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Kantor Voy
“Sensorial and Imaginative Music”

Interview with Kaspar Torn, guitarist and keyboardist of this great Estonian band

By Sergio Vilar

I would like to begin the interview asking them how the idea arose of forming Kantor Voy...

By the time we named the band Kantor Voy, we had already played together for ten years in the band called Carnifex. Our music then was a mixture of death, trash and it had also some progressive elements to it, especially the last self-released EP “Poison Art”.

While we composed and recorded the new material, which is now on “Headswitch”, we were out of the spotlight for a long time. And by the time we finished recording nobody had heard anything from us for about three years. As the release date drew nearer we realised that the new material had evolved in directions that couldn’t be identified anymore with the name Carnifex. So we decided to end one era of our band and start a new one by changing the name. All the members were the same as from the beginning at that time.

Which were your motivations to become musicians? What music type did you listen to then?

I think I’m not very far off by saying that the first motivations came from listening our favourite groups and wanting to do the things they did.The main motivation that has kept us going for so long, has been making good music.

Back in the early days we listened mainly straight forward heavy metal and hard rock. Then came a period when (my) taste shifted more towards death and black. And in this millennium it has been mainly progressive rock/metal/experimental orientated.

So we have gone through various styles of music as our preference and I don’t see the end of that yet. Still, some groups will always remain listenable, call them classics if you will, such as Iron Maiden, Slayer, Rush or Yes for an example.

How can you explain the concept of the name of the band?

We wanted the name to be just a name, not to have immediately recognizable meaning to it. So that the name could be used even after ten years time and not evoke unpleasant feeling in either us nor the listeners. One criteria was also easy pronouncability. So, after pages full of candidates and endless discussions we just found the name by skimming through a book. Some may already know that Kantor Voy is a character from Isaac Asimov’s “The End of Eternity”.

How do you compose your music? Is it a collective work or singular?

It starts singular and at some point of creation goes collective. At first I (Kaspar) usually just improvise with my guitar or keyboards, when I receive something that interests me – be it the sound, melody or chord progression – I record it. Then I start to build on that. Sometimes just adding another guitar part, sometimes doing the complete arrangement for guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. When I have a half-decent recording or notation of a piece, then I hand it over to the other guys, who add their own part. Usually composing takes place at home in solitude, but occasionally some good ideas also arise from jamming in the rehearsals.

What can you tell us about “Headswitch”? What do you express through the songs?

“Headswitch” is the turning point of our music. It’s also the first release we made that could be called an album. On “Headswitch” so many things changed, that we were somewhat overwhelmed – singer adapted to new melodic singing style, the music also became more melodic and complex. Somehow we still managed to get it finished, although it took a very long time.

As the song come from the wide time span, they express all the twist and turns we went through as individuals and also as a band. I believe all good music starts from deep emotions, so do our songs. Some more directly some more abstractly expressing our feelings at a time.

Could you give us a brief impression of each one of the songs of the disk?

“Somnambulent”: this is the oldest song of the album, it somewhat is related to the previous era of “Poison Art”, thus completing it and forming a bridge to the newer material. As a musical piece it’s quite straight forward, apart from the ending passage.

“Canvas Girl”: here our are prog-ambissions are taking form in the intricate rhythms at verses and the ending.

“Past the Doorstep”: this is one of our favourites. Behind this song there was an idea of using only one main motif, around what all other takes form. You can hear the main theme slowly fading in right from the beginning. At the second part of the song, the theme gets an unexpected twist by using three against four feel.

“Beyond”: or “Avatud” (Open) as the working name was, has a main idea of using open strings on the guitar. The idea somewhat gets diluted as it progresses. Over all, it’s probably the most powerful song on the album.

“Modulor”: the only instrumental on this album. The idea started from a interesting rhythm pattern, which is then used throughout the piece with many variations.

“Vanity”: it’s a try at something with a more catchy rhythm and melody. A sort-of-funky-rock-song-with-a-twist.

“One Certain Box”: the masterpiece of our album (ha-haa). Again, composed around of one theme, which you can hear as the second guitar enters for the first time. The composing procedure was also a little different, than with the others – I held myself back recording it, to complete the main structure in my head and on paper, before starting to move blocks back and forth in the computer.

The song is divided in four parts. The first one being the introduction, the second part is a regular song in itself, the third is a jungle, atmospheric meditation part and finally the fourth brings it all back together by reintroducing the main theme in its original form, thus completing the album with its glorious reintroduction.

How important are lyrics in your music?

We have always been a music first band. This is not because we don’t value the lyrical impact of our songs, but because of the composing process. In fact you will find that the lyrics Draconic has written can be quite intriguing.

Are you satisfied with the final result in the album?

As they say, the moment you are satisfied, you are dead. Many things could be done better now, but not at the time. We gave absolutely our best at the moment we did the album. But as it goes, we’re in constant development and progress and every consecutive thing we do will be in some way better than the preceding.

I would like to know which the current musical panorama is in Estonia. How the public receives this music type?

As it is always with music genres that are more experimental, they tend to have a group of listeners that are in the minority, yet a very concentrated and knowledgeable minority.

So it’s no picnic in the Estonia either. Playing metal or progressive rock can only be a calling, not a full time job.

Is it difficult to maintain a band like Kantor Voy in Estonia, and to be projected to the rest of the world?

Yes and no. It’s difficult in a sense, that you have to constantly make yourself visible and heard with no outside help.
But on the other hand it’s very easy, as long as you have the motivation to do music.

Have you carried out live presentations outside of your country?

We have had gigs in the neighboring countries at the time when we were still Carnifex and the style of our music was different. For the time being the connections are yet to be re-established.

With Kantor Voy we’ve only been performing in Estonia, but would very much like to spread our music all over the world.

Do you already have enough music composed for a next album?

No, not quite yet. We’re still working on it as you read this.

What can you tell me of the material that will come?

For now all we can say is, that the experimentation will be one major ingredient, as always.

Lastly. Which activities are planned for next months?

Composing, practicing, composing and so forth, every single free moment we get. This is also an adaptation period for us, regarding that we have a new singer in our band – Simmo Kikkas.

Thank you friends. Do you have a message for the readers of Nucleus?

Hope to see you guys and girls there some day. We’re already very honored to be able to communicate to you through these pages and our songs.

Music truly is an universal language, we can all speak and understand, despite our cultural and geographical differences.

Author: Sergio Vilar

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