Interview with Olivier Allard (violin) of Cydemind and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
OA: Cydemind is a very unique progressive metal band. There is no way you can confuse this band with another. Apart from the fact that there is a violin as its main melodic instrument, Cydemind draws influences from a very wide range of musical styles. We blend elements of classical music, jazz, rock, funk and metal music.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
OA: I’m a classically trained violinist. Been one since I’m 7 years old. I grew up in a little town near Montreal. My father introduced me to progressive rock at a very young age while my brother introduced me to metal. Those influences, mixed up with my violin practice and my orchestra rehearsals, made me the musician I am today. I don’t think there are a lot of violinists interested in progressive music, but I intend to change that!
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
OA: I always had this urge to create music, whether it be by playing or writing. I can’t say if something really inspires me to make music, I just do it because I feel the need to do it. And I am fortunate enough not to have to think about lyrics since I only write instrumental songs!
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
OA: I would like to become a reference in my field. To be recognized as a musician that created its own path and thought outside the box. If I can inspire future musicians to do the same along the way, I will be very glad.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
OA: For me, getting my bachelor’s degree in violin performance after my final concert was a very special moment. Knowing from where I was starting at the beginning of university, completing my bachelor’s degree by playing Dvorak’s violin concerto and Bach’s Chaconne remains something I am extremely proud of. I mean, I did get a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. after that, but it never made me as proud as my first degree.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
OA: I mean, Cydemind is an emerging band that recorded almost all of its new album in a home studio, so we’re the perfect example! Artists today not only have to know how to play their instrument, but also how to record, produce, mix and promote their music. We learned so much in the process of producing our upcoming album The Descent, and we still have a lot more to learn. It’s a lot of work and you definitely have to be willing to walk the extra mile to have a chance of success.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
OA: We have a launch show coming this November in Montreal. We’re used to promoting everything ourselves. We’re planning on playing as much as we can during the next year.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
OA: There are pros and cons. It’s never been easier to listen to the music you want. I’ve discovered so many good bands through Spotify. I think for a discovery purpose, it’s amazing. Although I have my reservations concerning the royalties being paid to the artists.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
OA: Symphony X’s The Odyssey. This piece is a masterclass of composition. Apart from the fact that the music and lyrics are amazing, the way that its structure follows the story of Ulysses blows my mind. Translating a story in music is definitely on my list of things to accomplish.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
OA: We have to find a way as a society to give more value to music. Right now music has no value. You get to listen to everything for free on Spotify. That makes people think they shouldn’t have to pay for music. We have to think collectively of ways to change that. Encourage patronage, invest more in culture, make music education compulsory, etc.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
OA: I’m doing a lot of preparation for the release of our second album The Descent, which releases on November 4th. So many things to do, so little time!
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
OA: Follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Youtube, Cydemind is going to publish lots of things in the coming weeks! Our second album The Descent drops November 4th on all digital platforms. We’ll have CDs, t-shirts, and sheet music, all available on our Bandcamp page: https://cydemind.bandcamp.com/music
Band/Artist location – Montreal Canada
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