This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/heyokas-mirror-interview/
Calgary, Alberta-based prog trio Heyoka’s Mirror has launched their debıt EP ‘Loss of Contact with Reality‘ earlier this month, a three-track concept story about a man blinded by money and power. Taking on a mix of progressive metal, death metal, avant-garde, and jazz fusion, along with excursions to the world of opera, Heyoka’s Mirror display a huge amount of talent with ‘Loss of Contact with Reality,’ which was mastered by TesseracT‘s Acle Kahney.
Define the mission of Heyoka’s Mirror.
Our mission is to spread knowledge and a message from the heart. The message is to look at yourself, look through the looking glass, realize who you are, do you know who you are? We want to open your mind, to make you see things, see emotion, see feelings.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent EP Loss of Contact with Reality and the themes it captures.
Andrew: We wrote “Face of Void,” “Time Manager” and “Chronovisor” for a battle of the bands back in 2015. It took us 4 to 5 months to write those 3 songs. I would go to Omar’s and just sit there and write. First we would talk about the story, then we would come up with themes for every emotion our character would be going through, pretty much like a storyboard, and then we would present it to Bayan, he would add the drums, and then we would practice, practice, practice, perform, perform, perform. Finally, two years later, we thought… maybe we should record this!
The EP is a concept album. It talks about a man, who we named “Mr. Loomis,” he is a man blinded by money and power. “Face of Void” introduces Mr. Loomis and makes him experience his first awakening; “Time Manager” talks about all the money and power he is made of, and finally, “Chronovisor” is the story of his demise.
What is the message you are trying to give with Loss of Contact with Reality?
Omar: The message of this EP is that we’re here as a band. It’s an introduction to what’s to come. Again… it’s a message, a request… an invitation to lose contact with your current reality.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
Andrew: We always record video on our phones while we’re writing, then I go home and watch the videos, transcribe them on GuitarPro and that’s it! Once the tab is complete I send it to everyone so they can practice with it.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
Andrew: Hell yeah! Sometimes we spend up to five hours just creating a bridge or a verse. We have a lot of ideas all the time, but we only work on the ones that we feel 100% connected with. Also, you have to remember that by the time we are writing the music, we already have a “storyboard” so we don’t just fuck around with random ideas that fit the key, we focus on the emotion the character is going through at that moment.
Describe the approach to recording the EP.
Omar: I guess the way we decided to record was when everything was written and we had practiced a lot as a band. We performed those songs many times live so that gave us a little bit of an idea on how it should sound like, it also gave us new ideas for certain parts… there’s always a new vibrato or a new slide here and there. So, even when we’re 100% happy with a section… there’s always room for improvement. And just like in any album, Bayan started recording the drums, Andrew recorded bass, then Andrew and I recorded rhythm guitars. Andrew recorded keyboards and vocals and I recorded the guitar solos at the very end.
How long Loss of Contact with Reality was in the making?
Andrew: Oh man, it took forever! [laughing] We started writing on May 23rd, 2015 and finished around March 2016… Wow! That’s nine months! Not 4 or 5! [laughs] Our very first show for the battle of the bands was on November 14, 2015 and the finals were on March 19, 2016. We only had time to practice the songs we needed to perform and not so much time to write new material during that time.
When we were done with the battle of the bands we just kept on writing and writing and writing. It wasn’t until July 2016 that we decided to create the EP. We all have full time jobs so the recording process took 10 months! We were finally done by May 2017.
The EP was mastered by TesseracT’s Acle Kahney. How did you go about getting in touch and what was his input to the overall process like?
Andrew: I love TesseracT and I follow them on their social media, of course. It was on their Facebook page that I found out that Acle runs 4D Sounds. I sent him an email and he replied right away. He is super nice and down to earth. We started by sending him “Face of Void,” we wanted to test the waters and see what he could do to our sound. When “Face of Void” came back…. It was a monster! Acle knows exactly what a prog band wants and needs. We sent him the other two songs and when “Time Manager” came back, for some reason I still don’t know, I wasn’t 100% happy with the sound. So I asked him if he could do some changes… and so he did. When the new master came back I listened to it and I was like: “oh yeah, this is awesome!” Then I listened to the first version he sent again and my mind was blown away!!! WTF was I thinking??? Remember kids… Always listen to your mixes and masters on different monitors, speakers, systems, etc.
I sent him an apology for making him work extra time when his first master was the best. You can get in touch with him at www.4dsounds.com
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
Omar: That’s pretty simple… Dream Theater, Steve Vai, Meshuggah, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Transatlantic, Animals as Leaders… and some good old Metallica! m/
What is your view on technology in music?
Andrew: I love technology! As long as whatever gadget I’m using allows me to play single notes and gives me creative freedom, I’m onboard! Music always comes first, so if the gadget helps the music we’ll use it. Technology makes everything easier for humans… but we also want to play our own music! That’s why we never use backing tracks during shows, everything you hear is coming from us.
Let technology help you, but never let it do everything for you.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
Andrew: I hope so! That’s what I want and that’s why we write. We don’t write to entertain, we write because we love music but also because we want you to get to know yourself and make a change.
What are your plans for the future?
Omar: We will start recording the full album in March 2018. It will consist of 8 songs and we expect to release it by January 2019. In the meantime we will like to keep playing around the city and plan a little tour in the west side of Canada. We would love to write new material but first things first! Recording!
Andrew: We would also like to release a music video for “Chronovisor” and maybe a live recording of a new song? Something, so you don’t forget about us during 2018
Loss of Contact with Reality is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow Heyoka’s Mirror on Facebook for future updates.