Into The Presence
'Presence Company ... Accepted'
Into The Presence is initially noted for it's famous members: vocalist/guitarist Luis Carlos Maldonado (John Waite, UFO); drummer Tim Alexander (A Perfect Circle, Primus, and Puscifer); and cellist Ana Lenchantin (Vanessa Carlton, Gnarls Barkley, Trent Reznor, Queens of the Stone Age, Damien Rice, and Billy Corgan).
This September they begin their first American Tour supporting Apoptygma Berzerk while promoting their recently released self-titled debut album on Razor and Tie.
Into The Presence's debut album is receiving tremendous reviews including the Washington Post which called the band's debut album, "superlative progressive rock and one of the best rock albums of the year."
Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of chatting with Luis Carlos Maldonado of Into The Presence about the band, ghost stories, playing live, ... and, of course, penguins!
Iíve read that you wanted to capture an honest sound like the bands you grew up with. What makes it honest in your case? "What I meant by "honest" was there were absolutely no tricks or special aids by a computer program or any gear. For instance, there was no cutting/pasting, no auto tune, no nudging of the beats and no vocal comping. What went down on the tape was the actual performance, usually first takes and nothing was "pieced" together."
"The album was tracked and mixed all on analog gear; we only used 2 inch tape, which didn't allow us the convenience to use all those Pro Tools "aids". That's what I meant by honest."
What are your musical influences growing up and how are they still factoring into your music today? "When I was young I was influenced by classical music, a lot of the music from the 60's and 70's. that would from Motown, prog rock, flamenco and Brazilian music. Stones, Temptations, Sabicas, Jascha Heifetz, Queen, Sabbath..itís all over the map."
"When I write now Iím not as inspired by other music as I am with other things. Its something more than just music. Most importantly, an influence can be something other than other music, using everything in life is
more of an influence than anything. My whole life has been music so these days my influences are art, books, life lessons, or even a "sound" like a machine in the distance pulsing. Sometimes silence brings out tons of ideas. That alone can inspire so much and it gives me my own voice."
"Iím all over the map with books. I just finished reading a Carl Sagan book and a Dolores Cannon book. They are two complete opposites as far as their experiences and beliefs: the skeptic writer and the metaphysical/spiritual writer. Reading both authors opened the door for LOTS of ideas."
"As far as art goes I like the works of some recent artists like Saturno Butto, Carlos Huante, Andre Martins de Barros, Michael Hussar, and Alexej Ravski to name a few. Out of box stuff."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard your music and was thinking of buying your CD, how would you yourself describe the sound? "I suppose the easiest way is to say modern rock music. However, what I would really love to say is the music is a unique approach to rock music, blending past and present elements to create something to progress and grow past "format". Uh, ya... That's it :-)"
What was it like transitioning from a collaborator with other bands (John Waite, UFO, Primus, A Perfect Circle) to developing and laying down your own tracks? "No transition really. This music is "my" own voice and expression.
When working with other artists, I am helping them express "their" own voice and expression which has almost nothing to do with me. But just to clarify, I was not in Primus nor A Perfect Circle."
Tell us more about your self-titled debut album - does it tell a story, and why self-title it as opposed to coming up with something different? "Well, there is no recurring story or theme. It is an overall depiction of oneís passionate approach to life."
"The decision to leave it self-titled was to keep the focus on the name. The name itself can mean so many different things. It was originally derived from our experiences in the studio; for example we went into the studio and into the presence of whatever was in there Ė it could have been our imagination, spirits or something else. But whatever it was, you could feel some other energy was in the room. It also means the way you get into the presence in order to prepare for a show or even the way we bring people into our music. It has so many different meanings on so many levels. In that sense, the multifaceted application of the phrase is exactly how it applies to us."
Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to create a new and vibrant sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Itís not too hard if you are just being honest in the writing process and try to do something different. However, sometimes what makes it hard is trying to quiet the opinions of everyone who says" you should do it like this- or try that". So really you just have to trust your gut and express freely what's inside. Also one must accept that your expression is not for everyone and be thankful you get a chance to share music."
While recording the album itís stated that band members have had some seriously spooky stories that they plan on sharing while on tour. What was the freakiest scenario and/or accident that happened to you personally? "One night at an old hotel we stayed at in Belgium (mind you we could have been the only ones there that night for it was "dead"), I had gone to my room to sleep. There was a nightstand next to the bed that was fashioned from an old 1920s radio. It did not have ANY electronics wires or tubes. The faceplate was used as a decoration. It was a fake radio."
"However, I woke up later that night to the sound of big band jazz music coming out of the "fake radio". I was not dreaming. It completely freaked me out. I stayed up for several minutes before I turned on the light and it faded away. I looked behind the nightstand and again no wires; there wasn't even a plug to connect to the wall. And that's when the whole room went freezing cold."
"The next morning my soundman said he couldn't sleep because there was a little girl sitting in a chair in front of his bed. He knew it was a ghost. BTW- his room was right next to mine."
Does the band still feel the presence while on tour or was it just while you all were recording in the album? "I have heard that sometimes certain spirits will follow you. However, I will say that whichever town I go to on tour, I end up playing a show at a venue, or stay at a hotel that has strange activity going on. I don't think itís coincidence anymore."
How is the music being received being on tour with Apoptygma Berzerk? "Ha ha. I wasn't sure at first what their fans would think. Itís funny because they start out looking at us like "what is this" but within 2 or 3 songs we manage to bring them over to the "dark side" ha ha. All in all we have been received amazingly well."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "'
Girl in Trouble' (itís a temporary thing) By ROMEO VOID or Anything
Siouxsie and the Banshees, Maybe 'Serpents Kiss' by the MISSION UK.
God- so many cool songs itís hard to pick one."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I love the purple ones. They also seem to carry the most electricity.
So in feeding them you must be careful to not get shocked.
Interview: Ken Tebo
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