The Surrealist
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The Surrealist

Boston, MA | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF | AFTRA

Boston, MA | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Metal Progressive

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"The Surrealist Premiere "Echo End" Music Video"

Explore an exclusive new track from this Boston-based experimental prog-metal band.

Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of the blissful yet action-packed "Echo End," a new song and music video by Boston-based experimental prog-metal band the Surrealist.

The band—Berklee-trained guitarist Roopam Garg and drummer John-Marc Degaard—are masters of weaving together songs that are simple yet complex, melodic yet highly technical. The track is available now via iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify.

We premiered the Surrealist's previous music video, "Lux," back in May.

For more about the Surrealist, check out thesurrealist.org and follow along on Facebook. - Guitar World


"The Surrealist Premiere "Lux" Music Video"

Experimental prog-metal band the Surrealist just released "Lux," a new single (and music video). It's available now on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify.

The band—guitarist Roopam Garg, bassist Beauman Edwards and drummer John-Marc Degaard—know how to put a tune together, and Garg handily fleshes it out with sweeping, whirling guitar lines that cascade over blankets of plush, droning soundscapes and intricate modulating polyrhythms.

We premiered the Surrealist's previous music video, "Origami," back in February.

For more about these guys, check out thesurrealist.org and follow along on Facebook. - Guitar World


"The Surrealist Premiere "Origami" Music Video"

On the lookout for deft new talent in guitar land?

Check out GuitarWorld.com's premiere of "Origami," a new single (and music video) by the Surrealist, a three-piece experimental prog-metal band from Boston. You can check it out below.

The track was released today, February 17, and is available for download at thesurrealist.org.

The band—guitarist Roopam Garg, bassist Beauman Edwards and drummer John-Marc Degaard—know how to put a tune together, and Garg handily fleshes it out with sweeping, whirling guitar lines that cascade over blankets of plush, droning soundscapes and intricate modulating polyrhythms.

For more about these guys, check out thesurrealist.org and follow along on Facebook. - Guitar World


"THE SURREALIST'S Music Video For New "Origami" Single Is Blissful & Trippy"

Previously reviewing their debut EP, Naked Awareness, we're proud to premiere the latest single and music video for progressive instrumental group The Surrealist. The track, "Origami," is the first track out of a series of singles the band plans on releasing this year. “The intricate art of origami perfectly reflects the nature of this release – the complexity, the playfulness, the delicateness," states guitarist Roopam Garg as he continues, “the cascading, rising and falling elements gives one the impression of crafting a beautiful piece of origami.” Drummer John-Marc Degaard and recently joined bassist Beauman Edwards are also featured on the song. You can click here to download the track. The music video was created by David Drayton. - Metal Injection


"EP Review: THE SURREALIST Naked Awareness"

Progressive. A term to embody art with the sole purpose of being different. With such a broad definition, the possibilities are endless, right? In the past five years, the musical output is slowly suggesting the opposite. Now don't get me wrong, there's been plenty of quality releases and heaps of talented artists emerging. But in contrast, the genre has encountered an equal amount of pigeonholing behavior. The djent subgenre has turned into a down-tuned Meshuggah thall orgy and progressive death metal has struggled to break any musical barriers as well.

When I stumbled upon a single by The Surrealist, there was a moment of relief. The music wasn't blatantly showy or generic. And while there certainly was an Animals as Leaders influence within the composition, as a whole it wasn't anywhere near rip-off territory. This Boston-based duo comprised of guitarist Roopam Garg and drummer John-Marc Degaard have just released their debut EP, Naked Awareness, and it's pretty worthy of a listen.

I've come to expect the first track of a release to be the most heavy or mainstream-appealing, however "Become Whales" is neither. The less than two minutes piece is a tease of what to expect for the following few songs on the EP with soothing soundscapes setting the mood for rapid guitar sweeps. On "Canvas Sky" the tempo picks up in a more fluid state. There are a few metallic chords strummed by the end of the song, but for the most part the composition embodies a progressive-jazz rock vibe. Both "Flowering of Consciousness" and "Waves of Naked Awareness" also possess the fusion of jazz, metal, and ambient, yet suffer from repetition. I don't think these songs are at their full potential, but I still find them interesting and attention-catching.

Personally, I perceive this style of music to be received positively by exclusively either musician aficionados or progressive rock/metal fans. And while the first mentioned demographic is likely content with this material, I can assume the latter group of listeners are hungry for more hooks and memorable licks. I believe for that very reason, Animals as Leaders have gained such a large following with simultaneously virtuosic and catchy compositions such as "CAFO" and "Physical Education."

As much as I view this release as enjoyable, it didn't leave me completely satisfied. The technical guitar skill was impressive for obvious reasons, however there felt a need for it to go somewhere more. Heavier, jazzier, weirder, more hooky, anything to set their sound apart from Animals as Leaders, Chon, etc. And please don't infer from that statement that The Surrealist lacks talent or creativity. The immense layering and atmosphere in these four songs are undeniably spectacular. I just feel that sometimes a musical act that is still getting its foot in the door needs a little push to develop and reveal its both true and original identity.

