Flores, Daniel (Mind's Eye) (March 2002)

A Look Into The Mind's Eye With Daniel Flores

A Work Of Art (2002) A widespread belief in the music business is that the third album of a band is usually the most important, the one that could propel you amongst the elite or leave you stuck forever in the pack. So, with this feeling perfectly clear, Mind's Eye tried to convey the best they could do on their third opus. Now the jury is out, but I guess that the ensemble believes in itself, or they would not have called the album A Work Of Art. So let Daniel Flores, drummer and keyboard man of Mind's Eye, explain some things...

II: So hi Daniel ... can we begin talking about the Internet? I think that the website of Mind's Eye is very well-done, so maybe you are paying a lot of attention (as a band) to this new media?

Screen shot of the Mind's Eye websiteDaniel Flores: Hi Igor! Yes, the Internet is a fantastic way to discover new music, but like most things, there are two sides of the story. The dark side of it is that there is a lot of illegal copying out there going on. The bright side of it is that people now have wider choices and they can listen anything they want to. That's great, but it takes responsibility, too. I download music, but just to be sure that the record is worth buying. It's no fun buying a sealed record finding out that the one song you heard on the radio is the only song that you like. I've been fooled too many times! Mind's Eye is bigger on the Internet than in real life. We get over 15,000 hits a month. That can be frustrating though, because the amount of record sales just don't look the same. The website is our window to the rest of the world, and if I ever meet somebody who is interested in what we do, I can always tell him to check out our website for more info. It sort of speaks for us, sort of like a great manager. You can download music, photos, biographies and lots of other stuff from our website. We feel it's important to give people a full picture of what we do as Mind's Eye. Studio reports and current news are essential for our listeners and we want to keep them updated of every thing that we do, past, present and future. I just don't know what we would do without our website. It's our home in the digital world.

II: Can you tell me exactly your relationship with Rising Sun? I mean, you release the albums under Round Records, and then you are distributed by Rising Sun?

DF: It's like this. We own a studio in which we hire equipment to record our albums. Then we shop out the master to labels, the first one to contact us is the one we start working with. Rising Sun was the first label to contact us with A Work Of Art, so they deserve a fair chance. They sent us a deal and after a few months of negotiations we signed a contract for 2 records. So there is still one album left to do for us with Rising Sun. We see Rising Sun as our label because they take care of almost the same things as a label does, there is not much difference really. The un-mastered master is owned by us. So there is no pre-label or anything like that this time. Rising Sun sells the master to other territories with our blessing, of course. So now we are waiting for answers from U.S.A. and Asia. We'll see what happens there in a short while.

II: I've also read that Rising Sun will re-issue Waiting For The Tide , your second CD. [Reissued this month - ed.] So you were hurt by the lack of distribution of this album or what?

Waiting For The TideDF: Yeah! We felt that we wanted to give Waiting For The Tide a real chance. MNW music and Record Heaven did a great job, but that was not enough for us. I still feel that the record would have done better if all the partners involved had taken their jobs seriously. We tried to sell our own stuff but it was almost impossible to get people involved, it seems; at least with our experiences in the business. We want to do music, that is what we do best. The rest we leave up to the record label, selling records is their job. Round Records was a temporary solution created by Håkan Kanberg, but now he is out of the picture. So Round Records is no more. Rising Sun is by far the best record label we've ever worked with. They respect us and they had a lot of experiences in the business.

II: Speaking about the new album, can you tell me something more about the cover artwork? However I think you had great covers for Waiting For The Tide and Into The Unknown , too

DF: Thanks, but I guess Mattias [Norén] is the one who deserves all the fine credits for the artwork. I thought he handled the new booklet extremely well. I'm proud of being able to work with him. He's been getting a lot of jobs lately, and maybe he is getting too used in my opinion. It's hard work to do what Mattias is creating. He gives our music a face we really can connect with. The colours we use are almost the same as he uses with his brush. The new booklet is his best in my opinion. Thank you Mattias, you are the best!

II: Can you describe the overall sound of A Work Of Art to the audience?

DF: We wanted the record to sound warm. There is not an overall sound on this one, it's not like with our former records. There are a lot of different sounds in there, there is the metal stuff, the progressive elements and the acoustic elements that we never used before. Fredrik [Grünberger] and me wanted each song to sound different with arrangements and sounds. Some stuff is jazzy and other stuff sounds classical. We used a lot of vocal harmonies on this album, that was really fun! It's really hard to describe the overall sound on this one, it's so big sounding. The closest comparison I can make is Queen meets Genesis, I guess. So that would have to be my final answer.

II: There are some differences you sense between A Work Of Art and Mind's Eye past works?

DF: Yes, big differences! The new one has a lot of spirits floating around in the music. A lot of our scars are shown there. Musically it's more mellow, but not in a bad way. There is not much soloing going on in this one. The vocals are the main focal point here. Lyrics wise it's our best. A record filled with emotions you just can't resist. Everybody who has heard it thinks it's a work of art. So that's why it naturally became the name of the album. Past works have been a bit pale compared to this one, if you ask me. There is some blood showing in some places on Waiting For The Tide but mostly we sounded like machines. [Our] first album I can't stand because of the vocals, so I won't comment that one. We were young and wanted to explore music. Now we are more comfortable in what we do and that you can hear in this new one.

II: Maybe it's a bit too early, but do you think you'll do a tour after the release of the album?

DF: That depends on the sales numbers I guess. Maybe we'll do a small tour for the Swedish fans. Maybe something in Germany, too, we'll see. We'd like to go to other countries, too ... Italy would be wonderful. I've been to Venice once, and it was beautiful. We also would love to go U.S.A., they seem to arrange some great progressive rock festivals there. Things look bright right now for us and nothing is impossible. We'll keep you updated in our website: http://www.roundrec.com.

