Thursday, April 7, 2016

Interview: Cetacean's Brain Tells The Tales

Breach | Submerge
Years ago, I remember Lars Ulrich discussing the black album and how it was time for Metallica to move away from the mini-epics they had been doing for years and focus on a new path.

In my 17 year old mine, eight and nine minute songs were epics!

It had been years since Pink Floyd released anything progressive. King Crimson wasn't in my lexicon.

And Cetacean weren't even conceived yet.

Their latest offering, Breach | Submerge is a three track opus. The shortest of the three being around nine minutes.

Long songs have always been a favorite of mine, but overly long songs, well, it took Pink Floyd to really open me up to that, but I'm not the only on here who's in love with The Floyd.

Glacially Musical: Hello! Tell me what the genesis of this band was?

Cetacean: Hi! 

I was in an instrumental rock band called Danger Invites Rescue, and at the tail end of that band’s existence around 2009 I started to write riffs and parts that were on the heavier side of what Danger was doing. 

When that band fizzled out, I started to get really inspired by Cult of Luna and Opeth. I decided for my next project I wanted to take those riffs and write songs that contained everything I loved about heavy music. Initially I had no expectations of forming a band; 

I just wanted to get some friends together who could help me finish writing the tunes and then record them.

GM: Listening to Breach | Submerge's opening track, Earth is a Whisper, the saxophone really struck me. It had a smooth jazz kind of groove to it. How did that part of the song come about?

CT: Around 2009/2010, I was becoming more interested in jazz and Pink Floyd. 

My friend and fellow guitarist Swansong was also getting more into jazz and had been digging into that stuff on the saxophone. The rhythm part was inspired by a groove on a Cult of Luna song, and I knew that I wanted a sax line over it. 

Swan hooked it up.

GM: In my presser about you guys, it said Relayed if you like: Opeth, Alcest, Emperor, Pink Floyd, and Neurosis. Do you think that's apt for the music you make?

CT: I would agree. Each of those bands have inspired us. Metallica is also a huge inspiration for me personally.

GM: Kiss famously said, we want to be the band we never saw on stage. 

As I've gotten older, I've come to really look for bands that I've never heard before. The avant garde has grown far more appealing to my ear, because I don't want to hear the next chord progression before it's played. Cetacean clearly falls into this mold. 

Do you find it hard to stay away from well worn musical paths?

CT: I think it is difficult to not rely on the tried and true. 

Sometimes you need to go there, but we try to keep it fresh. Each of us have an eclectic taste in music, so we can’t help but inject some of those non-metal influences into the music.

GM: Cetacean is more than just four guys playing the same four instruments and the songs are better for it. How do you take an idea and turn it into a ten minute epic?

CT: Great question. 

I’m not sure if I can articulate this well. Usually it starts with a riff or part, but then after playing that riff or part over and over again you start to get a sense of where things want or need to go. 

You start to feel the concept of the song come to life, and then you just have to run with it to see where it ends up.

GM: Could you write a 4 minute metal track?

CT: I think so. 

That’s pretty much what Outpour I is…originally Outpour I.II.III. was supposed to be in three parts that linked together but as separate tracks instead of just one continuous track.

GM: My journey through music started by owning a copy of "Live Evil" by Dio fronted Black Sabbath. I think that may have darkened my tastes just a bit. 

Where do you find the inspiration for Cetacean?

CT: Musically I'd say Cult of Luna, Neurosis, Metallica, and Opeth are probably the most influential bands on Cetacean’s sound (thus far) in my opinion. 

Other media can be inspiring too, like sci-fi movies/books, and anime. Some philosophy too, stuff we talk about when we're getting deep with each other (lol).

GM: What are the five most important records of all time?

CT: For me Master of Puppets, by Metallica. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. Somewhere Along The Highway by Cult of Luna. Blackwater Park  by Opeth. A Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and an honorable mention to Black Sabbath.

GM: About a year ago now, I had an epiphany and I started buying vinyl only, where available. That's how I prefer to listen to an album. What does having a vinyl record coming out mean to you?

CT: It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I’m stoked that it’s happening with this recording. 

An important notch on the musical belt.

GM: I had some friends over and we were listening to records and my daughter asked for Led Zeppelin. So of course, I put on my copy of Houses of the Holy. 

My friend then told me that smaller bands were having problems getting their vinyl pressed because of the dearth of re-releases. Have you had any problems like that?

CT: I know there’s a pretty long wait time for pressing vinyl. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that there aren’t many pressing plants around anymore, maybe only a handful in North America? 

We knew ahead of time that there was going to be at least an 6-12 week period before the record was pressed, so there haven’t been any issues we weren’t already prepared for.

GM: What is Cetacean all about?

CT: Self-expression. The music is founded in metal, but we also want to play what we feel, and interpret all of our influences however we like. 

Breach | Submerge is available on digital and vinyl (preorder) at their Bandcamp page.

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