Monday, February 06, 2017

Interview with Tribulance

 Tribulance is a hard & heavy metal group from Arizona. I recently covered the band's new album, "The Aftermath of Lies", and now it is my pleasure to present this follow-up interview.

Andy-Let me just start off by thanking you for taking the time to chat with us. Would you please introduce yourselves to our readers?
 Thanks for having us and spending a little bit of your time talking with us as well. We are Michael Vidal (Lead Vocals), Sal Flores (Lead/Rhythm Guitars), Gino Silva (Bass Guitar), and Brandon Lee “Laplander” (Drums).
 Q) Your sophomore release has been out for a couple of months. What has been the reaction to it from your longtime fans?
 Brandon Lee: We think most people were a little surprised we came out swinging with this album like we did! There was quite a time gap between this album and our last album, so of course times have changed, music has changed, and our influences have changed as well. We’re still influenced by the same people/groups that we were influenced by back in the 90’s, but there have been so many bands that have come out since then it’s hard not to recognize them as well. I think it’s natural to be influenced by ‘everything’ you like. Not only that, but we’ve grown as people/artist/adults and have had to tackle life head on, and with that, comes all the “Trials and Tribulations” life throws at you. You have no choice but to grow, you have no choice but to 'grow up,' life isn’t stopping and waiting for you. We’ve all gone through ups and downs, so with that being said, we had much more to write about this time than we did on our last album. There was a lot more that needed to be said on this album, for sure… Overall though, the response to the new record has been great. The fans seem to love it and it’s gotten great reviews as well, so it’s definitely off to a great start.
 Andy-"Trials & Tribulations", your full-length debut, came out in 1995. How do you think the scene has changed in-between that album and your new one?!
 Brandon Lee: Overall, the music scene in general has gotten a lot harder that’s for sure, at least in the metal world anyways. Bands these days are stretching the envelope to come up with sounds that were just un-thought of in 95! Everyone’s looking for that next big sound, that next big “it factor” that’s gonna take them to the next level. The pure musicianship of players these days are just incredible as well. It amazes me what some of these kids these days are already doing with their instruments. So when you combine the pure talent that’s out there today, with the endless possibilities of technology, both in the studio, and live, the sky’s the limit! With that being said, the stuff available to us now wasn’t available to us in 95, there wasn’t any cut and paste editing, you tracked it until you got it right. Not only that, but in 95 we really didn’t have the internet and all the social media sites like we do today. You were so dependent on the big record companies to get seen/heard and now artists are almost in full control of everything that the bigger companies use to do for them. It’s limitless… It’s like hanging flyers back in the 80’s/90’s, except now you can hang them worldwide! It’s really crazy how things have changed…
 Andy-Yes, the internet changed everything. If you don't mind me asking, what happened to Tribulance the first time around? Why did you originally call it quits and what was everyone up to in the years that followed?
Mike Vidal: In a nut shell, I think the biggest culprit was our young age and inexperience of facing the “Trials & Tribulations” of the music business back then. We were young and the “let downs” of significant opportunities, which were often dangled in front of us, would fall through and were hard to overcome personally, and as a band. We met some success, had a big deal in Europe our managers were working, European tour in the works, and everything fell through. I don’t think we knew how to deal with those types of situations at that younger age. You’re living your dream out and it comes crashing down, that was hard for us to accept. We continued to play locally and in 1998, shortly after our 2nd release “On Trial” (a 4 song EP) the band disbanded. I stayed out of the music scene entirely, focusing on family life until Gino called me up in 2012 and asked my thoughts about resurrecting the band. Gino had continued playing for many years after TRIBULANCE disbanded in 1998. He put a few different bands together and had some mild success in his band LeVel XIII, including a full length album, and a West Coast tour opening for some of the biggest named bands at the time. In 2012, after talking with Gino, we contacted Sal. Sal had been concentrating on his family and family life as well since we disband, but he also played in a few projects along the way as well, a few of them being projects with Gino. We basically set up a time and we all got together to talk. We had never stopped talking to each other throughout the time we spent apart, granted, it wasn’t every day, but we still kept in contact and knew what each other was up to. After we decided to regroup, our next step was to call our original drummer Stan Bacinski, which we did. We set up a few practice times after that and marched forward. Sal had continued to write during his time away from the band and had more than enough songs to start looking forward to a possible new album. Unfortunately things with Stan didn’t work and we were force to look for a new drummer. We tried out a few drummers here and there, but no one that fit the bill. Gino had actually played with Brandon previously, they went to the same school, grew up in the same neighborhood, and have know each other since 7th grade. Gino had actually contacted Brandon early on for his LeVel XIII project, but Brandon was doing other things at that time that prevented him from joining Gino in that band. After the departure of Stan, and the ever so ups and downs of drummers that came in and out for a short period of tryouts, Gino threw Brandon’s name out to us. Gino got a hold of Brandon, Brandon had more time available this go around, and the rest is history. We’ve been together now as a band since late 2012.
 Andy-As a follow up to that question, what made you guys decided to resurrect the band?
 Mike Vidal: For me, we’ve always had a sense of “unfinished business!” In my soul, regarding Tribulance, I knew deep down inside that we were not done! We’ve always felt as a band, we had the right ingredients to take our music to the next level. There was always something different about Tribulance that we had never experienced before with any other bands we were in, as far as how we relate to the music we create, the chemistry we have as a band, the bond we have as friends, and the talent level that each person of the band brings to the table! So with that being said, it made total sense in all aspects of the band to resurrect it.

