How'd you get started in music?
Christian: First of all, thank you so much Dizzy for offering to do this interview. We are unsigned and completely independent from the industry, so don't get many opportunities like this.
I got started early on by joining our school's band as a drum student. I'm not going to lie, I was a pretty terrible student. It wasn't until I got my first drum set that I really started "trying" and watching instructional videos (which were almost solely VHS!). At that point Alex and I really had not been doing too much collaborating; that wouldn't happen until our mid-teenage years when Alex got his first nice steel-string acoustic guitar and began taking flamenco guitar lessons. Given the Spanish-inspired direction my brother's writing style was going, I put together a strange concoction we called the "ethnic set" made up of a small djembe, and a conga that my uncle found in a dumpster. And voila! Novus Cantus was born. I'll let Alex add something if he wants...
Alex: The only thing I would add is that music really was something that Christian and I almost immediately bonded over, and felt a real passion for. We seemed to 'get' each other, even way back then, so I'd say that's a pretty key piece of how we got involved in music.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
Alex: Growing up in the 90s we experienced a really great, revolutionary time in music. There was an upheaval in traditional rock that led to a darker more "grungy" sound, and the introduction of world music into almost every genre. So given the NUMEROUS potential influences, it’s safe to say that some of the most influential were: The Crash Test Dummies, Rusted Root, Metallica, Muzsikas (Hungarian folk), Jethro Tull, Deep Forest and Enigma.
We also always had an affinity for Classical and Baroque music, and super awesome ancient-inspired music (think the Conan the Barbarian 1979 soundtrack).
What advice would offer aspiring performers?
Christian: Firstly, manage your time wisely. We know it sounds very business-like, but the reality is you can’t spend all of your time on just one aspect of performing/creating. Some bands perform constantly at local venues. Maybe that is getting them really far, but for us it didn’t. It was exhausting and yielded little reach to new audiences, especially compared to advertising to mass numbers of listeners on Twitter or YouTube. The time we spent rehearsing we could have spent on adding to our Press Kit, getting photos done, or setting up promo campaigns. Those kinds of things don't have that immediate emotional payoff like performing, but when things start coming together it creates a larger sense of movement.
Second of all, change it up when it comes to promotion, and make sure you keep using what works! In this era of music, there are a LOT of people trying to make money off of musicians, even when you are just starting out. And because musicians are more accessible on social media, there is a LOT of pressure and temptation to use all kinds of promo services. There is nothing wrong with experimenting, but be smart and don’t drop a bundle on an “expert” who has worked with no bands you’ve hard of.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
Alex: You know what, I don’t think that we really do too much deliberately to set our selves apart per se. We really try to stick to what we like and are a bit on the unapologetic side when it comes to our sound. Having said that, our song structures definitely are different. A good example would be our instrumental “Moon” that was really heavily inspired by the classical composer Camille Saint-Saenz and... wait for it... Metallica! "Moon" has several "mini movements" that lend themselves more to something heard from "Ride the Lightning". It was honestly a ton of work trying to put that one together, but are proud of how it turned out! Overall our songs sound different, which is partly why we also have some trouble fitting into any one genre.
Also, we spend a lot of time on lyrics; specifically their subject. Again, having been exposed to such a wide array of music growing up, much of it with profound subject-matter, we try to make sure that the lyrics not only match the music, but probe topics that are a little deeper/more spiritual or philosophical. I think a good example of this would be "In the City" (give it a listen!). That approach seems to fit well with our musical style as well.
Any new gigs or albums in the future
Christian: YES! So we have currently an arts grant application in the works for a secret project we have been working on (sorry, we can't talk about it yet), while simultaneously working on a new EP for the Winter. The new EP will be a little more rock focused, with a sound more reminiscent of our song “Despair”. There might even be a remix or two thrown in of some of our older tracks.
And if folks want to help us make the album, they can just go over to Patreon.com/NovusCantus where for as little as $1 per month, they can join our exclusive community of fans and supporters.
Special thanks to them for doing this interview so until then I'll catch you on the flipside! Stay aweseome & rock n roll!
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