Thursday, 31 December 2009

Fusion Master Derryl Gabel

Most afficionados of virtuoso guitar have long been familiar with Derryl, be it through his guest spot on George Lynch's Sacred Groove album, his series of instructional products, or his solo fusion albums. He was kind enough to provide us with a short interview on gear, technique, and his personal musical evolution...

First off, thanks for your time Derryl!

Thank you for the interview!

Can you pinpoint when you first began your transition from neo-classical shredder to fusion player?

I would read interviews from some of my favorite players and a lot of times they pointed back to jazz and fusion players as influences and mentors. I suppose during my brief lesson period from Richard Medel he got me into listening to horn players like Parker, Coltrane, and Cannonball. That was back in the very early 90s.

How did your studies with Derek Taylor influence your style?

Derek and I became friends through mutual admiration but I have to admit he was a lot better than me at the time (While he was practicing all day I was having to work a day job outside and come home exhausted). We were doing similar things because we were studying the same Shrapnel players and just putting our own touch to it. He showed me the two-fingered tapping approach initially. He was doing these Paul Gilbert-inspired string skipping arps and extending them by tapping the two notes on top. I took that idea and started using it with pentatonics on every string and scales as well as arp sequencing. Just last year I saw an old video on Youtube of Steve Lynch from Autograph using the technique back from the mid 80s.

In terms of your legato technique, do you tend to use the Holdsworthian 'all hammer-ons' style, or the more traditional 'hammer-ons and pull-offs' approach?

I think the all exclusive hammer-ons thing is misunderstood. I personally don't use that technique exclusively. I don't pull-off as hard as maybe a rock player like Paul Gilbert would. It's more subtle. I do however use hammer-ons in places where one might think I'm using pull-offs though. This type of thing kind of happened naturally though through just the pure physics I suppose. As an example, if I were decending a pentatonic scale using the 313313 concept at a very high speed the descending hammer-ons would just naturally occur. It's not something I sat down and worked on.

What guitars are you currently using?

A Steinberger GM4-S, Carvin H2, and a DC145.

What about amps and effects?

Currently I'm using a Vox Tonelab, PS Systems Power Tool, and a Digitech 2120. Actually my 2120 just died and I bought a GSP1101 to replace it. Haven't got it yet so I don't know if I will keep it. If I can't get it to sound like the 2120 I'm thinking about maybe a TC Electronics G Force.

What sort of setup do you favour on your instruments (strings, pickups, action etc.)?

I like the action to be as low as possible. My action is .025 of an inch at the 12th fret. I use .09 guage strings. I use the Labella on the Steinberger and D'Addario on the Carvins. For picks I use the purple Dunlop mini stubby 3 mm.

Have you been tempted to go the seven or eight-string route at any time?

I tried a seven-string and liked it but had to sell it for financial reasons. I will get another eventually when I can afford it.

How much of your practice time is currently devoted to pure technique compared to theoretical study and improvisation?

I mainly just practice improvisation. I don't really work on technique for technique's sake anymore.

As a teacher, what are the most common problems you encounter when students first begin delving into fusion playing?

Typically I find students don't practice with backing tracks enough. They are still hooked on the metronome. Also, they tend to think more scalularly and not chordally. Meaning that they haven't memorized all the arps all over the neck in short forms and in sequential, cyclical forms.

What musicians (guitarists or otherwise) have caught your ear recently?

I really like Tom Quayle, Alex Hutchings, Daniele Gottardo, John Stowell, Pat Roos, Nick Kellie, Patrik Berggren, Scott Jones, Marshall Harrison, and Floyd Fernandes... I'm sure there are more just can't think of any more at the moment.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on making a few more DVDs and an album.

I just got a Roland GR-20, M-Audio 2626 and have been experimenting with having the computer notate what I'm improvising in realtime. Still trying to tweak it though and get the bugs out.

Derryl, thank you once again and best of luck!

Thank you!

For anyone interested in developing their grasp of modern guitar technique and advanced fusion concepts, I'd highly recommend you investigate Derryl's series of instructional products. See his website for details.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Derek Corzine of Cosyns

First off, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Yeah man, no problem at all.

What first inspired your interest in music and the guitar?

I found an old acoustic guitar in my sister's closet at her house when I was 11 and was definitely interested in attempting to play it. I really loved what I was hearing with the older Metallica songs especially the guitars in 'Master of Puppets'. I just HAD to do that! So really, just the intensity and energy of metal just got to me.