Honestly, I do appreciate the direction that Intervals, Plini, The Surrealist, and other groups have taken the genre, although I also fear that they will find a similar pigeonhole that djent and progressive/technical death are currently attempting to worm their way out of. Where this material isn't extremely diverse, I hope to see the duo expand on the ground they set on this release. I respect the fact that they have focused on a new aspect of technical and progressive metal instead of the low-hanging fruit of the djent sound. I see this EP as a hint of what we can expect from this group. Overall, Naked Awareness is 15 minutes of sweet, immersive greatness and beckons any progressive fan to keep their eye out for more.

Score: 7.5/10 - Metal Injection


"THE SURREALIST: Elements of Nature, Philosophy and Literature"

Boston-based instrumental progressive trio The Surrealist, led by guitarist and composer Roopam Garg is about to launch a debut EP titled Naked Awareness. The Surrealist‘s music brings different approach, it’s simple and complex in the same time, it’s melodic but highly technical. Prog Sphere talked with Garg, who attends prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston (as well as the other members of the band), and here is what he had to say about his work with The Surrealist.

Define the mission of The Surrealist.

The mission is to challenge the listener. We hope to embody elements of nature, philosophy and literature within our music in order to not just create mind-bending and perception-altering music but also to deliver a narrative of the human experience of life. We want people to feel different when listening to us.

Who initiated the idea about starting this new band?

Initially it was just me playing around with ideas on the guitar. I’ve always wanted to start something, whether a business or a project. Just that idea of having your own thing that do you’ve built up really drives me. So naturally I decided to start this band as music seemed to be my calling.

How did you come to an idea for the name The Surrealist? Pretty interesting name.

Thanks. Choosing a good band name is one of the hardest things ever. It was harder than practicing guitar for me. The name stems from surrealism itself, which is a form of art that explores blending together contrasting themes, often in a non-conventional format. A cool example of this is painting an ocean full of sea creatures encapsulated within a wine glass. I just find this concept of mixing seemingly unrelated ideas together really inspiring and thought it would be perfect to contextualize our music.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your upcoming debut EP Naked Awareness.

We rarely have any preconceived ideas whenever we sit down to record. The writing process happens alongside the recording and production process. This is because, to us, the actual sound of a particular idea is just as important as the idea itself. In fact we’d only get inspired if the tone sounded perfect.

To us, the production and the composition are just one thing. We see no difference between the way the riff sounds and the riff itself. I rarely ever sit down with just my guitar to write. The production process or a cool tone can really inspire the composition process, and vice versa. Often times I would record an idea, then splice it, reverse it, and resample it to see how it sounds then. This allows us to achieve pretty unthinkable ideas that would’ve been impossible to write with just the guitar in my hand.

The EP is out on September 17. Tell us, please, what can we expect?

Listeners can expect some pretty challenging material. Throughout the EP, there’s a lot of rhythmic and textural exploration that builds a strong psychedelic vibe. The music is also primarily guitar driven, with layers of intricate, minimalist guitar ideas that create a surreal landscape. In addition, this release has a strong nature theme to it. We wanted to produce very sonically abstract and compelling yet somehow related to elements you could find in nature. The intertwine between these two contrasting landscapes should hopefully fascinate listeners.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

We don’t really document our music. Usually the ideas just live in our heads or they come to life when we sit down and begin writing. Occasionally I might run into a really cool idea that causes me to write and record like half a song, but then I wouldn’t touch the music for another six months because it didn’t feel right to continue at the time.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Definitely. All of the tracks share very similar characteristics yet are really different from each other. In fact, there were actually many ideas from each track served as the catalyst for other parts on the other tracks. We don’t write and finish songs consecutively. Instead, we going back and forth between finalizing each track to make sure the EP as a whole sounds great until we’re happy enough to declare all the tracks as being completed.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

All the compositions, recordings and mixing was done by me. I ran my guitar through an Axe-FX II XL into Logic Pro, and used Native Instrument’s Komplete 10 and Logic’s Alchemy for most synth sounds, and programmed the drums via Superior Drummer 2.0.

During the end of the process, I ran into major intonation issues with my guitar. I had to retune the guitar every time I was going to record a take in a different position. In some cases, the intonation problem actually rendered some pretty interesting microtonal effects, which can be heard on the record. Needless to say, that guitar will never see the light of day ever again.

I then sent off the drum mix to one of my good friend and former Berklee roommate Erik Huang, who produced the drum sounds that are on the record. The files were then sent for mastering to another friend who I met at Berklee, Steph Bayes.

How long was Naked Awareness in the making?