II: Daniel, you also took part in the new album of Benny Jansson. Can you tell me more about this experience (considering that a lot of other great musicians took part in the project)?

DF: It's still in progress ... only now it's in its final stages. Benny is awesome! His guitar playing is one of a kind. When I first received the call for the gig I was surprised and honoured that Benny wanted me. This stuff is by far the hardest piece of music that I have ever come across. The album contains twelve songs, each has its impossibilities about them. I'm really proud of the outcome, my playing evolved a lot during the repetitions and recordings. I'm also the sound engineer on that record so I had the pleasure of meeting all those other great musicians. Göran Edman is one of the greatest rock singers alive, that's the truth. He completely blew me away with his stuff. One thing I've noticed with him is that he still enjoys singing after all these years. The presence in his voice is almost enchanting. The rest of the musicians were really great, but Göran and me connected both musically and mentally and that does not happen everyday, you know. At least not in my world. He has done some of his best singing in Benny's album. The album title is Save The World. He's talking to some labels right now. We'll see what happens when it's out.

II: Daniel, you are producer, engineer, keyboard player and drummer ... what's the aspect you prefer in the music business and why?

DF: That's a real hard question to answer, 'cause it all depends on the person behind the job or business. A part of me wants to do impressive stuff, and the other part of me wants to express my emotions towards the song. Maybe the drummer is the one I prefer the most, because I'm just that calm guy who wants to know the whole story behind the song. I go in the studio and ask the producer or musician about the lyrics. People have told me that I'm the only drummer in the world asking for the lyrics to create a drum part. But for me it's really important to know what the song talks about, just to simply build my own story around the song. I prefer to work with people who express themselves like an artist or a painter would. This is my way to work in the studio or in any situation evolving around the creation of music. It's amazing how engineering, arranging, writing lyrics, soloing, singing and producing are connected. Nowadays I think in terms of painting; my days of thinking in music theory or in mathematical terms are over. Everything I do now is totally spontaneous. My love for music will never stop, and I will always produce and play drums. Some of my recent work is really crude. Creating music is almost like taking a shot of your face. There are scars and lines there that maybe are not the coolest thing around but they are a part of me. Some people prefer to take these scars away just like fixing a photo. I want to see the scars and hard lines in your face or else I will think you are a plastic doll or something, and I will never take you seriously. Everybody has a past, don't hide it, show it and you'll conquer everything you want. Stay true! God I'm sounding like a rap artist! Anyway, the instrument I love the most is drums. I'm a drummer in my heart.

II: Can you tell me what's your opinion on the recent prog albums released in the market? I'm talking about Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation, Vanden Plas, Wolverine? do you think there's some sort of resurgence of the genre?

DF: The new Dream Theater is cool, but not even close to their best. Bring back Kevin [I agree! II]! He was the real musician in that band. The new guy brings to much shred in that band. Some of their stuff feels like an instruction video for drummers and guitarists. Pain Of Salvation are OK. Can't get them though, not my cup of tea, to weird for me. I really like Vanden Plas, they have some really good songs. The new album sounds too much like their last one in my opinion. But yeah, these guys I like. The last band I haven't heard enough of to make a statement about. Well, as we don't consider ourselves a progressive metal band anymore, I have to say that progressive "metal' is on its way out. Most of these young bands out there use 7/4 to claim that they are a progressive metal band. But I'm sorry it's much deeper than that. Most of these bands are simply metal bands that use different time changes a lot. That's not progression ... I mean, Led Zeppelin did that ages ago. I do not consider Led Zeppelin a progressive rock band, they are simply a rock band with lots of influences. Metal bands who can't get a record deal as metal bands use progressive elements to get a record deal as progressive metal bands. Weird! Most of them won't last. Some of these bands make a really good living out of it anyway. Create music you like instead of making it for others you don't. No resurrection here, just people trying to lick dry what's left of the now empty grail Dream Theater threw away a long time ago. Cheers!

II: If you weren't involved in the music world, what's the dream job you would love to do?

DF: Mmh, good question ... humm ... let's see ... I would love to start studying archaeology! God ... if I only had the time. That's one of my dreams. My girlfriend and me are planning on going to Egypt to explore the pyramids of Giza. That's one of my dreams, too. I really think I'm one of those fortunate guys who can do music and release records without having any problem with it. I'm thankful for that. But I'm not even close to what I'm aiming at. You will hear more from me, that's a promise. I'm living one of my dreams. This is my purpose in life.

II: There's something else you would like to say before saying goodbye?

DF: Hope you like what we have created with this new album. A Work Of Art does not mean it's the best album in the world. It means that in our eyes and ears it's the perfect combination of what we like. I know many people are scared by us, and think we are one of those shred bands who use the acrobatics to conquer people into our world. It was like that, but now we've grown up and our music has, too. If you have the time and heart give this disc a chance. Also thanks to you Igor, it has been a pleasure writing back to you. See you hopefully on the road then.

II: I hope too. See ya!!!

em>Afterglow (1994) (demo)
Into The Unknown (1998)
Waiting For The Tide (2000/2002)
Record Heaven Sampler (2000) (free with Progression Magazine)
Powermad 2000 Sampler (2000)
Transcending The Mundane Sampler (2000)
Warning: Minds Of Raging Empires - A Tribute To Queensryche (2000)
'Calling (Father To Sun)' (2000)
A Work Of Art (2002)
Walk On H20 (2006)
A Gentleman's Hurricane (2007)
1994: The Afterglow (remastered ed. of first album) (2008)

Added: March 21st 2002
Interviewer: Igor Italiani

Artist website: www.danielflores.net
Hits: 1066
Language: english

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