How Alt-Dance Music Inspired Veil of Maya’s New Sound on ‘[M]other’
Veil of Maya's Marc Okubo was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The guitarist chatted about the inspiration behind [M]other, the band's first new album in six years, and how going to an alt-dance concert was a revelatory experience that yielded Veil of Maya's new sound.
Okubo says he's never felt more connected to his band's music than right now and with the itch to keep writing, it's likely that fans won't have to endure another six-year wait for new music, but only time will tell.
Of course, presenting this music to a live audience poses its own challenges, but the guitarist, who also has his own signature Kiesel guitar, says that it's been a positive experience on the road with Avatar, gradually turning fans on to their music as the set goes on.
Read the full interview below.
The single "Red Fur" draws inspiration from Rüfüs Du Sol. How did alternative dance music make you rethink the parameters of your own band?
The day before writing that song, I went to Rüfüs Du Sol's concert with a friend. I was on the fence about going because the tickets were expensive and I hadn't really listened to too much of the music, but the live show blew me away. It got me thinking why. It was very, very packed crowd — the same venue [BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California] where KnotFest was at — but it was sold out for maybe three days in a row. I noticed everyone in the audience was so happy. I was enjoying it a lot and it made me think that there's like a bigger picture because metal very much tries to be separate from being in an alternative kind of genre.
Rüfüs Du Sol, "On My Knees" (Live)
I thought Rüfüs Du Sol's music was really good and that it was for everybody. I wanted to find ways where I could implement that kind of feeling into what Veil Maya does without sacrificing the integrity of the music and making sure it's something I still enjoy.
I unlocked a new part of my brain from going to that concert and we wrote the first song that the next day behind the inspiration.
Veil of Maya, "Red Fur"
Vocalist Lucas Magyar describes [M]other as his personal experience with a touch of imagination. What's most challenging about making music to convey someone else's thoughts and feelings?
As the instrumentalist, I focus on how it makes me feel at first — if I don't like it, then I don't want it to come out. For lyrics, I prefer for that to be more open to interpretation so that people who have different views can listen to it and get their own meaning behind it. It should mean something different for whoever's taking it in.
It's been several years since False Idol. How does that much time motivate or impede the mindset to make an album?
During the initial writing period, I kind of faded out for a bit during the pandemic. I have a new motivation behind the writing that we're doing now and I'm ready to write much more. I feel more connected to what we're doing now than I ever have been. I feel like that time kind inspired me to do something different.
Veil of Maya is on tour with Avatar and Orbit culture. And what's satisfying about connecting with an audience that might only be familiar with other bands on the bill?
It's cool seeing people that have no idea who we are being a little confused or overwhelmed and then by the end of the set, they're all nodding their head and are figuring it out.
Avatar's audience has been pretty cool. They have no idea who we are when we start and by the end of it, you can tell — you can see in their faces that it's something they weren't expecting and it's pretty gratifying to see the turnaround.
Kiesel Guitars builds a Mark Okubo signature model. What affects you most about young guitarists wanting an instrument that's based on the way you play?
That was one of the biggest milestones of my life. Growing up and playing guitar, [the signature model] was like the ultimate goal.
The way I designed my signature model was pretty much specifically for younger guitar players who want a super quality instrument, but without having all this unnecessary fluff on top of it. My design is straight to the point and stripped down — it's all you would need to play metal on guitar. It doesn't have any extra switches that will inevitably mess up your live performance.
The concept behind it was for younger musicians that just want to have a professional instrument.