"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where a recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
SIMULACRUM: "The Master And The Simulacrum"
Finnish progressive metallers SIMULACRUM and their debut album The Master and the Simulacrum. From Turku, Finland, they originally started off as a highschool band founded 12 years ago by composer/keyboard player: Christian 'Chrism' Pulkkinen. The music is progressive metal with a distinct sound and atmosphere. Even though some musical influences are audible here and there, and according to the band, the originality is unchallenged by many in the same genre. Band quote, "We like to challenge and reward listeners with every song we produce," end quote. Read on to find out more stuff about the album, here's Pulkkinen and: SIMULACRUM...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
The CD has been fairly succesfull for a debut album. We have received positive reviews from the media and people have been active buying the album. At the moment it has been released in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe will follow with a 16th of march release.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
Because "The Master and the Simulacrum" has been totally produced, mixed and mastered by keyboardist Chrism, the whole process took four years to complete from the first drum recordings to the last mastered versions. With good reviews and positive feedback pouring in we have a big motivation to get a follow-up out in 2013.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
The idea was to achieve a modern, professional and metallic soundscape throughout the album. A couple of tracks pay hommage to vintage 70's progressive rock so on these songs a lighter touch was applied.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
The album is produced by Simulacrum's keyboardist Christian ”Chrism”
Pulkkinen who has also composed all of the tracks. Because of this the finnished tracks sound very close to how he heard them in his head
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
The sound of the album is very balanced. It hasn't been mastered quite as loud as some of todays metal albums to achieve more dynamics. We are pleased in the outcome.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
All of the songs were mixed in one single project file to keep the overall sound of the tracks the same. A lot of automation has been used on the different elements of the song to keep everything focused and clearly audible
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
We do the opposite. We capture the sound of the album in a live situation. We rehearse a lot to be able to play the songs live as well as we did on the album. Of course in a live situation when you are moshing and having a good time mistakes are made, but I dare to say that we get very close to how we sound on the album [;)]
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Most of our lyrics tell a story of somekind. Master and the Simulacrum must be my favourite song with a rich story about a professor who creates a simulacrum (clone) of his worst enemy. The professor's idea was to capture his nemesis and replace him with the simulacrum so that nobody would notice his enemies absence. When the Simulacrum awakens, so does his conciousness and he escapes the laboratory. Would love to make a sequel or maybe a theme album that follows the story of the simulacrum in search for an identity of his own. -Chrism
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
The Master and the Simulacrum isn't a theme album so the songs all have a different story and feel to them. We are currently working on a follow up album to be released in 2013. The still untitled record will be a space opera and we are looking for a thrashier sound with furious songs and captivating melodies.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Of course the style of composing slightly changes with age. I think my compositions today are easier to approach than those that have been composed 10 years ago in my teens. But I do also love my old compositions for the fact that they are very original and exciting because they don't follow any basic song-writing form. -Chrism
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Inverse Records didn't interfere with the artistic output. We have free hands in coming up with whatever we like and I think this can be heard on the first album. Some pretty weird stuff going on there! [=)]
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
The CD has been so long in the works that there have been numerous
scheduling problems, disagreements, crazy parties and motivation problems. Both good and bad memories from the process! We feel that
this process has brought us closer together as friends and this is one thing that makes Simulacrum special. We aren't just a bunch of guys
doing music together but best friends living the music we produce.
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
The sound of the first album is very original. Of course you can hear our influences up to some point, but the fact that all the songs have been composed by a keyboardist gives us a different tone compared to bands like Symphony X or Dream Theater. We recomend you to spin the CD at least three times in your player before making your judgement about the music. The songs are written and mixed in a fashion that requires time to open up to the listener. You will find new elements every time you listen to the CD!
Who are your influences and heroes (music-wise)
Dream Theater, Symphony X, Kansas, ELP, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Adagio, Spiral Architect, Dio, Led Zeppelin and so on.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Join our facebook group for the latest news on the band at
www.facebook.com/simulacrumofficial. We are also currently writing material and demoing it for the second album and planning a music
video shoot in the near future so stay tuned!
Interview by: Kimmo Toivonen. Concept/Questions by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,