Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Music, Bands, and Progressive Styles of Will Geraldo

Hello fellow progheads and welcome to another installment of the Concert Closet's search for all things prog!  Summer moves through the hourglass much too quickly for my liking, so to make the most of what sand is left in the top half of this time marker, I must be curious, careful, and calculating...with an emphasis on curious.  This week I take the Concert Closet to a land that has become a prog "hotspot" of sorts for me; Brazil.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Will Geraldo, whom my loyal followers will recognize as one half of the duo that is "The Opposite Of Hate."  What you may not know is Will has his hand in several other prog projects as well, a la Peter Hamer.  So this week in my never ending search for all things prog, I sit down with Will to discuss his many  talents, bands, and current projects.  Of course it wouldn't be the Concert Closet without some great music, so you will also hear clips from Will and his many prog enterprises as well...

Closet Concert Arena: Will, you are quite active in the prog garden; The Opposite Of Hate, Violent Attitude If Noticed, Death By Visitation Of God, and a solo release.  I take it music is your lifeline?

Will Geraldo:
 I guess there is no way of denying it, is there?  But you are right, if I am not producing for clients I am working on my own stuff.  So yes; music is indeed my lifeline.

CCA: Does each band have  a connection to the other; some common bond that led you to branch out and explore other realms, ideas, and/or thoughts?

WG: Lyric wise, yes.  All lyrics across every band are somehow connected through a central character.  Music wise, there were a few occasions when a song from one band appeared--although in a different form--in another band.  Personally, I love the idea of this connection because it is something I always look for in the work of other artists I like.

CCA: The Opposite Of Hate is a long distance two-man operation...how does it work with your other bands; are the members closer to home or do you just enjoy long distance recording?

WG: TOOH started because some songs I wrote were rejected by the guys in Violent Attitude If Noticed.  I really liked those songs and did not want to just "throw them away," so I thought of friends who could take on a new project; Silverio Simioni was first in my mind and when I approached him, he promptly accepted.

Distance was not an issue because TOOH was conceived to be a studio project, and on that front there is no time or space when it comes to modern recording--but mind you--we do have the "Fantastic Four" in place in case of a multi-million dollar contract for concerts... =D

Here is a taste of The Opposite Of Hate for those who may have missed my earlier blog on this band...or for those who did see it and want more.  The song is called "Beginnings" and holding true to TOOH's mission, the headphones swarm your ears with sound from the get-go.  This piece is heavy, but not quite as dark as the initial eruption implies.  Ironically, the vocals invoke an almost nervous tranquility...the mood swings and sways like Poe's pendulum...back and forth...back and forth...


CCA: What do you do when you need to "re-energize" or take a fresh approach?  How do you avoid redundancy in the music and keep one thing or idea from spilling into the other...or is that even necessary?

WG: I don't feel it's necessary as a means to "freshen up" ideas given that each band I'm in takes a different approach to their music.  In other words, when I write a song I bring it to the band in which it is more likely to work.  If it sounds like modern prog/post punk I take it to Violent Attitude If Noticed.  If it is more guitar oriented/prog metal, it goes to The Opposite Of Hate.  If the sound is more electro/industrial, then I bring it to Death By Visitation Of God.  Now; if it doesn't sound like any of the above, I will simply keep it for my solo project...(laughing)...and yes I do take a break at times but that is mainly because I am tired and/or my daughter asks for some of my attention.

Time for a sampling of that modern prog/post punk Will says he brings to Violent Attitude If Noticed;  "The Spell Will Never Be Broken."  The opening piano hides perfectly the underlying mood slap that erupts behind the ominous words that echo through your auditory canals one minute in..."The spell will never be broken..." and suddenly shades of Porcupine Tree emerge, pelted with a lighter shade of Opeth and the ominous brooding of Tool...a most intriguing sound indeed.  VAIN bears down on the emotions while hammering away on the inside of your head...ever so gently...


CCA: What other artists, alive or dead, would you like to perform and/or record with and why?

WG: Peter Gabriel.  Both his approach to music--regardless of genre--and his creative process have always had a big impact on the way I work, so I would love to share the same stage/recording studio with him.

