Interviews: Before & Apace

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Rock band, Before & Apace from Canada. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

The name comes from Act 2, Scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet: Romeo Commend me to thy lady. Nurse Ay, a thousand times. Peter! Peter Anon! Nurse Before, and apace. I read the play in grade 9 and this excerpt was accompanied by a footnote saying that Before, and apace means “go in front of me, and walk quickly”. As an idealistic 14-yr old, I liked this notion a lot – as though it was my suggestion to humankind to put all of our destructive notions and behaviours behind us as a species and to forge ahead in unity and harmony with the planet and with each other. Originally, I was going to use it as a song title, but I liked the phrase so much and the connotation it had, that I ended up naming the project it.

2.Why did you want to play this genre?

This type of music has always resonated with me – bands like Tool, Meshuggah, The Mars Volta – heavy music that requires a bit of an investment as a listener before you can really engage with it. I’ve also always liked conceptual, thematic music, which is kind of what Before & Apace is all about.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

I met (drummer) Arlan Kopp when we were both percussionists at the University of Saskatchewan’s Wind Orchestra. We immediately bonded over some common musical interests, playing squash, and Heroes of Might and Magic III. I showed him some of the music I had written and he was into it. Conversely, I absolutely gushed over his playing. At the time, he was playing with a lot of funk and jazz bands, but I knew immediately that Arlan would be perfectly-suited to the music I wanted to make. We spent a good part of the 2000s sequencing these insane drum part using Meshuggah’s Drumkit from Hell, which he then went on to learn to play.

Bryce (vocals, guitar) and I have known each other since about grade 5 – though we didn’t become good friends until we were teenagers. He and I played an important role in each other’s musical journey through teenage-dom, always introducing new bands to each other. Prior to him joining Before & Apace, Bryce and I played in an acoustic guitar trio called Polysorbate-80, interspersing covers from Radiohead to Devin Townsend’s Ocean Machine to Super Mario tunes, along with some originals.

Kaylon (bass) and I met while we were working at the same music shop. We were the resident metalheads at the store, so we found kinship in that. I had been working with a different bassist to that point, but when he left to focus on electronic music, Kaylon stepped in and learned the (rather lengthy, complex) tunes in just a week or two! He was a perfect fit.

4. Each band member favourite band?

None of us can name a single favourite. It’s too difficult to do. We each listen to a TONNE of music. I think I can safely say that Tool, Meshuggah, and Devin Townsend would be among our collective favourites, but the list diversifies greatly after that.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

The idea for most of the music on this album began with an epiphany of some sort. You know those moments where things in the world reveal themselves to you? Or when two previously unrelated realms of your own understanding come together in a moment of clarity, and then serve to reshape your perspective on life? Those kinds of moments were the seeds for each song.

Often, these moments would be accompanied by a musical theme that also “presented” itself to me – those times where you simply pick up your instrument and you just play a riff that had never existed before that moment and it just feels right. I’ve never known if those are simply “happy accidents” or if they are an actual extension of your intrinsic self (extrinsic too, perhaps?), but all I know is that they feel right. So the beginning of each song began with a conceptual epiphany that became married to a musical theme.

6. Where was your last gig?

In our hometown of Saskatoon. We haven’t played live since about 2013, unfortunately – though I aim to resurrect the live show once it is safe to do so.

7. Where would you like to act?

Not too picky about this one. Literally anywhere that there would be some people interested in this type of music.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Again, not too picky – though my absolute dream list would probably be to play with Tool. Devin Townsend would have been on my wish list too, but we actually got to play with him for one date as he toured Western Canada in 2013!

9. Whom not?

Again, not too fussy ☺ I suppose I would want to rule out any intolerant or toxic bands. Other than that, game on.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

We’re all pretty introverted and I wouldn’t really classify any of us as being performers in the outgoing, exhibitionist sense – but even so, I don’t think any of us have gotten cold feet when performing with this band. If any of us did have nerves, I think it quickly disappeared once we started our set. We always became so immersed in the music that time would lose all meaning.

As far as advice, I suppose there are a few things that I could recommend. First, prepare as well as you can. If you have confidence in what you’re doing, it can carry you a long way. Second, practice visualization. As part of your preparation, take some time to envision yourself performing. Try and imagine yourself in front of the audience and embrace the moment well ahead of time. Finally, if it comes to it, it might help to partition your identity, to some extent. It sounds extreme, but it’s helped me. There’s regular Dev and there’s “performer” Dev, and they are two fairly distinct people – though that may have been simply an unintended by-product of playing in a past band where I wore a bondage mask, full hood, cape, and liberal amounts of plate mail and weaponry.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

So many! Tool, Devin Townsend, Meshuggah, and The Mars Volta are probably some of the most obvious inspirations.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

When I was playing with (Saskatoon goth punk/metal band) The New Jacobin Club, I had a fan ask me to transcribe one of my guitar solos for him. As a lifelong guitar fanboy myself, gushing over all the greats for my whole life, that was a bit of a trip.

13. What do you think of your fans?

To be honest, our fan base is currently extremely small, consisting mostly of our own circle of friends and acquaintances. Because this is our first album and because we’ve never toured extensively, we are only just now reaching broader audiences.

That said, as we are beginning to accumulate a few more fans of the band, the support has been tremendously appreciated. It’s early (the album doesn’t come out for a few days at the time of this writing – and the first single only came out about 10 days ago), but it’s already cool to see people willing to take a journey through our music with us.

14. What do you think of our site?

Loving it! I’ve been introduced to a bunch of new bands that I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. Keep up the great work!

15. Something to add?

Thanks to anyone who gives us a listen. Take care of yourselves out there.

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