Featuring a number of ex members of American progressive metallers Cynic, Dutch fusion experimentalists Exivious are soon calling it a day. It's not the end of the road however, as some of the band are set to go down a more dreamy, emotional, atmospheric route with shiney new quartet Our Oceans. Both bands are the brainchild of one person; Tymon Kruidenier. Ready to discuss all of the above, Eonmusic caught up with guitarist at UK's TechFest. Time And Its Changes; Norrie Kivlehan.
Hi Tymon, how are you today?
Very well. The crowd was great. It’s is my second time at TechFest; we played one of the early years when it was in Peterborough in 2013, I think.
You're preparing to launch your new band, Our Oceans; is this why you are finishing Exivious?
It's quite a long story to give a simple answer to that one, but the most simple reason is that I don't really stand behind the music that we did with Exivious anymore; it's just not what I want to do anymore. It's of course fun to play because we have some really wonderful people who like our music. We're not super famous, but the people who do like us do REALLY like us. It's always really cool to play for them, so that's why we're doing these 'farewell' or 'good bye' type shows now.
Can you explain the differences between Exivious and Our Oceans, regarding musicians and sound?
Well, both are my bands. Both are my little babies. At heart it's a lot of the same stuff I guess; a song could be written and it could be used for either of those bands, but stylistically there are choices made that really differentiate those bands; one being in much more of a prog / technical sort of thing and obviously instrumental, and the other band has vocals, so that to me is the biggest difference; there are vocals, and the vocals are the cause for everything being different in that band.
Is singing something you always wanted to do?
Yes, but I always thought I sucked MAJOR ass at singing. I still can not confidently sing - that has not been successful yet, but I picked up some stuff from Brett Manning; he's like one of those pop star coaches.
You weren't personally trained by him, right?
No. These kind of guys ask for ridiculous hourly rates and to me when you're a musician you kind of know what to listen for and just get the information you want and apply it to yourself. I like figuring stuff out on my own anyways. I learned to play the guitar myself so singing was kind of natural to learn as well.
Exivous’ farewell tour sees you teaming up with fellow-Dutch bands Textures, who are also winding down; did you decide to tour together because of timing?
Well, yes. They have been thinking and talking about disbanding as well, just about pursuing other stuff. They all have busy careers, and of course their drummer was in our band previously. It just made sense, I guess.
So you hadn't reached out to them?
No, it was the other way around. We had announced our disbanding before they did and when they announced their break-up, they set up this tour and asked us to come along. It was really cool. It will be awesome to tour together.
Can you explain fusion metal to someone who hasn't heard it before?
Oh man! That is difficult. Or on the other hand, it's not that hard at all since it's in the name already. It's kind of cliché at this point to say because so many people do it, but genres are so stupid and it's really stupid to try and fit what you do into some genre. When we tried out I kind of had this idea of really taking the genre this literally, taking elements out of one style of music - improvised music, mainly – and fuse that with the energy and heaviness of metal. But then at some point you kind of think about that whole thing a lot and just start making music.
So you reverted to whatever is coming out of you naturally?
Well, that's what I feel. I don't like to work very analytically. It's much more awesome to be open to your creativity and to let out what you want to artistically speaking.
The Netherlands has some big jazz festivals – were you subconsciously influenced by that?
Not really, I don't think so. It just drew out of what I always really dug, like, when I was still listening to metal, I really liked bands that did something 'odd'. Everything sounded kind of mystifying to me, and I couldn't identity what exactly it was. That kind of music was always really 'out-there' for me, and it was really interesting. Then I discovered that a lot of those sounds like I loved that were so hard to identify were actually being used way more in fusion and jazz-based music, so I recognized those things in a totally different context. When I heard that I totally fell in love with that whole genre and just listened to nothing else.
What music are you listening to, and what influences you right now?
That question is always so difficult to answer. You can be influenced literally as in, you hear Opeth or whatever, and you hear this certain riff and think "oh, I'm going to do something similar" - like a literal kind of musical influence. You can also be influenced by their energy and aesthetics on stage, any element. You can take that and always try to do your own thing with it, and I definitely always try to do the second because I don't like stealing ideas from others even though that sounds totally pretentious.
Do you think it's tough for a band who plays the same thing over and over to stay true to their music when they may start to disconnect because of the repetition?
When you do this professionally, there is this marriage of business and the artistic side of music. As a guy who works in that field you just have to find a balance between the two. It's different for everyone. Like, Slayer has made the same album for a million times but they're still true to themselves, they're still what they started out as and not selling out. That to me is that they still have their integrity, even though they still do the same thing sound-wise.
What in your opinion makes a good musician?
Well, that is so personal. Let me answer that from a listeners point of view. It doesn't matter how simple or with what kind of techniques, it doesn't matter about instruments or singing; it just manages to make me feel something. It sounds cheesy, but that's what it is. That's what I love about music; it's the only art-form, in my opinion at least, that the musician is able to speak directly to someone’s heart. Ears and hearing are such a direct connection to your brain and your emotions.
Finally have you any plans to work alongside any other bands while focusing on your main band?
I did make a decision to not do side-projects anymore. It's too distracting from what I really want to do, and I just want to make the music I want to make, and write about personal shitty stuff I go through and be that emotional whiney emo dude.
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For more on Our Oceans, visit the band's official Facebook page.