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Interviews Coexistence

Interview with Greg Giraudo (guitar, keyboards, programming) and Carl Lindquist (vocals)

Interview conducted by MetalMike

Date online: June 14, 2009


Thanks for taking some time to answer some questions about your band Coexistence and your new EP, Carrion Comfort. Before I get too involved, I've noticed that you list your last name on Myspace as Lyrae but the songs are credited to Giraudo. Is one a stage name and do you prefer one over the other?

Greg: First of all thanks to you for giving us the opportunity to present our project to your readers! And thanks for the great reviews!

Lyrae is not a stage name; it was actually my previous band before we created Coexistence. We released a 4 track demo with this band called Falling Tears but it didn't work really well and the band was dissolved in August 2008. But I keep a Myspace page just for those songs we did with Lyrae, just so some people still can listen to them and give us some feedback too! But Giraudo is my name and I don't have any stage name haha!

How did you and Carl begin working together? Can you give us a history of Coexistence?

Greg: I actually found a video of Carl on Youtube, where he was singing an Iced Earth cover. I was very impressed by his voice but at that time, I was still busy with Lyrae. One week later or something, Lyrae was disbanded and I was once again on a quest for new musicians and a new singer. I had already some music written, and I knew exactly what kind of singer I wanted to have. And Carl was definitely the one. So I just wrote an e-mail to him, asking him if he was interested in doing a project together. I was a little hesitant at first of course because of the distance, but I thought we could still find a way to create good songs nevertheless so I just went for it and to my great surprise he was totally into it!

Carl: I still remember the day when I received the e-mail from Greg. I can't deny that I was really surprised at first over his message, but I quickly became very anxious to get back to him, of course, and tell him that I was interested. So I just sent an e-mail back to him saying that I would love to do this project with him, but I have to say that I was also a little hesitant at first because of the distance between us and all, wondering how we could work something out in a good way. But I just had this feeling that everything would turn out great in the end, and in some strange way, I knew that Greg felt the same. So just some hours later Greg replied to me with haste and also gave me the first draft of our first song, Carrion Comfort, and I was blown away over what this French guy had sent me (haha!)! I was totally drawn to the incredible talent I heard this guy possessed and I felt that this material had a lot of potential. I also knew that with this music would I be able to perform my vocals skills in various ways. The rest is history as they say...

Since you both live in different countries, how does the writing process work? Does the music come first, then the lyrics or the other way around? Do you both write music and lyrics?

Greg: It depends on the song, really. For Layarteb and Seize the Day, we actually wrote the lyrics first and then came the music, and it was the other way around for Carrion Comfort and Twisted Soul. On the EP, Carl wrote most of the vocal melodies, he wrote the lyrics for Seize the Day and Twisted Soul, I did the lyrics for the 2 other songs and I wrote the music on the 4 songs. So it's like a real writing team and not just a solo project or anything.

Carl: Yeah, we are a real writing team and the communication between us is great and so far we haven't had any problems with the writing process. Greg is the mastermind behind our music and after he has written something good he sends it to me and then I start working to find some cool vocal melodies. So you could say that everything goes in a flow...

Per your Myspace page, the name "Coexistence" is a reference to the working relationship across borders that you and Carl have. Where did the name "Carrion Comfort" come from and does it refer to anything in particular?

Carl: I think Greg should answer this question… haha!

Greg: Carrion Comfort is the name of a book written by Dan Simmons, that I got inspired by to write the lyrics on the song. It's a very deep, dark, haunting, scary kind of book, and I suggest you to read it if you haven't already. We actually thought it was a really cool name for the EP, plus that's the first song we actually worked on together so it sill holds a special meaning for us. There are a lot of elements on the cover that evoke the Carrion Comfort story, but I can't explain the story here, that would be too long haha!

What is your favorite part of the creative process? What is your least favorite?

Greg: I would say that the whole creative process is really interesting, even if it can be consuming or even frustrating sometimes. From the moment that I get started with the writing of the music on my own, to Carl creating his vocal melodies on it and recording it, to the mixing process, it's all very fulfilling and I love every part of it! I would say that the mixing part was probably the hardest part on the EP, cause I did it all by myself, and I'm not a sound engineer so it takes a lot of time to actually make it sound like we want it to sound. We had help from Carl's friend who is a sound engineer and he actually gave us some really helpful tips for the whole mixing process. He also did the mastering of the EP.

Carl: I totally agree with Greg. From the moment he sends me some new music, and I start working on the vocal melodies to recording it etc, is a very delightful process.

I would say that it can be frustrating sometimes to record a new song alone and not together because of the distance between us. You can get really stuck sometimes when recording alone and it would be much easier if you were at least two guys in the studio, so hopefully someday can we be able to record everything together, as we actually did with the song Twisted Soul. The recording process would go much smoother then.

As Greg mentioned, did we get some nice help from my dear Irish friend, Keith Hearne with the whole mixing process and the mastering of the EP. He did a fantastic job and helped us out a lot! So thanks again mate!

Is there a particular philosophical message you are trying to get across with either the music or the lyrics or both?

Greg: I'm not sure if there is a very specific kind of message here. It all depends on the songs. Most of our lyrics are always on the kind of dark fantasy topic, but there is always a very strong, conscious link to the reality and the human feelings. This is something we like to do. Especially on a song like Seize the Day, whose title is pretty self explanatory. Same for Carrion Comfort and Twisted Soul. These are fictional stories of course, but you can find a really strong parrarel to real life and this is what makes those stories interesting. It's not all about entertainment, because we like to think there is a deeper meaning behind it. I would say that Layarteb is the only song where the lyrics are so straightforward, personal and realistic. I wrote this one in a very dark time, and I think you can feel it by reading the words and listening to the music, but not all the songs are that personal.

