Deep Stare is a new band formed by the former members of the progressive metal band ClayFeeders. The band recently released their debut EP called “Triplet,” and guitarist Michal Popelar answered our questions.
Hi, Michal. Let’s start by discussing “Triplet.” Tell me about its creative process. Where was the EP recorded, and how much time did it take for you to complete it?
The EP was recorded in Biotech Studio in the Czech Republic. The instruments were recorded in less than three days and the mixing and mastering were done by an audio engineer. From the first moment in the studio to the resulting material, it took us less than three weeks. In comparison to the composing itself and all the preparations, it was a rush. We had some technical problems with our car while going to the studio, there was a problem with a new amplifier and lots of other small inconveniences. In fact, we had to solve a lot of things around rather than the recording itself, which had never happened to us before although we have already been to different studios a couple of times. Finally, we handled everything and I think that it had a positive rather than a negative influence on the result. We didn’t have time to deal with some micro-inaccuracies and we left many things unaltered, the way they had been recorded. Nothing was corrected and that’s why these recordings sound a bit more lively.
Do you write primarily on the guitar?
Primarily yes. All the main melodies and backgrounds are composed on guitar or bass guitar.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
Of course, there are some principles which we respect when composing but we try not to be bound by anything and do everything intuitively, the way we feel it. We are all influenced by some musicians or bands to a certain degree. We can always see it somewhere. However, our aim is to create always somthing new. We play instrumental music only but we work as a real band. We replace singing by music trying to make it sound interesting and not like a bunch of notes without any idea.
Many guitar players started out on piano and then moved to guitar. Maybe it’s easier to make the transition once you’ve played piano. What is your view on it?
I can’t judge it myself. I started with the violin which I played for seven years. Step by step, I moved to guitar and stayed with it. For me, the transition was quite easy. I have kept many violin habits until now.
Which guitars, amps, and effects did you use on “Triplet”?
I didn’t come with anything new except the amplifier. It was a safe bet. A lot of amplifiers, effects, guitars are usually taken to the studio and the best combinations suitable for individual parts are gradually chosen. I recorded everything live on Mesa Boogie Mark V. But for the same songs, I use the preamplifiers Rocktron Prophesy and Marshall 9100. Except acoustic parts, everything was done on Ibanez RG550 EX. I’ve got this guitar adjusted by Mr Jurkovic in the Czech Republic. His guitars were used for example by Billy Gibbons, Erica Clapton or Jeff Beck. To record the acoustic parts, I use my favourite guitare Nashville whose front board is already cracked. But it sounds great, even better than some famous guitar brands which are several times more expensive.
How do you balance the importance of songwriting with the importance of soloing?
We consider our songs to be a big solo of everyone of us, even in accompanying music parts. I don’t think I’m a soloist myself so it’s not a problem for me to perceive music as an entity. In fact, we accompany each other mutually all the time.
How do you see your music evolving?
This is a question for the people who listen to our music, for those who have known us and our music for a longer time. In my opinion, we gradually move somewhere else. The biggest change for us was to start playing instrumental music only because we used to have singing before. We were really afraid of it and had certain prejudice too. But it turned out to be a good decision, I think we are going the right way. We like it a lot and when performing we always have a positive feedback, which is the most important thing for us – to enjoy it, be positive about it and move that positive energy to people.
What are you looking forward to?
We are looking forward to our next album, concerts and everything related to it. Music and our band especially are, for all of us, a number one priority so we go through it all with a lot of emotions. It’s not only a band, it’s our second family.