Protean Collective

Boston’s Protean Collective is a progressive metal band that inhabits the space between the cerebral and the emotive. With pulse-pounding rhythms, screaming leads coupled with universal themes and often unsettling imagery, they’ve captivated audiences throughout the East Coast USA. Protean Collective have sustained themselves through self-producing their albums and booking tours with a strong DIY ethic.

Graham Bacher of Protean Collective sat for a Q&A for Lady Obscure!

Bio: Matt, Steph, and I all started playing together, living in the same dorms in college.  Dan had known Matt for years and played shows with us in other bands, and when we had an opening for a bass player, he was the perfect fit.

Genre: Honestly, I don’t think that’s something we’ve ever paid too much attention to.  A lot of influences we all share come from the progressive metal and progressive rock scenes, which is where we seem to fit in the most, but I like to think that the sound we end up with is more of just the result of our musical tastes colliding together than a conscious effort to make a particular type of music.

Lyrics, themes and concepts: I’m not sure there’s one process we use 100% of the time.  Most of the time, writing, we’ll start with a musical idea and lyrics will either come after everything is finished, or at some point in the middle of writing the music, depending on what we’re feeling inspired for.  We didn’t necessarily have a conscious lyrical theme through the writing process, I think the songs are just generally about experiences we’ve had and things we’ve dealt with over the time we were writing it, so they kind of fit together logically because of that.

Ideas about the album: I think we’re all absolutely beyond thrilled with the way the album came out.  I feel like, from everything we’ve done in the past, we all stepped it up a few notches from anything we’d done in the past.  The work that Andre Alvinzi did mixing it, and Jens Bogren with the mastering, was incredible, we can’t thank them enough.  Definitely, this is the proudest I’ve ever been of something I had a part in creating.

Reception: Well at this point, we’re only three days past the release, but we’ve been floored with how positive the response has been so far from all over the world.  All the reactions we’ve been getting are just making the process more and more exciting.

Preference; live or studio: Absolutely the road for me, without question.  The studio is definitely exciting – there’s so much that we can play with and experiment with and create there – but to me, the absolute highlight of being a musician is the energy and excitement of performing for an audience.

Next step; live or studio: Absolutely it is time to get more and more live shows going.  We have some exciting things getting lined up and we can’t wait to get out and play for everyone.

Future plans: I am excited for the future.  I can’t wait to get out there and share this album with as many people as possible, live and on the recording.

Composers: The songs are generally written by all of us, sitting in the same room.  A lot of times Steph may come in with a guitar riff, for example, and we will just work as a group to take off from there.  The lyrics have all been written by me or Matt so far.

Inspirations: This is one of those questions that I think each of us would probably have a different answer for, because what we listen to is all over the place.  Personally, some of the recent releases I’ve been listening to nonstop lately are Gojira, Protest the Hero, Tesseract, Soilwork, and Karnivool.

Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: I think the way we always approach the writing process is that we create music we are really passionate about and want to listen to, and hopefully it strikes a chord with other listeners out there.

Album cover art by Bruce Kaplan.

More about them? Here is Lonestar’s review of their album!

Like them? Buy the album at BandCamp. They are also available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify!

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