Marc Okubo (Veil of Maya) interviewed

How would you separate [id] from Eclipse as a musical statement? Cut from the same cloth or something else entirely?Marc Okubo: I feel that Eclipse is our strongest release to date. We have matured with our songwriting and our performing. Periphery’s Misha Mansoor helped write and produce the album and I couldn’t be more excited with how it turned out. With Eclipse we tried to combine the elements of all our previous work and push ourselves to take it is far as we could go.

[id] was a retail success, at least considering digital delivery and economic conditions. Think Eclipse will embark on a similar path?
Marc Okubo: We can only hope that it does. We have been blessed with a very loyal fan base and we have assured them that this is our best album to date. If you are going to own a Veil album, this should be it!

Do you see a place for physical media in the end of physical media inevitable?
Marc Okubo: I still take great pride in my physical media collections. There’s nothing like looking through CDs and video games that I bought as a kid. I’ve always loved collections. Unfortunately a lot of kids these days have never had the need to actually buy this stuff. Kids don’t even have CD players anymore. These days it’s all about storing your media on clouds, hard drives or phones or whatever. I know a lot of people that strictly use Youtube to listen to music. Still though, if you find a piece of music that you truly love, there’s nothing really like owning the hard copy and fully experiencing the artist’s work.

What’s the most sage-like advice you can give bands just starting out? I ask this because it seems like Veil of Maya’s rise to prominence was self-built, either through viral outreach, touring, and striking the right musical chord at the right time.
Marc Okubo: For bands these days all you really need is one motivated person, a guitar and a computer and you have yourself a band. My first real piece of advice for you after that point is to write sick songs. Write music that you want to be playing and that you believe in. If you are satisfied with the material but are not an instant pro at recording, invest some money on recording with someone that knows what’s up. There’s obviously a lot more that goes into it if you start getting serious with playing shows and touring, but to make a name for yourself, that is all you need. Excessively spamming band Facebook pages will not help your band as much as having something legit to present. Lastly put on a sick live show and don’t be a dick.

“Vicious Circle” is the album’s lead single. Was this a label choice or did was this the track you felt best represented Eclipse?
Marc Okubo: To be honest, I wanted to put up the song “Divide Paths” first but our label and management preferred “Vicious Circle”. It’s really hard to pick just one song to put up because I feel like all the songs are so different from each other. Since I had been around the album so much I felt I should probably take a step back and trust my team’s advice.

The title track is a bit different from the rest of the track. Bright yet contemplative. Was this track always meant to be an instrumental?
Marc Okubo: Yes. It almost didn’t get used but Misha heard me jamming on it and insisted it be on the album. We are both Final Fantasy nerds and we thought of it as our homage to Nobuo Uematsu.

What’s happening on Eclipse lyrically?
Marc Okubo: We like to leave our lyrics open to interpretation. Some of the songs are very personal to us but we don’t like to put a set meaning to them. We want everyone to be able to take their own experiences and be inspired in their own way.

What’s the greater award? Seeing new kids freak to your music or getting the new Suffocation CD?
Marc Okubo: That’s a tough one. [Laughs] Suffo has always been one of my favorite bands and they have also taught me a lot through out touring with them. I love those dudes. What would honestly mean the most to me would be to see the kids that like us branch out a little and give Suffo a chance. Without that band we wouldn’t exist.

A lot of the older folk think bands like Veil of Maya are unparalleled musicians, but there’s a lack of emotion in the music. What say you to the older folk?
Marc Okubo: It’s hard to win some people over. They see a young band that look and sound a bit different and assume that we’re ignorant to where we came from. I grew up listening to technical death metal, progressive rock and fusion jazz. Veil sounds the way we do completely on purpose. We are not trying to follow any trend. I like to think there is a lot of emotion in our music because writing music is how I deal with a lot of my emotions. I don’t expect for everyone to understand it, but they should at least know that we take music very seriously. It’s our passion and we’re always trying to progress.

Speaking of older folk, do you see a connection between Veil of Maya and older progressive death metal bands like Atheist, Cynic, etc.?
Marc Okubo: Older technical progressive metal bands like: Atheist, Cynic, Death, Cryptopsy, Dream Theater, Pestilence, Watchtower, Meshuggah, Spastik Ink, Confessor and Suffocation are what I grew up listening to and what taught me how to play guitar. I think this new progressive metal scene with our family of bands like Periphery, Animals As Leaders, BTBAM, Born of Osiris, The Faceless, After the Burial, etc. is very similar and we would not exist without our elders paving the way.

If there’s one band you think will rule the planet in 2012 which band would that be?
Marc Okubo: 2012 is going to be a huge year for metal. It’s hard to pick just one band. I have a lot of faith in Periphery’s new album. I think they are one of the best bands out right now. The Faceless, Spawn of Possession and Meshuggah have new albums coming out as well that I’m extremely excited about. There’s four of my favorite metal bands right there!

Do you regard Veil of Maya as progressive death metal? Curious what where you place your music, if you place it anywhere at all.
Marc Okubo: I think we have elements of progressive death metal for sure. We’ve been labeled a lot of things throughout the years. When the big deathcore craze got popular we were “progressive deathcore”. Now a days we get labeled “djent”. The thing is we were a band before all these trends came out and we have always been playing this kind of music. So now when people ask I tell them were a metal band or a progressive metal band.

Plans for 2012 and beyond? Touring, I’m sure.
Marc Okubo: Yes, lots of touring. After this tour with In Flames, Trivium and Kyng we are venturing to Japan, Australia, Hawaii, Europe and more. I’m also going to start writing again ASAP. It’s going to be a big year!

** Veil of Maya’s new album, Eclipse, is out now on Sumerian Records. Order it HERE. Or, if you’d like to sample more Veil of Maya, Eclipse is on Youtube courtesy of Sumerian Records. Click HERE.