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Donny Travieso (Deus X Machina) Award winner

Interview with Donny Travieso from Deus X Machina
by YngwieViking at 25 March 2015, 2:39 PM

South America is a veritable melting pot for all things metal, including the brilliant Power Metal band, DEUS X MACHINA. Their most recent album, "X", is inspired by traditional, European Power Metal in the vein of HELLOWEEN and SONATA ARCTICA and is topped off with that characteristic flair and personality that can only be found in the likes of Latin Metal bands. YngwieViking had a lengthy talk with Donny about the new album, the band's background, the Latin scene and the new label.

Hi, Donny  i’m glad to discuss with you about the unexpected artistic success of your First album simply titled “X”… While keeping the tradition of European Power Metal made in South America, this album also reveals a new edge of creativity with some darkest ambiances and a few intriguing ambiances.. Congratulations, It was for me a real listening pleasure… What will be your words to describe it?

Hi! I’m really glad you liked the album. I would describe it as an European sounding mix of all the metal bands we draw influence from (mainly Sonata Arctica, Helloween, Rhapsody, Symphony X), though still infused with our fresh, energetic personality. It has a little bit of everything, a true journey really, and while I think it’s hard to listen to any song in the album without it reminding you of another familiar tune or style, our approach and creativity towards building this progressive tinged Power Metal makes the experience undeniably unique.

Can you first tell us about you, your background as a musician… Your past or actual involvement in other band? I want to know everything… Go!

Ok, here’s a quick bio. My interest in music began when I was very little. My mother had studied piano in her youth and so she felt it was something important to pass on. She taught us (me and my brothers) the basics on how to read sheet music and to play a few pieces on a small keyboard. That’s how it all began.

During the last years of elementary school I had a great music teacher that introduced me to a wide range of classical music, and who also noticed my enjoyment while playing the piano (as opposed to when I tried, and sucked, at the guitar). She pushed and challenged me enough to make me realize I had potential and that was very important in hindsight. However, it wasn’t until a few years later, when I listened to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (my all-time favorite), that I truly fell in love with the instrument. I immediately went after my mother’s old sheet music as well as others I found online and just started playing more and more (in that same small keyboard), teaching myself along the way. It was always a hobby for me though. I did it just for fun, whenever I felt like it.

Then high school came and went, Power Metal blew my mind, and the world of synthesizers caught my attention. I went ahead and bought myself one (goodbye small keyboard), and practiced on my own until I joined my first band called “Ipso-Factor” shortly after. It was a very technical Progressive Metal band, heavy influenced by Dream Theater. After we agreed to cover some of their songs (and especially after seeing this guy Jordan Rudess in action), I took on piano lessons to improve my technical skills, making this the only period of time I wasn’t self-taught. Unfortunately my life was crazy back then, I wanted to seize every opportunity that came my way and ended up biting more than I could chew. I had to leave the band and give up the piano lessons after eight months or so because I just didn’t have the time. A shame really, since both helped my technique immensely.

A few years later I get a call from a friend of mine, saying he was in a band and that they were looking for a keyboard player to complete the lineup and… oh yeah, they were supporting Sonata Arctica in two months’ time!!! I was pressed for time but I realized it meant fulfilling a dream I hadn’t even dreamt of yet… I had to try. So I auditioned and got in, learned all the songs and got to support my favorite Power Metal band at our second gig! This happened two years ago, the band I’m talking about is my current (and only one at the moment), and the friend who called is Matts, the guitarist.

Now tell us what is hiding behind the Deus X Machina moniker? A real devotion, a rebellious attitude or maybe something else?

It has to do with how the band came together. The term "Deus ex machina" revolves around a seemingly unsolvable problem that is suddenly resolved by the unexpected intervention of some new event. At the time, the members were scattered across two different bands, which were struggling as none of them could truly consolidate their lineup or make significant progress. Then all of a sudden, practically overnight, both bands decided to split up, leaving everyone free to undertake a new project. As if it was meant to be, the members found each other, a new project was proposed, and it all just came together perfectly to bring Deus X Machina into existence.

The band first album was ranked among the best south American release by an influent webzine from Latin America, reaching the rank N°20… Is that a milestone in your mind?

It was, absolutely. Being the band’s first album, having been recognized and ranked so high among such amazing bands is not only an honor, but a hell of a good start for us as well!

Can you tell the inside story concerning your signing with the high profile German label PowerProg Records?

It was December 12th and we were getting ready for our 2014 closing gig the following day, which was also the official album presentation show, so it was a big deal and we were very excited. Then out of the blue, a message arrived at our Facebook page. It was from the CEO of the label, asking us very nicely if we were interested in releasing the album via Power Prog on all digital platforms. Just like that… it hit us like a bucket of cold water. I won’t ever forget what an awesome feeling it was to be playing that gig just one day after the big news, knowing that we were about to sign with Power Prog. It was a much desired milestone and just icing on the cake really. We got to say goodbye to a great year in grand style.

As a band from Argentina, with a plethora of band out there, what do you think is the Metal scene in your country?

Talented. Playing gigs I had the opportunity to discover many local bands I didn’t know before from different Metal genres and was pleasantly surprised more than once. The overall quality is increasing exponentially and I think many of them deserve international recognition. Unfortunately, it remains a small scene when you look at the big picture… something I hope changes in years to come.

