As of now the band consists of myself (Kim-Marius H. Olsen) on guitars, Frode Lillevold on the drums, Alexander K. Lykke on vocals and Pierre-Nicolai H. Schmidt-Melbye on bass. When we started Vicinity some years ago none of us knew one other, so you can say that our taste in music, and wish to play that kind of music brought us together. Most of us were students at the time, but now Vicinity is made up of half and half of engineers and academics.
Bio: Vicinity is a progressive metal/hard rock band founded in 2006 by Kim-Marius H. Olsen (guitars), Frode Lillevold (drums) and Kristian Nergård (bass). Vocalist Alexander K. Lykke soon joined the blend making the first complete line-up. The band wrote and later recorded a demo in 2007 at Skansen Lydstudio in Trondheim, but it was the following year’s recording of the EP “Diffusion of Innovation” that the band found it’s true style, writing longer, more technical, progressive compositions. The EP was recorded and mixed (by Børge Finstad) at Toproom Studios in one week, and released two years later (2010) by Pug-Nose Records. Nergård left the band following his moving cities, but the band soon recruited the more than capable hands of Pierre-Nicolai H. Schmidt-Melbye to handle bass duties.
We now have a new album out called “Awakening” mixed by André Alvinzi and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios. Awakening is released by Pug-Nose Records through Indie Distribution on a worldwide deal for the digital release and all across Europe on the good old CD-format. (Read the Awakening review here)
Genre: The progressive metal genre can in many ways be described as a great degree of musical freedom combined with certain expectations being put towards sound and technical proficiency. To us that has always meant that we’ve been able to do whatever felt right musically at the time while at the same time continuously pushing the boundaries of what we are able to play at a technical level, constantly making us better musicians. To answer the second part of the question; we basically chose to play this kind of music because we both love to play and listen to this kind of music.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: They come from wherever we are both musically and in life as we write the music. Inspiration can come from where you least expect it, be it family, music, literature, movies, good- and bad experiences, a mood you’re in and so on. We also jam a bit and musical ideas can both arise and evolve from doing that. Personally I like to sit with the guitar in my lap (unplugged) at home, and suddenly you might find a small seed that can develop into something greater.
Lyrics, themes and concepts: The album is called Awakening and many of the songs focus on different meanings of that word. Some might be about waking up on a personal level, some about waking up to what’s happening in the world around us, and what we can do. The writing process in Vicinity is never set in stone, meaning that sometimes lyrical ideas and vocal ideas can come first, and other times the music comes first, and then the merry go round keeps spinning until things start to take shape. We’re always very focused on making sure that the music and the lyrics fit together. You won’t find many sad parts with happy lyrics or angry parts where we sing about how great life is.
Composers: Ideas can come from all of us, even though it often starts with a riff on the guitar or the bass it becomes the other band members’ responsibility to remember all these parts and find out where they can be used at a later stage. It’s always great to hear Frode sing out a riff idea from behind the drums. The lyrics are mostly written by Alexander, the vocalist, and myself, but Pierre also contributed with several important parts of Opportunities Lost, and the theme and ideas behind the lyrics on that song are all Pierre’s, then I and Alex just completed them.
Ideas about the album: We are very happy with how Awakening turned out and sounds. The recording process was long, and not without its issues. With “Awakening” being our first full length album it’s safe to say we learned a lot from many missteps, like how much time was planned for drumming. Poor Frode only had two days to nail the entire album, a daunting task for any drummer, so next time we’ll probably plan things a bit better. We’re most content with managing to finish an album that actually feels like a musically whole, and we’re also satisfied with the fact that we’ve managed to improve both as musicians and songwriters since we released our EP “Diffusion of Innovation” a few years ago.
Reception: Mostly the reception has very good, and better than expected.
Preference; live or studio: There is a time and place for everything. Gigging is great, but I could never be happy if my life was going from one gig to another. The same goes for the studio. It can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time, but reaching the end goal makes it all worth it. I think my favourite parts of being in a band actually happen at our rehearsal room when that the ideas we’ve been working on takes us all to a certain place and brings smiles to our faces.
Next step; live or studio: We’re always working on new music, and will certainly not rest on our laurels. Our main goal with making new music is always to surpass what we’ve done before, so we’ve really set ourselves up for a challenge for our next release.
At the moment we’re focusing on getting the album exposed to the right audiences. You can make the best record in the world, but if you just leave it lying on your desk, no one will ever hear it. So you just have to put it out there, make it known, and hope that it is well received.
Following the release of this album we’re going to do some gigs in Norway, chief amongst which one in Trondheim at a yet to be disclosed location, but we can promise that it will be one of the better stages the city has to offer, the 7th of December. We haven’t scheduled any extensive touring yet, but that is mostly because the right opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet. This means that concerts anywhere are a possibility in the future, we’ll just have to see where things go. That’s the way of it when you aren’t Dream Theater, Symphony X or Pagan’s Mind, as anyone trying to make it with their own music will tell you.
Future plans: I try not to think too much about the future, I tend to focus more on the now, but making more music, and evolving both as a band and a musician is safe bet.
Inspirations: From whatever we’re listening to at the time. Personally I draw much inspiration from melodic prog bands like Seventh Wonder, Circus Maximus and Pagan’s Mind, but also pop and rock groups like a-ha, Depeche Mode, Queen and Muse. If it’s melodic and creative I can listen to it. Frode has always been inspired by Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater, but that band is one that is held in high esteem by all the members in Vicinity. But really inspiration can come from wherever.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Music for its own sake, without a doubt! We love it when people like what we do, but that has never really influenced what we do. The music becomes what it does because we like to make this kind of music.
Greatest Accomplishment: As of now I would have to say completing Awakening, and actually being able to listen to it without cringing. Other high points have been playing live at stages like Blæst in Trondheim and John Dee in Oslo.
Photo Credit: Monika S. Nyhagen