2013-12-04: Existence: Dictatorship or democracy?

(Une version française est disponible ci-dessous.)

World’s population either live under a dictatorship or a democracy regime. Well… In Existence (the band) it’s a “dictatocracy”… The musicians pitch in ideas but I take the final decision!

Since our first tryout with the new songs, Gérard has been sending me recordings of his progress with the drums arrangement and each one is better than the last. I don’t even have time to criticise, comment or approve anyone of them before I receive a new version. I believe he wants to please the Supreme Leader before he gets the guillotine!

In any case, things move fast and I’m confident we will record the rhythm section early in 2014. Stay Tuned!

Alan Charles

La population mondiale vit sous un régime dictatorial ou dans une démocratie. Eh bien… Avec Existence (le groupe), c’est plutôt une « dictatocratie »… Les musiciens lancent des idées mais je prends la dernière décision!

Depuis notre première répétition des nouvelles pièces, Gérard n’a pas cessé de m’envoyer des enregistrements de son travail d’arrangements de batteries et chacun de ceux-ci est meilleur que le dernier. C’est à croire qu’il a peur de déplaire au Leader Suprème et d’être envoyé à la guillotine!

Dans tous les cas, les choses avancent rondement et je suis confiant de pouvoir enregistrer la section rythmique au début 2014. Restez donc à l’écoute!

Alan Charles

Just call it music you like

No genre2

In 1994, we gave a bunch of interviews to promote Fragile Whisperings of Innocence that had just come out and one DJ in Québec city told me our album was great “classic type” prog rock. He then asked me who most influenced my writing and when I mentioned The Beatles, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin he was puzzled. He expected me to mention some great progressive rock bands but in fact I had no idea what prog rock was!

The reality is that when I started playing music in 1983, I was listening to a bunch of very eclectic artists from The Beatles to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin or the Doors. But I did like long pieces like In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda (Iron Butterfly), Hocus Pocus (Focus) or April (Deep Purple) not knowing these songs may have been in fact progressive rock. I also already had The Dark Side Of The Moon and Fragile but that was about it. So when I started writing music, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was just my style and my “Heavy Metal” friends of the time thought I was writing cool stuff so they agreed to play them!

After a few years, Existence got to be known as a progressive rock band alongside the then new prog bands such as Porcupine Tree, Spock’s Beard or Anekdoten. But many hardcore fans of prog who say Pink Floyd, Supertramp or Jethro Tull isn’t prog didn’t think Existence was prog enough either. And actually, I didn’t think we were!

But on the other hand, rock fans did think we were way too progressive (which sounded even passé) for their tastes! Our long instrumental pieces didn’t quite fit in their standards… In other words, Existence didn’t fit a genre of music easy to be recognized.

But what does it say about the hardcore fans of rock, prog, disco, rap, jazz, classic or else? In my point of view they take music (and their preferred genre of music) way too seriously, like a sacred object no one can touch or mess with. It reminds me of these journalists who every 10 years announce rock is dead…

What is rock music anyway? Or prog? Or jazz? Or…? Sure we can recognize a certain pattern which may define a style but what if we put a bit of this and that to create a new recipe? What will the result be called? Another stupid subgenre like we see too often?

Well I’ll tell you what it becomes: simply music! Call it music you like. And stop categorizing everything. Music cannot be put in a box. It evolves, transforms, blends, merges, moves, changes, transits and… progresses!

Open your mind. Discuss your tastes. Share your findings. But stop categorizing. It only scares away people who’d be pleased to discover music they don’t know.

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog!

I think it was time to start a proper blog with all the new things that are coming for EXISTENCE in the next few months.

I won’t go into details right now as this is only an introduction and I will be here as often as I can to let you know about all developments but let me state this:

  1. Don’t hesitate to post questions, comments on any subject. I like to talk!!!
  2. These posts can be in either English or French since I speak both.
  3. You can also follow me or Existence or Eletria on Facebbok, MySpace, YouTube and check what I do on on website (www.blackpearl.qc.ca), CDBaby, SoundCloud, Jango and many others (I lost count…)

So please do write me. I’ll be glad to read you!

Till next time, have a great summer!

Alan Charles