I find the overall sound of Carrion Comfort to be fairly aggressive with heavy guitar riffs and keyboards that play more of a supporting role. Was this a conscious decision or did it just work out that way?

Greg: It was a conscious decision. During my Lyrae period, we were playing a very symphonic orchestrated kind of Metal with a lot of keyboards and I wanted to come back to a rawer sound, with more guitar driven songs. Carl is the one always asking me to put more keyboards so I had to put some of it on the songs anyway haha. Don't get me wrong I love the keyboards, but I tend to think that some Metal bands overuse them sometimes, so I like to keep them as a supporting role. The new songs that we are working on right now have more keyboards than the songs on the EP, so Carl is happy ;)

Carl: Yeah, I'm happy now! Haha! No, but we decided together that this project should be more guitar driven with heavy songs, but I can sometimes feel that by adding some keyboards to a song can be necessary to give it more dignity and depth. Anyway, I agree with Greg that some Metal bands overuse them sometimes, so I like that we keep the keyboards more as a supporting role, and I'm fine with that! Haha!

Who is playing on your iPods right now?

Greg : I don't have any iPod! Haha!. But the bands I'm listening to right now are Faith no More, Queensrÿche, Mechanical Poet, Heaven and Hell and Iced Earth!

Carl: Well, at the moment I'm listening to bands like Pain of Salvation, Beyond Twilight, Iced Earth, Spock's Beard, Gladiator Soundtrack (Hans Zimmer), Symphony X and David Bowie!

Have you had any record label interest in the band? If you could pick one to work with which would it be?

Greg : We haven't been approached by any labels yet but we are crossing the fingers. I would pick companies like Century Media or Nuclear Blast of course haha, but I don't think it's very realistic for the moment ;) We'll see what happens!

Carl: Hopefully, some label will notice us but we're still crossing our fingers! At the moment we just want people to able listen to our music and whatever happens beside that can we only dream about at the moment. It would of course be wicked if any label approached us!

Are either you or Carl involved in any other musical projects?

Greg : I have another project called Mille Regrets. It's more on the Death/Progressive side à la Cynic/Death/Atheist. We are working on a demo recording right now, and we will put some songs online when they are ready.

Carl: I have two other projects, one called Elysium Project. The music is a mix between Progressive/Symphonic Metal. We're also working on a demo recording, and we will put out some songs online as soon as they are ready!The other project is something I've worked with for some time with my brother. We haven't had the time to finish it yet, but when the time comes we'll complete it! The music we're playing is more on the Melodic Heavy Metal side.

What inspired you and Carl to become musicians?

Greg : All the bands that I grew up with and that I got inspired by, the first one being Queen, then Genesis, Dire Straits and then the Metal side with bands like Angra, Savatage, Aerosmith and the list goes on and on and on!

Carl: I come from a very musical family, so it came very natural for me to become a musician. I also got inspired by different bands and artists of course. My father was the one who got me into music at first and he let me listen to David Bowie, Elvis "The King of Rock n Roll" Presley and Roxy Music. Then my brother led me into the Metal side of course, and to bands like Dream Theater, Dio, Metallica and Iron Maiden and the list goes on and on!

If you could work with one musician, living or dead, who would that be?

Greg : Criss Oliva from Savatage!!

Carl: It's hard to choose one, but to name a few I would say Neal Morse (Transatlantic, ex-Spock's Beard), Arjen A. Lucassen and (Ayreon, Star One) or Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater).

What are you interests outside of music?

Greg : Love, video games, movies, books, life...

Carl: Basketball, Playstation 3 (Greg is the Xbox nerd! Haha!), I'm a BIG movie freak, cooking, Carpe Diem…

What should we expect from Coexistence in the near future?

Greg : We are always working on new material. We actually have enough of it to record a full album, but it won't happen before next year I think. We did all the recordings and writing as a two people team for the EP, but we will have input of other players and a real engineer for the full album, and we need money to do that, so it's gonna wait a little.

We have a very special song in the works right now, something that's been in my head since 2005, a 24 minutes long track, with a lot of orchestral arrangements and very nice stuff like that. A very epic song! We hope it will appear on the album.

We are also working on the live situation of the band, we started some rehearsals already, and we are planning some shows for the rest of the year. Hopefully it will happen!

Carl: We'll have some new material out soon, and we look forward to let you guys listen to that! Hopefully you will have the opportunity to listen to Greg's little baby very soon, only 24 min, which he has been working on since 2005, as he mentioned, haha! It's a monster with a really wicked story to it!

As with the live situation, things are of course a little special because I'm living in Sweden and Greg in France so hopefully we'll solve that problem in a good way so you guys can see Coexistence together on a stage near you!

Thanks again for taking some time to answer these questions. Good luck in the future and hope to hear some more great music soon!

Greg : Thanks a lot to you for your time and for your support, it is greatly appreciated and means a lot to us!! And thanks to the people who took the time to read this (if there are any haha), hope you guys will like the music! Join us at www.myspace.com/coexistenceproject.

Carl: Thanks a lot for your time and for your support! And for all of you guys reading this, hope to see you out there very soon and that you like our music! Until then keep on rocking and Carpe Diem!

Other information about Coexistence on this site
Review: Carrion Comfort
Review: Carrion Comfort
Review: Flow




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