PLEXIMENTS: "When you’re also guitarist in a jazz big band, you can’t resist the temptation to invite a sax, trumpet or even trombone player to the record"
This year saw me listening to many instrumental releases, and progmetal act PLEXIMENTS from Siberia was definitely an exciting discovery for me in this wide field, who came up with an amazing debut album called “The Maze Within” (out since April 9th, 2021, you can find my review for it here).
I had the opportunity for an interview with the mastermind behind PLEXIMENTS, and he told me more about the album's concept, his collaborations and musical background. Welcome to check out our conversation here:
Hi Evgen, thanks for making time to answer my questions today. Could you please introduce yourself and PLEXIMENTS to our readers?
Thank you so much for reaching out. My name is Evgen Tsibulin, I’m a guitar player and composer from the far and cold Siberia, Tomsk city. I decided to release my music under the name PLEXIMENTS because I want to develop this project into a real progressive metal band.
Is there a deeper meaning or story behind the name?
Yes, definitely :-) I wanted a proper name for my project which reflects the concept of my music. PLEXIMENTS is a combination of two words: "Plexus" and "Elements". Since I love to listen, learn and play different music genres and want to weave various kinds of stylistic elements together, I think the word “Plexus” is the right one to describe this. But I couldn’t name the project just “Plexus” for some reasons, that’s why I searched further and one day came across this unique word, which I’m really happy about ;-)
Very fitting indeed :-) You released your debut album “The Maze Within” in April. How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?
This album was a very big project on which I had worked for the last few years. Actually I’m so glad to see how listeners from all around the world react to my music. Most of the time I saw positive feedback in social media and other outlets. It feels really good, and makes me more inspired to spread the word about the album.
Let’s take a look at the amazing cover artwork: What can you tell us about its origins, and how does it reflect the concept of the album?
The cover was made by my friend and artist Alexey Woland. He also helped me to find the right name for the album and make the conception much clearer, even for myself.
The artwork reflects the main idea that I had behind the music. You can see black creatures, who are the embodiment of the man's negative “black” thoughts. They're dragging him towards the maze, where he has to wander, searching for the right exit. If he finds the way out, he'll be happier and stronger. Similar things have a place in real life and may happen to any kind of person, whatever gender and social status.
Musically speaking, you mix up so many different styles, but it’s always in a natural flow. The variety of your work is amazing, so are your technical skills. What is your musical background, and where do your main influences come from?
Yes, I wanted to bring together different genres in one album, despite the fact that it wasn't easy at all. During the whole period of learning, whether I studied in music school or college, I always tried to make it in a professional way and was excited to learn new styles - still love it. Even when I was playing and touring with my former deathmetal band, I tried to write and play not only a traditional kind of brutal metal, but also bring in some interesting harmonies or melodies.
Currently, I'm working as a guitar player for a couple of orchestras. The first one is a jazz big band, and the second one an orchestra of musical comedy in the theater. So my day job has left an imprint on my musical taste and composing skills for sure, which helped me to combine all of those things which you can hear on the album.
Absolutely :-) Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process, please?
I can’t say that my writing and recording process is much different from others. Some ideas may spark in my head while I’m practicing guitar, and I save it on my phone or directly in DAW if I can use my laptop. When I have some ideas recorded, I look closer to each of them and think about ways to combine them into something more.
While I was writing and recording "The Maze Within", I understood that I can implement one idea in different kind of ways. That helped me to give more sense to each of the leitmotifs, create a concept and develop a flow between all the songs. Then I sat down to record all that stuff, and during this process, I was still making some arrangements until I felt it sounds perfect.
PLEXIMENTS is your project, but you also have some great musicians on board. Could you give us an insight with whom you’ve worked together?
Yeah, I was lucky enough to collaborate with other great musicians. "Mental Prisoner" was recorded with bassist Anton Davidaynts. He is mostly known as one of the best jazz/fusion bass players, but his playing in other styles is awesome too, and his part on the song sounds incredible.
"Inside the Maze" has guest vocals by Anton. We already had some collaborations in the past, and I invited him because I considered his singing style is most suitable for this track. The drum parts were recorded by famous Russian metal drummer Andrey Ischenko, and it was a pleasure to work with him.
In the second part of "Inside the Maze", there's a saxophone solo by my colleague Vlad. When you’re also guitarist in a jazz big band, you can’t resist the temptation to invite a sax, trumpet or even trombone player to the record (haha).
Bass and drums for "Waltz of the Victory" were recorded by Eugene and Alexey. We already played together in my previous deathmetal band called Dehydrated, in which I was for almost 10 years before diving into prog.
The piano lines in "Messages" and "Waltz of the Victory" came from Stanislav Artemiev. I recommend to check him out if you love piano music, he's doing a great job. The other piano lines were recorded by myself, and I want to say it was so hard.
Do you have a favorite song on “The Maze Within”?
That's a tough question. Probably this would be "Mental Prisoner" and "Waltz of the Victory", but honestly I love them all so much, and I was trying to make "The Maze Within" being one whole song.
Let’s talk about PLEXIMENTS live: Any plans to bring your music on stage, or is it a pure studio project?
Yes, absolutely! I love playing live more than recording, and already made a first show with PLEXIMENTS, which was pretty good. I'm aware that it's difficult nowadays with live shows, especially if you’re trying to play prog: Finding musicians who will be interested and able to play music like this, and bring it to the right audience that will understand it. But whatever comes, I strongly believe that PLEXIMENTS is gonna play live as soon as possible.
Awesome! Would definitely love to see that :-) How would you describe your local rock/metal scene, and is there something special about it?
Well, the Siberian music scene is kind of multi-faced. There were more metal acts around while I was growing up, and I got good experiences playing with some of them. Nowadays there are many bands in different styles, but much less bands are trying to bring their music to a bigger audience. Most of the bands in my hometown and other Siberian cities are playing in small venues despite the fact that those guys may be talented and strong enough. It may sound sad, but it seems we need to go to major cities for bringing the music to another level.
What can you tell us about your future plans?
Some new musical ideas already take shape in my head, but I understand that I need to focus on the promotion of "The Maze Within" right now. So my plan is to create interesting content, spread the word for my album, and try to find other guys who will be interested in playing this kind of music with me.
Do you have any further thoughts you’d like to share here?
Honestly, it's my great pleasure to know that there are some people in this world who know about me and PLEXIMENTS. It makes me feel inspired to create more music and going on the way I’ve chosen. Hopefully in the future, my work will be able to make more and more people happy.
Awesome :-) Thanks again for your time, and all the best for you and your musical plans!