What can I say? "Eyes Of The Oracle" is a killer-album and definetely the best Album 1998. I couldn't wait sending out my questions to these new Progressive-Gods, so here's what they answered...
SACRED METAL PAGE: First of all I like to congratulate you in the beginning to your unbelievable and outstanding debut, definitely one of the best five pieces of music I've ever heard!! Of course, I want to know everything about your "pre-Power-of-Omens"-phase. I can't believe that "Eyes..." is the first release of you four magicians so: in what other bands did you all play before? When did you start playing instruments? And how old are you now?
David (Gallegos, guitars and all electronics)- Thank you so much for your compliments. As for me, I’ll be 29 on January 13, and I started playing guitar when I was 14. The only serious band I ever played in aside from Power of Omens was a band called Nightwatch. We wrote original music in the style of old Queensryche. Other than that, most of the bands I played in before, were more garage bands that did nothing but cover songs.
Alex (Arellano, drums & percussion) - Yes, definitely, thank you for the compliments!! I started playing drums at age 14 and formed my first band called Maniak about three years later. This band lasted for several years and then I started a new band, Arcanum Wings. Later I did theater productions and jingles until I met Dave, then we formed P of O! which is my dream gig!!
Chris (Salinas, vocals) - Surveillance, Hirizin, CNC Rocks. I started by playing guitar at age 10, now I’m 26 years old.
Andrew (Sanchez, keyboards) - Been in a few professional garage bands. We never left the garage! Did the commercial jingles for a while. Started playing in my teens, but in the early 90’s didn’t touch music for about 5 years while motorcycles became my main passion. I’m 34 years old, but I feel like...damn! 34!
How did you four finally come together? When did you decide to form a band called "Power of Omens"?
David - Originally Alex and I hooked up through a newspaper ad back in 1994, which ultimately led to our contact. We both had very similar influences and wanted to put together a band that would allow us total freedom of artistic expression. Little by little, we started recruiting the perfect members. Chris joined in early 1995, were as Matt joined a year later in 1996. Unfortunately, due to a commitment to the US Government, Matt had to leave the band just recently. Henry Sanchez has since replaced him, and we have also enlisted Andrew Sanchez as our new and permanent keyboardist.
Chris - Fate
Andrew - I was introduced to Dave and Chris in a live music club by a friend.
What does the name "Power of Omens" mean to you personally?
David - The power one could have by knowing his fate. It’s amazing to think, just what you could do to prevent or create certain actions to counteract what future events lie ahead.
Alex - astonishment on the magnitude, strength & impact prophecies have, powerful enough to dictate a person’s decisions in life, able to create civilizations and even destruction.
Chris - The Power that can be unleashed through one’s thoughts and dreams.
Andrew - A band that plays challenging music to play and to listen.
How long did it last to write the whole "Eyes Of The Oracle" monument? How old are the songs on this record?
David - Most of the songs are about a year old, with the exception of 2; "The Fall", and "Time" which were originally on our first demo that was written back in 1996.
Could you give me a description (Lyrically as well as musically) for each and every song on the record?
David - Well as for musically, each song has its own personality:
Inner Voices - This song was something that we wanted to create that would give a majestic approach. Something very strong, that we could open shows with live.
Alone I Stand - This song was one of the shortest full-length songs we’ve written. Very powerful, and in your face. We wanted to portray a sort of chaotic opening after the initial vocals started. We wanted to create something that was going to keep a constant change, never leaving a moment chance to leave the listener bored.
Chris - On the lyrics the message is given. The man begins the journey within to warn the world of what will come.
Word on a Line - Lyrically; A personal description of the struggle with life, I think we all at one point suffer. Every time you sign your name on the dotted line, you, in some way belong to someone else.
The Fall - (lyrics) the search for answers. The fall of a man’s hope and dignity. It is a sense of hopelessness in his search to save us.
David - The Quest - Short and to the point, we wanted to express as much musically as we could in one minute.
Chris - The Naked Mind - (lyrics) they describe how we take this world for granted. The struggle between good vs. evil inside one’s mind.
David - Time - This was our very first attempt at writing a song as Power of Omens.
Chris - (lyrics)-through these lyrics you can almost feel and see what the man sees. It’s a cold description of the world coming to an end as he stares down from the heavens and sees life ending.
