Interview | Five Minutes with heavy metal collective Opensight

Opensight is a band with an honest and versatile vision of music. Their songs are born from the rock/metal background but are inspired by the sophistication of progressive music and the dramatic effect of cinema. I managed to have a chat with the band and find out how they began and where they will be going ! 

Does your music come more naturally from jamming as a group or bringing individual parts together?

Ivan: For this record “Ulterior Motives” we were able to have different approaches. The last song “Antagonist” was built from a 20-minute jam session that we captured on file at the rehearsal room with a portable recorder. A similar thing happened with “Vanishing Point”. I was messing around with a riff while waiting for the rest of the band. We jammed and at the end of the session we had the basis of the song. “Alibi” and “The Chase” were pretty much demoed before arranging it as a band. Sometimes the ideas were there and you want to capture them right away and develop them before sharing them with the band. And with these songs the “spy theme” sections, sounds and general intention were really specific. “Ulterior Motif” is a short instrumental based on the riff from “The Chase”, so it’s a song that came from another one! Having a melody featured in different tracks is very common in film music, like the whistling bit in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” or the main theme from James Bond. The idea was to do something similar.

Genia: It’s definitely been a mix of both, but many of my personal favourite sections on the EP have come from jamming as a band, and it’s certainly the way I love working best. The results are invariably more interesting when an idea gets filtered through each members’ individual styles and influences.

What inspired you to start playing music first, film music or Rock and Metal? Or was it kind of equally?

Ivan: We grew up with Rock and Metal and that’s the main connection between us as musicians. When you’re a kid listening to music is pretty obvious that the Rock format is definitively more accessible. Picking up a guitar and jamming with your school friends is more feasible than writing a film score with different instruments or orchestras, when you are looking at things from the point of view of a young aspiring musician. I started playing music because I wanted to emulate bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden, but Film Scores from composers like John Barry and Ennio Morricone were played at my house when I was young so I guess that had some kind of influence. Film Music, Progressive Rock and everything else came later after being initially moved by Rock and Metal, though.

Genia: I certainly started with Rock, Metal and Prog when I first picked up a guitar and joined bands. More recently the math/post-rock scenes in the UK, and electronic music, has been inspiring me in a way that will hopefully become more obvious in future releases. I didn’t really start paying attention to film music in a big way until I joined Opensight and got massively into it through Ivan’s influence, for which I’m very grateful.
Ivan: I think that’s a great dynamic. The fact that we have the Rock/Metal stuff as a basis and on top of that we share other influences among ourselves. We feel pretty excited about different things and we tell each other about them.
Have you managed to support any of your favourite bands yet on tour?

Ivan: Not yet. We’re eager to that kind of thing soon. However, we’ve played with bands that have become good friends and we’ve grown fond of their music. Especially after being part of events like Metal To The Masses where we played constantly with cool bands like Sumer, Jackknife Seizure, RIP Sanity, Darkeye and others. I would love to open for Opeth, Devin Townsend, Cynic or even Faith No More, but I am pretty sure my band mates would drop different names as we don’t have the same favourite bands.

Genia: I’d just reiterate that some of the bands we’ve played with over the last couple of years have absolutely become some of my absolute favourite bands. I’d like to think that in time having played with the likes of Sumer and Jacknife Seizure this early on will be something to boast about. 

Was the band’s formation a chance meeting, or did you put an ad out first to explain exactly the kind of sound you were looking for?

Ivan: The band functioned in Colombia for some time and then I got the chance to move to the UK, so I started looking for people to play with before moving. I got in touch with our guitar player Genia through the internet before travelling, we listened to each other’s music and decided to play together, so when I came to London we reformed the band with Danni and Redd after looking really hard for a bass player and a drummer. I would like to think thatOpensight is open to different sorts of ideas but the intention of making music that is somewhat dramatic or cinematic was there already. We try to make things exciting naturally, throw things that we like into the Opensight concept, so normally we work within a really enthusiastic atmosphere and have fun without feeling any boundaries.

Genia: The cinematic influence was definitely made clear when I first replied to Ivan’s ad, and it’s a large part of why I was excited by the prospect. Doing something that has a lot of scope and flexibility, but none the less has a particular theme in mind, has been a great way of working. I think it us satisfyingly focussed.

How would you compare the Rock scenes in Colombia and the UK?

Ivan: Making a sensible comparison would be really difficult as I have not been immersed in every aspect and detail of both scenes. Colombia has an endless supply of very talented musicians and passionate fans that need more and better spaces to perform and celebrate Rock music. Apparently things are moving forward in that aspect which is great. On the other hand, the fact that Rock music is so intrinsic within the general culture in the UK is a huge plus. The over-saturation of good bands and events could be seen as a disadvantage to some, but I think it should be taken as a challenge and as an opportunity to learn and become as good as you can.

 

Any of you have any favourite movies?

Ivan: Lots. The Godfather I and II, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Buffalo 66, The Wild Bunch and many more. Mainly genre stuff. It’s weird. I am quite fond of horror films but I always mention The Godfather and The Good The Bad and The Ugly when people ask me about my favourite movies, but when I am looking for a film to watch I always go for old school horror like The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby and so on…

Genia: I’m a massive sci-fi fan myself, so most of my favourite movies are in that area from the 80s and 90s. Terminator 2, Alien, Predator, Fifth Element, and that kind of thing. Incidentally they all have seriously good soundtracks too. The Fifth Element soundtrack by Eric Serra was one of the first that ever really jumped out at me outside of the movie itself, and is such an integral part of the charm of that film.

Where’d the name “Opensight” come from?

Ivan: When I started playing music the band went through a series of cliché metal names and eventually we modified the awful name we had (which was like Dark Sight or something) toOpensight. The name “Opensight” doesn’t have any meaning or anything. I guess it has references to things that are vast and visual, which is nice.

How long have you been working on “Ulterior Motives” for?

Ivan: For a while now. Some sections were demoed years back. We took our time for several reasons. We spent time arranging the songs, looking for the right studio and for the right producer. It was worth it. We also took care of the artwork and short trailer-teaser videos. During that time we also recorded more stuff than what we have on the EP so it’s very possible that we’ll have another release sooner this time around.

Got any plans for maybe a full length album in the future?

Ivan: We will be releasing new stuff sooner this time around for sure. It would be great to have a full-length but we are not really sure since there is a lot of discussion regarding the relevance of full albums in the current music environment. We definitively don’t have any “filler” songs and having the flexibility of releasing records in any format is quite exciting. We have some tracks almost ready for a double single and more songs in the works, but we haven’t decided about the kind of release for the next record.
Genia: As a small band I’m pretty skeptical of albums these days, but particularly releasing them early on. I’m certainly very keen on the idea of doing a full length eventually, but only after a lot more experimentation and exposure. When we release an album I want it to be the culmination of a few more years of development with this incarnation of the band, and (hopefully) to a larger and eager fan base. And I’d want it to be truly massive in scope. In the meantime we’re going to have some really exciting and regular smaller releases for you. We have a lot of ideas we want to explore now that this EP is done.
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