Interviews: Sol Negate

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Symphonic Progressive Death Metal project, Sol Negate, from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the project on his FACEBOOK PAGE.

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

Edo: When I was first starting to come up with names that somewhat captured the idea I had for the band, I didn’t have anything super specific. I tend to like non-English names, but didn’t just want to go with an Italian name to try to make it more “international”. Latin worked because it added a bit of a classical element from the start. You also should consider that pretty much every band name in the universe has already been taken it seems so we went through a good 10-20 usual suspects that were taken before we landed on Sol Negate. “Sol” I liked just aesthetically - it’s short, 3 letters, and comes off the tongue.. the only problem is that the band and material aren’t exactly this bright sunny sound you may get from the word alone - it’s close to the opposite actually. So I tacked on “negate” to turn it into an antonym of sorts and problem-solved. I’m oversimplifying as I thought incessantly about various names, potential layered meanings, etc. before deciding on anything but that’s more or less what happened.  

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Edo: In some sense, it’s the only genre I can really compose and write for when I’m trying to express myself honestly and directly. “Oh that’s a cool riff… but it’d be better with strings or have a brass section carry the theme here so guitars can do a counter melody and…”. That sort of thing just happens as my brain is both initially creating the music but also after when it is then processing, digesting, and polishing it up. I also love phrasing in odd meters and it comes naturally. Similarly to the orchestral elements, it’s not something I specifically try to do, but it happens. In a similar vein, polyrhythms just happen because sometimes you just need that 5 over 4 feel for a section! When you hear these in your head and they become part of your vocabulary they just come out.  

I suppose this is just a long-winded way of saying if I mash together everything I want to do without restriction, this is the genre that comes out, and I never really went after by thinking “I want to write something in this genre, let’s do it.." 

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

Zaher (the new guitarist joining for live shows and beyond) and I have been working together for years at this point in other bands and projects. He was with me through all the times I was working through material for the album, recording, and so on. Although I wrote and recorded the album, the intent was always to bring him in to play it live and then bring his contributions into the second album. We’re putting together the live lineup now to start and then we’ll crystallize the full lineup for everything: live, studio, etc. 

As far as the guests on the album, I didn’t know either Sebastian or Riley previously. In a previous band, we played a show with his old band Allegaeon and we have some mutual friends that suggested I reach out. With Sebastian, I was actually chatting with Hannes Grossman and he suggested I reach out. Of course, I knew of his work with Obscura...  

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Edo: I can’t say, it’s not possible. I get very specific for the bands I like, whether periods in their history or specific albums. I also don’t view things in an exclusionary way, I may truly love a band or album but I don’t view it as better or worse than others I hold in a similar esteem. 

Zaher: I listen to everything from King Diamond, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Morbid Angel, Necrophagist, and the Faceless. 

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Edo: For me, writing has been a way of externalizing various mental states. Pieces of songs can start from riffs, melodies, some harmonic construct, whatever but putting it together and composing the actual music piece is all about embodying a mood, feeling, or head space.  

6. Where was your last gig? 

Right here in Seattle!

7. Where would you like to act?

Edo: I would really like to play Italy and Japan.  

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Edo: In terms of playing dates together, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Obscura are bands that immediately come to mind because I think our music would fit pretty well and it would be some very special evenings. But there are so many others. Dream Theater, Devin Townsend… hit us up guys, come on!

9. Whom not? 

Edo: I don’t think there are bands that I wouldn’t want to play with. You can bring something special no matter what genre. Some genres may not fit aesthetically as well as others, so it could make a pretty interesting and wild live show - surprises can be fun sometimes!

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Edo: Of course! I think stage fright is normal. If it’s something meaningful for you, generally you don’t want to screw it up right? To help with stage fright, I think you may need to analyse where it’s coming from. Is it a playing thing? An image thing? My way of dealing with it is to gain confidence by practicing constantly so I know that even if I screw up a passage it’s still going to be - more or less - ok. Also, working out helps so I feel less exposed on stage and also helps with movement, dexterity, and so on.  

I remember I played a show on an interesting stage once and, as soon as the set started, I felt my knees and legs shake. It was insane, I couldn’t’ believe it! I never had anything happen to that level before and it completely threw my mindset and confidence off. Doubts flooded in. Turns out, the stage itself just had a horrible vibration when the drums kicked in and it was actually the floor vibrating my legs and not my nerves. Once I realized that, things “magically" got much better. Long story short, do your homework and have confidence you can play whatever you need to play, and the rest is just mental. Once you realize that and work on the mental game, it becomes easier.  

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

Edo: I had numerous periods as I was learning to play guitar where I focused on artist x for a few years, really trying to embody how they thought of the songs, soloing, etc. The bigger ones were Stevie Ray Vaughan, Satriani, and Yngwie. Yngwie ruined me! From an overall band or album standpoint, it’s Pink Floyd and Dream Theater. I have pretty specific inspiration from many bands if we really get down to analysing things..  

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

Edo: Nothing too crazy. Even just autographs feels a little weird sometimes.. “you want my name to dirty up the album cover with my writing?!” But it’s very flattering.  

13. What do you think of your fans?

Edo: I still have difficulty in thinking of people as “fans” in some sense. We’re all just people. If someone enjoys what we do, I’m delighted that perhaps what I wanted to communicate resonated with someone else and I’m not just a crazy person. We’re all in it together. Truly, the support is immensely flattering and appreciated.  

14. What do you think of our site?

Edo: The amount of work needed to bring something like the site together and support upcoming bands in a truthful way is enormous. It helps keep the spirit of music and artists alive. Thank you!

15. Something to add? 

Edo: Thank you for the interesting questions!

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