First of all, thanks for doing this interview. I guess the only logical way to start this is to let you introduce yourself and the rest of the band.
Geo: Sure thing man, thanks for having us! There are three of us right now: Soikkam on vox, Judas on bass, and me (Geo) on guitar.
So your debut album, Journey to Enlightenment, is just about to release. How would you describe it for anyone who hasn’t heard your sound before?
Geo: It really depends on how hip someone is to metal. So my answers usually vary from straight up power metal to upbeat pop rock (laughs).
But for now I could say its European/melodic power metal with American aggression/speed and clean vox, a contemporary interpretation of many forms of metal. Or pop songs with shred guitar and fast drums.
I’ve had conversations in the past with Judas, your bass player, and he listed some personal influences like X Japan, Versailles, and Helloween. Are there any big influences that you all share? I’m hearing quite a lot of Lost Horizon and Gamma Ray-esque lyrics here.
Geo: Definitely man. When it comes to metal and writing metal, we have a lot of the same influences. Judas actually showed me Helloween for the first time when I was still discovering metal. I was mainly familiar with radio type metal as well as some harder types of metal. When I first heard Helloween I knew I had a direction to go with my playing.
One distinct aspect of the album I’ve noticed is the abundance of shredding you employ, and I was wondering what guitar players have been your biggest influences.
Geo: I would say melody itself, in all contexts, influences me most. Shred wise, though, it’s gotta be Syu, Kiko Loureiro, and Per Nilsson.
As a fellow Texan, I’ve never really thought of Texas as an accommodating location for metalheads and metal musicians. What troubles have you come across as a result?
Geo: Texas, I feel, can play a big role in building a regional following. There are 5+ major cities that to play in a few hours apart from each other. The only issue in regards to metal, power metal more specifically, is that there is a lack of awareness for the genre. I think if more people were exposed to it there would be an increase in people listening to it and attending shows.
Are live shows planned for the future, or is the focus on studio material right now?
Geo: Live shows are definitely being prepared for. Now that the three of us have released the album, we can really start to focus on our live performance and introduce the new members. Ideally we’d like to be touring whenever we have the means and exposure to do so.
Now, as I understand, you guys were left without a drummer after the recording of your EP, Time in a Dream. For the meantime, will you be moving forward without a permanent drummer or will we see a change in the lineup? How will this affect your live shows?
Geo: Soon after the EP, we had a national search for members. It took a few months, but we were able to find the rest of the lineup (guitars, drums). So while we were working on releasing the album we’ve been preparing to transition 2 members in to the band, thus being one step closer to being on stage!
This is getting a bit obscure, but both you and Judas were members of a band called Hierophant several years ago, and a demo was released by that band with a track called “Journey to Enlightenment”. I was hoping you could let us know how long you have been working on your newest album and just how much some of the songs may have changed since those early days.
Geo: Those days are about the time most of the riffs for the album were written, albeit in a skeletal form. When we all got together in 2012 that’s when we decided Enceladus was going to be a thing. With had a good bit of ideas to work with, which would be the template for what the first album was going to be. From there we started recording and filling in the songs as they went. Most of my rhythm parts on the album are just what chords and ideas I felt like playing while I was recording each song, so working that out for a live setting will be fun (laughs).
You recently shot a video for “Darkened Aura” for the new album. How did that come about, and can we expect more videos later on from this album?
Geo: At the time I was living about 6 hours away from Soikkam and Judas. I had a few days that I could make it down there so I decided to go down there and see what we could do. We basically just put together a “music video studio” with some lights and backdrop and started recording. A few takes and under an hour later we have the footage for the music video. We knew it was going to be low budget, so we just did the best we could with what we had. We figured at least the music is getting out there so why not. Actually the next day I recorded the video for my Album solo compilation which was released recently.
What’s the story with Enceladus and Todd & The Book of Pure Evil? I noticed the bonus track on J2E references the show.
Geo: Sweet, glad you noticed man! That’s exactly it. We managed to contact the guys at Todd & The Book of Pure Evil after making a fanmade video for the show last year. We had a few thrashy riffs we wanted to use, so we figured it would go great in that show and recorded it. Soon after we were involved in a songwriting offer for the T&BPE animated movie expected to be released next year. They just said to write a song for it, and fortunately we had the perfect one in mind.
Now, let’s do some more fun questions. What bands would your dream tour consist of?
Geo: Dream tour, oh yeaaa. Let’s see it’d be with Galneryus, Sonata Arctica, Angra, Gamma Ray, Helloween, and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody of Fire.
Most difficult track to record from Journey to Enlightenment and why?
Geo: I would say “Pave the Future”. Judas wrote the majority of it so it was based around the bass lines in it. The only issue for me was dealing with the abrupt key changes and having to utilize chords and solos that would piece them together. Overall though all of the songs were fairly easy to jam over and come up with riffs and solos in a few takes.
Best show you’ve had the privilege of seeing live?
Geo: The best live show I’ve had the privilege to see was Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was actually the only show I’ve seen in a setting other than a traditional venue (bar, theatre). The theatrics and crowd interaction were spot on and complimented their stage performance very well. I remember after seeing them that I had decided that any live acts that I would be in would aim to perform in similar arena type venues.
What album (besides yours) are you currently enjoying and listening to?
Geo: Right now it’s actually a mix of Earth, Wind, Fire and Dirty Loops. I have a good time jamming to speed melodies but sometimes it’s good to get into grooves that make you move.
Finally, is there any message you want to send to the readers of The Metal Observer and your new fans?
Geo: Thanks for listening and supporting. If you manage to get ahold of the music without contributing, at least show it to as many people as you can! Looking forward to seeing everyone on the road some day!
Thanks for the interview, and I wish you the best in the future.