AsZension Duo 4 (1)

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: AsZension

How did you come to do what you do?

My musical roots were luckily, seeded very early on. Having come from a musical background, and being constantly surrounded by it as early as I can remember, I took to any instrument that was readily available to me. It wasn’t until my first formal guitar lessons during elementary school that I started involving music into a more serious interest. While in secondary school, the advent of the internet and computer applications to music were becoming more apparent to me which opened up a multiverse of musical and recording possibilities. Around this time I began taking classical guitar lessons again which were more focused on theory, technique, and sight reading. My listening tastes were also evolving. I was rediscovering jazz and classical, as well as getting into metal and music with more progressive elements involved. This would lead me to bands such as Rush and Dream Theater, and wanting to know who influenced them. Many of them being respective progressive bands of the late 1960’s, 1970’s and 80’s. Bands like Yes, King Crimson and Emerson Lake and Palmer, to name a few. All of these elements created an artistic springboard, once I later enrolled in college to further my education in the fields of Production, Audio Engineering and Guitar. This was an important time that shaped many of the current influences of AsZension. World/new age music and stuff I would never have dreamed of hearing, like Ozric Tentacles or Nile. The concentrated scholastic surroundings also had a definite impact on my approach to music production.

What is your first musical memory?

The earliest musical moment I can remember that had a lasting impact, was when I heard an orchestra play for the first time. Although I might not have ultimately grasped the complexity at the time, there was something fascinating about the way so many instruments could interact with each other and create a unified harmony.

What does progress in music represent to you?

Progress in music and art in general can be a very detailed, sometimes abstracted, reflection of where human evolution is at. I think it is very important to keep asking the question, ‘’what if?’’ And to always search for that lost chord or hidden tension, to bring something out of darkness and into light. To quote Einstein, ‘’The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science.’’

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration can be found in many shapes and forms, but the most profound inspiration for me has been the sense of knowing that there is an interconnectivity of all life systems. Not only the sum of all ecosystems within the ‘’Biosphere’’, but within metaphysical reality and the reality we can see, known as the ‘’physical’’. To reflect that interconnectivity, and ‘’knowing’’, is what I try to convey with music.

What message does the song on our latest Progstravaganza compilation carry?

The title “Elliptical Orbit” was inspired by the actual scientific process of a planetary body, much like the earth, and it’s orbit around the sun in an ‘’ellipse’’ fashion; ever expanding outward and accumulating distance towards it’s furthest point, then speeding up until it reaches it’s near point once again.

Such motion is why we describe the planets as forever falling towards the sun, but never reaching it. In my mind this is also a metaphor for art and the endless pursuit to find perfection; knowing one will never attain it.

Do you tend to follow any pre­defined patterns when composing a piece?

There has to be a starting point somewhere, however the initial idea could take shape a number of different ways. I might just have a guitar riff that I’d like to build on, it might be a keyboard melody or a chord progression, or even a drum groove, as often times rhythmic feel can be a greater influence than harmonic feel. Sometimes the ideas go straight to the computer to be sequenced via audio or midi tracking, or they will be played in a bit more. A new formula we have been trying is to set up as a band, hit record, and freely jam/improvise. It’s great to then go through those recordings and find fleeting moments of magic to build compositional ideas from. This formula can be heard on 3 tracks from our latest album entitled “Biosphere”.

What is your method of songwriting?

I compose much how an author would write a book, so I like to record what I’m writing. Various recording programs like Cubase and Protools are used right from the start. During this pre­production process, I rely heavily on virtual modeling software for the guitars, keyboards and drum programming. This allows me to work much faster and witness the development of compositions much easier. You can also have free reign to try different sounds for things and try different approaches as you go along. After this initial stage, the songs are then learned before the final recording and overdubbing takes place.

How do you see your music evolving?

Aside from evolving to live performance, I could see our music fusing into new realms with further exploration into ancient instruments found throughout the world. Particularly in the middle east and Asia. Extensions on to other mediums of entertainment, such as cinema and the computer gaming industry, are also tempting.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

My advice would be to stay true to your instincts but take constructive criticism into consideration during the process. Write the music that you love and if your friends enjoy it, then that’s a bonus.

What are you looking forward to?

Looking forward to a new year and another golden age in music!