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Progressive Rock Interviews

Vie Jester

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Vie Jester from 2015
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Kyle Guerrero: My individual involvement with music is like a comic book story.  I feel like Peter Parker by day, studying and teaching music and theory, and Spiderman by night, flinging gooey prog riffs at helpless victims of modern pop music... As a band we are definitely the Avengers, of hard rock.  Since the mid-2000s we’ve been battling against an onslaught of electro-indie bands that have taken over Los Angeles and brainwashed KROQ.
MSJ:
If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Jaime Salas: I love fighting and particularly practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I would have continued my training at Ring of Fire in the city of Arcadia with my coaches Vincent and Rodrigo to earn my blue belt at least. Then I'd probably be about 10 fights in at  this point if I wasn't involved in music.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Cliff Conway: Kyle thought of it while watching an Akira Kurosawa film.  It can translate to “compete fool,” but there's several different interpretations of the literal words.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Kyle Guerrero:   The Crow and Marty McFly.  The scenes where Brandon Lee lip sync shreds a solo on the building top and Michael J. Fox rips a power chord sonic boom are the kind of keystone moments that change a child’s life forever.  It didn’t matter that they were fictional characters in a movie.  The point was to display how music invokes a primal energy within all of us.  If Marty McFly touched you, then hopefully Vie Jester will touch you too, repeatedly.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Jaime Salas:  I hope zero stop signs with the exception of tending to some family time. I'm dreaming of a fantastic stage show with mesmerizing lights and a set list that takes our audience into the unknown and visceral side of their own psyche
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Cliff Conway:   I would say our closest genre would be considered alt-metal/rock if you really wanna pigeonhole. That's where some of our main direct influences come from.  "Heavy and harmonious electric riffs, melodic vocal harmonies, and progressive grooves" is from our bio.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Kyle Guerrero:   I see our band maturing and developing a unique sound separate from, but of the same caliber as bands like Karnivool, Mastodon, and Skyharbor.  We’d be honored to share the stage with those artists and many more like them.
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Jaime Salas:  For a career musician it is helpful to expose your music to as many people as possible. You can't completely avoid having some music leaked. It builds intrigue to listen to a free "leaked" track of your favorite artist's new album or hear something new from an unknown artist.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Cliff Conway:   I feel like it's kind of cheating the artist because you're taking control over their baby, and I'm sure 49 times out of 50, the sound quality you recorded is going to suck ass.  Then, when you spread it around, it's going to give people a false experience of the bands live setting.  But this is the same as recording concerts and putting them on Youtube.  It's an inevitable part of our culture and our technology right now.
MSJ:
If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

Kyle Guerrero:  I’m going to “stick” with the Spidey theme here, and say Miley Cyrus because of her striking resemblance to the Green Goblin.

MSJ:
If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Jaime Salas:  I would love to see the original guys who recorded the Throwing Copper album: LIVE. They were one of the earliest alternative bands that I had heard when I was a kid. I love the lyrics and the dynamics within songs. I can listen to that whole album from start to finish so to hear it live would be epic for me!
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Cliff Conway:   I've been checking out some more mainstream "rock" music lately, to kind of see where it's headed.  I like the newest Cage the Elephant - the newest Mastodon.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Jaime Salas:  Recently I read Biocentrism by Robert Lanza. It plays with the idea that reality is shaped by consciousness and not the other way around. I like the idea that we actively shape our reality by the way we perceive it instead of being simply passive observers of reality - highly Recommended Brain Candy!
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Cliff Conway:  Last concert I've gone to for a "big time band" was a minute ago. Last year it was Alice in Chains and Jane's Addiction.  Those guys blew my mind.  I go to a lot of local shows though to watch friends' bands play.  I recently saw my buddy Billy play in his band Genius Archimedes
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Jaime Salas:  I have friends who say they hate her music. but I have been caught getting down to some Katy Perry!
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Kyle Guerrero:  The second time we played the Viper Room in Hollywood was like a Three Stooges act.  Cliff had connection issues with his electronic drum pad and playing space.  Our former bassist Justin had a ninety percent reduction in amp volume and had to play through monitors.  The charger for my vocal processor was cut and shorting out.  We were twenty minutes behind schedule and halfway through our opening song when my oldest but most trusted Mogami guitar cable stopped working.  I didn’t fathom that it was the cable so I scrambled to disconnect my effects pedal board.  When that didn’t work the stage tech helped me replace my guitar amp with their backline blues amp.  The entire rest of our performance sounded like B.B. King trying to cover Metallica - good times!
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining and what would be on the menu?
Jaime Salas:  Eddie Izzard, Robin Williams and Conan O' Brien. We would each imbibe our favorite beverages, discuss religion and feast on Morton's double porterhouse steak.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Cliff Conway:    If I could pick five headliners for a massive festival it would be Tool, Rage against the Machine, Public Enemy, and a Led Zeppelin reunion.  All older bands, I know, but it would be epic!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Kyle Guerrero:  This message is for anyone awesome enough to have made it this far into the interview.  I’m not going to plug our sick new EP Etches In Aether that’s out on iTunes now, and I’m definitely not going to ramble on about how our government is run by privately owned bank cartels that control all major media and corporations to mechanize American civilization into a tax funded military industrial complex with intentions to dominate the world...  We’ll leave that nonsense to Fionna Apple.  All we want people to know is that mainstream hard rock does not have to die.  But it’s up to you guys to stop buying Taylor Swift albums.  You can do it, we believe in you.

 

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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