Who were your earliest influences guitar-wise?

That would be Kirk Hammet and Dimebag Darrel. I kept wanting to hear more and more guitar solos, but then I started listening to actual songwriting within metal with bands such as Extol (whose older material is still some of my favorite to date). Ole Borud from Extol/Schaliach probably had some of the biggest influence on me as far as songwriting goes at the time. Later I discovered Meshuggah and crazy heavy bands and also started listening to a bunch of soloists like Steve Vai, Tony MacAlpine, and Vinnie Moore.

What bands and projects are you currently involved with?

Wow, okay, the main band I'm with is called Bloodline Severed. We released a CD on Bombworks Records back in April called Visions Revealed. I've also been doing a project with my wife called Whisper from Heaven. Currently, it's me on all instruments and my wife singing. Kind of a darker symphonic progressive style. The other major project I'm working on at the moment is called Quester. This project is the brainchild of former Torman Maxt singer Martin DeBourge. I'm basically writing all the music for it and Brian Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok, Mike Kennealy) is playing bass and there is another drummer playing on there as well. I also do guest solo spots for a few different projects.

What gear are you currently using live and in the studio?

For performances I use a Laney head with a custom built 4x12 cab. A noise suppressor and a Tube Screamer for soloing. Fairly minimalistic... Guitar-wise, I use my custom Halo XSI 'Alpha Omega' eight-string, an Ibanez seven-string, Steinberger guitars and basses, and a custom fretless guitar for a select few songs. In studio situations, I use mainly the Ibanez seven for most of the rhythm parts as it has passive pickups and string-thru design. Very easy to change tunings if needed... also what I use more as a backup guitar in case I break a string on stage...

What tunings do you use on your six, seven and eight-string guitars? Do you employ specific guitars for each of your bands, or switch between them on a song-by-song basis?

For some of my higher-tuned stuff, I'll use a standard D tuning, everything dropped down a step. The Halo-8 is standard F... everything dropped down 1/2 a step. My Steinberger I play in drop C and use custom gauge strings so it stays put! The fretless will have different custom tunings depending on the song, and that's more to adapt to playing chords without them sounding out of intonation. My bass tunings fluctuate depending on what I'm recording. I only play bass live for church... everything else is recording purposes.

How did you become interested in fretless guitar? Did it take you long to adapt to it?

I was attending the Dallas Guitar Show back in 2002 I believe. I visited the Vigier booth and they had a fretless guitar up there with a brass fretboard. First time I had even seen or even heard of a fretless guitar. Definitely dug it because I always want to try and do something different. The fretless I use now is actually a completely reworked version of a St. Louis Music Anniversary guitar. It was my first electric guitar and it had a run-in with a concrete floor and messed up the frets badly. My guitarist at the time, James Urias (ex-Echoes of Eternity), he is a wizard when it comes to guitar building and modifications etc. He was so great to work with and I trust his work so much that it made it very difficult to trust anyone else after I moved from Texas to North Carolina. Anywayz, I basically took it apart and stripped and sanded the guitar and he did the rest...his first attempt at converting a fretted to a fretless. It turned out FANTASTIC! The feel of playing a fretless was definitely a lot different. No more rigidness... and when you put your fingers on the upper register strings, you barely notice it's there. You definitely need to be more accurate in your finger placement because even just a little off and it will sound awful to a trained ear. The hardest part was playing chords... you can't do the typical chords with a standard tuning without it sounded horrible out of tune... hence the reason for alternate tunings. Took about a day of good solid playing to really get comfortable with it.

What do you generally go for in your guitar set-ups in terms of action, string gauges, pick-ups, etc?

I like the action as low as I can get it. I utilize a lot of two-handed and 8-finger tapping techniques. String gauges depends on the guitar. I like thicker gauges on the lower strings because they're used mainly for rhythm anyways. When playing power metal and thrash, you definitely want the tightness there for accuracy. In the higher register, I like to go with lighter gauges on my 8-string because of the extended scale. Bending is much easier. For my seven-string, I use 10s. Pickups... I use DiMarzio pickups in all my guitars, except the eight-string, in which I use EMG 808s.

Do you still find time to practice a lot?

Haha! Not really. The most practice I get is if I'm recording. Anytime I have a guitar in my hand, I'm running through scales and other techniques to kinda warm up.

How did you develop the idea of using Morse Code as a songwriting tool?

