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Creation’s End Interview

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

On November 9, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of New York’s fine, up-and-coming progressive metal bands, Creation’s End. It was about half an hour on the phone with founding members Rudy Albert and Dario Rodriguez. Thanks to the kind folks of Earsplit, I was able to ask these wonderful people a handful of questions. Without further adieu…

Creation's End

The Interview:

So, you and Dario have known each other for over a decade, eh?

  • Rudy: Oh it’s been a very long time, right? We met in ’96 and started playing music together with the band in ’99. We’ve been at it for a while.

How has your relationship, musical or personal, changed over time?

  • Rudy: We’ve grown a lot of appreciation together. We’ve just been working harder and harder.
  • Dario: Obviously in the beginning it’s kind of casual, just getting to know each other and having fun. But as time went on… I consider him a brother now. And the musical relationship we have together, we just gel so well when it comes to playing and writing. I’ve never had a better writing or playing relationship with anyone else so that is perfect. We work very well together in any situation.

The three other band members, how did you run into them?

  • Rudy: You know I’m from the band Zandelle, right? With that I met the guy which you know as Joe Black from the record. And from him, I actually worked with a friend of his on a side project, John Macaluso.

That was Until Destiny, right?

  • Rudy: Yes, correct. We did a few concerts; one we opened up for Misfits in New York City, which was fun, good old times doing some more Yngwie Malmsteen style stuff. I was playing solo keyboards. And with that, I brought up to John Macaluso, “Hey, me and Dario were looking to re-record this project, we would love you to produce it,” and he said he was 100%, dead-on wants to do it. We didn’t really have any person in mind for vocals or lead guitars at the time, and the first person he shot on was Mike DiMeo, and he came and met us and pretty much was a perfect fit like nobody else. Then after we recorded vocals, we still didn’t have a person for lead guitars, and we figured let’s go with Marco Sfogli, because we were currently going through names. At the time it kind of almost felt like a project being built because we didn’t know where it was going to. And after sitting down and talking to everyone we felt like this is a band, not like a project anymore. Everyone feels really strongly about it, and we decided to do this together. That’s why we have the CD release show, and it’s going to be all the members together.

So, did you and Dario come up with the band name, or did that happen after the five of you met with John?

  • Rudy: All of the songs on the album, we wrote several of years ago. We had actually written the song “Creation’s End” during that time period under a different band name. When we decided to go ahead and re-record these songs and update them and do everything the right way, we wanted to change the name of the band; we didn’t want to stick with the old one. We were looking through the song names and the lyrics trying to think of a cool band name and Creation’s End stuck out and we were like, “Hey, that’s cool” so we just decided to go with Creation’s End.

Are there any standout artists or genres that have a great influence on your music?

  • Rudy: Definitely two people off-hand I can say have been in my field are Metallica and Dream Theater; those people are always in my limelight. When I’m listening on my iPod or going to spin records, those two bands are always constant. I love Metallica because they’re really good song writers. I love their lyrics and I love Dario’s lyrics. He’s a great lyricist, though he won’t admit it, and I can’t write lyrics for the life of me, so I have a great appreciation of them. And Dream Theater, with them they’re one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen. That’s one thing I’ve always hoped to achieve when we perform live and impress everybody and show that we are very tight and have everything together.
  • Dario: For me, my greatest musical influence is Metallica; I grew up on Metallica. Drumming-wise, one of my biggest influences is Sean Kinney from Alice and Chains. I love his sense of groove and the way he seems to tie his whole band together. He has this grungy, pseudo-metal feel that he kind of brings everything in. More recently, I guess inspiration has come from outside of metal. I’m a big fan of Pineapple Thief, and kind of more alternative prog. I’m finding that really inspirational for now.

What have you learned from your other projects like Zandelle and Until Destiny?

  • Rudy: Being with them, the one thing I’ve definitely learned is the music business side of things. Gaining contacts is of big importance, the professionalism in playing in a concert I had to make towards Zandelle. It was a fantastic part of my life, I’ll never regret it. They’re all great buddies of mine, which I love. All the guys from Zandelle and Until Destiny, before I ever played with them, they were friends first. We all had that friendship and I pretty much stay in touch with them, but they’re all really busy so we talk on and off. But just a lot of knowledge that I’ve learned about the music business, that’s what I treasure.

So, on the musical side, what do you think you’ve brought to Creation’s End from these other bands?

  • Rudy: It’s hard to say. I departed from Zandelle because I had a completely different musical vision. You’ve heard Zandelle. They’re very power metal, a lot of people quote it as “dragon metal”. When I joined them, I was really into that and it was amazing. But after a while, I was going more towards progressive. I wanted to go to a different direction and the people weren’t really into that style. Also, the label of Zandelle was pushing towards dragon metal and 80’s metal, what they’ve been doing. I just felt like that wasn’t what I wanted to do pasture-wise. I always feel, number one, you got to follow your heart. And they understood, and we parted ways in the best possible way.

You have been working on this debut album for a while through your demos, right? Have you changed anything from your demos onto this record?

