Hugo Flores is back with a few Factory Of Dreams album ‘Melotronical’ and it is a ‘must have’ for fans of Ayreon, Devin Townsend et al
1. What are you currently up to?
Pretty busy promoting Melotronical, doing interviews, managing our Facebook page as well. Besides this I’m working on new music! Project Creation’s 3rd album and also some new stuff in the line of Melotronical for a 4th Factory of Dreams album.
I’m trying to keep the sound of each ‘band’ completely apart. Quite progressive material on Project Creation as usual and Melotronical’s sound on new Factory of Dreams.
We’re also gonna film a brand new videoclip this 18th April for Melotronical. This is gonna be the highlight now and we have great hopes about it! So, we’re concentrating efforts there as well.
2. Could you take us through the songs on the new album ‘Melotronical’ (e.g. story behind the songs, songwriting process etc)
Pretty much a sci-fi concept, different from anything I’ve done before actually. It all starts with this electronic molecule evolving into a humanoid being. ‘Enter Nucleon’ depicts atoms clashing, fusioning, a mayhem of subatomic explosions. ‘Melotronical’, the title track, explain s the concept of melody and rhythm and how this synergy can happen.
Upon track 3, ‘A Taste of Paradise’, the molecule becomes a living breathing entity living in a paradise world. She’s still very innocent and all is new to her. Once things start getting clearer, she sees such bliss fading away and a greedy, cynical world unveiling on ‘Protonic Stream’.
Another aspect of the story is that this new ‘Entity’ simply isn’t aware of her own power and how she can alter the universe ; so one of the ‘messages’ is that we’re all capable of determining our Destiny, and we do have the capabilities to change the course of our lives.
Upon reaching ‘Dimension Crusher’, the entity destroys her current dimension and via Reprogramming starts rebuilding a whole new one, reprogrammed to meet her visions and desires as a conscious person.
As mentioned, the theme is indeed different from what we usually go for on Factory of Dreams, even though it’s always science-fiction. The sci-fi concept serves as a criticism towards society, so is the case with ‘Protonic Stream’:
“Welcome to the System
Made for Survival
Not for Living
The album deals with destiny, with creation, with freedom. In our world and in the world of Melotronical, people follow trends, follow a leader, ‘destiny’ controls them and not the other way ‘round.
You also asked me about the songwriting process. I Usually I like to sit in my studio with my synthesizers and just play and try out melodies and sounds. I let the music and ideas come and flow, that’s my thing really; and once I find a melody that pleases me, I start digging and figuring out how that melody will evolve.
After the main compositions and synths are done, I start by recording the electric guitars, the bass and later vocals. I also lay down my drums along with the synths and orchestrations, before the actual guitar recordings. Then it’s mixing time. Very time consuming; I handle that part too since I like everything sounding the way I really want to. Later I get inputs from Jessica as well, to enhance the mixing and vocals.
Vocal-wise, and in Jessica’s own words ‘When Hugo sends me a finished song and lyrics I often sit down and listen to it a couple of times before I start recording. There are times though when I only listen like once before I record, it depends very much on the track and how complex the vocals will be but sometimes also on how creative I feel at that time. I try to go along with the general atmosphere in the track and the lyrics for it. I usually add heaps of harmonies just to give Hugo some options when he mixes everything.’
3. You play all the instruments on this album. Have you ever considering using guest musicians like Ayreon dos for example?
I like to keep both of my current projects set apart. For Project Creation yes, I always have guest musicians, but as far as FoD is concerned I prefer to keep things more restricted; however, and that was the case with ‘A Strange Utopia’, our 2nd album, I did invite a few musicians and singers to play along.
4. Jessica Lehto is a key part of Factory Of Dreams. How did you find out about her work? Do you give her vocal guidance on what sort of sound you are after or do you let her adapt her vocals to the sound of the music/lyrics?
Jessica is incredible and to me one of the best vocalists around today because she doesn’t merely sing well, but she can also do her own music and recordings. I’ve said this several times now, but it’s so very true!