From the initiation of the band to the completion of the band, it was probably around four months. But some the tracks heard on Naked Awareness took two years to make, which is way too long. Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to be more efficient with our writing and production process. Looking back, I believe most of the time was spent just consciously finding flaws in the music, so now I’m practicing being more nonjudgmental when I write.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

As far as guitar goes, Allan Holdsworth, Tosin Abasi, Pat Metheny, Guthrie Govan and Meshuggah have had a huge impact on my playing and approach to the guitar. But I’ve been inspired a lot by movie and video game soundtracks, such as Seven Pounds, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Sim City 4, Halo, and The Prestige. I also love Tabla Beat Science and Virgil Donati’s and Tigran Hamasyan’s works.

The cover art of the album is pretty interesting and I am sure it fits well with the music presented on this piece. Who made it?

It was done by Taos Whittaker, who’s one of my high school friends and an awesome Graphic Designer. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of working with him. The design was heavily inspired by the rotating sculpture of Franz Kafka’s head in Prague by David Cerny. I just loved the imagery it evoked and its allusion to philosophies of self and zen, how we’re constantly changing and simply different extensions of one consciousness.

Are there any plans for a tour with The Surrealist?

We hope to start touring in early 2017. We’re currently trying to figure out way to put on an amazing and immersive live experience.

What is your view on technology in music?

Very liberating and inspiring. Technology allows one to design, synthesize and recreate sounds that would otherwise be impossible with conventional instrumentals and recording practices, and therefore has enriched the creative process and the listening experience.

As we approach the Virtual Reality era, we’re going to be able to experience music in a whole new light. I read this article online somewhere that asked whether we would even call it music anymore. Imagine being able to see, touch, and feel music in a way that we can’t even comprehend right now. That would be a great day.

Do you see your band as serving a purpose beyond music?

Definitely. I love exploring topics of meditation and philosophy and educating people how it can be applied to becoming a better musician and person, because it certainty has made me more present and creative.

What are your plans for the future?

Along with going on tour, we want to collaborate with a fashion designer or a fashion design company to produce an awesome line of clothing and merch. Instead of just splattering our cover art on a T-shirt, we’d love to produce a premium clothing line that evoked a unique fashion statement. We also look forward to collaborating with some other musicians too! - Prog Sphere


"Review: The Surrealist – ‘Naked Awareness’"

I thought there won’t be something like Animals as Leaders any time soon
Sorry for the spoiler, but there is – The Surrealist. It is absolutely exciting to find something that gets near to Tosin’s band and here we find that extreme vibe that is djenty and brilliantly composed to sound like jazz. Well, Naked Awareness is a four song EP that demonstrates the awesome skill of these Boston guys, the music is crazy in nature, absolutely abstract, it exploits your inner self from the speaker.

Naked Awareness is a mind thrilling.
Mental rides are fun, here the entertainment is just huge, purely technical the EP is a showcase of talent. When you listen to progressive or djent you are hoping for a psychedelic vibe, Naked Awareness is full of musical brain game, the constructions used in the songs may seem somewhat repetitive to the most listeners… but it is astonishing that the song flows like that, it is over before you realize it started. It is quite rare to find something like that, the rhythm is very interesting, the changes in the riffs, or transitions are seamless, actually it is very hard to notice them, usually the songs are like one riff, that evolves. There is no aggression, but “Waves of Naked Awareness” has that buzzing and tense atmosphere, that can confuse you quite hard, nice stuff, pure jazz approach.

The Surrelist has managed to surprise me as I have been looking for such a masterpiece for a long time, masterful in playing technique, that record is a joy to listen to. And yet it sounds strange, so I am sure Naked Awareness may appeal to a lot of people, but there are few that will utterly understand what is going on here, this is where the beauty lies, the concept may be 15 minutes long, but it is full of meaning and abstract textures.

Sound and Production:
When it comes to the production value of a record, I think I step into the most important part of a review so to say. Good sound is what can attract the listener and allow the artist to fully express his intention, The Surrealist are in for a mind blow. Masterful guitar needs good recording and that is some of the most crisp and clear guitar sound I have ever heard, those muted picks in combination with the bass and the drums is creating a very distinct acoustic punch, that sound is unique for that scale.

Truly astonishing performance, that is a very loud and clear statement to the music world, watch out for The Surrealist, they are just starting.

Naked Awareness is a congrats worthy effort, that is one of the best records lately, period. - Djent Mag


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Surrealist is an Experimental Progressive Metal Band based out of Boston, MA. The band is composed of guitarist Roopam Garg and drummer John-Marc Degaard.

Synthesizing sounds from a multiplicity of genres—metal, minimalism, ambient, psychedelic, and soundtrack—The Surrealist is a reflection of the new era of instrumental music.

The Surrealist paints upon the canvas of silence and operates on the endpoints of the spectrum of human emotion.

Featuring sweeping, whirling guitar lines that cascade over blankets of plush, droning soundscapes and intricate modulating polyrhythms, The Surrealist breaks new grounds and transcends the separation of genres, leaving nothing but a pure sphere of sound. 

Band Members