David - Test of Wills - This is our baby (Laughs). This song has so much meaning as to our own personal Test of Wills. The struggles we had through our time together as a band. All the ups and downs, all of the low periods, and now the high periods, it was truly a test on the band.
Chris - (lyrics)- fear of the unknown (As I run into the night the wind is at my back)
David - Tears of the Wind - This song actually made the CD as we finished up the recording. This song is a very personal song I wrote for what I was feeling at the time. It was my way of saying goodbye to a dear friend (definetely one of the most emotional instrumentals ever written! - Michael).
How do you get the inspiration to write such FANTASTIC, thought provoking lyrics?
Chris - I think the inspiration came from many personal thoughts. By creating this character in the CD, I was able to convey some of my own experiences. I’m not a pessimist, but I use music to express and to release myself through inner thoughts and poetry. I cannot write lyrics that do not mean something to me. I want the music to stand true to itself.
Which song did you like most and why? Do you still feel 100 per cent comfortable with the whole record? If you have the possibility to change something what would that be?
David - For the most part, we loved everything we did on this CD. My personal favorite song is Test of Wills, only because there is so much expression throughout the entire piece. If there was anything that we could have changed, I feel it would have been the production. It could have been a lot better. The entire CD was recorded on a Tascam – syncassette 8-track recorder. If we had more money, we would have loved to go with full 24-tracks, which is what we plan to do for the next CD.
Alex - I love every song in the CD equally, each song has it’s own identity and emotional history behind them. Like Dave said; the production could have been improved, also for me, I would have liked the recording to be in a more relaxed mode.
Chris - I can’t say that I have a favorite song because all of them are so personal. I say this because I think these are the best lyrics I’ve ever written.
I’m pretty satisfied with the recording, but being a perfectionist, you’re never a 110% satisfied. Just win the lottery and buy the best recording equipment! (Laughing)
Do you feel yourself as a progressive-metal band? Why (or why not...)? What are in your opinion the ingredients of the term "progressive-metal"?
David - I definitely feel that we are. The music is so diverse, with so many changes and expressions, never quite sitting on one idea, yet maintaining the intensity of metal.
Alex - We are prog-metal. Progressive- for our constant forward expansion, bringing many different influences to our writing, and Metal for the edge we utilize.
Chris - The words Progressive Metal to me, might be a little harsh or heavy. Yes, I believe we are Prog, but I don’t see us as a heavy metal band.
Andrew - I personally don’t like the Prog-metal term, it reminds me of 80’s commercial metal bands which are totally a different musical style.
The production of "Eyes..." is a killer, too, and you've made that completely for your own! How did you learn producing? Do you have an own studio? And do other bands have the possibility to record something with you?
David - Thank you, however, as I mentioned earlier, that was the only thing we felt that could have been better. I have been engineering for years and also took courses to learn the ins and outs of audio engineering. We currently have our own mini-studio, but will be upgrading very soon. I have recorded one other band aside from ours, which is a band also from San Antonio called Fiarro (check them out! -Michael).
Tell me something about your label situation. Do you have offers from other labels, maybe from Germany or Japan? Will the debut be licensed from someone else in the future?
Alex - We at one point started communicating with some Japanese labels, but at the present time, Elevate Records is handling this. Hopefully the Japanese market will be opened to us!
What are your future plans with the band? Do you want to conquer the world, to spread the "Power Of Omens" - virus to each and every fan of sophisticated music?
David - (Laughs) that’s pretty much our plan!!!!
Alex - Veni, Vidi, Vicci!!! We hope!!! : O)
Andrew - That would be great!!
Chris - First step is to prepare and plan a tour through Europe. It’s a dream to have thousands upon thousands of people enjoying our music.
Conquering the world sounds cool!!!
What are your idols in music-biz?
David - I have grown listening to so many musicians, however, I would have to narrow my true idols down to Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, and John Petrucci.
Alex - Dave Weckl, Chad Wackerman, Terry Bozzio, Mark Craney are my top favorites, alongside keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
Chris - Queensryche, KISS and King Diamond.
Andrew - any musician that writes from the heart.
Please give me a list of your ten all-time-favorite records! And which albums from your favorite bands have disappointed you too much?