Sometimes I provide some guidelines along with each song and lyrics, and I mention the vibe that I envision for the vocals, but I actually prefer her to come up with her own ideas and melodies and usually that’s the case.
Here’s also what Jessica said about this: ‘Hugo got in touch with me back in late 2007 via MySpace, asking me if I’d be interested in doing vocals for his new project. He sent me some demo samples and I liked what I heard, so I recorded some demo vocals and sent them over to him. Luckily he liked what he heard and collaboration began.’
5. Whose idea was it to come up with the fantastic artwork on the inlay sleeve? How important is the visual aspect of Factory Of Dreams concept?
When I was defining the concept, I already had some of the song titles and lyrics, so, I could easily start sculpting what I intended for the artwork. Each song, or almost all, would have specific art. So, I sent my ideas to the designer so she could adapt and blend them with her own thoughts and ideas.
It’s extremely important for me to have artwork. The music is incomplete without it! And I think that the fans who purchase the album really deserve a full package with good presentation. I see the art work as an extension to the music. Music provides very rare emotions and feelings. Along with associated art, the scope of one’s imagination might be a bit narrowed down, that’s perhaps the only downside, but the musician’s original visions get closer to the fans and that’s a plus.
6. Do you have any plans to perform this album live, perhaps as a one-off show for a future DVD release?
We never know, it would have to be carefully planned and as a one-off show yea. We’ll see, but for now we’re very focused on the new videoclip and promos.
7. In the age of downloads and declining CD sales has the internet helped you get your music out there or has it in some ways hindered it by websites offering free downloads etc
I have a love and hate relationship with the digital world. Still it’s more to the ‘love’ side I must say. I have to give kudos to the internet because if wisely used, it’s the most powerful ‘tool’ to provide exposure for bands. The number of fans over at MySpace and the growing fan base at Facebook are good examples. However it’s a shame to see blogs illegally sharing full albums, when they say that they’re helping the music…if the idea was to help, they could share 2 or 3 songs, approved by the band, and then share a link to a store.
Others say that everyone has the right to access culture..okay, if people can’t afford a cd, you have half priced downloads. Are books free?
8. If you could create a fantasy band line-up who would be in it and why?
Ahah, that’s a very good one. I have no idea, lemme see.
David Arkenstone on synthesizers and also helping on the songwriting process
Portnoy on Drums
Steve Harris on bass
Vocal wise I enjoy very much ex-Forgotten suns ‘ LINX voice, so I’d go for him
For harder vocals Devin Townsend
Steve Vai on Guitars
I’d be the maestro, ahah
9. Who have been your main musical influences and why?
As far as music is concerned, I’m listening to Therion, Dimmu Borgir, Birthday Massacre, Devin Townsend, Within Temptation, Ladytron, the new Duran Duran album, One Night Only…so, very diverse music styles!
Another inspiration was new age music that introduced me to synthesizers, and to great melodies, so this was a starting point to evolve and incorporate more electric instruments. David Arkenstone was perhaps my biggest influence. He plays new age music but also symphonic rock, as seen on ‘Quest of the Dream Warrior’ a brilliant album.
10. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
I’m nuts about cinema. I devour movies! I was very influenced by Steven Spielberg’s movies when I was little, Close Encounters, E.T , but also Ridley Scott’s Alien, John Carpenter’s the Thing, etc… I enjoy Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Andrei Tarkovsky, Alex Proyas, among others.
Besides this I enjoy a good book, either thriller or scifi or both. I also like astronomy, mysterious things such as ufology.
Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Hope everyone enjoys Melotronical. We always recommend the full cd, and we spent a lot of time and efforts on the ART. I was very specific about the artwork as mentioned earlier; the lyrics, the mood, must match the art and I think Melotronical really excels in that department. To me, a conceptual album, like this one, would never be complete without the art. So, get the cd, or if you prefer , the digital version via iTunes, Amazon mp3 or Mindawn.
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Many thanks for this great time!