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| 11 October 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Modernistic metal outfit SOLEMN VISION have dropped a new single off their upcoming studio effort, Despite The Rise of the Sun. The Brooklyn band’s new track, “Bane and Benumbed,” is out today and is accompanied by a visualizer. SOLEMN VISION was founded in the depths of Brooklyn, NYC as the rebranded version of its founders’ first concept, Spectral Voices. They kicked off strong in 2019 with the critically-acclaimed grassroots release of their debut self-titled record and quickly found themselves playing around New England, Montreal, and much of the mid-Atlantic metal circuit. Since then, the 5-piece powerhouse has built a fearsome reputation in the scene for their eclectic, worldly take on the genre.” We get drummer Carlos and guitarist Kadin to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Carlos: There’s quite a bit of intentional panning throughout the record. From guitar riffs trading off, to vocal harmonies and dynamic changes. In the song “On The Eve Of Silence,” I actually swapped out my ride cymbal for the softer clean parts, vs. the hard and heavy sections where I used my usual, brighter ride. Aside from that, there isn’t anything we’ve purposely hidden.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Kadin: The thing that got me into music was watching Jimi Hendrix’s set in the Woodstock concert movie. I vividly remember sitting on the floor of my parents’ living room at age 6 or 7, glued to the screen watching Hendrix absolutely rip the most insane leads you’ve ever heard, and just thinking, “I want to do that. I want to BE that.” So that was the thing that made me fall in love with music. The moment I knew I wanted to actually be a musician didn’t come until a few years later when I played my first show with my first band, which I formed with two of my best friends in my freshman year of high school. It wasn’t even a real show, really, it was just a performance in front of the rest of the high school. But hearing people scream applause after the first song was the most exhilarating moment of my life to that point, and from then on there was no going back.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Kadin: I have to say Hendrix of course because he’s the one that made me want to play guitar at all. But in terms of my musical taste, this is kind of silly, but a lot of my taste in music was formed by playing Guitar Hero 2 with my best friend in middle school and high school. This friend of mine was the only other person I knew who was interested in rock music, and he introduced to me a lot of iconic rock and metal bands. Guitar Hero 2 unironically has an amazing soundtrack – “Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy, “Hangar 18” by Megadeth, “Thunderhorse” by Dethklok – tons of amazing songs. So after being introduced to a huge variety of rock and metal bands through my best friend, I just devoured as much music in and around those styles as I could from there on.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Kadin: Jeff Loomis, no question. Loomis has been my favorite metal guitar player from the moment I first discovered Nevermore, and his songwriting for that band has had a massive influence on my songwriting and the types of riffs I come up with. I can only imagine how inspiring it would be to work with him directly and write some riffs with him.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Carlos: Mostly hanging out with friends or going to cocktail bars. I enjoy video games casually as well.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Carlos: Progressive Melodic Death Metal, but progressive in more of an Opeth way versus a technical way. We stay in a bubble, but have a lot of variety since everyone in the band contributes heavily to the songwriting. There’s something in there for everyone.

Kadin: The only comparisons we’ve ever gotten from anyone that really made me cringe were the (admittedly few and far-between) times that people said we reminded them of Killswitch Engage. I don’t think we sound anything like Killswitch Engage and I honestly think the only reason people ever said that to us is because we both had black singers at the time. There was also one time I read a comment where someone said “these guys sound like a shitty Converge” which is like, it’s fine if you don’t like us, but that comparison is insane to the point of being comical. I don’t know how you could possibly get Converge from any of our songs.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Carlos: Everyone chips in and can throw down in the kitchen, but Anthony is the only one who’s an actual chef. I handle the drinks as I come from a pretty extensive bar background and love getting creative. Aaron and Mauricio are definitely the ones to start jamming first, and Kadin the guy who whips out the ancient CRT TV just so that he can whoop everyone’s ass in Super Smash Bros. and not worry about the hardly noticeable lag with newer consoles.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Carlos: I have two – the first was Devin Townsend at 70,000 tons in 2020 playing Strapping Young Lad Material. I was on cloud 9 the entire performance. The second was the Death To All tribute to Death. I’ve never seen any of the previous tribute shows but finally seeing Gene Hoglan playing Symbolic and so many other classics was just surreal.

Kadin: The last time I was truly starstruck was probably the first time I ever saw Obscura live, which was not too long after Christian Münzner had rejoined the band after taking some time off to deal with nerve damage issues in his left hand. He essentially had to completely re-work his fretting technique because the condition makes it much harder for him to use some of the fingers on his left hand, and watching him flawlessly execute music on that level of technicality and complexity after getting over what would be a career-ending event for some players was more inspiring than I can put into words.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Carlos: Being in the studio and hearing your ideas come to life is such an incredible feeling. Getting pumped to hear your bandmates parts, seeing everything come together in real time is just incredibly gratifying. If I could no longer be a musician, I’d want to do something that lets me travel. Maybe get into marine biology, or go back into bartending and mixology, but really go all out and compete, or open my own bar.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Kadin: Honestly, I’d really like it if an interviewer picked a specific section of one of our songs they really liked and asked us to explain it musically. I love talking about how the music works and there’s always a huge amount of little detail that goes into how any riff or part works that aren’t immediately apparent to even a seasoned, musically-knowledgeable listener won’t necessarily catch. I don’t know if there are any questions I’m particularly tired of answering. I love any excuse to talk about music.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Carlos: Too many to type out. Having the knowledge and experience I do now, I would definitely go through my music career making much smarter and meaningful choices. I really wish that I went to school for music, or audio engineering, or something relevant. When I had the chance, I decided not to so that I could focus on a band that doesn’t even exist anymore. At the same time though, that band is the reason I met my brothers in Solemn Vision so… c’est la vie.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Kadin: One of my favorite albums of all time is the self-titled debut LP by Conquering Dystopia, which was an instrumental technical metal supergroup involving Jeff Loomis and another of my favorite guitarists, Keith Merrow. I talked to Keith once and asked him what it was like recording the album with Loomis, and he told me about how one day Jeff came over to his home studio and recorded guitar for 16 hours straight without taking anything more than minor bathroom and food breaks. Jeff got all of his rhythms and leads for 4 entire songs done in that one session and, in Keith’s own words to me, “Not once did he ever slow down, get sloppy, get cranky, or even appear tired.” Keith went on to tell me that after 16 hours of work, the only reason they stopped is not because Jeff couldn’t play anymore, but because Keith’s eyes and brain were fried from being in front of the computer all day. And apparently when Keith told Jeff he needed to call it quits for the day, Jeff casually said, “Ok cool sounds good! Wanna watch a movie or something?” I really would have liked to witness that in person.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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