My dad is a Texas Sheriff, so I grew up with law enforcement radios all around the house. Every 30 minutes or so, the radio towers would emit a Morse Code signal as a tower identifier, something like that, not sure exactly what it was... I was like "Hey, that rhythm could be a cool metal song!" and just couldn't stop there apparently...

Tell us a bit about the Cosyns EP?

Xtreme Progressive Instrumental shred-metal. Kinda like a cross between Meshuggah, Blotted Science, Steve Vai, and Textures in a way. The music uses various interpretations of Morse Code to present 'lyrics' while everything remains instrumental. I am a devout Christian and the lyrics definitely reflect that. As far as the interpretations of Morse Code goes, for those not familiar with what Morse Code is, it's a series of dashes and dots that represent letters and numbers. The 'dashes' might be an open chord and the 'dots' a palm muted note, or the dashes could be a series of four notes and the dots a series of two notes. Other ways I do it might be the bass playing a pulsating bass line or the bass drums or cymbals making the patterns while everything else is more simplistic over the top of it. There are many different ways to play it so everything sounds different from one another.

Even though you played all the instruments on the EP, do you have plans to turn this project into a full band and take it on the road?

I don't have plans for a full band. I do have plans for future releases to be sold at shows of other bands I'm performing with. So the best way to see me on the road is with another group, whoever that may be (I also fill in from time to time for various bands if scheduling permits). Right now it would be Bloodline Severed.

Do you tend to compose or improvise your solos?

If I'm filling in for a band, I would usually improvise because it tends to be spur of the moment type gigs. In the studio, I'll improvise over something a gazillion times so I can get the right 'feel' of it. Then, once the whole solo is completed, I'll go back and relearn it for performance.

Are there any new progressive acts that you've been especially inspired by recently?

Blotted Science is new to me. Just found out about them late June of this year ('09). That project totally blows my mind! To-Mera has also been an inspiration because I have a project with my wife called Whisper from Heaven which she sings on. We're both prog nuts so we really enjoy To-Mera. I respect the amount of talent it takes to compose music like that as well as for anyone to sing over it as good as Julie does. Other than that, I'm constantly inspired by bands like Spiral Architect, Circus Maximus, Dreamscape, etc.

What can we expect next from your various bands?

BLOODLINE SEVERED: We are in the middle of writing material for our 2nd full-length to be released sometime next year. We're very excited as it's much heavier and much more cohesive.
WHISPER FROM HEAVEN: We are finishing up vocals for a few tracks and hope to have a similar EP out by the end of the year. Dark Symphonic Progressive Metal.
QUESTER: Still currently writing and recording for our first album. A slow process but we want to get it right.
COSYNS: Future plans for a full-length hopefully sometime next year!

Derek, thank you once again for your time!

Thanx a bunch and God bless you!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Tom McLean of To-mera

Since their debut in 2006, To-mera have fast become one of the leading lights of the UK progressive metal scene. With a new line-up, and a new EP on the way, I caught up with guitarist Tom McLean to talk about his history, gear, technique, and the future of the band.

Tell us a little about yourself and your musical history...

I started playing classical guitar aged 10. I studied it formally up to grade 8, then made the switch to electric, which has been my primary focus ever since.

Which guitarists were major influences on you early on?

Way back in the beginning, it was Slash. I maintain to this day that he's never played a superfluous note. He made me take up the guitar to begin with actually. When I discovered shred, it was the likes of Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci and Steve Vai, the latter of whom had a particularly strong influence on my style and phrasing (hence the UV777, which I got back in 2000 and was my first seven-string).

How were you introduced to jazz? Did you ever formally study it?

That's a funny one. I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I got into jazz. In fact I think it was something that grew on me gradually until one day I woke up and realised I actually enjoyed it! I think mainly it came through studying at Cambridge. I wanted to form a metal band there (and eventually did, in fact - the aptly titled "Forlorn Hope"), but I really couldn't find any like minded musicians. I was so desperate to play, that I joined a saxophonist friend of mine to form an avant-garde jazz-rock band. The music was pure self-indulgence, but I learned a lot about improvisation.
After finishing my neuroscience degree, I was set to do a postgraduate medical course, but decided to spend a year learning more about jazz, which by that point had become an obsession. So I went to Trinity College of Music for a year. I learnt a lot about harmony and theory, but to be honest my improvisational ability was so primitive compared to a lot of the kids there that it made me realise I was probably never going to be a jazz pro :P

How did To-mera originally come about?

