Vicinity on Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Vicinity

Vicinity was founded in 2006 by Kim-Marius H. Olsen, Frode Lillevold and Kristian Nergård. Vocalist Alexander K. Lykke soon joined the blend making the first complete lineup. The band wrote and later recorded a demo in 2007 at Skansen Lydstudio in Trondheim, but it was the following year’s recording of the EP “Diffusion of Innovation” that the band found it’s true style, writing longer, more technical progressive compositions. The EP was recorded at Toproom Studios and mixed by Børge Finstad in one week, and released two years later (2010) by Pug-Nose Records.

In 2012 the band felt they had written enough good songs to record their debut album; “Awakening”. Drums were laid down in Trondheim Studio in february, and the following months bass, guitars and vocals were laid down, making this the debut recording of the new bass player Pierre-Nicolai H. Schmidt-Melbye, who joined the band following Nergård’s departure in 2009. Reidulf Wormdal joined the recording as a session keyboard player to add a little extra spice to the mix.

The album was mixed by André Alvnizi at Fascination Street Studios, and mastered by Jens Bogren, also at Fascination Street, and will be released by Indie Distribution and Pug-Nose Records, fall 2013. Shortly prior to the bands release concert they got in touch with keyboard player Ivar Andreas Nyland, who following an audition turned out to be the perfect match for Vicinity both socially and musically. At the end of the year Vicinity was named one of the most promising new bands by P3 Pyro, the biggest metal radio show on national radio.

Early in 2014 the band joined forces with fellow proggers Withem and Tritonus and performed at Gamla in Oslo.

How did you come to do what you do? 

I’d been into many genres of progressive and melodic hard rock and metal as well as pop and more straight rock for years, while at the same time developing my skills as a guitarist. When I moved to Trondheim I started looking around for a band to play in, and soon got in touch with Frode, our drummer, and Kristian, our former bass player. We found out that we had several musical references in common, and decided to form a band together. None of us had ever met before starting Vicinity, so the band was originally formed purely on musical grounds, but we’ve since bonded as friends as well. Following a few auditions with different singers we found Alex, and have never looked back since. He gelled both musically and socially, and he has an incredible voice with a character that stands out from other voices both in the higher and lower register. Pierre joined us after Kristian left (moved to another town), and besides being a great bass player he is also very talented when it comes to creating a bridge between Frode’s intricate drumming and the more melodic guitars and vocal lines. The newcomer in the band; Ivar, joined us shortly after we released our debut album “Awakening” in 2013. He managed to learn our material just in time for our release concert. No simple feat considering our lengthy songs with many odd-time sections. He has since proven himself to be a great addition to the band both when it comes to his great keyboard playing and his creative abilities when it comes to coming up with both riffs and broadening our sound. That’s the story of how the band got to do what we do.

What is your first musical memory?Most likely hearing much of the music my parents listened to while we were driving. It never really caught my interest, but when I first heard “Take on Me” by a-ha on the radio, I can’t have been more than 5-6 years old at the time, I was sold. That was the first time i remember having been moved by music. That also in one of many 700 km drives across the country.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From listening to music, my family, my band mates, reading, watching movies, going on walks with my dog and girlfriend, nature, important events in life… in short; it can come from wherever, and you never know when a great idea might appear.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

“Walk All the Way” is very personal song, and it’s inspired by some quite dark events that happened in my life a couple of years back, and focuses on the importance of getting through the hard times, and getting on with your life instead of letting the darkness consume you fully. Through a series of metaphors the song looks at man (or woman’s) life as a whole, from the innocence of childhood, up until later in your life, and the challenges you might face, and how you deal with them.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

Beeing a progressive band the rule is; pretty much anything goes. But we do put much emphasis on trying to have some melodic hooks through both guitar, keyboards and vocals. This pretty much changes from song to song.

What is your method of songwriting?

We usually build up a database of ideas and riffs that we jam around with at the rehearsal space. I might come in with some riffs on the guitar and then we play around those for a while, and then leave the part alone for a while. When we start putting ideas together to full songs we try to find out what fits in where both thematically and melodically. Some times a song can start with a vocal line, some times with some lyrics, other times with a riff. No two songs come about quite the same way. It’s quite an organic process where everybody are pitching in their ideas, and come up with new ways to explore a musical section both when it comes to rhythm and progression. It’s not uncommon for our drummer, Frode, to sing a couple of riff ideas from behind the drum set either. A lot of thought goes into the song structures and how the song should evolve and end up, and it can often be a very time consuming endeavor.

How do you see your music evolving?

Like I said in my former answer; it’s a very organic process, and the music evolves as we do as musicians and human beings. As our interests shift, so does our music, but it happens gradually, so we don’t really notice it. One clear change is that Ivar has joined us as our first full time keyboard player, so I can see our music benefitting from that, adding more complex keyboards, and parts written for the keyboard instead of just added as extra spice after the songs are written and arranged as was the case with our album “Awakening” and our EP “Diffusion of Innovation”.

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

Don’t care too much about what other people think, just write stuff that gets you excited. There is so much music out there these days, so at least try to make yourself happy with it. Work with other great musicians, and let them do their thing. I can honestly say that playing with the other guys in Vicinity is a great privilege, since every time I come up with an idea; it always turns out much better when the band has put it through it’s filter, and added their ideas to the mix. If I’ve had an idea for a vocal part, and sing a demo I might think; that sounded better in my head, but when I hear Alex sing the same part, and the goose bump factor comes into play I often end up thinking; that sounded much better than what I heard in my head! Don’t expect anything to happen magically; it takes a lot of work and organizing to run a band, write music and to get it published. Expect to do a lot of this yourself.

What are you looking forward to?

As of now I’m looking forwards continuing the process of writing new music with the band. We are already hard at work with new material, as well as keeping the band gig-ready just in case a good opportunity should arise.
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