Veil Of Maya is one of those bands that always seem to be hitting the west coast, and it's awesome; their live show is something to definitely check out. With the band recently releasing their third full length album, "Eclipse", don't expect them to take any serious breaks; expect them to continue pounding the world with their arsenal of progressive metal. "Eclipse" is without a doubt Veil Of Maya's defining album, packed with intricate riffs and thoughtful lyrics.
I sat down and talked with guitarist Marc Okubo on a Wednesday afternoon. We chatted about the new record, tours, and much more.
You guys just got done with a tour supporting In Flames and Trivium -- how did that tour go for you guys? Was it nice playing to a different crowd than maybe you guys are used to?
Yeah, it was awesome. Just like you said, most people that were there had never heard of us, it was a good time.
You guys just released your third full-length album, "Eclipse" a few weeks ago on Sumerian Records; how has the response been so far?
It's been really good. The only real complaints that i've seen is that it's too short; we're aware of the length of the record. The thing is, we recorded it last year and it was intended to come out last year; if we knew we were releasing it when it did, it would've been longer...guess we'll have to record another album sooner.
How is Eclipse been a progression from your last album, [ID]? I know Misha from Periphery was the producer on this album, how was that experience?
Misha actually write the album with me, and it was me and him hanging out most times and doing whatever we could think of. We saw eye to eye on most things, and we didn't have to explain too much to each other. It was really smooth, we recorded it in something like 2 and a half weeks. We tried a alot of new things like adding choirs and orchestral stuff; Misha has a different sound than our previous producer, Michael Kean.
Where there any specific goals as a band going into the studio?
This was a more experimental run, because last time we had an album written when we went to record, as opposed to having this one partially written going into the studio.
Do you feel like you'll do this for future albums? Or go back to how you had it with a fully written album before going into the studio?
It depends on who we're recording with. It was alot of fun, but I was the only member of our band writing music in the band, and so this was a new approach for me and Misha isn't always going to be there to record us, so we'll see.
What's one thing that you can tell us about the album that everyone wouldn't know on their own?
The end of the song "Vicious Circles" there's a weird sound at the end, and that's actually Misha yelling into the guitar pickups. He and I were joking about these bands that have "nouns" for a name [Volumes, Structures, etc.], they're all great bands, but he was yelling "THIS IS THE NOUNS TOUR" into my pickups, and that made it into our CD.
Do you have any plans to record a music video for any particular song off the album?
Yeah, we'd like to do a video for "Divide Path" first, but we might do more than one video; we don't really know how that's going to work out.
What's your favorite song to play live off the album and why?
Well, "Punisher" is pretty unique and it's everyone at the moment. We only actually played that one and the intro from that album on our last tour, so we're looking forward to playing more songs off the album soon.
What other new songs are you most excited to play live?
I want to play "Divide Path" and "Numerical Scheme", mainly those two's are the ones that i'm most stoked on playing live.
What's your favorite song to play from your past two albums?
Well, we like to play "Crawl Back" alot, because it gets us in the zone, it's not too technical but not too fast.
Eclipse is your third album on Sumerian; that being said, is your contract fulfilled, or can we expect another album on the label?
We have fulfilled our contract, but they're still our record label right now; we haven't resigned yet, but we are highly considering it.
You've previously mentioned that you don't like to use power chords when playing the guitar, because it's really easy to add the third. What are some other useful tips to those learning the guitar?
I would recommend learn melodies and chords and train your ear, so when you hear something you know how to play it.
...so would you still encourage using tabs?
I started with tabs, but when I started listening to more difficult music, the tabs would often not be right. So i'd often play along and tweak it until it sounded like the CD.
You're an instructor on bandhappy.com; can you explain to everyone what that's all about and how they can sign up for lessons from you?
Yeah, I actually need to get on that, i've been lagging on getting back to people. The concept is that with webcams, we can do music lessons, through paypal.
Have you considered putting out an EP or a full length of your own solo material? I know other great guitarists such as Jason Truby have done that in the past and it's done well.
There are other kinds of music that I write when i'm free, because it's hard to just write metal all the time. If I ever had enough time to put some stuff out that I was proud of, then I definitely would.
What's one band that you'd like to tour with that you haven't yet?
I would be down to tour with Meshuggah, because that's one of our biggest influences on our band. We just got off tour with In Flames, and that's one of the bands that introduced me to metal, so that's a dream come true.
What's one book and one band that you'd recommend to anyone that listens to Veil Of Maya and why?
As for bands? Meshuggah, if you haven't heard of them somehow. At The Gates, and Seven Angels Seven Plagues.
A book that i'd recommend is The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.
Wrapping up, what's next for Veil Of Maya in 2012?
We're going to Japan, Australia, and Hawaii in a few weeks. Then we're heading into Europe, then the Summer Slaughter in the U.S. during the summer.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Be sure and check out our new CD if you haven't, and i'll start writing a new one soon.
The album is great but I am a little disappointed to read that Sam didn't record his own drum parts. They do sound a bit more programmed than previous albums so it makes sense. He's one of my favorite drummers and definitely one of the most impressive ones i've ever listened to from a metal band. Looking forward to seeing these guys again.