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Jose Masia (The Third Grade)

Interview with Jose Masia from The Third Grade
by Kai Naiman at 31 March 2020, 9:06 PM

THE THIRD GRADE, A Progressive Metal band from Spain, recently released "Of Fire and Ashes Pt. 2." Metal Temple Editor Kai Naiman recently caught up with the band to discuss the current state of Covid 19, the new album, and other things…check it out here!

First, on the behalf of the entire Metal-Temple team, I’d like to thank you for holding this interview with us. I hope that you are all safe and secure, mostly because Spain, your home country, became one of the most predominant infection sites for the novel Covid-19 virus. How are you, both as civilians and as musicians, coping with the pandemic and ongoing distress?

Jose: Everyone in the band is fine. We're in quarantine and we have to get used to this new life. It's sometimes hard to work and live in home without going out, but it's a matter of time, I hope.

Let me also congratulate you on the release of your latest album, “Of Fire And Ashes Pt.2”, which saw daylight on March 20th. It is quite a vivid album, combining influences from a variety of genres, anywhere between Symphonic and Progressive Metal to Progressive Rock.  At what point during the formation of the band did you understand that you want to create music that, in a way, grabs at a multitude of style and do you think you have reached that goal?

Jose:Thank you very much. We are very proud of the work we've done.

We knew almost from the beginning that this was the way we wanted to make music. As a songwriter I understood that this was my way of understanding music and it didn't make any sense to make something different.

I think, with the years, we've get to an unique sound that difference us from other bands.

Listening through the tracks on “Of Fire And Ashes Pt.2”, I felt that the lyrics depicted a story of a great anguish and torment from the storyteller’s perspective. Since the album is the second installment of the series, I can only imagine that both albums surround that topic. Is there a reason you chose to write about this topic?

Jose: In the beginning it wasn't on purpose. But after of having a few songs written were all those feelings get so important, we realized that that was the line the album has to continue. It also unites both Eps, it's a record made from the pain.

What stood out for me the most in this album was the undeniable coherency between the band members, who are all, in my personal opinion, fantastic songwriters and musicians. How do you think the co-operation between all the band members affected your overall sound and your growth as a band?

Jose: Totally. Everyone is at the same point at this moment. This has made possible that each member contribute in the songs and make us grow. You can easily see everyone's personality in this album.

Among my favourite tracks on the album stood the milder “Polaris” and “Intertwine”. These two tracks, understandably so, were first introduced to us as singles ahead of the album’s release. What was the writing process behind these two tracks like? Have you deliberately written these two songs as singles? Did the process differ from the rest of the tracks at all, given they are on the ‘softer’ side?

Jose: Intertwine wasn't made as a single it the beginning, but since the very first time we heard it finished, we knew it has to be the main single of the album. It's melodic, powerful and beauty. We think it shows the essence of the band in this moment.

"Polaris" was different. Is more a classic prog rock song, softer than "Intertwine". We decided that "polaris" was going to be released as a single when we listen to the whole album finished. We think it could work well in almost every kind of audience.

Over the last few years, there has been a surge in musicians and bands coming from areas in the world that once were not particularly known with Metal music, places such as Spain and Portugal. What is your stand on the recent surplus of artists dedicating themselves to Metal and heavier music in general? Do you think the ‘trend’ will continue in your country? If so, how do you see the scene changing in the upcoming future?

Jose: In Spain, we've always had thousands of hard rock and heavy metal bands. But the main difference is that we usually sing in spanish and this is a problem in Europe. In south America our bands are really big. Nowadays more bands are starting to sing in English and this allow us to get into the european market. We hope our bands can get there soon.

With the release of your sophomore opus, “Of Fire And Ashes Pt.2”, one can only expect a third chapter to the saga. Is this something you plan for your future? Speaking of the future, how will it turn out for The Third Grade? Do you expect a record deal with a larger label? Maybe even a longer European tour?

Jose: we are in a really good moment for the band.We hope the album gets the recognition we thought it deserves, and new doors open for us. We are looking forward for our European tour.

“A Cold Awakening” is perhaps the most ‘unique’ sounding track in the collection, given it’s a wild assorting of fronts – electronic, acoustic, electric and symphonic. It’s quite an advent entry, that does bring an end to this chapter well. In what manner did this track differ than the rest, and since the track ends with a sudden break, can we assume that with its end, a new track will surface?

Jose:"A cold awakening" is a three part song. With a complex story. The lyrics are about the feelings of a man that awakens after a long disease in a future when society is very different…We don't think it will be another song continuing this one because our main character ends badly…hehehe

With this interview approaching its end, I would like to thank you once again for your time. From all of us, both the Metal-Temple team, and our devoted readers, we wish you, The Third Grade band members and your families, the Spanish people and everyone around the globe safety and health. I’m hopeful to see you guys on the road soon! Take care.

Thank you very much! best wishes from Spain!


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Edited 30 September 2022

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