Interview with Alexei Galar of Hombre Bestia

Mexican rock quintet Hombre Bestia is on the verge of launching an EP titled \"Janus,\" which follows the release of their full-length debut \"Claroscuro\" released in 2013. Guitarist and singer Alexei Galar talked about the band\'s work in an interview for Perfect Prog.

Before we start, let me ask you something very important. Do you guys really eat all that hot stuff in Mexico? I mean, seriously.

We normally don’t discuss such delicate questions but I think we can make an exception. We do, and we love it! It’s not like you cannot call yourself mexican If you don\'t eat hot stuff, but I personally love that kind of food and it’s very traditional to put sauce or chili on everything you can find. We even have a stuffed chili pizza!

OK, after the serious start of the interview, let’s talk about some unserious topics. You guys in Hombre Bestia seem concerned with things that happen on the planet Earth. Thus, your music is not just making fun. What are messages you try to interpret through your lyrics and music?

Our lyrics and live show contain a high dose of social content. Hombre Bestia, literally beast man in english, talks about the duality that inhabits humans. While we have reason, self conscience and tranquility, there are also instincts, violence and chaos. And the constant struggle between those two extremes results in humanity. Thus from peace to war, from violence to art, from religion to politics, all is a result of us being dual. That is what we analyse in our lyrics and in many cases that results in a critique to our stupidity, while on others we reference the magnificence of our creations and imagination.

In an interview you did before, you mentioned the reasons of Bruno’s covering his eyes in a video for “Matar Por Ti.” I want to know a little bit more about.

The idea came from the Mizaru, the first of the three wise monkeys from the japanese maxim “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Mizaru represents the “See no evil” part of the proverb and we used it in “Matar por ti”, possibly the most political song in our repertoire, to symbolize how humans don’t want to see evil in what we do. Corruption is not only due to politicians being dishonest, but we as a society have been corrupted to the bones. And the deepest problem is not doing it, but not taking the responsibility. We are incapable of acknowledging this fact, so we continue to do wrong shamelessly, without apparent consequences. Do you see Hombre Bestia’s music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We like to think of Hombre Bestia as a middle point between highly political music (punk as the classic example) and very abstract, introspective genres. This is because we believe in equilibrium. You cannot act visceral nor thoughtful all the time, and that is a good thing. But we have to learn how to manage that ability to house those extreme emotions.

That being said, Hombre Bestia is our chance to show how unbalanced we are as humans. I think it’s urgent to start opening our eyes to how we are destroying ourselves.

Let\'s talk a little about your upcoming EP titled “Janus.” It will feature reworked versions of some songs from your debut album “Claroscuro,” and there will also be some new tracks. Would you give us some clue about this?

Janus will contain five acoustic versions, with different arrangements (even new parts!) of songs in our previous album. Last minute we decided to also add an acoustic version of one of the new tracks in the EP, so that is a piece of new information revealed here! The other part of Janus is a little journey through the new sound we are starting to develop with the recent addition of keyboards to the lineup of Hombre Bestia.

Though those new tracks are probably the best of what we have done so far, we decided to launch them in an EP because we want the next full length material to be created in a different way, heading to a conceptual album.

What do you think about the prog scene over your country? Does it find the place it deserves or not yet?

Last year has been full of surprises in this matter. Though there is not a well formed prog scene in Mexico, there are many people interested in the genre that constitute fragmented parts of what we may call a scene. There is an increasing number of bands interested in the genre, as well as small promoters and underground venues making an effort to book prog oriented bands. So there is not yet a place for this genre in Mexico, but I hope these split efforts will add up to create a well established scene in upcoming years.

Janus is the god of beginnings and and transitions in ancient Roman religion. How does that reflect on the songs and the whole concept of your EP?

We fell in love with the name almost immediately because it represents much of what Janus is to us. For starters it’s the first material that features keyboardist Jacinto Canek in the lineup, so it’s a new beginning for our sound. Janus, depicted as two faces looking opposite, also represents the past and the future, where the first one is in our revisitation of some past album songs and the latter would be the new tracks. The last reference is in the design we use as Janus’s cover art, an illustration by Youko Horiuchi. This design was created almost a year ago for new merch, when the idea of an EP was starting to grow on us. The design was so perfectly fit to the band’s ideals that we decided to change the official logo. Then, when searching for a name for the new material we found out about the concept of Janus, which graphically is very similar to the new logo. What do you guys do outside Hombre Bestia?

I’ll leave the “who is who” part of this question to the imagination, but I can tell you there is a lawyer, a psychologist, a teacher, an automotive engineer and a graphic designer/publicist.

Where do you see Hombre Bestia in the future?

We are currently trying to get international exposure, as we feel it’s time to start looking for other markets. If everything goes according to the plan, next year Hombre Bestia will embark in a small tour through north America to promote the EP, as well as previous material. After that we will begin sessions for a second LP, so there will be a lot Hombre Bestia to talk about in the next 2 years!

We\'ve never seen this band as a mainstream act, if we did we wouldn\'t be making prog oriented music. But we really want to leave a mark in as much people as possible because we believe in the importance of our message. Maybe it’s cliche, but we like to believe that even if music can’t change the world, it can change the minds of the people that will.

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Photo credits: Mónica Vázquez