A chat with Imperial Triumphant’s Steve Blanco.

©Alex Krauss Photography | http://alexkrauss.com

“No one knows what the future shall look like. Well, some might know the shape of things to come. Some will bet on it. Perhaps we’re living it. Perhaps it will be quite different. If we had a special looking glass that could reveal millennia of repeated timelines we might observe big dreams for a bright future, built upon systemic shifts that eventually fall. Behold the future.”

This is what Imperial Triumphant stated about the release of their first single and music video “Rotted Futures”.

The album features a number of special guests such as Tomas Haake (Meshuggah) on the taiko drums, Phlegeton (Wormed) on guest vocals, Yoshiko Ohara (ex-Bloody Panda) as part of the choirs, RK Halvorson as part of the Barbershop quartet, Sarai Chrzanowski as part of the choirs, Andromeda Anarchia (Folterkammer, Dark Matters) as part of the choirs, J Walter Hawke on the trombone, and Colin Marston on guitars.

I was listening to the album. Over and over again. It feels like stepping into a David Lynch movie and forgetting where the exit is. Deliberately. Plentiful dystopia with a heavy dose of luxuriant vanguardism –just the way I like it. A cinematic climax of meticulous sounds. That’s what it is.

It’s not even music, we need a new word for what they’ve created.

Imagine you are the CEO of a multinational label and faced with the exact same circumstances of the metal music industry today. What would you do to change the future of music?

I’d work with media outlets to reduce public fear and instill confidence for the concert goer in the reality of our time. I’d encourage livestream performances from venues and help artists get pro results; To raise the bar from casual video to more professional creations that would give the fans a richer experience. There’s a lot of untapped talent out there waiting for collaboration.

Kenny mentioned that creating music is a non-limited process, –not unlimited– as there are 3 of you and you each have your own ways of composing. I want to hear all about the challenges you guys are facing and how you overcome them to create a masterpiece.

Music comes to us in many ways. One of us might bring a riff to rehearsal then we’ll improvise on it for a while, elaborate, and begin building a song. Sometimes a near-complete demo of a song might be presented and so we’ll work on it, add or subtract ideas, work on the arrangement, and orchestration. Other times someone will bring in a chart for a new song. Sometimes we just improvise together to work on our sound as a band. Sometimes a film, lyrics, or other external creative force might inspire new work.  We’re constantly evolving this way. The more we play together the deeper our sound. We’re not just merely playing notes that have been worked out. We work on passing the energy around between us. Our trio is like a council. We decide everything about our music this way.

Jazz-influenced extreme metal. Was it clear from the beginning that this is what you were looking to accomplish, or it just happened along the way?

This evolved naturally. We didn’t set out to play anything specifically Jazz. Rather, the Jazz influence is there because it’s who we are. We each have a huge amount of musical influences that span all genres. We are pro Jazz players in the greasy NYC scene for a number of years. The sound of our music is inspired by all of this and, of course, the sound of the city. It can be no other way.

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Do you guys have day jobs to support your career in music or being a professional musician/artist can be sufficient on its own?

We are all professional musicians. Whether that constitutes as “sufficient” is to be determined! We each have different backgrounds and skill sets that allow for other work beyond music. Imperial Triumphant is its own full-time job these days. We look forward to more hard work.

You guys are really close. A power trio. And you spend a lot of time together. Please describe a normal day in the life.

When on tour we’re a tight unit and we have a ton of good times, dialogues, and creative talk. Fortunately, we get along well and require relatively low maintenance as a band. When we’re home we’ll be in contact often via phone or text, and usually look forward to rehearsal time, which is part of the hang. I guess you could say we’re like a family that views the world through a glass darkly.

Until the next one,