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Life Lessons: CYBORG OCTOPUS | fighting off the doubt

San Francisco prog metal outfit CYBORG OCTOPUS will release their sophomore album, Between The Light And Air on August 26th via Silent Pendulum Records and we are so intrigued that we grabbed the opportunity to sit down with the band and find out what’s going on in their world.

Welcome to Metal Digest. The Normless Music Magazine.

Between the Light and Air” has pushed the limits of CYBORG OCTOPUS as a band and as individuals. In what ways do you feel you were pushed to new limits?

Honestly, we had to completely reorganize in order to keep the band going. We tightened up our management, reassigned roles, and overhauled our entire creative process for the new album. All these adjustments came with a ton of challenges, but this is an important project to us, and we were determined to keep it going.

Creating this album felt like a sink or swim moment for us, and I’m glad to say we can tread water!

In celebration of the new album, you released the first single “Seizure Of Character”. Why did you choose this particular piece of work to feature first?

The first iteration of “Seizure Of Character” was written years ago, even before “Learning to Breathe”. The lyrical inspiration for that song also came from an experience a decade ago. It just made sense to release the oldest song first, and I feel it sounds the most similar to the LTB material.

I think it serves as a solid bridge between the last album and the new one. 

You’ve parted ways with the previous guitar player and main songwriter. How did you manage to release a new album that still sounds like you but in a very different way?

That was another interesting challenge! David parted ways with us on very good terms and left any unfinished music he had written to the band. So there actually is a decent amount of David’s writing on the new album. However, we had also begun to collaborate much more during the writing process of LTB. I think the increased collaboration is a big reason why the transition seems natural and organic, but still sounds unique from our last album.

Was the writing process different from your first album? 

Completely! Since writing duties were spread out among multiple members, there was much more collaboration and creative freedom than the last album. For the most part, Bobby and I worked on the instrumentals, while Ian and I worked on lyrics and vocals. We basically gave each song a creative lead, and then collaborated with each other as needed. Differences in vision were decided democratically, and performance for the record was much more open to player’s interpretation. 

“BTLAA” is about maturing, deciding for yourself, and fighting off the doubt and fear that we all deal with to some degree. What prompted this self-reflection and growth? Could you describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Oh man, what an awesome question! So many of the songs on this album are about personal setbacks or plans not going the way you hope and expect. Some of these experiences inspired growth, while others required growth to overcome. As we were writing the album, we noticed that these elements of self-reflection and growth kept popping up thematically, and that synchronized perfectly with the evolving status of the band itself. We’ve grown both as people and as a band since the last album, and I’d say all those collective experiences are what inspired the new album.

The single “Seizure of Character” is an excellent example. The song is about a traumatic head injury I experienced during college, as well as the emotional/mental turmoil that came with it.

I kind of had to rediscover who I was and what I wanted, and writing about it helped me explore a lot of those emotions I didn’t have time to reflect on. All I knew is that I changed after it happened, and I had to decide who that was going to be. 


Daniel Bogni was responsible for creating the artwork for the album. How do you want people to feel when they look at this picture?

Through all these periods of growth, choice always played a pivotal role. Whether it’s our choices to move on or walk away, or the choices others make that put us in tumultuous situations; the power and gravity of choices can be massive. When people look at the album cover of BTLAA, I want them to feel a sense of awe for their own power.

The choices you make have a huge impact on the life you live and the people around you. It’s important to acknowledge the potential for both help and harm that we all have.


What’s your strongest memory with the band?

Jeez, there are so many… But if I had to pick one, it would be at the Stratosphere in Vegas 2017. We were on one of our first “professional” tours (meaning we actually made money) and had a day off in Las Vegas. So we got a room and spent the day sipping on drinks out of coconuts in the rooftop pool! Best part was we were actually able to pay for it with what we made on tour, and not out of pocket. It was the first time I thought,

“Wow, we might actually be able to do this touring thing.”

What is the biggest challenge of being a professional musician?

Easily time management. Being a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who works full-time means time is extremely limited and valuable. I have to divide my time between personal needs, obligations to friends and family, responsibilities of a career, and the music/business demands of the band.

It’s all a delicate balancing act, and we’re all trying to get better at it!

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an artist?

As a band, we’re really trying to get out on the road again. We had some good luck on tour before, and the response to our live show was surprisingly positive. We also somehow made a lot more fans over the pandemic, and our goal now is to try to get in front of as many of those people as possible.

Personally, I’m working to improve my songwriting process. I’m very proud of what I wrote on BTLAA, but this was my first time taking the writing reins in a while. It took a minute to get used to, and my process still isn’t quite as smooth as I’d like. 

Until we meet again,

Chelf

 Get your copy of Between The Light And Air and  Learning To Breathe here: http://www.silentpendulumrecords.com/

CYBORG OCTOPUS is:
Ian Forsythe | Vocals
Bobby Carroll | Guitar
Patrick Corona | Keys, Saxophone, Vocals
George Lallian | Bass
Josh Mathis | Drums

Come on in!

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