Interview by Cristóbal Torres
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Jorge Curiel is one of the best established drummers on the Mexican scene; his name rings with authority in both underground and academic musical circles. This reputation is not due exclusively to his time in the legendary band Luzbel; his solo career also influences.
Three albums currently make up his discography: COLISIÓN (2010), TÓTEM (2014) and recently OMEGA (2022), the latter perhaps his most ambitious work to date. Taking the musical boundaries of progressive to the extreme, the musician and composer decided to create a great 40 minute long musical piece and divide it into nine chapters.
To learn more about OMEGA, we contacted Jorge Curiel himself so that he could explain it to us in his own words.
When was the first spark to start working at OMEGA; did it happen just after finishing TÓTEM or was it after?
Jorge Curiel (JC): I started working at OMEGA a couple of years after finishing TÓTEM, just at the end of what would be the promotional presentations for that album.
However, the composition of OMEGA took several years as I couldn’t find time to finish it due to commitments I had with another band that took up a lot of my time.
Is OMEGA a self-produced work? That is, did all the investment come out of your pocket or did you have external support?
JC: Primarily it is an independent production, just like my previous albums have been. All production and recording expenses are always on me, however, to release the special edition CD+DVD I was able to count on an associate executive producer for the first time.
What was the reason that prompted you to develop a single monumental piece instead of several pieces as in a conventional album?
JC: It was simply the impulse and the curiosity to know how far the inspiration could take me; I have always liked long-form works and I thought it would be interesting to experiment with this way of composing.
I really liked the process of not having to use the conventional formulas of composition and of course I was very satisfied with the result, it is very likely that I will do it again in the future.
Was everything recorded in one session or what was that process like? What kind of preparation did it require of both you and the musicians?
JC: Such a long piece is practically impossible to record in a single session, since you have to constantly listen to the takes and that consumes a lot of studio time.
The plan for OMEGA was to record nine separate sections, which ultimately became the nine chapters the song is divided into.
The challenge was to be able to maintain the interpretation and energy of each instrument so that the sensation of being a single continuous piece was really achieved, as it was conceived from the beginning.
How do you compose, do you write all the instruments or is everything born from the drums?
JC: Actually I use a lot of resources to compose, it’s very varied, sometimes a melody, a riff or a rhythm comes to me and I simply start to complement the idea with the other instruments.
But I always write all the music at the same time, as if it were a piece of classical music, instrument by instrument, and absolutely every note is my own inspiration, including guitar, keyboard and bass solos.
In the last two years, many bands have carried out projects remotely (each one at home), but you preferred to do it in person. What measures did you take to face the challenge of recording an album in the midst of a pandemic?
JC: The pandemic definitely took us all by surprise and that forced me to be more organized to schedule the recording sessions with each musician.
But I must say that it was also thanks to this pandemic that I was able to record this album, as it gave me the opportunity to fully concentrate on production and recording.
For me, the shared experience with the musicians is always the most important thing; recording remotely was never in my plans and honestly it is a resource that has not become so essential for me.
Personally, I don’t like it very much because it takes away all this experience of living with your colleagues.
In terms of contingency, we practically did not run any risk since at all times there were only two people in the studio: me and the musician who was on recording duty, so we could keep the risk to a minimum.
What advantage did it mean for you to be able to record with musicians you already know in a work as ambitious as OMEGA? Do you think the result would have been different with other musicians?
JC: For me it is always more pleasant to record with musicians I already know; there are no unpleasant surprises and you already know how to motivate each one of them. Besides, there is more confidence when doing production work and giving instructions.
Each musician is unique and this gives the music a very personal stamp, the music acquires the personality of each one and this makes the final result acquire its own character, definitely if other musicians had recorded the result would have been different, not better or worse, simply different due to the personality that each musician has.
What formats is OMEGA available in and where can be purchased?
JC: OMEGA is available on all digital streaming platforms; but mainly it was planned to be released in CD+DVD digipak format since, due to the characteristics of the song, it is only possible to listen to it without any kind of cut on the CD.
Besides, there is a lot of special video material that was planned exclusively for this edition and that will not be available on any platform, only on the DVD that comes with this special edition.
OMEGA is currently available in some record stores, but it can mainly be purchased on my official website: jorgecuriel.com, where I sell all my discography and videography directly.
Do you have live performances planned? Will it be possible to listen to OMEGA in its entirety on stage?
JC: Currently I am already completing the lineup of musicians that will be playing with me live this 2022. We are preparing everything and waiting for the right moment to start the OMEGA promotional presentations and, as far as possible, play this song in its entirety.
However this depends on several factors that sometimes are not in our control, but of course we will be playing a lot of material from OMEGA, but also from my two previous albums TOTEM and COLISIÓN.