Psychedelic Prog Rockers Astrolabe are releasing their upcoming EP “The Hermit, The Fool and The Hanged Man” December 7th. I have the official stream right here for you guys a few days before it’s release! Marco Minneman recorded the drums for Astrolabe on this EP that brings it to a totally new level. It’s a wild trip through all three songs, all obviously based off tarot cards. Enjoy this great band and their upcoming offering!
TMR: What’s the meaning behind the name Astrolabe? How did the band form?
Well the Astrolabe is this very ancient piece of equipment that was priorly used to guide yourself with help of the stars and planets. If you were lost at the middle of the sea on the 18th century the stars always showed you your relative position and presumably direction with the help of this instrument. At the time I saw an Astrolabe for the first time, it was on England’s British Museum, and I was in a point of my life that I really felt lost and jaded. When I saw it I realized there were many things in life I still didn’t know, maybe there was some treasure still to be found. So this element really stuck with me, this time this machine worked backwards, it became a sort of a guiding star, so to speak.
The band formed almost two and a half years after this incident, I knew I wanted to make music, so at age 20 I decided to lock myself in a room for a looooong time trying to come up with something different, learning how to play guitar and keys, also singing. When I turned 22 life itself made all the introductions, I wanted to make a band so I began scouting and one day in a Tool cover concert, right around the corner from my house, I met Jim López who already was a great base player. I showed him some of the ideas I had, he really liked them so for the next month we began playing with these. I tried to contact some nationally well known drummers but some had many projects or just didn’t know me. After 15 possible drummers I put an ad on a music equipment page on Facebook and 20 minutes later Cesar Rodas from Symbolic says he’s interested! We began rehearsing that week and it all worked out from then on.
TMR: How did you score the opportunity to have Marco Minneman record drums for your EP? Walk me through this once in a lifetime opportunity!
I’m not even sure myself at this point, I’m very proud about the fact that I try a lot different avenues and I’m very driven but in this case I’m humbled by the fact that it was a lot of luck and good timing and maybe some sort of good willing entity! I found a way to contact him around June of this year, sent him our latest album, told him about the ideas we had and the band and after talking for some days, and then we began scheduling dates to record with him as a guest drummer around July 2018. I cannot stress enough on how professional, neat and proactive this man is. I’m still amazed by it.
TMR: How and why did tarot cards influence your upcoming EP? Describe the lyrics and themes of it all.
The Tarot theme began with the previous record and it felt almost intuitive to keep it around a little longer. There’s a correlation between the meaning of each card and the songs composition as well as in the lyrics. On the Hermit it’s pushed a little bit further: lyrics somehow depict a journey, different phases of a life long evolution, all presented in an ambiguous way like cards and their premonitions would be read when someone is reading your future. All three cards depict different processes of a person’s life that somehow never end, because right when you think you are as wise as a Hermit, you realize – hopefully- that your still the Fool. The Hermit, in our story at least, is a form of death of some sorts of a former self into another metaphysical incarnation. That is why the album ends in a way that allows it to begin a knew like a wave following another.
TMR: Any shows coming up supporting your upcoming release?
Yes, we are at the moment looking at the possibility of playing mainly in Europe on 2019!
TMR: How is it different compared to your previous release?
While we were touring for Shock of the New I began to feel the urge to do something completely different and… Literally fun. That was my main drive, do something that’s fun to listen to as to play it all the way. And these three songs I had been playing with seemed to hold this quality.
This album is in many ways more mature, it has the blend of what we have learned while touring, it represents the person’s we are becoming now. And the presence of having Marco on the record made us to really push ourselves into growing even more. It’s pretty spontaneous, violent and honest from my perspective.
TMR: How did the band get into music? What bands and artists got you going?
We all lived our whole lives around music, our families were already huge music lovers.
In my case one of my uncles, huge influence on my childhood, had around 3000 records in cassette, vinyl and CDs…BEFORE THE INTERNET. At some point I began to think that my family accidentally raised me to love music more than anything.
Some of the bands that got us going were Opeth, Genesis, Mastodon, Steve Hackett, Spinnetta, Steven Wilson and, in some way, Tame Impala.
TMR: What were some of your favorite releases of 2018?
Some of the most interesting records I heard this year where The Sea Within debut album and Haken’s “Vector”. The only record I think I’m looking forward to at the moment is Dream Theater, I’m a fan for life (Systematic chaos was the first record I bought on what the elderly used to call “music stores” ) . I have some hopes on this one.
TMR: Describe the writing process for Astrolabe.
Well, it begins with coming up with some weird cool sounding riffs, try to keep them as complicated and juicy as possible. Then having them in such organized way, and under extreme quality standards, that everything is neatly tied together without any layer of fat between the riffs. Then we begin to add vocals and synths. The longest process is actually making sure that everything is complementary and that there’s only but great riffs, in our opinion, on the song.
TMR: What is everyone’s favorite piece of gear they own? And what do you want?
I love my Schecter Flying V-1, however this record I used a Gibson Les Paul and I’m hooked, it’s just the shape and sound I need so maybe a Les Paul or a 24 fret PRS guitar I saw on a music shop in London a few weeks ago. As for Jim, he is so obsessed with his new Ibanez Multiscale Bass, he only uses it when playing or recording with Astrolabe.
The Hermit, The Fool And The Hanged Man:
1. The Fool
2. The Hanged Man
3. The Hermit
Victor Osorio Jule- Guitars And Vocals
Jim Lopez- Bass
Cesar Rodas- Synth And Keys
Marco Minneman- Drums
- The Fool
2. The Hanged Man
3. The Hermit