Belgian djent/progressive metal four-piece Hybridism released their self-titled, instrumental debut album in February filled to the brim with, in the band’s own words, “variety of melodies and samples to replace the vocals in some kind of way.”
The group answered our questionnaire about the release.
Define the mission of Hybridism.
Well, we don’t really have that kind of a mission. This is our very first album, people can expect a very ambient album with a lot of ups and downs. We are an instrumental djent and prog band so there’s a mixture of heavy riffs all in the name of “DJENT” such as calm moments packed with beautiful melodies. The songs were actually written for people who like this particular style and heavy music, but also for those who are not so familiar with heavy music. This is why there are heavy and more soften moments on this record.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your self-titled debut album.
It was quite a challenge for a few of us who never played „DJENT“ before. Obviously we were all listening to djent bands at the time, so we liked the unique sound and it’s challenging approach. We all played in rock and metal bands before, but for us all, this was the first djent project we were involved. Jeffrey, who wanted to start as a one-man project, had already written a whole bunch of songs. As we developed them later as a band, everybody was free to bring some ideas and input, so we all felt very satisfied pretty fast. For the recording sessions we chose Babylon Studios in the Czech Republic. The album was produced by none other than Thomas Raklavsky, owner of the studio and mastermind behind the very well known djent band „Modern Day Babylon“. Coming back home with a very satisfying result was an awesome experience for us all.
Although it is an instrumental release, would you say that there is a certain message with the album that you are trying to give?
Don’t trust singers! No, all jokes aside The initial idea starting out with a singer was dropped before entering the studio. We tried a few but we just had no luck. So as an instrumental band we don’t have that kind of a storyteller. We try the spread messages via our melodies which worked out quite well so far. Concerning the melodies we got some good reviews and I think this is one of the major strengths of the band. Our main goal is to continue our songwriting that way, keeping the focus on strong melodies to touch the listener and the audience.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
We are lucky enough to have access to Logic and some recording equipment. In addition, we are using Guitar Pro, which is an awesome tool to be able to quickly document every instrument and every single note you are playing. For our samples and atmosphere we are working with different VST’s (Virtual Studio Technology). These are indispensable tools for us, getting done what we are putting together.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
I would say so, yes! Jeffrey, our guitarist is working a lot on the timings and musical dynamics on every song. Everything was written very carefully in that kind of way, as well to ensure that there is a certain balance between the heavy and the more soften parts, the change of tempos and the variation of every single song.
Describe the approach recording the album.
It was quite a challenge for a few of us who never played “DJENT” before. Obviously we were all listening to djent bands at the time, so we liked the unique sound and it’s challenging approach. We all played in rock and metal bands before, but for us all, this was the first djent project we were involved. Jeffrey, who wanted to start as a one-man project, had already written a whole bunch of songs. As we developed them later as a band, everybody was free to bring some ideas and input, so we all felt very satisfied pretty fast. The pre-production was done in Belgium at Jeffrey’s place and for the recording sessions we chose Babylon Studios in the Czech Republic. The album was produced by none other than Thomas Raklavsky, owner of the studio and mastermind behind the very well known djent band „Modern Day Babylon“. Working with this guy was just inspiring and a tremendous experience for us.
How long “Hybridism” was in the making?
Getting the band together took quite some time. Jeffrey started a few years ago writing some songs exclusively for 8-string guitars. The first guy who joined the project was our drummer Lucas. More or less than a year they were looking for a bassist. They came to me and asked me if I would be interested joining them. After a few weeks I became convinced of the project. First, I was pretty sceptic and it took me quite a while because I was doubting my own abilities. I’m more that kind of a rock bassist you know, the djent genre is a whole new area for me. After a few weeks and rehearsals our second guitarist Alex joined the band and we were ready starting things off.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
I would definitely say modern djent acts, like Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Modern Day Babylon, Tesseract, Plini etc. Their whole approach of playing their instruments, the sound they made and the atmosphere they create on every album took this genre to a whole new level. The pursuit of these sounds and all kinds of its various melodies are the real challenge for us.
What is your view on technology in music?
Oh man! My technological knowledge is so limited. The other guys are more nerdier than I am Those guys are the real geeks. I’m more that old school kind of a guy you know. But I think the evolution of technology has an important effect on modern music. Especially in our genre the possibilities these days are countless. You have all these kind of VST’s (Virtual Sound Technology) you can use at home to do your own stuff independent of anyone else. You can create music toghether, even if you are thousands of miles away from each other. People are using modeling amps today with a huge number of sound banks and presets which gives you more flexibility in your sound without carrying big Pedalboards with you. Of course, there are pros and cons, it all depends on your individual kind of view, but as technology continues expanding, the musical advances have a huge impact on the type of music we create.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
I would not say our music, but definitely every music. Music is one of the most universal ways of expression. It’s has a crucial role in the fulfilment of our daily tasks. Being stressed and then listening to our favourite tunes makes us nearly forget everything. I mean, why are we listening to music, it certainly means a lot to us and gives us the satisfaction we need in certain moments of depression. We don’t see a certain purpose in our music, we just want to do the stuff we want to do.
What are your plans for the future?
First, we are trying to play concerts as much as we can to get that touring routine as a band, which is not always that easy beside our jobs. Three of us have permanent jobs, but we are all trying our best to manage everything. Another important thing is doing our promotional work to share our music in the best logical way. For the moment our main goal is to spread the name all over our greater region (Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany). This is a small step, but it should be achievable. We are pretty confident about that.
A few little tours with some bands already established in the scene are planned, we already got some nice offers for a few festivals later next year and the songwriting mode is always ON! We are already looking forward to release another album in the next 2 years.
Hybridism is out now; get it from Bandcamp.