Target - Interview
From the first moments or rather sounds of "Deep Water Flames" playing I knew this was an album and a band that I need to investigate, know more about and get as much into as I possibly can. Target's brand of technical death metal is done exactly how I like it so when one of the guys contacted me about possible interview, I jumped on it right away. Strangely enough the CD I ordered from the band showed up at my door few hours later. Coincidence? I think NOT.
Thanks for doing this. How's everything going? How was the opening gig for As I Lay Dying? Did you manage to steal the show?
Luis: I could define it as a crazy day, too many emotions at the same time, too much preparation to give everything we have in 30 minutes. I'm not sure if we stole the show but we always set our goals as high as possible and this wasn't the exception, we have been working in our live sound, lights and the crew needed for a while, so we felt way comfortable at the moment of the show.
Andy: The feeling of being prepared, of having worked strategically with a very rigorous pre-production was definitely something that helped us deliver a professional performance. We are very happy! it was perfect!
Looking at the pictures of Santiago, Chile it's hard not to wonder about the effect of mountains on everyday life over there. Does it inspire you in any way, how is it to be living so close to something so majestic?
Luis: They are definitely an important part of our daily lives; from the most beautiful pictures when they are snowed to the most useful point of reference if you get lost is the city. We always talk about how needed is melancholy in metal music, so in winter you can get a nice "melancholy spot" as soon as the snow falls and cover the mountains, that moment is a key point to me as a music writer. The only thing is that Santiago was founded in a valley, so the pollution is a constant problem for us year after year. We are always fighting against it trying to find better ways to subsist and solve the pollution issues.
Andy: Chile itself inspires us! We have all kinds of landscapes, deserts, mountains, lakes, rainforests, Patagonia and lots of ocean! Personally, I am unconsciously inspired by this, in addition to being constantly connected with the landscapes. Every day I work as a researcher in many production services companies. My job is to show Chile for international audiovisual projects, so that image, feeling and aesthetics are very important both in my life and in Target.
What time of the year is the best to visit and explore, do you yourselves go on trails and hike?
Andy: I definitely recommend in our spring (Sept-December) and summer (Mid December-March), you have many places to visit! The highlights could be; San Pedro de Atacama in the north, the surroundings of Santiago and its mountains, lakes, beaches and forests, further south of Chile the Pucon area; Rich in waterfalls, forests and volcanoes, the magical island of Chiloe, our Patagonia with the eighth wonder of the world, the Torres del Paine, and how to forget Easter Island! We have a beautiful country for anyone who wants to come to know something different.
Luis: I'm not a sport person (shame on me; I'm trying, I swear) but there's a few places to go on trails and hike and that's is something common here. The good thing of living in Santiago is that you're just one hour from beach and mountains; and you can do it every time you want, there's no extreme weather restrictions. In one day, you can see three different type of weather, you should try it if you come to Chile.
Are all of you living in Santiago? How often do you see each other and play?
Luis: Fortunately, we all live in Santiago, and how often we see each other depends of the live gigs we have, for writing sessions we try to be together on a weekly basis, but I'm always telling the rest to practice every time they so we can keep the proper musicianship/technical level. It's not an easy job but someone has to do it.
All of you play or played in other bands, what was the catalyst for the creation of Target?
Luis: I would like to start from this moment to the past: the current line-up makes me feel that we're lucky, something has to be achieved for some unknown reason that we haven't discover yet. The band started several years ago with members of other Chilean bands as a "Side Project" but as soon as I joined (I come from the second line-up) I discovered the huge potential behind the songs, so I made everything to take control of the music in order to become "Target" as the main band for everyone. Someone liked it, someone not; but when you are into something and you're decided to work your ass off aiming to be as higher as possible… you need to take decisions.
Andy: For years we have been focused only on Target. I think it's because of the chemistry we have as a band, as people. We trust each other's work, we are not impose or have the ego manipulate situations. We are in a stage of our lives that we do because we like it and it is our way of seeing life.
How long did you work on "Deep Water Flames", how was the whole process and how was the workload distributed?
Luis: Most of the music ideas were written at my home studio, and then we worked together in our rehearsal room. Sometimes we add new ideas, we take them off, we change them or If I'm enough lucky… the original idea becomes an entire song. That writing process took us maybe 2 years, but I think it took us so long because we decided to evolve in every aspect of our music, a lot of thinking and a lot of discussing about new ideas and new ways to play your instrument.
Andy: About lyrics and the concept, time for me passes in slow motion. I can take years to find the link between music and the feelings or experiences I want to convey. I like to get out of comfort zones, make it a challenge. When that appears, I can take one morning to write everything. It's like a divine intervention haha. Many times, a word, an image or a place can trigger a concept, as happened in DWF.
Album sounds monumental so naturally I'm wondering about the people responsible. How was the time in the studio, who were the people you worked with and how did you find out about them?
Luis: Thank you so much for that. It's definitely a good sounding album, without leaving dynamics behind, that's something hard to achieve in these days. We decided to work with the best people available at that moment for recording, mixing and mastering; but to me the key point was the organization and time administration of the band. We really did and entire planning process for the recording to the next steps needed to get the proper promotion. We knew that we had a colossal album in our hands, and we were enough clear about all the work involved so the job will not be done until we achieved everything that we set as a goal.
What is the meaning behind the title of your latest album?
