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Interview

Cydemind Digs Deep Into New Prog Metal Album "Erosion"

One of the most promising, well-rounded progressive releases of the year is about to drop from Cydemind! There's now less than two weeks to go until the official May 26th release date of "Erosion."

With that release date looming, we got in touch with the members of this violin-based metal mashup group to learn more about the distinctive blend of sends presented on "Erosion."

Below you can find the full interview, with pre-orders for this classically influenced prog metal opus online here and our full pre-release review of the album available at this location.

xFiruath: For Oliver, how long have you been playing violin and what prompted you to pick up the instrument?

I started at 7. I had a friend playing the violin and I went to see his concert. That’s when I told my parents I wanted to start playing too. Here I am, 17 years later, starting a doctorate degree in violin performance. Little did I know back then it would lead me to where I am now.

xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the group's history and how did the idea for a violin prog metal band come about?

Olivier’s idea of blending classical violin with metal was in his mind since he was a teenager. Back then he used to write music on his own just for fun (that’s his excuse for it being shitty). The idea of starting a real metal band with violin came a few years later when he discovered David Garrett and heard him play Metallica and Vivaldi with a rock band. So his good friend and Cydemind’s ex-bassist Elie and him gathered some other guys (including Dage on drums) and prepared for a college music competition where they played Dream Theater and David Garrett covers.

After the show, Oli, Elie and Dage decided to go on with the band and quickly found Kevin and Camille to complete the line-up. Olivier and Kevin already knew each other since they shared their teenager’s compositions. Cydemind songs are actually a blend of Oli and Kev’s musical creativity. After the release of the EP “Through Mists and Ages,” our ex-bassist Elie decided to quit the band to focus on his studies. The band then replaced him with Nico, whom they share the stage with when he was playing in the prog band Transcend.

xFiruath: Let's chat about the recording process, and specifically any difficulties that may have popped up while tracking this prog metal beast.

We first recorded keyboards and guitars DIs in our home studio. Then Dage (drums), Nico (bass) and Oli (violins) went to The Grid Studios in Montreal, with producer Chris Donaldson. All guitars were also re-amped there. Finally, Cam recorded all of his grand piano tracks at Studio 270 in Montreal. Chris did the mixing and mastering.

As for the difficulties encountered, one of them was Dage getting injured during the recording. Good thing Kev is a physical therapist and treated him during the recording process. Otherwise, the other challenge was to accurately match the 5-string electric violin tone to the 4-string acoustic violin sound. Thanks to Chris, the result is pretty close.

xFiruath: When I was listening through the album, I was struck by how clearly certain tones and atmospheres came through – for me the album painted a vivid picture and seemed to have a story without lyrics. Was this intentional, and is there a specific theme or story going on with the album even though you don't have any singing?

We’re happy that you associated our music to a story or images. Without it being intentional, it is intrinsic to our writing process.

As of yet, we don’t compose music with a particular story in mind, even though that might be an interesting idea in the future. However, we’re very sensitive to the songs’ progression. For us, it’s not about shredding or showing-off: the most important thing is that the song tells something musically. What’s wonderful about it is that everybody interprets the musical story in its own way.

There is still a general theme around "Erosion." Each song gravitates around the theme of nature. Cam even wrote lyrical poems that appear in the booklet, that describe each track.

xFiruath: Is there one song or segment in particular you can't wait for the fans to hear on this album?

It’s hard to pick a highlight in particular. Of course, Derecho and Erosion are lengthy epic songs that cover a lot of ground. We put so much time on these songs, we’re eager to hear the fans’ reaction to them!

xFiruath: Who put together the album cover and how does it connect to the music?

We are lucky to have Dage, who aside from being an excellent drummer is also very creative in terms of design. This guy is behind everything related to Cydemind’s image (website, videos, photos, artwork, etc). The cover of Erosion represents the vastness of nature. All tracks are depicted in it. We chose this conceptual angle because Cydemind’s sound is large and varied. We felt that there are a lot of aspects in nature that can represent the mood and character of our songs.

xFiruath: Is the Cydemind crew putting together any live shows in support of the album, and if so, where are you headed?

Yes. A release show will take place at Cabaret Lion d’Or in Montreal on June 17th. A Canadian mini tour will also be announced soon.

xFiruath: Are there any challenges to getting this style of music to translate to a live stage with violin and piano working alongside the more traditional heavier instruments?

For now, Oli uses an electric violin and Cam plays on a keyboard so there is no real challenge. Eventually, we would love to have a grand piano live to better highlight the acoustic sound of Cydemind on stage.

xFiruath: Do you see Cydemind on more of an all-instrumental lineup, or would you prefer to see the group mixed in with either more traditional metal bands or more traditional classical bands?

We see ourselves as an instrumental band. We can’t imagine composing as freely if we had lyrics to add on our songs. However, we are not closing the door to collaboration with singers in the future.

xFiruath: What's happening in the Montreal music scene these days, and are there any venues or locations really supportive of Cydemind?

Montreal is full of small quality venues that are open to new bands. Everywhere we have played, we had a strong response from fans.

xFiruath: Are any of the Cydemind members currently active with any other musical projects?

Other than Oli who will pursue a doctorate in violin performance, no one is active with any other project.

xFiruath: On the progressive front, I'm personally really looking forward to hearing new material from Augury (another Canadian group) and Subterranean Masquerade. What's coming out soon in any of the heavier genres you can't wait to hear?

We are really looking forward to hear our good friends Pyramid Theorem’s next album.

xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to add?

To our fans, thanks for supporting us and we hope you will like Erosion as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Thanks for your time, Cydemind!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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