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OCTOBER 16th 2017

OPERUS EXCLUSIVE

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with Oscar Rangel, one of the members from a heavy, yet classical influenced band named “OPERUS”, from Toronto, CANADA.

Interview By: Metal Mom

How did you come up with the name “OPERUS” for the band?

The name Operus is combination of the word "Opus", which is use in classical music to number creations for composers, and I also love the ring of "Opera" the word has, as the band's concept is that of a theatrical showcase of both storytelling and on stage theatrics.

What puts you into the Epic Metal genre?

The massive instrumentation (cello, classical guitar, orchestrations, etc.), the tale-based lyrical content and the heavy use of counterpoint in the pieces that allow us to add a lot of layers and motifs into the music.

You have six members in the band, can you tell us how each one came to be in Operus…

David Michael Moote (lead vocals):

David has a strong background on Musical Theatre and also has post-grade studies in vocal techniques, we found Mr. Moote on a network group from the musical theatre industry in Toronto, we approached him with the idea of joining this band and working together to bring Operus' show closer to a theatrical performance and he jump right on it.

Robin Howe (cello/backing vocals):

Robin is a very talented and passionate cello player that has a musical master's degree and a ton of experience performing in different orchestras in many different scenarios. Robin knew Oscar from the time Rangel played in Mastery, and then found an add posted in one of those sites like musolist, he contacted Oscar in the early stages of development of the Operus that exists now, and ever since the first contact we discovered we share a lot of ideas.

Rob Holden (guitar):

Rob Holden has been a long time friend of both Oscar and Wojciech and after Operus' first stage of formation both Wojciech and Oscar approached Rob and didn't take a no for an answer. Rob is a very dedicated guitarist with a lot of experience playing different metal subgenres and his musical style and personality made him an obvious choice, the perfect fit for the band.

Oscar Rangel (guitar/backing vocals):

Oscar officialy founded the band at some point in 2012 or 2013, but some of the songs in this album were composed as far back as 2005. He moved to Toronto in 2009 and campaign to recruit the best fitting musicians for the project started, and it took at least 4 years for it to be a true representation of what the vision has been all along.

Wojciech Sokolowski (bass/backing vocals):

Wojciech, as well as the rest of the band has a long history in metal, playing with black metal band Eclipse Eternal, Wojciech was the first name that came out of a reference to Oscar from some people in the industry here in Toronto and the similar ideas were obvious instantly, a fun fact of all this is that Wojciech and Oscar were born the same day of the same year in completely different places, Wojciech being from Poland, and Oscar from Mexico.

J.J. Tartaglia (drums):

J.J. Has been a close friend of Oscar since they meet at the wacken metal battle in Canada, as JJ is the promoter for the country, they kept in touch for a couple of years until Operus' former drummer decided to follow his own path and left Operus with a drummer position to be filled, Oscar asked JJ if he would want to do it and JJ accepted.

Who writes the lyrics for your music, and where does the inspiration come from?

Oscar Rangel is the main composer for music as well as some lyrics, inspiration from music on my part comes from a wide range of places, sometimes a phrase inspires a song or an specific type of feel, others I read a book or watch a movie that inspires a theme. The lyrics for this album were a collaboration between David Michael Moote, Wojciech and myself (Oscar).

Does everyone have their own input into the music/instruments, or is it more or less all orchestrated and then learned?

Yes, in both accounts, the songs definitely are orchestrated and learned, but that is just the first step of the process, after an initial approach to the songs the way they are written we review it and sometimes somebody might have an idea of how to improve the song, we test it and decide which path to follow.

Have you always wanted to be in a band, since an early age, or over time you thought this would be just the perfect thing?

Absolutely, my own personal history with music started that way (Oscar Rangel), I enrolled in the fine arts school to study classical guitar because I wanted to play bass in a metal band, and apparently that made sense to me back then! I was 12 years old and I knew exactly what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life.

Did you have anyone that inspired you?

I did, the very first inspiration came from one of my closest friends, Antonio Barajas (now a great composer and guitarist) that at the age of 10 was already playing some interesting sounding songs in classical guitar.

