ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
Tree Of Life
WITH: Carlos Hernandez
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Marc Thibeault - May 2017
PROFILPROG: First of all, thank you for taking some time to answer my questions. And Happy Birthday (a bit late, but still…)! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your past? Why is your Facebook Page identified as ‘Carlos H Tol’?
CARLOS HERNANDEZ: First of all, I want to thank you for this opportunity that allows me to share with ProfilProg Family a little bit about me and my music. I was born in a small town in Venezuela called San Felipe in 1983. I grew up in a home with my mom and sister. I was interested in music at a very short age, but it wasn't till I was 12 that I finally picked up the guitar trying to play some The Beatles songs. Since then I have been playing guitar as much as I could, although when I was 18 I had to stop playing a little because I had to move to another city to attend the University, so during those years I wasn't able to play as much as I wanted, although I always tried to spent my holidays and free time at home to play guitar. I got a degree of Electronic Engineer and I have been working with Oil and Gas related companies since 2008. I married my wife three years ago and her support has been really important to me to resume the music again. Regarding to my Facebook page name, there is no particular reason, just I found it shorter than my last name, and I added Tol , which are the initials for Tree Of Life.
PP: Were you in any band before creating The Tree of Life Project?
CH: Tree Of Life Project is my first musical project actually, although I have played in several local bands with some friends for fun since I was a child, but nothing in a serious way you know.
PP: How did the Tree of Life Project happen? Was it easy to convince your two partners Fernando Fossi & Eric Gillette to join the adventure? How were the recording sessions?
CH: Tree Of Life Project happened because of a combination of facts, those days I was playing in a "tribute band" with some friends which was fun at the beginning but it was becoming harder for me since the city where the band used to rehearse was far away from the city where I lived, so it wasn't easy to manage because of my job, on the other hand, a lot different new ideas (chord progressions, riffs, etc.) were coming into my mind and I was feeling more and more the need to express myself by my own music and I have to say that my wife played an important role by encouraging me to make my first album. Fernando Fossi is a very good friend of mine who I had never been in a band with, but since we have some common interest for progressive music and some bands like the Beatles or Dream Theater, we used to meet for jamming together at home. I decided to quit playing in that band and start working on my own music. I found an idea I had recorded long time ago on an old mobile phone that I wasn't using anymore, so I considered it was a good starting point, which later turned out to be the song "Words From Heaven". Actually this song was the first demo I showed to Fernando. We tried some local drummers with no success, but despite of this I went on writing music and then suddenly we realized that there was about one hour of music already written. We sent some demos to Eric Gillette to know his thoughts about them and if he would be willing to collaborate on this project, so he found the material very interesting for him to take a part by tracking both drums and keys. All the guitar and bass tracks were recorded at my home studio and then everything was sent to Eric. We were in touch via Skype during the recording process and later I spent some time with Eric at his studio during the mixing process.
PP: I think I heard a few of your influences in your guitar playing, but could you tell us who they are?
CH: I think my guitar playing has been mostly influenced by guitar players such as John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Nuno Bettencourt, Al Di Meola, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc.
PP: Do you play the whole «Awakening Call»album on tour? Who are the musicians who go on tour with you? Any touring planned in Canada?
CH: I hope so, although there is nothing confirmed yet. I am in talking to some American musicians right now but I can't tell you much about it yet.
PP: Are there already plans for a follow-up to this great album?
CH: Yeah sure, Right now I am writing new music for the next album. Hope it could be finished the next year!!
PP: What kind of music (if any) do you listen to? Any favourite bands / artists?
CH: I have to say that The Beatles was the band that made me love music when I was a child, and then this wonderful journey begun, discovering new music every day. I love different kinds of music like pop-rock, hard-rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, classical, progressive rock / metal, fusion, etc. The list of my favourites bands / artists could be too long I think, but I can mention a few ones: The Beatles, Queen, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Dream Theater, Neal Morse, Deep Purple, Haken, Genesis, Kansas, Rush, Mike Stern, etc.
PP: What inspires you? On a more serious topic, does the crisis going on in your home country affect you or inspire you in your writing?
CH: It is really sad what is going on in my country nowadays since it is affecting all the people here, nonetheless I hope this situation could change in the near future you know, you've got to keep the faith. So I think that whether I want it or not this situation has a influence over the music I write you know... when I take my guitar to play something, in certain way all that emotional load I have because of what I am seeing is happening every single day at the streets, does affect the music I create. On the other hand I also try to get inspired by good things in life, such as God, my wife, love, nature, etc.
PP: Any comments you would like to add?
CH: I would like to thank you again for this space to share with ProfilProg Family a little bit, hope you guys enjoy this album and see you in Quebec City someday soon!! A proggy hug for you!!!
PP: Thanks again for taking time for us! We hope to see you in Quebec City someday soon!