Veil of Maya's Marc Okubo Talks New Album, Dream Theater's John Petrucci
Guitarist Marc Okubo, despite having what sounded like a pretty wicked post-tour cold, spent some time with Noisecreep to talk about the new album and some of his most important influences.
How are you feeling, Marc?
Good, thanks. We just came off the road so I'm back home here in Chicago getting over a cold that I got at the very end of the tour. Figures!
What do you typically do when you're back home, in between tours?
Not much. It's weird. Most of my friends have jobs so during the day I just sort of hang out and recuperate.
Talk about the new album, 'Eclipse.' What are your first impressions of it?
Man, I love it. It's a little heavier than people might be used to. It's also very straight and to the point – we'd talked about maybe making it a little longer but decided that hey, the experience was done, it was complete, it felt right and the idea was just kind of all we wanted it to be. The last album, we were trying, I think, to sound like simply a band playing in a room. This one was a bit different in that we kind of went over the top sonically and did some really cool new things.
Well, when I was tracking my parts, I decided to add some over the top choirs – some really symphonic kinds of parts – I included new keyboards to give it a sort of choir effect. Some pretty dramatic stuff that's still simple, but feels bigger and almost like something that could be a film score.
What influenced you to add those kinds of textures?
Well actually, I'm a big fan of movie soundtracks. I always have been and so I think this time out, that fact actually influenced what I came up with for 'Eclipse.'
Any particular sorts of soundtracks influence you more than others?
Well I like basically the soundtracks of every Marvel Comics movie ever made. But my favorite? 'E.T.' The end credit music by John Williams is just incredible. I still have an old VHS tape of the movie my parents got me when I was like three years old. You can look it up on YouTube, those end credits. It's my favorite movie soundtrack.
Are you excited about the new places the band if off to?
Definitely. Japan, Hawaii, Australia – we'll try and treat it like a vacation as much as possible, you know, work out some free time whenever we can to be like tourists. It's going to be very new for us.
Did you have one primary guitar hero growing up?
I'd have to say, in terms of influences, when I first heard Dream Theater's guitar player John Petrucci, he blew me away. He still does. I just don't know what to say about how good he is. Seriously.
Have you ever met him?
No. I saw him once, though. He came out to visit someone playing in Periphery, who we were touring with. I saw him walking toward me, but I was too nervous to say hi. Maybe someday, but I just couldn't it. I mean, that's John Petrucci.