1) Dream Theater - Images & Words
2) Fates Warning - Perfect Symmetry
3) Queensryche - Rage for Order
4) Yanni - Live at the Acropolis
5) Jesse Cook - Gravity
6) Steve Vai - Passion and Warfare
7) Yngwie Malmsteen - Rising Force
8) Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind
9) Lemur Voice - Insights
10) Rush - Moving Pictures
As for disappointments, I really hate to say, because all music should have some sort of validation, but if I had to pick any, it would be the last Queensryche, and Dream Theater release. Only because it was different from what I was so used to and in love with. They are great musicians, and will always create incredible songs.
(In no particular order)
Jethro Tull -- "A"
Iron Maiden- I.M. and Killers
Kansas – Point of Know return (all of their early material and Live at the Whisky too!!)
Chad Wackerman – Forty reasons
Yanni – Live at the Acropolis
Ars Nova’s Transi and all of Warlord’s
Dream Theater – W.D.A.D.U. and Images and Words
Allan Holdsworth – Metal Fatigue and Road Games
Fates Warning – Perfect Symmetry and A.P.S.O.G.
Magellan – Impending Ascension
Without taking off any credit to these amazing musicians, I’d say Dream Theater’s latest two releases.
My favorite albums tend to be 70’s prog rock, electronic, and Jazz/rock fusion. The first 2 albums to really influence me were ELP’s Brain Salad surgery and Yes’ Close to the Edge. A big disappointment for me was Asia. A bunch of killer musicians from my all time favorite prog bands and they had a very commercial sound. Good for them though, they had several very popular songs!
1)- KISS- Destroyer
2) TNT—Shine on
3) Mercyful Fate—Don’t break the Oath
4) Queensryche—The Warning
7) Dream Theater- Images and Words
8) Power of Omens- Eyes of the Oracle
9) King Diamond – Abigail
KISS- Creatures of the night
(In no particular order)
I was disappointed by Queensryche’s latest- Hear in the Now Frontier
What can we expect from Power of Omens live? I'm sorry, but I can't believe that you are able to play these unbelievable songs live!! I have to see you live at least once in my life!
David - (Laughs) Wow!!!! We really have to live up to our CD now. Actually, depending on time allowance and tour situation, we plan to play all of the songs live in a headlining situation. As an opening act, we will definitely include Alone I Stand, The Fall, The Naked Mind, and Test of Wills.
Alex - (laughing) we can definitely play the songs! We do hope to meet you and that you do enjoy one of our shows! We will also be performing "Word on a Line"
Chris - I think it will be pure energy, what you hear is what you’ll get.
Andrew - The keyboard parts are the most challenging I’ve ever had to play live. I’m very excited about playing these songs in front of a live audience!
How's the music scene in your hometown and it's surrounding? Do you have enough possibilities to play gigs?
David - Unfortunately, progressive metal is not a big scene here, however, we are looking to doing some live shows in and around Texas as well as the East Coast before we can make the dream of playing for Europe and Japan a reality.
Alex - Our style of music is welcomed but not regular. San Antonio has a very diversified music scene, from jazz to country etc. There is a rock movement but not quite one that we fit in.
Chris - Personally I think that that the music scene in S.A. is very poor. Unfortunately, all of this alternative crap has been spoon-fed day after day by large corporations to the youth of today. It all sounds the same. The possibility to play live is there, but we are biding our time and practicing for perfection.
What are you doing in your spare-time besides recording masterpieces?
Alex - Practicing, spending time with my family, watching TV, reading, drawing and practicing some more!
Andrew - practicing!
Chris - we all have day jobs and must support ourselves
What are your favorite books?
Alex - I have many!!! The Iliad and the Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, Any of Dumas’ classics, Dune, The Keep, Time Machine, any Mythology book, and last but not least: The Bible.
Andrew - I like Dean Koontz. I like reading biographies (especially musicians) and trivia type books. I also read monthly music gear magazines.
Chris - Of Mice and Men
If you have the opportunity to get on stage with five bands of your choice (money doesn't play a role here!) What bands would that be?
David - Dream Theater, Queensryche, Fates Warning, Lemur Voice, and Zero Hour.
