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Eduardo Gil & Winston Jarquin - Sifting

Interview with Eduardo Gil & Winston Jarquin from Sifting
by Jessica Harman at 12 November 2017, 2:47 AM

SIFTING are a progressive rock metal band based in Los Angeles, CA who are strongly influenced by modern active rock. Their new album Not From Here was recorded and produced by award-winning producer Ryan Williams (Velvet Revolver, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine). Not From Here was released worldwide on September 29, 2017 via Eclipse Records. Metal Temple writer Jessica Harman talked with Eduardo Gil and Winston Jarquin to talk about the band and new album.

You moved to the US from Venezuela in 2014. Prior to moving, you toured and supported BFMV and Zapato 3 (a very popular band in Venezuela). How does touring in the US differ from touring in Latin America? Is there anything surprising you’ve found between the two?

Both have their own beautiful charm for sure! Touring in the US has been an incredible experience due to the fact that most venues we have played had been awesome in almost every way. The public is super receptive and is one of the most loyal all, also landscapes around the US are incredibly beautiful but the distance between cities are spine-killers! Hahaha On the other hand, Venezuela is very small compared to the US, more or less the size of Texas, so the distances are not super long. However, since the road condition is pretty bad sometimes, it’s not safe to drive above 60 or 65 mph. People in Venezuela, and Latin America basically gets very crazy in shows hehe. We don’t usually have seated concerts in rock concerts like in the US. Something that really amazed me when I moved to the US, was that there were seats in shows like VAN HALEN and DREAM THEATER. A show like that in Venezuela would never have seats because people just get crazy all the time jumping around.

In 2013, your single “All The Hated” was chosen for the video game ‘Rock Band’. How did you guys react? That’s a monumental game, so did it have any effects on your notoriety?

I remember playing Mario Kart with my bandmates at my place when we got the email saying that our song had been selected for Rock Band! Haha! That was quite a day! We screamed like our song was playing on the radio! And for sure it had a huge effect on our popularity. Kids started posting our song “Rock Band-playthrough” everywhere on YouTube (many of them are still there, you can check it out). As soon as the song was released in the game we started getting a crazy amount of followers and sells on our single “All The Hated”. And that was one of the main reasons we decided to move the band to the United States, because we knew our music could have a future here.

You released your first record with Eclipse Records in September of 2017. Which members of the band are involved in the songwriting?  Do you write together as a group, or does each member bring their own material and then blend it together?

For “Not From Here”, which is our second studio album, I did most of the writing. I co-wrote “Nothing But Us” with two former bandmates, Chris Eklund and Brady Tait. And Chris also co-wrote with me the middle solo section of the song “Alone”. We started working on new material for our next album a couple months ago and we’ve been bringing each one’s material to blend it together. And I have to say it’s been a great experience! The uniqueness that results when we put our ideas together is mind-blowing due to the fact that we come from very different musical backgrounds. I must admit I was really scared in the beginning because the first two album were made by me almost in their entirety, so I’m used to be my own judge and critic. But I’m really digging the experience and the bad-ass turn that our music is doing right now. I think next album will be way cooler.

“Not From Here” is deemed a Progressive Metal album, but there is so much more to it than that. Can you elaborate on your sound in this album? What are your thoughts on genre purity? Is there a place for it, or is pushing musical boundaries meant to have a diverse sound?

Well I like to compare it to cooking. You've got all these ingredients from all these different countries, cooking techniques both traditional and more contemporary so who is to say you can’t have a fusion of your favorite Italian dish with the freshness of your favorite Sashimi and spices from India. Works the same with music. There’s countless genres we can combine and make our own sound but there is something we all have in common, and it’s metal, so we make something out of all the stuff we listen and to our knowledge make it fit. It comes easy as well because we aren’t worrying about how to mix this and that to make something else. We just write with the intention of us liking and it sounding good, and if there is something to improve along the way we go ahead and tweak as necessary. Perhaps this album "Not From Here" is your perfect representation. Varying from your typical 80's ballads, to more modern catchy melodies, riffs to your over the top progressive shredding madness. Take our song "Epsilon" for a fact and you've got five genres or seasons in one song, but it's structured to be a song and not sound like we are jumping the gun from sound to sound. You got to blend them all. As far as genre purity we try to stay true to the elements of whatever we are writing. Take "Not From Here" and around the end it turns into your epic thrasher open pits and head banger song but you can still add the elements of surprise with cool little recurring melodies or tasty riffs.

Since “Not From Here” was released in September 2017, are there any plans for an album promotion tour? If so, where are you most excited to play? If not, where would be some places you all dream of playing?

