Hybrid | Interview with Chus Maestro

Spain’s Hybrid writes byzantine and demanding music that eschews traditional song structures and defies easy categorisation. Their indescribable sound is a puzzling agglomeration of a wide variety of influences and inspirations like Death-Metal, Grind, Math-core, Latin rhythms and free-styled Jazz. Picture if you can Cephalic Carnage trying to cover Naked City songs or Suffocation jamming with Yakuza and the end result isn’t too far removed from “The 8th Plague”, the band’s debut full-length.
Guess Hybrid don’t feel accomplished and fulfilled by merely writing straightforward and simpler songs, right?

“Yes, because there are a lot of bands doing straightforward songs and since the birth of Hybrid we wanted to create something personal and extreme away from the classic metal bands.” Answers Hybrid’s primal force and drummer Chus Maestro.

“We are very influenced by tech and experimental music, so for us the complex side of our music is something natural. And as we listen to a lot of music, we like to merge different influences from several styles just like you mentioned.”

How would you describe the usual writing process in the band?

“Our composing method is based on the improvisation and the creative freedom during the rehearsals, that’s the way to have the ideas flowing naturally without barriers. We usually play riffs, patterns or general ideas and begin decomposing it to create something different with odd time signatures, cuts and changes to keep the music unpredictable. But there is another work outside the rehearsals where we listen to all the ideas recorded trying to put it together and creating a good structure for the song.”

“The 8th Plague” was released two months ago, how are the responses so far?

“At the moment we are having an outstanding response with great reviews in the media and good commentaries from the fans which is very hopeful for us.”

I’ve read somewhere that you have conceived “The 8th Plague” entirely on your own, from the recording process to the final artwork, all was done without the support of a record label. Was this something the band idealized from the beginning in order to fetch a better record deal in the end?

“Exactly, we began recording without a label record deal, so we had to make the full process from recording to mastering in a do-it-yourself way, putting a lot of effort and financing all the costs by ourselves for getting a good record and to find a label for releasing it. When we started working on the artwork we finally found the support from English label Eyesofsound.”

So when did Eyes of Sound stepped in a leading position to secure Hybrid into their catalogue of artists?

“Someone from the band Akercocke told Eyesofsound label manager about us, and when he listened to the songs we had uploaded on our Myspace he wrote us saying he was impressed about our music and interested in signing the band. At that time we had other offers, but Eyesofsound showed us truly devotion and interest in the band, so we finally decided to sign with them. And we are very happy with the label, not only for their good catalogue of unique bands, but also for the pleasant treatment and the good working.”

Hybrid moves between genres like Death-Metal, Grind-Core and Jazz between others throughout the eight songs that constitute “The 8th Plague”, but if you had to pick one genre that had helped shape and mould your musical upbringing what would it be?

“We are basically and extreme and tech metal band, so that’s the point where everything starts in Hybrid. We all have a deep death metal background, but we are compulsive music listeners so we wanted from the beginning to melt other styles we liked such as you mentioned to keep our music interesting and unique.”

Apparently there’s a lyrical concept running through “The 8th Plague” that deals with the downwards spiral of the human race into self destruction and annihilation. Tells us a bit more about this interesting concept?

“Yes, “The 8th Plague” is a conceptual album about the human self-destruction. The eight songs represent these process symbolized trough the stages of an insect's complete metamorphosis, where each phase is a step toward the inevitable destruction. In this dystopic and apocalyptic lyrical concept, human race is the plague and the insects are only the symbol of the "human swarm" that is going to destroy the world.”

The artwork created by renowned artist Seldon Hunt, whose credits include Neurosis, Isis and Melvins seems to superbly illustrate the concept behind “The 8th Plague”. Did you tell Seldon Hunt how it should look like or did he just do what he wanted to after cues from the band?

“I’ve talked a lot with Seldon about the lyrical concept and the symbolism behind the album, and also about the visual idea I have about it (with all that post-apocalyptic devastated background and the insects); then Seldon created the artwork giving their own style, who increased the dark and oppressive feeling of both the music and the lyrics. He designed a powerful and symbolic cover which represents that moment of intense silence as the hive reaches into the sun cutting out the light as the fires of humanity burn across the sky, with the insects rising out of the gloom representing the fate awaiting us.”

The band has recently suffered some major blows in their line-up due to personal differences. Vocalist Albano Fortes, guitarists J. Oliver and Miguel and bassist Kike have decided to quit Hybrid leaving drummer Chus as the sole member that recorded “The 8th Plague” on his own. However new recruits have already been founded in the persons of Iván Durán (Guitar) and Iago Fuentes (Bass) from the extreme metal band Fragments and Rafa Fernández (Vocals) from One Last Word. How do you think this recent turmoil will affect the band’s sonority and future endeavours?

“The line-up change has been something inevitable because we reached a point where we didn’t have the same band goals and the other guys were also very busy with their other bands. I think the new members will bring new and fresh ideas to continue evolving and maturing Hybrid’s sound, because they are well talented musicians and they are very involved in the band.”

Band info: www.myspace.com/hybridmetal