Luis: There's a few concepts behind the album, but the main one is how humans are trapped by their own comfort zones and how we struggle every day to overcome all the different problems in our daily lives. We feel this as a representation of our own daily lives, so it was a way to channel our vision in how we see the world today. It is definitely an exercise of empathy with the rest of the habitants of our planet.
Andy: The game of concepts of water with fire was something that immediately caught my attention. We needed something that would shakes you, something that would makes you think. Effectiveness was never in mind. Creating a story that represents you was the challenge, an analogy with our own life, told from an implicit, very ethereal point of view, attractive to sensitivity.
How did you make your decision when choosing album cover, tell us about the process?
Luis: That was a long process, we really wanted to make a difference with the rest of the bands, we knew that we didn't want something typical (horns, devils, Satan, cities destroyed or a priest under arrest or being murdered) so we started to talk about how to create something iconic and easy to remember. We are huge melomaniacs, and for years, we have been looking through the entire artwork of our favorite albums, especially Pink Floyd's and other big names in rock history, so we knew that the artwork was meant to be as huge as the music in terms of impact. After being enough clear we decided who would be in charge of this process and there was only one name in our heads: Dehn Sora, the man behind several artworks of many world names in the metal scene.
Andy: For me it was like a dream, working with people you admire is something really important. The cover art of DWF took about 4 years, from expressing my feelings about what I wanted to graph, to drawing things. Dehn Sora is a true artist, not only a guy who makes album covers. It was there that I knew that with a good conceptual brief, Dehn Sora would give us a work of art. Today that masterpiece hangs in my living room.
Reading all different bits scattered on the internet about the band is hard not to notice the comparisons. Does it bother you, are you embracing it or trying to get away from any influences while composing?
Luis: Not at all, being compared with names like Meshuggah, Gojira and Decapitated is flatters me in so many ways, I have been exploring new ways of playing even before those bands were in the spotlight so I feel that we've been connected with them since the beginning somehow. We are an open-minded band in terms of musical influences. As South Americans, we are definitely into rhythms and time signatures, two of the best characteristics of our folk music. I can feel that this kind of influences will have more and more space in our music as a retribution to the work and dedication of our native and indigenous peoples.
"Deep Water Flames" is getting an enthusiastic reception and it rakes all the high notes. How do you feel about the attention it gets, is it anything you expected?
Luis; Yes, absolutely. As I told you before, we worked so hard planning each step, so I receive each review as a retribution of all the great work done by each member of Target. I will always feel grateful of every good and regular review; even though we haven't receive any bad opinion regarding any aspect of DWF, but just in case… thank you humans for spending some time listening to our album!
Andy: It's great when from another part of the world, in another universe, as I like to say, we connect and create a bond with someone. That is the power of music! And as Luis says, we work intelligently to expand our art. This is just beginning for us.
Aside from musical inspirations what is the biggest reason that pushes you to create your own sounds, what other aspects of life or art give you the strongest impulses to write music?
Andy: You only live once! The need to create and try to transcend is something that fills me with happiness. Transmit to my children the example of someone who follows their dreams and feel that you are doing things well, is priceless.
Luis: This is something quite interesting; I'm not sure why I do this but I feel responsible for bringing something back to the world, something that will live forever and will tell to humans who we were, even when we have passed to the other side. After my son's birth I developed a sense of give him a way to understand that everything is achievable with hard, smart and planned work. To me, music is the most honest way of expression and understanding, when we feel alone we only want to be understood, a music is the perfect catalyst of empathy… there's no distances between the listener and the band, I love that.
South America metal fans are known for being die hard and crazy enthusiastic. What is going on during Target's show, how crazy does it get?
Luis: To be quite honest, our shows are always divided in two parts, the one where everyone is trying to understand what's happening, and the other part is when everyone is immerse in our music. In our shows people use to be quieter than crazier, but I think is because our music allows them to start a kind-of spiritual journey (and with some beers in your body… that's easier). Someone told us that our shows are dangerous if you're high (haha).
What is your typical set-list? How many songs do you play, and which ones are a must play?
Luis: The last year we were focused only in songs included in "Deep Water Flames", we wanted to play the album in its entirely so our fans could know the songs even before the album was released. We are currently rehearsing songs from our first album "Knot of Centipedes" and there are a few of songs that could be a "MUST" in our future set-lists such as 'Oxymoron', 'The Next Level' and 'Neurotic Codecs'. We like to try new songs in our gigs even before we record them, it's a nice exercise in order to see how our fans react to them; so every time we have a new song they are a must for us.
What are the plans for nearest and distant future at the moment?
Luis: We are in a good creative moment. We have a few new songs tracked as demos for a future album and many new ideas that are likely to be songs, so the nearest future is to keep the composing process. This time we have planned to create as many songs as we can so we will be able to choose which ones are a fair successor to DWF, we have a great album and we want to keep the things as higher as possible.
Thank you so much for answering all the questions, hope to see you play sometime in the future, last words belong to you.
Luis: Thank you so much for your questions, I have a great time answering and going through our history and it feels great to tell to our fans what are we doing today and in the future. Please keep an eye on our Social Media sites because we will have great news very soon!
Andy: Thank you! As I always say it! Metalbite helped me a lot when I was younger to discover a lot of music! It is a dream to answer this interview to a webzine that helped me learn so much about this infinite world of extreme metal. Muchas Gracias!!!
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