Exivious are the latest 'supergroup' to launch themselves into the instrumental jazz-fusion/prog metal genre. Comprised of members of both Cynic and Textures, their debut self-titled release is a mindblower of sounds, chops, and memorable melodies that will leave every lover of Planet X, Blotted Science, Bruford, Behold the Arctopus, UK, and Cynic absolutely speechless. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo caught up with Exivious & Cynic guitarist Tymon in between a busy Cynic touring schedule to talk about this intriguing side-project.
SoT: Can you talk a little bit about the creation of the band Exivious, and the events leading up to the self-titled debut CD?
Tymon: Exivious was formed not long after I picked up the guitar. It's always been my main outlet of musical ideas. My fascination for technical music came pretty quickly so that's the direction we were heading. We recorded several demos with different lineups, one of those demos being released in 2001. After that point my musical influences exploded into basically every genre but with a heavy preference for jazzfusion based music. It was then that I decided to make the album we recently released. We found a stable lineup in 2005 and that's when the modern day Exivious was born.
SoT: You and Robin also play in Cynic, who have been welcomed back into the metal scene with open arms in recent times. How has that experience been for you?
Tymon: Nothing short of amazing. Especially the whole touring experience was something completely new for the both of us. To be honest I never expected Cynic to have so many dedicated fans world wide! And it's just been an overwhelming experience to share Cynic's music with them in a live setting.
SoT: The debut Exivious CD is a well crafted, melodic mix of metal, progressive rock, and jazz fusion styles. Did the band have a framework of what it wanted to accomplish on the CD prior to recording it, or did this style just come naturally when you got together and started jamming & writing?
Tymon: I think it's a bit of both. Michel and I both studied composition and we are used to thinking about the way we approach writing songs. And the basic idea of fusing metal and jazzfusion has been the general idea for Exivious for at least 5 years before recording the debut album. But on the other hand it is a genre that comes natural to us. It's probably a combination of our musical background, our preference for interesting harmony, dramatic melody and technical prowess that makes it a natural thing to compose Exivious songs.
SoT: Though there's plenty of sizzling chops on the CD, one of the most impressive elements is the amount of melody as well as subtle restraint in certain songs. How easy would had it have been to release a 'chops from hell' album, as opposed to this wonderful mix of melodies and musicianship that you have ultimately put together?
Tymon: That's one of the biggest compliments someone could give, so thank you for that! I think I've always preferred melody over speed. Content over technical wizardry. And even though we are a young enthusiastic band that probably has some kind of urge to prove themselves to the world, restraint is a very important part for us. Ultimately you try and create the music you want to hear. And I know for sure that none of us would like to hear 45 minutes of shredding!
SoT: There are a lot of different guitar tones from you and Michel on the CD-can you talk about the different guitars and equipment you both used while recording the debut?
Tymon: I used my Steinberger GM-4S equipped with an EMG 85 and 2 EMG SA pickups for basically all my recordings. Michel used his Schecter C7 also equipped with EMG pickups for almost everything. There's also a fretless guitar for some textural layers on both 'All That Surrounds' tracks and a Fender Telecaster for some guitar parts. Amp and effect wise we both used Fractal Audio's Axe-FX for 99% of the guitar tones. There's some vintage stomp boxes in some places and some synthy layers that were archieved by using my Roland VG-88.
SoT: What are some of your favorite tracks on the CD?
Tymon: That changes day to day for me. There's something special to be found for me in every track on the album. If I really have to choose though I would probably say 'Ripple Of A Tear'. That song is pretty much the perfect realization of the vision I had for Exivious years ago.
SoT: There's a strong Allan Holdsworth presence on this album-is he a favorite of the both of you? What other guitar players do you admire?
Tymon: Definitely one of our biggest influences! We both admire Scott Henderson a lot too. There's so many good guitar players out there we draw our inspiration from. Like Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Guthrie Govan. But besides guitar players I like to draw inspiration from other instrumentalists as well. I love a lot of sax players, like John Coltrane and Michael Brecker.
SoT: I'm sure the band brings a lot of influences to the table-what groups do the members admire, both past and present?
Tymon: That's going to be a huge list if I would put all our favorites here! In no particular order, some bands and artists we really admire are Björk, Tribal Tech, Radiohead, Allan Holdsworth, Meshuggah, Decapitated, Pain Of Salvation, Sigur Rós, Claude Debussy, György Ligeti, Ozric Tentacles, Mats & Morgan Band and the list goes on and on!
SoT: Are there any plans to take Exivious on the road for some live shows?
Tymon: We'd love to! But unfortunately it would be very hard to pull off right now with our busy schedules for both Cynic and Textures. As soon as the right opportunity will pop up we'll be on it though!
SoT: For many progressive metal fans, I'm sure a tour of Exivious, Blotted Science, and perhaps Behold the Arctopus or another similar band would be a mind-blower. Any chance we might get to see something like that someday?
Tymon: That would be a dream come true for us! Let's hope so!
SoT: Now that the debut CD is complete, what do you see in the crystal ball for Exivious over the next few years?
Tymon: I hope to see another album! We all agreed that our 2nd album has to sound pretty different from the first one so I'm very curious where we're going to end up. So many possibilities to explore… time will tell I suppose!
(Click here to read our review of Exivious