This already seems a distant memory, but basically a chance encounter at a Dillinger Escape Plan concert with Julie (whom I knew from her previous band Without Face) and Lee (original bassist) set the ball rolling. This was whilst I was at Trinity and desperate to form a metal band that would be interesting in trying out a jazz approach. I think Julie and Lee were the only people crazy/ foolish enough to indulge me!

What gear are you currently using live and in the studio?

Well, I'm still using the Framus Cobra head and cabs. I have a couple of pedals, namely the Holy Grail reverb, a Boss chorus pedal and the ISP Decimator. Guitar-wise, the LTD SC607B is still my favourite for chug, but I've recently acquired a JP7 which I'm hoping to make use of on our upcoming EP.
Studio-wise, the guitars will be DI'd through and M-Audio interface, recorded on Logic, and will be reamped at a later date.

Do you use any alternate tunings, especially for the super-heavy sounds on Delusions?
On Delusions there were three seven-string tunings: dropped F sharp, dropped A, and standard B. Now we've settled on dropped A as the standard tuning.

How do you get your fat jazz-guitar sounds? Is it your regular set-up?

On the album I used a Hamer Studio GATSSO for the jazz tones. It's a lovely warm-sounding guitar that I bought with the original intention of becoming the next John Scofield/ Pat Metheny, but that project has been shelved for now :P

What does a typical practice regime entail for you these days?

I haven't had a serious training regime since 2007. Life has been pretty hectic and disruptive since then, but when I find time I try to just enjoy playing the guitar for the sake of it, and focus more on being creative than technical workouts. I guess it's a phase I've been going through for a while, but that said, I feel a new technical regime is just about due.

What would be your advice to metal-heads interested in exploring jazz for the first time?

I guess venturing down the fusion route, via players like Greg Howe, Brett Garsed and Tony Macalpine, would be the most enjoyable and immediately relevant. It's from there that you can take it further and delve into the origins of this kind of music.

Have you considered doing some form of instructional video in the future?
Honestly, no. I don't feel I'd have much to offer that hasn't already been done much better.

Are there any new bands or players that've caught your ear recently?

Hmm.... well, the UK seems to have quite a healthy underground progressive scene, although it's been growing for quite some time I suppose. There's a big emphasis on rhythmic precision these days, which I quite like. Bands like Tesseract I think could have a lot of potential, although at the moment perhaps their influences are a bit too raw. Also, check out my friend Nik Wolf's project, at . This could yield some interesting things I reckon :)

What can we expect from the new To-mera material?

I'm quite excited about it. I suppose, logically, we're following on from where Delusions left off, but I think the style has started to boil down to something quite fresh for us. More groovy but more melodic. And, dare I say it, perhaps not quite so dark anymore :P (but, don't worry, it'll be anything but power metal!).

Tom, thank you once again for your time, and good luck in the future!

My pleasure!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Tymon Kruidenier of Cynic and Exivious

First off, thanks for taking the time to speak to us!

Tell us a little about yourself and your musical background.

I've been a big music fan for as long as I can remember. We always had a lot of music around the house as I was growing up, with my father being a guitar player too. When I was 16 I got my first guitar and haven't stopped playing since. I'm mostly self taught even though I studied music production and composition later.

Were there any specific players who influenced your style during your formative years?

Yes, my first big influence is without a doubt Chuck from Death. I basically learned to play metal by figuring out all Death songs on guitar. After that it went into jazz fusion stuff pretty soon so I ended up with Allan Holdsworth being the main guy.

At what point did you form Exivious?

Way back in 97 actually. Needless to say it wasn't much with me just playing guitar for a year. It was just me with a friend trying to play fast and heavy death metal.

What gear did you employ during the making of the album? Did you use a different set-up compared to what you use in Cynic? Any seven-string content?

Guitar wise I used my Steinberger GM-4S. Amp wise it's 99% Fractal Audio's Axe-FX. That's the same setup as I use for Cynic. I love it's simplicity and diversity. There's also some synth guitars and Roland VG-88 going on as well as some cool boutique stomp boxes.

What factor does improvisation play within the band?

That depends on the section and the player. For example Stef uses a lot of set rhythmic patterns but he improvises around them, especially obvious in fills and stuff like that. For guitar it's mostly the solos but in a live context I see this expanding to our riffs as well.

