You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.
Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.
Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?
Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!
Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.
When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?
Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.
Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.
We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.
Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?
We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.
From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?
Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.
You have now finished your studies?
Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.
Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?
Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.
In its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?
The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.
How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?
We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!
The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?
Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!
Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?
With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.
I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?
We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!
Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World?
The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.
What inspired the narrative?
The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.
As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?
The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.
Is there a live presence to Native Construct?
Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.
What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?
Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.
Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?
I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.
Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/
The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015
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