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