a musician!

Nick: I’m out of questions, so if you have something to add, feel fee to do it.

Tymon: Please come see us on our upcoming US tour, it’s Cynic’s first US headline tour ever!!

Nick: Thanks for your time, Tymon. See you.

Tymon: You’re welcome! Thanks for the interview!

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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