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Interview with Tantric

Before their set at The Factory in Manchester, I had the opportunity to sit down with Hugo Ferreira, Jaron Gulino, Sebastian LaBar and Ian Corabi of Tantric to discuss their first-ever tour in the UK and Europe, how the Tantric brand has been kept alive & the world of rock music today. In this interview, there is some great advice from musicians who have been in the industry for years & quite a few laughs were had throughout.

As this is your first UK/European tour. Could you please tell me what it was that made you want to finally come out across the pond after so long?

Hugo: It was just the right opportunity. You know, we have been touring the states for the last two years straight. So, when our agent asked us “Hey, do you guys want to break into Europe?”. We told him that we have never had the opportunity to do so. It was really a matter of “What better time than now?”. It was an interesting opportunity to really get out of our comfort zone and go say hi to some of our fans that have been waiting patiently for maybe 20 years.

Yeah, I’m one of those fans! So, what were your expectations of touring the UK and Europe, at this point in your career?

Hugo: Basically I expected nothing, it feels like we're coming from zero again. Since we were so disconnected with our fans here. Obviously not to anyone who would write to us, as we would always write back but more in the sense that we just have never been here. We honestly just expected nothing, all we can really promise is that we would do this tour and kick some ass on stage.

With Tantric going through so many incarnations and different sounds over the years. How would you pin down what the “Tantric sound” is today with this line-up?

Hugo: I think the sound is a highlight real of every musical style we’ve worked within the past. So, take all of the best things about Tantric, put them together and make a cake out of them and that cake was this new album, I think that would be what Tantric is right now. I think this is the best of its highlights. Not only that but I feel that this is the best incarnation of what it’s ever been. Not only is it awesome that we’re getting to do this tour but that we’re getting to do it under the banner of this album and this incarnation of Tantric. 

Individually, what is your favourite song from the new album, Mercury Retrograde?

Sebastian: I would probably say “Before You Can Crawl”

Hugo: I mean we don’t play it on the setlist, but yeah it’s a great song.

I have to say, that was one of the first songs I took note of when I first heard the album.

Sebastian: We made that song, for lack of a better description, very Whitesnake. I mean, my influence is very much 80’s rock music, as is Jaron’s. When it came time to write that song, we were talking with Chuck (Alkazian, producer) and he said, I have the perfect 80’s riff for you guys and that opening is so much fun to play.

Jaron: Errm “Get ‘Em All”

Hugo: And we’re playing none of those tonight…

What is your opinion of modern rock music and how the newer bands are taking influence from different styles of music and applying it to rock?

Jaron: Well, the good news is that there is a lot of bands from everywhere. Some may see that as over-saturation, I feel you can still find quality in what you like. Say you’re a fan of 80’s rock, you can find a lot of new bands that work with that sound and you can apply that to the whole genre of rock. While most of today’s music will certainly have its critics, there are some hidden gems out there and there seems to be enough of a range out there to please everyone.

With all of the different styles of rock out there. What do you think of the more critical, traditionalists who would say “That’s not rock music because it doesn’t have the right musical elements”.
Hugo: I wouldn’t know what to say. I couldn’t tell you what defines rock music but all I know is I wouldn’t consider us anything else but rock music.

Sebastian: I mean just from going Spotify or iTunes and looking up the “rock” category, I can understand that sentiment because there’s a lot of bands in those mixes that I wouldn’t consider rock. It’s either an off-shoot, or it’s too heavy. What I personally define as rock music, is completely different from what rock has become. I grew up listening to 80’s rock, so ACDC, Whitesnake, Cinderella. Whereas now with the modern style the newer bands have taken it in a different direction.

Bearing that in mind, what would your advice be to a young band just starting in the industry today?

Sebastian: Don’t get jaded! It’s a tough road to go down. It’s really tough to tour and a lot of people don’t realise how tough it is. There is so much crap you have to go through.
Jaron: Yeah, you basically have to eat shit a lot, before you start seeing results.