  • Rudy: Oh yeah, there were several rearrangements and we updated some of the riffs. Some of the songs we wrote and recorded them in the basement over 2-3 months in the summer, so some of the riffs and parts were kind of rushed. When it came time to re-record and do it right, we went back and took a closer look at some of the arrangements and riffs and updated the ones that kind of slipped by that we were like, “Oh well, we can’t choke this too much we just got two weeks plus to do the whole thing”.

Why did you choose these songs from the demos to put on this record as opposed to other songs?

  • Rudy: We felt these had the most potential to be singable. We want the focus to be on the song rather than showcasing individual talent. We felt that these particular songs had really a lot of potential to become cool, singable, catchy songs. A lot of the other material’s really good, and we’ll probably be using some of the other songs on the next record. But some of the other songs probably require a little more work to get them into shape up to our standards.

Would you like to comment on the album art or the title of this record, A New Beginning?

  • Rudy: Well, I think it’s a test. I think it fits the music and the way it goes from the beginning to the end and the book layout. We went through several sketches. And after the second sketch, one night in the middle of recording session, Johnny Mac said, “I got this great idea”. The artist had a great thing going and he just took out a pen and a piece of paper and just started drawing a tree with great big wires and sparks and our bassist Joe Black just started adding on it and we were like, “Wow, this is gonna be really great”. We presented it to the artist and the next thing we knew when he brought it up to us we were like, “This is it. This is the album”.

Is the tree supposed to be an allusion to the garden of Eden?

  • Dario: Some people say it’s an allusion to the Garden of Eden; I don’t know if I’d go that far. People can read into what they want. I’m really picky when it comes to lyrics. One of the things I really want is ambiguity, so you can go your own direction. People can take it as whatever they want. If people want to take it as the Garden of Eden, that’s cool. When I was writing the lyrics for that song, I wasn’t really thinking of the Eden.  It was more the natural, the artificial, modern nation, industrial nation, more generally. If people want to see the Garden of Eden, that’s fine.

Lots of your lyrics deal with apocalypse and despair. What’s the inspiration behind all of that?

  • Dario: I don’t know, I’ve always found the darker side of things more intriguing and more challenging. I’m the type that really likes to think about things and write such things really analytically. The darker side has always been more intriguing to me. I’m not really fond of fantasy lyrics, but I tend to write about things that I know and that I’ve thought about and that I’ve had experience with. And because I like the darker side of things, I tend to move towards the darker, personal, experiential things.

What impact did your producer John have on this record?

  • Rudy: Actually a lot, especially with keyboards and drums, and I guess vocals too.
  • Dario: Yeah, he definitely helped with the vocals, for sure.
  • Rudy: Definitely keyboards and drums, I mean first off he’s a drummer. I’ll let Dario talk about the drums first.
  • Dario: John Mac has this very intricate style of playing, and one of the things that surprises me that paid off really well is that when it came to our music, which is kind of big and bombastic and epic even though it has some little intricate prog parts, he kept coming back to simplifying and big beats and big booming drums. He definitely helped me strip down my playing and in the end, I think it made it a lot more powerful and a lot more accessible to a larger audience. People don’t want to hear a bunch of intricate crap on the cymbals and polyrhythms and stuff. No one cares about that except for drummers (laughs). He helped me strip it down and made it a lot more accessible and I think a better album because of it.
  • Rudy: As far as keyboards, I’d say he made me realize that I have so many more patches on my keyboard that I never really knew about. For instance, he’d come up one day and say, “Rudy, give me a submarine effect,” and he just starts singing it. And that’s just the way he works, he’s got a really good, magical ear. At first you have no idea what he’s talking about, but once you hear the whole thing from beginning to end you’re like, “Wow, this guy’s a genius”. It was a great experience because it really opened up my eyes as far as layering is concerned when it comes to musical instruments.
  • Dario: Just in general, on the demos we had the foundation for all the songs and we had the ideas, but we didn’t really quite capture what the songs could be and he really helped bring out everything the songs could be and everything with the drums and vocals and keyboards and guitar solos too. He really helped Marco.
  • Rudy: He made Marco shine like I’ve never heard him shine ever!
  • Dario: Yeah, he’s quite valuable.

How about with the record label, Sensory, how did they affect your record?

  • Dario: They actually didn’t really do anything,  they didn’t really have any comments with respect to our music at all.
  • Rudy: When our management contacted them, they seemed excited. We contacted a lot of records. You’ve got to understand, in this day and age, it’s really hard for new artists to get a record deal to begin with. It’s not like it was ten years ago. So, we’re really happy to be on Sensory, because they have a lot of great artists like Circus Maximus, they had Redemption, they had Johnny Mac’s Ark. I feel like it’s a great beginning for us. Ken, the owner, he’s a fantastic guy. He really likes working with us and I think it’s going to be a great start for our business relationship.

So, you’re going to do future releases through  Sensory, you’re thinking?

