Members: Hugo Ferreira, Jaron Gulino, Sebastian LaBar, Ian Corabi.
Occupation: Lead Singer, Songwriter (Hugo Ferreira), Bassist (Jaron Gulino),Guitarist (Sebastian LaBar), Drummer (Ian Corabi)
Current release: Tantric's new album, The Sum of all Things, is out July 23 via Cleopatra.
If you enjoyed this interview with Hugo Ferreira of Tantric, visit the band on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date with their output and tour dates. They also have an official merch store.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
Emotion inspires my song writing and creativity. Sometimes it’s about my own life, and sometimes it’s as an observer of life.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
The song’s base is generally 30-40% there when I’m writing it and transferring it from imagination and inception to first draft. Then, just like a Christmas tree, you decorate the song. Adding and subtracting as you go, until you sculpt the finished product to your liking.
Art is not objective, so it doesn’t matter, as long as you are proud of it. And I am proud.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
I pick up a guitar or a piano. I mess around with it for 10-15 minutes, and I see if I can come up with any riffs that I like. If I like a riff, I’ll record it.
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
Lyrics generally come last for me, or simultaneously with the music.
Sometimes a great quote will inspire a whole song. Inspiration comes from all different places.
Lyrics are the most important part. They are the storyline. he music is the soundtrack of the movie, created by the lyrics.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
I like to maintain control of the process with a light grip on the reins. Letting things flow organically where they may.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
I pursue all alternative roads. Sometimes songs split, like a fork in the road, and create two songs. It just depends on the ideas.
The saying “play it by ear” comes from music for a reason
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
All art is spiritual because it’s in touch with an indigenous thing to humans, which is emotion and self-awareness.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
I simply finish a work when I feel it is complete.
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?
After I’m done with a song, I won’t listen to it for weeks. Singing a hook to a song weeks later and still remembering it or enjoying it is a good sign.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
I normally get involved in the mixes towards the end, once the engineer or producer has a general mix of it. Then I’ll add my notes and personal adjustments.
Unless, of course, there is a particular premeditated sound or effect that you’re going for, most songs are mixed pretty much the same.