Sebastian: Right, right. I mean, I played in a band for years and we were just gigging locally, just trying to get out there, it can be so tough, but be persistent and try to persevere.

Hugo: I would say… always have fresh under-arm deodorant.

Sebastian: And fresh socks too! It always helps.

Moving on. As Hugo is the only original member of Tantric, what was your approach to playing some of the older fan-favourites live?

Sebastian: The harder songs were to learn and play, the more I loved them. Coming into this band with Hugo, I had to learn a lot of vocal harmonies. As it seems when the original song was recorded, they would lay down this sick riff and then Todd would do an amazing vocal harmony. Now, that puts me in a position where I had to learn the harmony and play this sick riff together and intrigued me because I love that type of song.

I remember when The End Begins first came out, I had a chance to speak with Joe (Pessia, former guitarist) and we talked about the song “Fall Down” and he told me that there were three guitar parts to that song so best not to learn them all at the same time.

Hugo: When I was originally demoing these songs, I would demo them by myself in my studio, so I never took into account that we then had to go on and play them live on stage. So, there’s me thinking “oh, how about if there is another guitar part in there” and I couldn’t play any of them at the same time. I can only play the guitar after I practice that one little riff at a time and then I would loop it, So for me, I never took into account how complicated they would be to play, I just thought it sounded good.

If there is one band, from your local area, who you like to give a shout out to, who would that be?

Hugo & Sebastian: Paralandra

Jaron: Yeah pretty much what I was gonna say.

Ian: Definitely them. Also, in Nashville my friend’s band Dirty Fuss, they’re more of an old-school rock n roll band. Definitely, an awesome sound and they’re really good friends of mine. They’re out touring the US at the moment and they’re just starting off, so I’ll definitely throw a bone for them. 

Finally, to end on, what is the hard thing, in your career, that you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Hugo: I think the most difficult thing for me because I’ve been doing this for so long is the way bands make an income. I mean there was a time when we got record deals based on record sales and now the industry is just an entirely different beast. The transition of going from a retail-based world and getting your royalties to this new system of streaming and not necessarily a world based on the fans buying the record, that has definitely been the hardest thing. But, when in doubt, just tour your ass out.

Sebastian: When I came into the band I was just a guitar player. I mean, I could sing a little bit but I really had to step up the game a lot to kind of fill Todd’s shoes initially. You can hear it in those older songs, he’s playing and singing the entire time. I was never really all that good at playing and singing, so I had to practice a lot to get where I am. Still getting better with every show.

Ian: It’s not necessarily a part of my musical career but I had a really hard time overcoming drugs for a while, but I’m clean and sober now. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, my father used to sing for Motley Crue. So, whenever I try to step out on my own in my musical career, people just seem to lump me in with him. People go “Oh that’s John Corabi’s son”. Now I’m establishing my own identity as Ian Corabi and I play the drums. So, it’s been really good coming on tour with these guys who have become friends and like family to me. Now, I’m standing out on my own as an individual.

Hugo: I only hired him because he’s Corabi’s kid.

Sebastian: Look at me I’m Hugo, I’m collecting rockstars children.

Jaron: For me, it was learning to be my own person and not being afraid to do what I feel is right with my life. I feel like when you’re growing up, you can be afraid to hurt other people’s feelings when you take an opportunity that might be better for you. Sebastian and I played in a band for many years before this and then making the jump to Tantric, I was really nervous about leaving the band to do this but at the end of the day, it was a great opportunity and a good life change.



cindylou6676 said…
Fantastic interviews from you guys.. Great questions and answers.. And it does seem like " I'm Hugo and I'm collecting rock stars children". He has two of them, right? You guys are your own Rock Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟 and you are doing it on your own!! You are an amazing group of guys and you are loved everywhere in the world.. Thanks so much for sharing this interview.. I loved it!! ❤❤

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