  • Rudy: Our record just came out today, so I honestly don’t know where anything’s going to go. I would love to say yes.
  • Dario: They have the right of first refusal in the contract. Whatever album we do next, obviously we present it to Sensory first and they have the option of putting it out or passing. Hopefully they won’t pass because we’re so awesome (laughs).
  • Rudy: I’m not one of those people who’s like, “Hey, we need to go get a so-and-so label because they got this many big bands”. I just want to work with a person who’s a really great guy, who’s really honest, and who likes our music. And I also don’t want to be with a record label that gets lost in a pile of bands, that’s always the biggest fear of mine. If you get signed to any other label that gets twenty big bands and we just get signed, it’s like forget it, you’re last on the list. That’s one wonderful thing about being with Sensory; you’re a lot more in their eyesight than if you’re on a bigger label, which I don’t want to mention names, but you know where I’m going.

Definitely. How about the rest of your band and John? Are they thinking of staying around for a while with Creation’s End?

  • Rudy: The rest of the band is definitely staying with Creation’s End. We’re not a supergroup, we’re an actual band. I don’t know if John’s going to produce the next record. We’ve been looking at some other producers, and right now John is really busy doing the next Ark record. Hopefully, with this record coming out, we’re going to do several tours in 2011. We have the ProgPower USA, and we’re looking to go back in the studio early 2012. We’ve been in talks between me and Dario about who we’d like to have produce. We’re not going to mention anybody yet because it’s going to be a surprise.
  • Dario: John did an amazing job, but we want to keep things fresh. We don’t want to be stuck in a rut with always working with a particular person and boxing ourselves into a particular boundary. We want to try things out; we’re new at this and we want to see what our options are.
  • Rudy: Definitely, one thing I would love to do again, if possible, is work with Neil Kernon. I think he did an amazing job. He really brought out our mix better than anybody else could.

Are you or any of your band members participating in any other side projects in the future?

  • Rudy: Marco Sfogli is with James LaBrie. They were supposed to have a tour but that didn’t go so well, I guess they had some visa issues. But fortunately-unfortunately because of that, he’s going to be able to fly out to us for a week and be at our studio release show and, in extent, write some new material. It’s going to be really good. Mike DiMeo, at the beginning of the year, toured with Vinnie Moore and once in a while he played shows for Tommy James. He has his own extent of side projects. He works with an Australian progressive band called Ilium and also The Lizards, which features Bobby Rondinelli. He’s a really busy guy.
  • Dario: (Laughs) Everyone has other projects; it’s important to play with other musicians. But for everyone in the band, especially as things in the band went on, it became more clear that this was a thing and everyone got more and more into it. Every member is absolutely dedicated to making it something and not just some sort of one-off project you do when you have the time.
  • Rudy: Ultimately what it felt like was a seed that we put in the ground, and it was slowly flowering but it bloomed so quickly that we’re all really into it and this is what we really want to do. We feel this is so right and this is a band. It’s not like a supergroup, and that’s what we want people to understand.

So, do you have any specific goals or accomplishments for this band?

  • Dario: I want to go on tour, definitely after sitting on these songs for so long I want to play them for some people.
  • Rudy: To even hit the lowest number on the billboard charts would be a fantastic goal.
  • Dario: Yeah, that would be awesome (laughs).
  • Rudy: People knowing about us, knowing that we exist, knowing that New York has another great progressive rock band waiting that’s possibly the next great progressive rock band. There’s a lot of good bands that came out of New York, but you only listen to so many bands after so many years, so you have to pass the torch after a certain amount of time. But you never know what’s going to happen. We’re just going to do our best and hopefully go on tour and keep making killer records.

Where do you plan on touring? Do you have any places in mind?

  • Rudy: Definitely Europe and North America. It depends on what bands we can hook up with. We don’t have anybody in mind yet, but once we have something we’ll be announcing it ASAP. There’s something in the spring brewing for a tour. Maybe in the summer or late fall we can set something up. But we’re definitely going to get at least two tours for next year, guaranteed.

Do you plan on hitting up Western Canada, for my own interest?

  • Rudy: (Laughs) We’ll try our best. If people request it enough, we’ll do a one-off show.

Are there any bands that you’re listening to right now that you’d like to recommend to people?

  • Rudy: Devin Townsend, Devin Townsend. And Tesseract. They’re from the UK.
  • Dario: I knew they were both going to be amazing, but just seeing them live was just incredible.
  • Rudy: We saw these guys, and we were completely blown away that they are young people, progressive metallers or whatever you want to call them. But they were so impressive and they had their music together and their chops. I was completely befuddled.
  • Dario: Definitely Devin Townsend and Tesseract. I love The Pineapple Theif and Demians – huge fan of Demians. There’s lots of really great music out there.

Are there any additional comments that you’d like to make?

  • Rudy: Well, I would say go buy this CD and listen to it for yourself and be the judge of what everyone else has been writing about.
  • Dario: I guess just in general, support metal so there’s still a metal industry in the future.
  • Rudy: Yes please, I agree (Laughs)

Okay, well you take care of yourselves.

  • Rudy: Thanks again for the interview.

Thank you.


Creation's End

They’re new and from New York. Creation’s End is the name, and the album is A New Beginning. Thanks to Rudy and Dario for putting up with my interview. Be sure not to hinder any support that you have for this band or even for the metal industry; they sure could use it! There isn’t a review for the debut album on this site yet. But once it’s finished, you can find it right… here.

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