Of course! We are currently working hand in hand with our management company and got some amazing offers. We have a show with Tarja on November 18th in Ecuador as well as other shows in late December early January of 2018. We are excited to play in Ecuador as it is. Breaks the change of playing venues and shows in US and California, plus you get to play to a totally different crowd that’s used to other things. I want to say we all want to play everywhere. We all love touring as exhausting as it can get but it's fun meeting new people, seeing new places even if we have been there before.

How has your music evolved from “All The Hated” to “Not From Here”? Did the lineup change play a role in any changes that came about from the two releases?

"Not From Here" is a more elaborated and personal album. From the content of the lyrics to sound and melodies. Both have the same conceptual roots in terms of writing style. It has complex guitar arrangements with epic melodies harmonized between accents, huge bass and drums and energy in each word. It definitely sounds more mature in all aspects, especially in composition, than "All The Hated." But changing the lineup totally affects the way I compose the songs. When I write a solo or even a drum groove I always imagine every member playing his part, and I use their strength as a performer to define certain parts of the song and to explode their limits.

Where do you see yourselves in three years? In five years and how do you see your music progressing?

Time flies haha. In 3 years from now things will be totally different than right now for sure. We are hoping to have our 3rd album released and perhaps have our 4th album fully mixed and mastered ready to start the planning on distribution. 5 years from now moving onto our 5 and 6th album already hopefully reached Europe, south America and Central America perhaps even Asian countries! The only limit is the one we build ourselves.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music; individual and/or in group? What rejuvenates your creativity?

Most of us do. As a group, all of us work out in our free time. Sort of keep that movement going, stay healthy and in good shape. Our Bassist Winston is a total weeabo. He loves Cosplay gatherings and conventions such as Anime Expo or ALA he is into a lot of Japanese culture and goes to EDM concerts, collects Anime figurines as well. Our Drummer Abelardo is also a full-time musician so he plays everywhere in LA. He also does a lot of extreme sports and martial arts. Our singer and guitarist Eduardo likes to play Nintendo, his favorite games are all the Legend of Zelda franchise. Also rides motorcycle. Richard our lead guitarist tends to constantly work out and he plays Final Fantasy VII and Zelda as well on his spare time.

Which bands are inspiring to you all personally and to the band as a whole? Are there any current bands that you all find fascinating and/or inspiring?

DREAM THEATER is definitively one that all of us have that in common. Eduardo loves Marty Friedman, KITARO, RATA BLANCA and GREEN DAY. He has also been getting a lot into GHOST and PIERCE THE VEIL. Winston listens to a lot of modern progressive metal like PERIPHERY, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, THE CONTORTIONIST, VEIL OF MAYA, MESHUGGAH. Some bands that he has been getting into as of the past years though are SCANDAL from Japan, KNOWER, BABYMETAL, PALEDUSK, LUCRECIA, SEA IN THE SKY and COVET and Yvette Young. Richard is hugely inspired by Steve Vai playing, and DREAM THEATER whole orchestration. He utterly loves Old METALLICA stuff too! Abelardo is inspired by TOOL a lot. Modern bands he listens and he is inspired are PORCUPINE TREE, MESHUGGAH, and FOO FIGHTERS.

What are your thoughts on the internet in the music business? Is it a good thing, a bad thing, or do you see it as mixture of the two?

The internet is a great tool. Like anything it can be used for good, but abused it can also be detrimental to society. When it comes to streaming and getting your music out there the internet has made it amazingly easy but being that the case, now you've got thousands if not more bands doing the exact same thing as everybody else saturating the market. It becomes harder and difficult to stumble across a "Hidden Jewel". As an artist or band, it also becomes difficult to target a specific demographic with the market being so saturated. You must come up with ways to create content that can attract people, call their attention and want to click or listen to your stuff without sacrificing your integrity as an artist. There’s a think small line and for everybody is different to where you’re stepping out.

How do you see the Metal genre progressing in the future?

Metal is fascinating. It's been the only genre ever since its origins to grow so much fusing many if not ALL aspects of music. You don’t get that in other genres, not in the bigger scale. Metal shares a great connection with its fans, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was ever a band that every time they play borrows people from the crowd every single show implementing their style and play-ability as they go. Or metal becoming what it once was in the 80’s, not that it isn’t great right now, but a more mainstream fanbase been involved as much as it was back in the day.

What is the funniest story you can tell us that has happened to the band?

Back when the band was in Venezuela lot’s of interesting things happened. Among them one of the old members ended up with someone's genital parts on their forehead. That’s gotta be the funniest story to day, but we got to top that haha.

Who’s the prankster in the band and what stuff has he pulled off?

Eduardo represents danger. He is definitively the one with the prank mastermind. We all pull stunts and jokes on each other but Eduardo always takes them a step further grabbing us unprepared. I can’t point out that might not put us on the spot but let’s say he is definitively one to beware!


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Edited 04 February 2023

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