VIRTUAL SYMMETRY are back with a new EP. A reason as good as any to inquire about this and that. Answers by Mark Bravi. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

You got a new EP to promote. What can you tell us about this recording? Why an EP?
-This EP is meant to be a link from the Message from Eternity album, which was entirely written by Valerio, to a whole new full-band composition environment. We decided not to make a full album as we wanted to test all the skills from every member and to have more playable material for live shows, so that we could have a starting point as a full band before writing a full-length album. This one follows the same spiritual meaning of the debut album, with a new introspective flavour to the lyrics and a story linked to them.

What kind of reaction have you had to your album “Message From Eternity”? Did it do what you wanted it to do for the band?
-Our debut album ‘Message from Eternity’ was beautifully reviewed by the press and all the listeners loved it. This outcome went way above what we expected and really filled us with joy and satisfaction, making our bond as a band stronger than it was in the recording studio.

Today we have all these different sub-genres in metal. How important is that you can be tagged in one of these? Why isn’t metal enough as a tag?
-Just being tagged as “Rock/Metal” would be enough for us, or even just a “Music” tag would do its job for our view on subgenres. Audiences now like to choose among different genres coming from the same big category, to confront them and find similarities of differences that can vary their own approach to a particular genre or another. That’s why we chose to play progressive music, as it works as a fusion of all music genres, we don’t have category restrictions or limits, we are able to “just play music for what it is”, free.

We all carry baggage with us that affect us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-Wow, this one is tough, but I’d say our first approach to Dream Theater really stands out from all our influences.
The first time we listened to them we gave ourselves a goal to be reached, to create a band with our own signature, chasing rhythms, melancholic melodies and epic cinematographic atmospheres, features which we could find in this phenomenal american band, too.

Today I get a feeling that the promotion of a band lands a lot on the bands themselves so how does one promote oneself the best possible way in order to reach as many as possible?
-And you’re right about this. I think the best way a band can promote itself is to never stop creating and sharing new material on this great communication systems we have now, called ‘social network’, in order to get in contact with people who are interested in what you create and can help you play your music for those who like your genre and, most important, not doing it just for the money.

What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-The live scene is the BEST way to increase a band’s supporters, as playing live gives people memories and visual memories of a show are more important than the simple act of listening to a single track or an album.
We still haven’t played that much live, but we can assure you that most of our fanbase is made of people who were in front of the stage while we were playing.

Do you as a band notice that it gets harder and harder to find place today that do live music? Is this reality a result of how people have changed the way they listen to music, home alone in front of a computer or on their phones/pads?
-Well, it is hard for bands to find places to be playing live in as now pubs are typically one-genre-oriented and this gives less opportunities for bands to play.
And no, it has no links to what happenned to the different ways of listening to music throughout the years.

I hear about how bands don’t bother with art work anymore because people don’t buy records anymore. That to me is just a lazy way of saying we’ve given up. Even if I buy something digitally I want to have nice art work otherwise I feel cheated and that the band aren’t serious. How do you feel about this new trend of no art work because people download instead of buying physical?
-That is actually not true in the music business… for example I designed the X-GATE myself and sent it to the phenomenal Gustavo Sazes (with his Abstrata art), who now is a good friend of mine.
The fact is that “artists” today are less creative, as the common thought “music is dead” gives them the impression they are no more able to create new music, which is definitely not true, reflecting this thought to the artworks, too, ending up with very simple and plain designs, or no artworks at all.
And the introduction of torrents ruined the CD market, but we are getting towards a future in which everything’s digital and we’ll only be able to buy music online. We have to get used to it fast, but fortunately some trends come back, like the latest vinyl one, for us nostalgic music lovers.

We live in a world where everybody seems so easily offended by the smallest thing. Do you as a band feel that you have a responsibility to protect the free word and the right to express yourself the way you want?
-You know, this one is more like a matter of ethics. You have free word as soon as you spread good words, as music is meant to share messages and with all these messages related to purely physical and perversion the music industry and the audience obviously put themselves against that wrong use of musical lyrics.

What lies in the future?
-We’ll be releasing our new EP on June 30th and play in some venue around Switzerland and northern Italy.
We have some projects to be finished, like an Acoustic Tribute to Dream Theater by Valerio and I, the rehearsals of X-GATE and Message from Eternity in their entire length and… you know… we may begin the composition of our new record, who knows.

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