Alex - Jethro Tull, Zero Hour, Rush, Ars Nova and Magellan
Andrew - UK, ELP, Yes, Happy the Man, Camel
Chris - Queensryche!!!.
Please form your all-time-favorite band-project (no matter if the musicians are dead or alive!)!
David - As for me personally, I would love to see: Mark Zonder on Drums, John Petrucci on Guitar, John Myung on Bass, Tony MacAlpine on Keyboards, and Geoff Tate on Vocals.
Alex - This is a tough one! On drums: Weckl or Wackerman, keys: Wakeman, Jobson or Rudess, bass: Myung, Hamm or Clarke, violins: Ponty, Jobson or Ragsdale, Guitars: Holdsworth, Steve Vai and vocals: Walsh or LaBrie.
Pretty weird, huh?
Andrew - It’s a big band, but I’d like to hear what these guys would sound like together:
Kevin Moore and Tony Banks on keys, John Wetton on vocals, Chad Wackerman on drums, Steve Howe and Al Dimeola on guitars, John Myung on bass and Jean-Luc Ponty on violins
Now I want you to give some comments to the following terms and expressions (stupid game, but I like it...):
David - A dream come true if we get to play there.
Alex - Land of Technology, great castles alongside the Rhine, The Black Forrest and great soccer.
Chris - Bad ass soccer teams, good beer and a country I can’t wait to visit.
Andrew - Far away place!
David - A great metal band from San Antonio.
David - Great genre of music, my true roots.
Alex - style that got me started
Andrew - I like certain bands
Chris - I’ll always love it.
Images & Words:
David - My Musical Bible
Alex - Dave’s musical Bible, an amazing album!
Andrew - Love it, but now it’s collecting dust.
Chris - one of the greatest prog CD’s
David - Life, Love and Happiness
Alex - Our Father, creator of all, eternal love and life.
Chris - Forever watching over us.
Andrew - Too deep for words how I truly feel, but I think that many people take God for granted. I also believe that modern civilization (and Hollywood) has downplayed the truth and total divinity of God.
David - Our current status.
Alex - a stepping stone!
Chris - some of the greatest music comes from here.
Andrew - some good music with integrity.
David - Never have time for it (Laughs)
Alex - expansion of the mind, gives culture and knowledge. Opens doors.
Chris - never really put forth the time for it. Would rather spend my time with my family and friends.
Andrew - necessary for intellectual growth.
David - One day I would love a family.
Alex - a necessity most valued!
Chris - full of love
Andrew - Very important, without it, there is no sense of community. It’s also the place to learn basic life values and the rights of others.
David - A great sex-starved leader.
Alex - Pinocchio syndrome survivor?
Andrew - a man in very bright spotlight.
Chris - none of my business, just let him do his job.
I know it's a bit too early but when can we expect the next milestone from Power Of Omens? And how the hell will you be able to top "Eyes Of The Oracle"?
David - the next CD will probably be in about a year to a year and a half. As for toping "Eyes…" well that’s gonna be tough, but we have confidence in our selves to create something even more intense and diverse as this CD.
Alex - We are growing as musicians personally and as a group, with our hearts into it and hard work, I believe we’ll achieve a better next CD.
Andrew - As a new member of Power of Omens, I look forward to contributing my part in writing new material. I would like to use more keyboards to expand the sound of the band.
Did you get reactions from other crazy guys like me? How did the critics react?
David - Oh yeah!!! It’s been great though. Most of everyone has really accepted and embraced the CD. Many of the critics have been wonderful with their reviews and have definitely helped Power of Omens to achieve our goals.
Alex - We owe a lot to friends such as yourself, who believe in us and help spread our name!
Okay, that was it, the first (and hopefully not the last!) interview with Power of Omens for the SACRED METAL-Page!! Now it's my turn to spread the word and I'm quite sure that you will be the "next big thing" in music-biz!! Be forewarned and order your Ferraris...
Do you have some final, intelligent words to the readers of this interview?
David - Never lose sight of your dreams and goals, that’s what keeps us all alive.
Alex - remember the past, live the present and plan for the future!
Chris - The future looks bright, hope to see you soon.
Andrew - be yourself, no one else will!
That was it, a great interview by a great band! Now it's up to you! Order "Eyes Of The Oracle" today and your life will change a little bit!
(c) 1998, Michael Kohsiek