Interview with Cydemind
Olivier Allard (violin) speaking
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I started playing the violin at 7 years old, thanks to a friend of mine who invited me to his concert. I fell in love with the instrument. Even though I played an instrument, I can't say I was really ''into music'' at that age though. My passion for music really developed in my teen years, when I played in orchestras and discovered metal music.
When I applied to university studies, I was accepted into Music but also into Law School. I had to choose between the two. People say I chose passion over money! They're probably right although I think I would have liked Law School. I always had an interest in jurisdiction, civil rights, etc.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Honestly, my last 12 years were dedicated pretty entirely to music so I don't have lots of hobbies outside of music. I do like to watch movies and TV shows, and playing video or board games. I can't say those things influence my creativity for certain. But as a musician who plays and writes music, my ears are always listening and analyzing the sounds I hear, wherever they come from. I actually remember writing a full chorus after hearing the rhythmic patterns coming out from my heater!
How long has your band been around?
I've created Cydemind with Dage (Alexandre Dagenais) and Elie (former Cydemind bassist Elie Despins) back in 2012. So it's been 10 years!
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
There's no story behind Cydemind. I wish there was and I could explain the philosophical meaning behind the name, but we simply liked the sound and visual of it.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
First show ever: I went to see Kamelot in Montreal back when I was 13 or 14 years old. First trash ever! I lost my glasses after being hit by an elbow... Kamelot was touring their album The Black Halo, which is still one of my favorite metal albums. I remember being impressed (and kinda seduced) by Simone Simons, who was touring with them. The singer (back then it was Roy Khan) also sang a song in French (Ne Pleure Pas) which I found was a very nice gesture towards Quebec culture.
Other than that, I think my favorite shows to attend is Blind Guardian's. The amount of energy that this band gets out of their crowd is amazing. It's also where I met my bandmate, Kevin, for the first time at 14 years old! I went to see Blind Guardian a couple of times in Montreal but also in Italy, and I can say Italian crowds are as loud as Canadian ones!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
As a band, we didn't play in many places yet. Our dream venue would of course be the Royal Albert Hall in London! As a violinist, I've played a couple of times in the Montreal Maison Symphonique, and it's definitely my favorite place to play. I get the chills when I step on that stage. It's magnificent and the acoustics are exceptional.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Our fans would like us to open for Dream Theater. We definitely wouldn't say no! Right now, our favorite bands are Haken and Leprous so any of those two would be an honor!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Work hard and have fun. If you only do one of those two, you either won't last or won't like what you do. Also, appreciate the time you have with your band. Be grateful for the chance of being part of something bigger than yourself. It's an opportunity that very few people get!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
There's a part of me that wishes I had been more serious in my practice when I was young. Violin is a very hard instrument and mastering it takes a lifetime. Every hour you put on your instrument when you're young makes your life a little bit easier when you're older. I would have told my younger self to trade a few video game hours for music practice!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I'm not sure I have one but I'll pick Erosion. It's the longest song we've ever written, and it took us so much time to write. We have definitely grown a lot after making this music. It made us realize how much potential we had and made us feel ''in the gang'', having a 20+ min song alongside our prog heroes like Dream Theater, Symphony X or Neal Morse.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Personally, I think my favorite song to play live is Derecho. It's a long song that goes through so many moods and ends with an epic finale. In our upcoming album The Descent, there's a song, Hemlock, which kind of follows the same structure and I can't wait to play that one live.
Our most requested song is definitely Winter, our arrangement of the classical piece by Vivaldi. It's a short, high-energy piece that really gets the crowd going!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Kevin and I are the main composers. Our musical collaboration goes way back to our teen years when we shared our newest shitty compositions with each other! We usually write ideas or song sections separately and then share them. Each bounces off the idea of the other and that's how a song gets written. The other guys in the band also contribute with ideas here and there.
I can't speak for Kevin and I honestly don't understand how he gets his ideas (he definitely has the craziest ones!) but I get inspired by lots of stuff, from the music I listen to, which is mostly prog and jazz to the music I play (mostly classical). So I have this mix of many musical genres going on in my head while I write.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We're an instrumental band so we don't have any obvious messages to share. On the contrary, we like to let our fans decide what our music means to them.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
The only disagreements we have happen when we write music. And that's perfect, we're a very picky bunch of guys and it's the variety of opinions that makes our music what it is. It's not always simple to please everyone, but it always ends up well!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Cydemind has a new album coming out on November 4th. We feel it's a huge step forward for us and we can't wait to share it with the world! You can already pre-order the album here and listen to our new single 'Hoax' here.
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Music Video - Hoax -