Andy- While it could easily pass detection if not for the written lyrics, "The Aftermath of Lies" is a spiritually-powerful release. Do you consider yourselves to be a Christian metal band? If so, how important is your faith?
 Brandon Lee: You know, that question follows us around quite a bit. It’s actually pretty interesting to see how each person draws their own conclusions or reads between the lines when it comes to us. While we’ve never confirmed, nor denied the fact, we’re whatever someone wants to perceive us as. If someone listens to us and finds “Christian” qualities, that’s great, if not, that’s great as well. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, both good and bad…  Let’s put it this way, speaking for myself, I grew up Christian/Catholic, I have faith, I believe in God, and try to live my life within everything I believe! Do I go to church every Sunday? No, not at all… Do I go once a month, once every two months? No,  but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe, or don’t have faith! I think sometimes people confuse the image and live show, and read into the “Christian” aspect of the band a little more because of the “T’s” we have on each side of the stage, the same “T” in our logo, we wear crosses around our neck, so it’s easy to see how someone could perceive the “Christian” question, but it wasn’t something we set out to do. The Celtic Cross like “T” was something we thought we’d do to give our band something that someone could recognize us by, almost a trademark of sorts. We wanted people to see the “T” without the rest of the logo and know right away that it was TRIBULANCE. It was almost a brand like concept if you will, and it’s worked! People see the “T” all by itself and know it’s us. Like I said, if someone see’s the positive in our imagery/music, great, if not, that’s ok too, cause we never set out to be anything other than a metal band! People can draw their own conclusions. If they like us cause they see/hear a positive vibe, that’s awesome, if they like us cause they think we’re a dark gothic type metal band that wears make-up, has white eyes, and talks about how f*cked life can be sometimes, that’s awesome too! It’s kind of like reading a book, every person will have their own visual imagery in their heads on what the book might be trying to portray for them. Not many will have the exact same imagery or portrayal, so think of us as a book, a TRIBULANCE book, and imagine us however you’d like. To each their own… as long as they’re listening to us, that’s what’s most important.
 Andy-I'll agree to that! Your band has shared the stage with some pretty big names (King Diamond, Flotsam and Jetsam, Sacred Reich, etc.). What was your favorite one and why?
 Mike Vidal: Wow, how can I just pick one? I can’t! LOL. King Diamond, Flotsam and Jetsam, Sacred Reich… every show was an honor and a privilege to play, and to have the opportunity to share the stage with some of the greatest metal bands out there has been awesome. Each show was a unique experience that we’ll never forget. I say all those shows are a favorite in their own way. Each of those concert venues were packed with people, the crowds were energetic, responsive, and into what we were delivering. They were great shows. As a musician that’s why I do this, to entertain our fans with our performance, and to connect with them through our music!