Are you planning on taking the new material out on the road?

We'd all love to tour but touring is so ridiculously expensive that it's hard to put into practice as an independent band. Besides that we have the issue of Stef touring a lot with Textures and Robin and I are touring a lot with Cynic. But aside from all this, we're trying to make it happen sometime!

Are there any newer guitarists or bands that've caught your attention recently?

Not really to be honest, but I'm not home a lot to check out new stuff. I can't wait to have the time again to dive into some new music!

How does writing with Michel in Exivious compare to working with Paul in Cynic?

Paul and Michel are very different personalities and that reflects in the way they approach music and composition. Paul writes in a very intuitive way, Michel is more of a thinker and planner. I think I'm somewhere in the middle so both work well for me to work with.

How do you feel about the state of progressive metal right now?

I'm glad to see a lot of people in the metal scene are open to it these days. It's crazy to see 6000 prog fans at the Dream Theater shows we're doing now with Cynic. Other than that, I'm not too much into prog metal anymore. There's not a lot of bands in the genre that can hold my interest.

What does your typical daily practice regime consist of?

I haven't had one for years, I should get back to it and get my playing to the next level though. I hope I can make that happen sometime soon! When I do get into practicing a lot I usually focus on new things only. Or there's a certain technique thing that got sloppy that needs some attention. I always have a clear goal when practicing though.

How does the composition process for Exivious generally work?

In a pretty normal fashion. Michel and I write our tunes at home, send them over to each other if we need some help or feedback. After that we get into the rehearsal room and flesh them out with the four of us.

What's next for Exivious and Cynic?

We're in brainstorming mode both with Exivious and Cynic, there's a lot of ideas and talk about new albums for both bands. How this will work out time-wise, we'll have to see. I'm very much looking forward to get into writing for both bands! I think it's safe to say that both albums will sound pretty different from the ones we just released.

Tymon, once again thank you for your time!

No problem! Thanks for the interview!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Chris Letchford of Scale The Summit

Houston-based progressive-metal band Scale The Summit's new album Carving Desert Canyons has received rave reviews from fans of metal and instrumental guitar alike, leading to a recent attention-grabbing feature in Guitar World. I caught up with eight-string wizard Chris Letchford to talk, gear, the early years, and the state of modern prog...

Tell us a little about yourself and your musical background. Were there any particular influences early on that drew you to metal and progressive music?

I started music in the 4th grade, playing saxophone. I moved onto bass at age 12 and was playing that instrument for about one year until my dad brought home my first guitar. I started with lessons very early on as well. So I have been playing guitar for a little over 10 years now. I really didn't start taking it seriously until 15 years old. I grew up in a very musical family, so the inspiration was always there. My dad was huge into Yes, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Out of all of those I'm still listening to pretty much only Yes. I was drawn into metal actually through Pantera. Dimebag is one of the reasons I started taking guitar more seriously. After finishing High School I decided that playing guitar was definitely something I wanted to do professionally so I enrolled in Houston Community College to take a bunch of sight-reading, theory and jazz theory improv classes. I was also still taking private lessons and a piano class. After one semester of that, really enjoying it, me and Travis (other STS guitar player) decided to move to Los Angeles to attend Musicians Institute, to not only get better at guitar, but to find a bassist and a drummer. We were having a hell of a time finding members in Houston. We both took the Guitar Craft Academy course and the GIT Course, and here we are now. We all moved back to Houston once the band line-up and school was complete. I'm currently teaching in Houston when we're not on tour.

How did Scale the Summit come to be?

Well, like I mentioned earlier, we formed in Los Angeles. Me and Travis moving out to LA to attend MI was the best decision we could have ever made. We met the rest of the guys there and haven't looked back since.

How did you settle on the eight-string as being your primary instrument, and how did you arrive at the BEADGbeg tuning?

I first started seeing a few of the jazz guys using the eight-strings set up with five guitar strings and 3 bass strings. Thought it was a neat idea and seemed challenging but obviously would not work for the style of music the band was playing. I started researching more about eight-strings and found Conklin guitars. I got my first 8 string Conklin a little over 4 years ago, tuned with the high A and low B. I knew having a the F# would not work for my style of playing. I started using the eight-string with the band the first day. I just liked the idea of having the extra space to move around, larger chord voicings and more strings for extended melody. Plus, I always like a challenge. Playing an eight-string, one of the biggest challenges is keeping the other strings quiet while playing. I later on went with the high G string, just because I simply found more use for it, especially with chord voicings.