Not many people know this, but I actually sent a resume to his Real World Studio with the hope of perhaps working for him...didn't happen though...

CCA: With all your work in the prog garden, have you been successful as far as album sales?

WG: Nope...(sinister chuckle)...I laugh--but it is obviously sad.  Music really is democratic these days with the Internet and all, but getting the music to the right people takes money out of my pocket. To get the music out there I need to invest heavily, but being an independent artist means there is not much of a budget...and so the vicious circle continues...

CCA: You run the gambit of the prog genre; metal, jazz fusion, neo, classic, art, and post rock; is there a personal favorite amongst all the styles, moods, and emotions?

WG: I enjoy mixing genres; whereas you have prog along with electro and loads of experimentalism. That is why I mentioned Peter Gabriel earlier; his music is the perfect example.

OK...back to the buffet for a serving of Death By Visitation Of God...a deep cut from the other side of the prog garden called "Am I My Brother's Keeper?" The name of this band sent my imagination in two directions; would this band produce deep, intricate, multi-layered classic prog, or extremely heavy, kicking the back of your skull prog metal?  Will goes all in from the skull thumping metal side of the garden. Top notes of Liquid Tension Experiment and Haken waft through like a stunt man in a Quentin Tarantino film--right in your face.  Tendrils of Rush seem to lay on top as momentum builds to a crescendo.  Will goes for the throat with this cut; DBVOG builds a solid drum foundation and strengthens it with guitar work that coats like Teflon.  Not for the faint of heart...


CCA: What are your feelings on the state of progressive music today?  Are there real opportunities for the next up-and-coming prog band?

WG: I don't see that there is.  I have actually read some interviews with big name bands and artists and they are the first ones to turn down the idea of new music and/or fresh ideas coming up.  It seems to me that being discouraging is exactly their point.

In terms of labels, most of the albums we hear have some relation with previously released material; there may be a member from an existing band coming out with a new project or something along those lines--yet even this will push away opportunities for new names.

CCA: What else does the worlds need to know about Will Geraldo?

WG: That he is committed to his music and that means passion...and, as with anything in life, when there's passion there's truth.  To put it simply; there are no pre-conceived ideas to what I write. My music is totally based on feelings, regrets, anger, happiness...and that's life in general, isn't it?

There is a lot out there still waiting for a chance to be known--not only Will Geraldo.

With that last statement still marinating in my head, I believe I would be derelict in my duty as the searcher for all things prog to not include a piece from Will's solo works.  I chose "The Writer" for (hopefully) obvious reasons.  If his work with prog bands seems to have a hard edge, dark side, or an "in-your-face" approach, his solo work is 180 degrees from that place.  This particular song resonates from deep within and echoes with hope and desire.  The guitar and keyboard work blend together very smoothly, the way a silk lining complements a velvet jacket.  The drum work is poignant; hitting hard in all the right places, all the while leaving room for telling vocals when the vibe swings toward gentle.  Mood elevator going up...

There is a lot more to learn about Will Geraldo; his bands, his music, and his many  prog adventures...http://www.willgeraldo.com/ and http://willgeraldo.bandcamp.com/releases are great websites to familiarize yourself with and start right in.  Band websites include TOOHVAIN, and DBVOG. Each band also has a Facebook page; Will's personal page is right here at
Will Geraldo FB along with his Twitter account @Willgeraldo .  Whatever you do, please spend time listening to the many sounds, styles, and interpretations of Will Geraldo...and help push his album sales over the top!  The prog garden flourishes because of artists like this.

That, my fellow progheads, is a lot to digest.  Will Geraldo undoubtedly brings a passion to the prog garden that in undeniable; I applaud him and his work.  Hearing statements about how difficult it is to get new prog out to the masses is what motivates me to keep the Concert Closet on this quest.  The search for all things prog will never end because there are so many artists and bands in the garden yet to be heard--and I sincerely believe they have a right to be heard.  People will decide for themselves what they like or dislike, but you need to hear the music to make that decision.  Please continue to listen to the new prog bands as they make their way through the prog garden.

And just like that, it is off to continue the search for all things prog...while I air out the Concert Closet.  One week of fun and adventure, and the Concert Closet will be back in the prog garden bringing you another prog up and comer...until August 9th...

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