Lopez, former Opeth and current Soen drummer, interviewed on PerfectProg.com by
extraordinary drummer beyond the classics of Opeth and main-man of the new progressive bet called Soen (Featuring Steve DiGiorgio on bass,
Kim Platbarzdis on guitars and Joel Ekelöf on vocals) spoke about his brand new
band, his years and departure of Opeth,
forthcoming things and much more… find out what he said by reading the lines
know it’s been a while since your departure from Opeth, and even today
many are wondering what happened?... we
all heard about your health problems, but also was talk of another musical
project and even of some differences with your old the
record label… could you tell us some more about that moment?
M: Yeah, I heard a lot of reasons
of my departure… the main reason was that I wasn’t happy playing with Opeth.
Since I was a child my dream was
always playing in a metal band and live of it, but after nearly ten years in Opeth my desires weren’t
the same and I did not feel
any challenge anymore, and life on the road seemed empty
and meaningless to me… all that, added to the feeling of not
having all the space and time needed to create music and develop as composer,
was my motivation to move out. The only option for me was leaving Opeth and devote myself to something
else for a while and then start again with new energy.
J: Several years after this departure,
and after leaving a legacy of
true classics with that band how do you see your days of working with Opeth?
M: With great pride and
quietness, I think that we introduce a new style and a new way to create music
with Opeth and that's always going to
be a souvenir.
J: Are you still in contact
with them, or at least with Mendez?
M: Yes, but not as much as
J: I remember an interview
you gave in 2004, and then you mentioned you were involved in a possible new
project with a Tool-like sound ...
Was that the seed that finally created Soen?
M: Yes, the
idea behind Soen has been refined
over several years but playing
with Opeth requires 100% of your time, so it never happened to be more than an idea and a pile of semi-finished
J: You can
tell us how was the genesis of Soen?
How did you meet each other?
M: I met Kim long ago
when he was looking for a drummer for experimental rock
band and I was looking for a guitarist
for what later turned into
Soen. We complement
each other very well and slowly we were shaping what
the band is today.
Joel shared stages
with Kim’s former band, so he was who made the connection. To Steve I knew him on
the road before and when the band began to take shape as something serious
I decided to call him and offer the bass player vacancy.
J: I know you're a big fan of Death and you always liked Tool progressive style ... I guess it's a
special situation to be exploring that musical path
with Steve as a partner in the rhythm base of
the band ... isn’t it?
M: Of course, it is a
dream come true. Steve is an incredible bass player and a great person,
musically is a guy who works for the band and adheres well to my playing which
is very valuable to the "groove" of Soen.
J: I remember hearing some demos of you
in which there was a heavier progressive sound, with even some guttural vocals, which obviously brought me to mind Opeth ...
finally, that sound did not
appear in Cognitive
... was that
something that was decided in a
premeditated way trying to avoid the
ghost of your former band, or
simply was something that flowed?
M: The truth is that I do not care
about what they say or something... on the
guttural voices I think it was only a growl on "Slithering" if
I'm not wrong, and we decided to "keep it off of our land"
simply because we felt that did not fit
well with all the songs.
let's talk about your debut album "Cognitive", a great album by the way… how was the writing and recording process?
M: Thanks! Well, I wrote
the skeleton of the songs and then the guys add their touches. We do our best
for everyone can add their bit, for the simple fact that while more people are
involved in creating, more enhanced is the final product.
On the producing… the album was
produced by Kim and me, what took us about 4 or 5 weeks of recording extended
for a period of 6 months.
J: Since it
was knew about the imminent release of the album, it was created an atmosphere
of positive expectation around the band, but especially around your comeback
after several years of absence on the progressive metal scene ... Is this
something you expect? And how do you feel in front of this special affection of
M: I’m surprised and very
grateful for the welcome of the people especially in Latin America that gave me
a warm welcome.
to the same… in this new musical stage you've taken the leading role in the
band establishing great closeness with the fans, which is always well received,
especially by the Latin fans ... How you assume this role? Is it in someway a
response to the welcome you have given?
M: Yeah it may be…
there's also the fact that although I don't consider myself a shy guy I never
wanted to mix my personality with the music I make, because I believe that this
is much more interesting than me as a person... I am a regular guy quite simple.
I believe that this
time many people approached
Soen without having listened our music before, just for the simple fact that I play in the band, and
it seemed important to show my
J: Overall, I think the audience has received the album
very well, beyond the comparisons to Tool,
it has been to the liking of the majority, what is your impression about it?
M: I am
very pleased with the reception
of the people and the press. Tool Comparisons
were something for which I was prepared. Tool is
one of my favorite bands and Soen explores
the same feelings… I consider Tool a genre of music more
than a band and what I find is that some people prefer to discuss
superficialities instead of seeing things as they are, and this is that Soen makes good music… You could then go
into the issue that 90% of the bands sound like Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura, and that does seem boring.
J: Did Soen achieve to capture the sound that
was looking for into "Cognitive"?
J: What inspires Cognitive? There is some
concept or idea contained in the album that’s trying
to convey through the music?
M: The idea has always been
to make the best possible music based on the emotional depth and an interesting
J: Now tell us where can we find the album and more information about you
M: For now all the
necessary information can be found at http://www.facebook.com/SoenMusic, within a couple of
weeks we’ll "release" our website… And I give you a scoop, in a few
days will be released a new video of the band playing the song "Delenda" live, it will be soon. And
we are preparing a video of the song Last Light in which we want to involve all
our friends who want to. The information will be released in due course on our
the live playing... There are shows scheduled to come?
M: Not yet, tours are being
planned to promote "Cognitive"
but still aren't sign commitments.
J: What are the plans and goals
for short and long term with
M: The plan is to continue
writing music and touring to promote the album. Other than that, I can not talk
about long term because I promised to myself to keep going with Soen while it
feels rewarding and it do not become routine a
J: To finish, I thank the good vibe and give you the space to share a last few words to
share with our readers about yourself, Soen
and what is coming, and we hope to have you doing shows all over the
Americas soon (Especially in my country Chile)...
M: I feel very connected
to Chile because in a hard time in the life of my parents, the Chilean people were gave them
shelter and solidarity. I send a hug to the
Chilean and Latinamerican friends and I
would like playing live especially for you in your beautiful countries with that enthusiastic, warm and expressive audience.