Andy-That's a great answer. Like all bands I am sure that there are other acts that you would just love to play with. What would be your idea of the perfect concert? Either with Tribulance opening the evening or with your group as the headliner?
 Brandon Lee: Where do we begin? LoL Yea, for sure, we’d love to share the stage with many bands, especially those we were/are influenced by, Priest, Maiden, Megadeth, Disturbed… I mean the list goes on and on… STRYPER (read into that one…), Godsmack, Ozzy, CRUE! For me to have ever had the opportunity to share the stage with CRUE would have been insane!  They’re the reason I do what I do. I could go on for days with a list of bands we’d love to share the stage with! Gino’s actually shared the stage with quit a few heavy hitters, he brings a lot of experience back to the band this go around! As far as the “Perfect” show for us though..? Speaking for myself of course, opening for Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, or Disturbed would have to be on the top of the list for sure! Megadeth… Metallica… Godsmack… STRYPER… Don’t get me started…LOL
 Andy-For fans of no-nonsense heavy metal there is a lot to love about your new disc. The biggest thing for me was its intensity. Every track felt as if it was delivered with uncompromising passion. Was that something that you did on purpose when you sat down to record "The Aftermath of Lies" or is that just how the band rolls?
 Mike Vidal: Thank you, and Great question! Vocally, my purpose was to translate exactly what you pointed out, the “Intensity and Passion” for each track individually, so thank you for that validation! It worked. LOL. Musically we wanted to “come out swinging” and I believe we’ve accomplished that! We’ve been blessed with great feedback so far. Sal Flores has always done a great job bringing in the bulk of the material that has our intensity, which catches the attention of fellow musicians and music fans across the spectrum. Sal’s unique writing style and signature sound is what gives Tribulance our uniqueness, and believe me, that’s hard to find. Sal, Gino Silva, Brandon and myself collaborate and provide valuable input to each and every song Sal brings in until WE as a band, as TRIBULANCE, call it good and say it’s a finished song! So yea… that’s how we roll! LOL
 Andy-With "The Aftermath of Lies" I get the feeling as if the band is looking to make up for lost time. It's almost as if you're just skipping the whole "local band" tag and are taking aim at the top guns. Is that a fair assessment?
 Brandon Lee: That’s a very fair assessment, thank you! Yea… you know when we set out to get back together this time we set out “to go big, or go home!” We feel like we have a lot to offer and don’t really look at things from a “local band” point of view. We like to think big. Dream big right? We come with a full stage set, full logo behind the drums, giant “T’s” on both sides of the stage, drum riser, speaker cover/screen covers, light boxes, etc… We all grew up on big arena rock shows, shows that were a production back in the day, shows that gave you something to not only listen to, but to watch, and that’s exactly what we wanna do! We’re better in that environment, we love the big stages, we love to move around, we wanna give people “a show,” something to watch as well as listen to! It’s kind of like this: It’s like going to the circus, sure the artist could perform the circus act without all the glitz and glamor that the circus is known for, it’s still the same acts and stunts that the performers are known for doing… it’s what they do, but you’d lose that “wow factor,” if they did it with the lights on wearing T-Shirts and shorts! Circuses are meant to have that wow factor, big sounds, blasts, the lights, flashes, bigger than life appeal, and that’s what we wanna bring when we play live, we want people to leave our show going “wow… those guys put on a great show!” We want to give them lots to look at, we wanna be that show that people talk about the next day, and we try to bring that to every show, no matter how big, or how small. We’ve played smaller clubs that can’t hold our stage props/show, and we cram as much as we can on that stage and give it everything we’ve got. We give 110% each show, weather there’s two people there watching us, or it’s a sold out show. You never know who you’re playing for. We do what we do and we do it every show, it’s just what we as TRIBULANCE do!  So yea, we feel we have a lot to offer! The music speaks for itself, but live, we’re a production band/show and have really just taken an arena show and crammed it into every place possible. We feel like we could share the stage with just about any big act out there today, and I don’t mean that in a cocky way, I just mean that in a way that we’re confident we have a lot to offer.
  Andy-I'll second that thought! Now that Tribulance is back (and seeming better than ever!) where do you see the band fitting in? I mean in regards to the whole metal scene and all?
 Mike Vidal: We think we will fit well in the Metal scene. I believe we have a lot to offer musically, and hopefully our music will be a great addition to the genre. We don’t believe we do anything different than anybody else. WE believe in our abilities and our music, which we believe is important to our success.
 Brandon Lee: I agree with Mike, I think we fit in just fine! We play no-nonsense metal, we’re confident in what we do as a band, and I think that shows with both our music and our live shows. We always say, “Let’s just go and do what we do,” it’s what we do! Two people, or a thousand people. I think when you start trying to please others, or start trying to be something or someone you’re not, is when you’re going to fail. We’ve stayed true to who we are, where we come from, and what it is as a band we do, and it’s worked. We’re working on some pretty incredible things right now which proves people are taking note. We’re starting to generate a lot of buzz which proves if you stay true to who you are, it’ll all work out in the end. We truly believe that! We believe that as band mates, and we believe that as friends. It’s just a good way to live life! Be honest, treat people as you wish to be treated, and be real to yourself! If you’re real to yourself you never have to worry about what people think of you cause they’ll like you for who you are! You’re not lying or hiding anything that might surface later, and we truly believe TRIBULANCE is about as true as it gets. My dad told me something growing up that has always stuck with me, he said “Remember this: You never have to remember the truth, but you always have to remember a lie!” Think about that…

 Andy-That's so very true. Thanks again for chatting with us today and good luck with everything moving forward.

For our readers, "The Aftermath of Lies" is a release that I encourage everyone to check out. If you haven't had the chance to read my review of the group's new album then be sure to head here. And for more information on this cool act be sure to check out the band's Facebook page.

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