I think that the vocals performance of Sebastian Ferraro is by far the strongest asset of the “X” album, what is your view about this statement?

I agree. I honestly believe we all put our hearts and souls into the album, and did so selflessly to ensure each of us had our moment to shine, overall maintaining a solid and balanced ensemble. However, I do think Sebastian stands out in delivering that extra edge that makes the band take off. When he unleashes those power screams I just want to clench my fist and wreak havoc haha.

In my review for the superb & release titled “Come To Wither”, I wrote that the album unleashes some “90’s  Power Metal mood with a respectful method in the HM orthodoxy and a fresh approach concerning the keyboard implication…” What are your feelings about this quote?

I think it’s very accurate, actually. The 90’s and early 2000’s Power Metal are among our strongest influences and that inevitably reflects on the album, I suppose. Regarding the keyboard approach, I always tried staying original and innovative whenever I could so I guess it’s fair to say it’s fresh.

Do you think that the complexity of some song structures or the Progressive parts in your music can be a block for some listeners, do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just get the inspiration flows?

Inspiration is a powerful thing and when it flows, we always go along with it. Obviously raw ideas need to be refined to fit our style, but once they “feel right” to us, chances are we’ll end up using them. The progressive elements can certainly be a block or even alienate some listeners, yet attract others at the same time. I think sticking to our style is the reason we have listeners in the first place.

As a musician, especially as Pianist, can you tell me about your influences?

The classical pianists (mostly Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Chopin) have always inspired me greatly and were the reason I started playing the piano. Once Metal music entered my life though, I grew very fond of synthesizers and so it was keyboardists such as Jordan Rudess, Mikko Härkin, Jens Johansson, Alex Staropoli, Michael Pinnella or Tuomas Holopainen that influenced both the way I play and compose.


Please, tell us what leads you to cover the famous Survivor tune “Eye of the Tiger”?

It was Rocky, of course. We love the “Rocky” movies and the soundtrack we love even more. They are all great, powerful, motivational songs. Anyway, when I joined the band the cover had already been composed; it was a fun fresh speedy version so we thought it would be cool to include it in the album as a tribute and this way pay homage to both the song and the movies.

What do you feel about of the state of the market in 2015 ! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illegal?

The arrival of the internet brought about such a spectacular revolution that record labels and music distribution companies were caught completely off guard. They suddenly found themselves in unknown territory, witnessed how sales dropped as people shared music for free, and really couldn’t do much against illegal downloads but fight it. I don’t think society was just being mean, only taking advantage of an unprecedented situation that allowed everyone access to everything… it was inevitable. I guess the last decade was the worst in terms of piracy and such, and it wasn’t until only a few years ago that things started to change, once companies themselves realized new ways of delivering music to the public needed to be invented (Spotify, iTunes, etc).

That being said, it feels as if the market is finally stabilizing nowadays, with people going back to buying music more and more to support their favorite artists. As a musician, I hope this is the case because it’s very gratifying to get something back for your efforts.

Tell us what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

Improvement! I’m very excited about the time we’re going through as a band and all I want is to keep the momentum going, improve upon it and enjoy the ride. I want to play more gigs, write new material, get better equipment and hopefully go on tour!


What is the last CD you have purchased?

Sonata Arctica “Live in Finland”.

Please let us know your Underground South American Metal TOP 5 album?

1. Ariadna Project “Parallel Worlds”
2. Helker “Somewhere in the Circle”
3. Lorihen “Paradigma”
4. Watchmen “Watchmen”
5. Triddana “Ripe for Rebellion”

Please let us know your Alltime TOP 10 album?

Changes constantly but today this is it:

1. Sonata Arctica “Silence”
2. Dream Theater “Scenes From a Memory”
3. Guns N' Roses “Use Your Illusion II”
4. Sonata Arctica “Ecliptica”
5. Rhapsody “Symphony of Enchanted Lands”
6. Dream Theater “Images and Words”
7. Symphony X “V”
8. Angra “Temple of Shadows”
9. Pink Floyd “The Wall”
10. Metallica “The Black Album”

Now it's time for the Chinese portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot , which is inspired by Marcel Proust but This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of  the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio."

What is your favorite word?

Cyanide.

What is your least favorite word?

Don’t really have one.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

Something new. Evolution.

What turns you off?

Routine.

What’s your favorite curse word?

Fucktard.

What’s sound or noise do you love?

Large choirs. Gives me the chills every time.

What’s sound or noise do you hate?

My alarm clock.

If not Yourself, who would you like to be?

Spiderman!

What’s the profession would you not like to do?

Play bass (haha just teasing our bass player, Vico).

Who would like to see on a new bank note?

Arnold Schwarzenegger. He earned it and everybody knows it.

If you reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be?

Does Tyrannosaurus Rex count?

If God exists, what you like to hear him say at the gates of Heaven?

“Yep, you guessed it… free ice-cream for eternity!!”

I wish you the best of luck with the release of your album in Europe thru PowerProg Records and on your upcoming musical path. Anything else that you want to share with the Metal-Temple’s readers out there?

Come take a look at our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DXMetal), follow us and spread the word if you like what you hear, and stay tuned because it’s going to be a busy year for us, lots of projects coming up. Thanks for reading and long live Metal!! \\m/



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Edited 04 December 2020
 

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