And once I was initiated in the musical journey I drew from a lot of role models, some past composers as Bach, Mozart, Villalobos, Agustín Barrios, and some more modern ones as Danny Elfman, John Williams and others like them. I also have two very specific bassist models I always wanted to emulate, Markus Grosspoff from Helloween and Billy Sheehan, along with guitarist such as Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Jani Limmatainen and others.

What did your parents think when you told them that you wanted to be in a band? I think a lot of parents have a hard time with it, because you don’t make too much money starting off, if any.

I have great parents and I was lucky enough that they supported it from day one, at first they thought it was a hobby or a stage, but it became rapidly clear that I was serious about it, and I was also lucky that my teachers throughout my years of studies (around 9 or 10), were very good at showing me "the next step" and always gave me world perspective for music.

The main thing that I remember from my parents from the early days of my musical life is them speaking to me in a very serious tone and saying "if you are going to pursue music, you have to be the best", since, as you mentioned, musicians don't really have a reputation of making a lot of money with it. But I differ from that notion.

You are about to release your debut album in a week, Oct 13th, “CENOTAPH” via Dark Star Records in Association with MVD Entertainment and The Orchard/Sony), you must be pretty excited for this release, are you doing anything special for it?

I am extremely excited about this release, everybody in the band agrees that this is the best product any of us have been involved in, and we cannot wait to share it with the world, as for a special thing, we are having a release show the day after the album hits the store as well as a release party, but that's private and I shouldn't be talking about that (wink wink).

For the concept and inspiration for the album name, is a statue in Budapest, what made you decide to use this?

The Anonymous statue has been my favourite one for some time already and I wanted to use that image on an album cover before, but it never really took off until Wojciech brough it up during the conversations about the concept, it was him who came up with the album title, and that rippled down to then changing the lyrics for one of our songs to make it a title track, which he also wrote the lyrics for. Our EP (released in 2013) depicts a bauta figure and we like the mysterious aura that figure carries with it, so the anonymous statue felt like a great evolution for our cover, while keeping some familiar tones of mystery.

You have 10 songs on the album, do you personally have a favourite and why did you pick this one?

It would be very hard for me to pick just one song to be my favourite, I guess it would be a close call between Colosseum, Steel Against Steel, and The Return.


Who is the artist that created the cover work?

Drake Mefestta from Drake Mefestta Designs.

Did you tell the artist what you wanted, and he created something, or were you adamant about what you wanted it to be?

We were very specific in what we wanted to be in the cover, and gave Drake space to portrait our concept, which we believe it was perfectly achieved.

Was it a long process from writing to actually getting it recorded?

Yes, some of the songs were written a long time ago (2005), from the actual arrangement process with the band to the tracking sessions it was less than 6 months, and then we changed singers during the recording sessions, which made us sit on a fully finished instrumental album for another 6 months. The next album should come much quicker!

What for you is the best part about being in Operus?

To me, the very best part about being in Operus is the fact that this isn't a one-man operation, and that everybody has a say in what goes on with the band, both musically, business-wise and performance-wise.

Being a band these days is a lot of hard work, long hours, not much of a family life, have you ever for one minute regretted it?

I have not, it is hard to be on the road for extended periods of time but this is also a decision I made a long time ago, and things are going according to the plan, plus I am extremely lucky to have a wife that supports my every professional move.

Are you planning on doing a tour now to support the album?  Where might that be if you are?

We are, the first dates will be announced soon and so far we have both Canada and Mexico contemplated for this tour, we want to come to the US but we are still working out details.

Where do you think you might be in 5 years?

Releasing a new album and doing the whole festival circuit tour in Europe as well as touring in different places.

What kind of music do you enjoy when you are not working with the band?

I listen to the music I am developing a lot since I like to analyze it from many perspectives and there isn't much free time around teaching music and composing, I also enjoy bands like Testament, Devin Townsend, and a whole ton of soundtracks and classical music, and I also enjoy electronic music to drive and workout.

Is there anything you would like to add here that I might have missed asking but you want people to know?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank every person that takes the time to listen to the album in full, I recommend to listen to it to the end before making conclusions, as there is a lot of different sounds developed by Operus.  THANK YOU!