Tell us about that gorgeous Sherman eight-string! Do you have any strong preferences in terms of guitar setup, like string gauges, action, pickups?

Well the Sherman is awesome. I actually have two more on order right now. Me and Mike have really helped each other out. He makes me some killer guitars and I push his name. Guitar World Magazine was obviously huge, I'm sure his email was swamped from it, as mine was extremely swamped as well! It was crazy actually!
I like my action lower, and I play a normal pacj 10-56 for the first seven strings and then a 08 for the high G string. I'm able to get the action height the same on all my guitars from taking the GCA course at MI, we spent the first three months just learning proper setups. Its great being able to work on your own guitars. I like my radius very flat as well. Usually around 16. My current Sherman and the couple more I have on order have Nordstrand Pickups. I like them a lot...super clear and quiet.

What do you use for amplification and effects? Do you have to make any special adjustments or additions to accommodate the eight?

No special adjustments needed. It's just a normal guitar but with extra strings. I play an ENGL Powerball Head. I'm actually endorsing them as of last week. So I have a cabinet on the way from Germany to replace my current Orange 4x12. I run a Holy Grail Reverb pedal and a Boss DD-6 through my effects loop, to fatten up the sound and make it nice and smooth.

Was there a period of adjustment when you got the eight, particularly with the unusual tuning?
No, not at all. I know a lot of theory and I know the notes on my fingerboard well, so it was an easy change. I switch between six, seven and eights on a daily basis, as I primarily teach on six-strings.

How does the compositional process work for the band? Do you write notation for everyone?

I write 90% of all the music, including all the second guitar. Me and my guitar player use to guide our drummer as to what we needed for select parts but now we just write out of the music, show it to him and he'll come up with his own parts, same goes for our bassist. He comes up with a lot of killer stuff. Being that we play pretty complicated music, its nice that we all know a good amount of theory. It's a lot easier to communicate with each other. Plus we're one of the few bands that all like what each other write. I hear horror stories about bands getting into arguments over writing and usually breaking up soon after forming. We're lucky I guess that we came together with a pretty much exact same view on what we wanted to play.

How heavily does improvisation figure into the band's approach?

Usually only during the writing stages. I write most of my solos by analyzing what the rhythm part is, and then start working out ideas. I'll first jam over the part to see what stylistic approach I'm going to take. My drummer we'll pretty much approach it the same way. We'll jam some parts over and over until we hear something we all dig.

You and Travis are definitely a strong two-guitar team. Are there any arranging tricks with the dual-guitar lineup that you feel are unique to the band?

Thanks a lot! I would definitely agree. I think thats another lucky aspect to this band is that we both have the same practice discipline and similar style of playing, so we fit together well. I would say the most unique thing would just be all the layered guitar parts we play and the riffs that helps us stand out from all the other progressive-style bands.

Are there any new players or bands that have caught your eye recently?

Tosin and Bulb's stuff is really awesome. I've been into Tosin's playing when he had his older band Reflux, who are also on our same record label. His new project with Bulb called Animals as Leaders is great as well. I found out about Bulb a long time ago through myspace, I now have something like 100 of his songs in my Itunes. My favorite, if he is reading this, was a straight riff based ENGL Invader head demo called 'Palmer'. Damn good. Needs to make that a song in his band.
Cynic is another, although not a NEW band, they are NEW as in being back together. Their new album is great. I also like Textures' new album. Got some sweet riffs in every song.
And lastly, there is a side project from Cynic's new rhythm guitar player and the drummer of Textures called Exivious. Which is a more fusion type band, which is great. Should definitely check that out. They have also been around for a while, but just started really putting time into it and getting a full length released.

How do you feel about the current state of progressive music in general?

I think its doing alright. With progressive music, you have to be some what talented to play it, so there is never going to be a take over of prog bands, like there has been with all the deathcore bands that have been coming out. Not that any of those bands are talentless, but I think we all know what I mean. That style is obviously easier to play, at least for guitar.

What's next for the band?

Tour in support of our new album Carving Desert Canyons. We, our agent and our label are very picky with what tours we take, so hopefully there will be some good some coming together this summer/fall. Would announce a huge tour we're going to be having this fall, but I don't want to jinx it from happening since its so far away, but its a great one!

Thank you for taking part in this interview!

Thanks for having me!