Interview with Hunter, Canvas Solaris (March 8th, 2006)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Hunter - Thanks a lot! Nathan and I formed the band in 1999, we played death metal for several years, and then we decided to go instrumental in 2002.  This incarnation of the band has been intact for nearly four years now.  

How has your new album been received by the media?
Hunter - Surprisingly well, actually! I’ve personally been floored by all the positive feedback we’ve gotten on Penumbra. I was somewhat anxious that fans of Spatial/Design and Sublimation would be put off by the ambience and prog vibes of the album, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, critics and fans alike seem to have embraced the album warmly. It does our hearts good, I tell ya.

I know artists don¹t like to put a label on their music - but a spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Hunter - I would expect that aliens would totally get what we’re about without our having to say.

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Hunter - I don’t think I could ascribe one emotion to our music. The goal of our writing, after all, is to inspire a range of emotions in the listener.

Who and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through the creation of a song?
Hunter - All sorts of things: nature, the night sky, Corsendonk, love, sadness, other great bands, great films and books, etc. A CS song usually begins with one basic idea, and that idea is developed by the other members of the group over the course of a few days. Once the framework has been set, we work on layering and texturing the songs. That can take as long as we feel necessary.

Who has produced and mixed the album? Are you pleased with the result?
Hunter - Jamie King produced this album, as well as our first LP, Sublimation. We’re very pleased with Jamie’s fine work. It is a joy and a privilege to work with someone as gifted as Jamie, who has also produced albums by Between the Buried and Me, Beloved, Glass Casket, He Is Legend and a number of other groups.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Hunter - Bill Ellsworth did the cover for Penumbra, and I can’t imagine the album with different artwork. I tend to associate the colours and textures of the cover art with the music itself. At a certain and inscrutable point, the two become inextricably linked.

Do you have any touring plans?
Hunter - Yes, we plan on doing a short tour up the East Coast in August. We’re very much looking forward to playing our music to people who have never heard us before. I hope we don’t suck.

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Hunter - The Mars Volta, without a doubt. They are the best and most inspiring group going right now. There is a richness to their music and ideology that is just unbelievable. It would also be an honour to play with TOOL, Battles, Spastic Ink, Behold…The Arctopus, and a number of others.

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label?
Hunter - Sensory is just the best. We love Ken (Golden, owner), and the label has really done a lot to promote the album and get the Canvas Solaris name out there. I hope we can continue to work with Sensory for a long time to come.

The internet is a very important source for many metal fans – how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Hunter - Whether or not you want to participate, things like MySpace and Pure Volume are great vehicles for getting your music heard. We were reluctant to go that route for awhile, but then we realized it would only be to our band’s advantage.

And how do you feel about the metal scene in general at the moment?
Hunter - It would be easy to be really bitter about how much bad metal is being released, but there’s enough creative and good music being made that I don’t have to be bitter! This year, I look forward to new music from: TOOL, Martyr, Blotted Science, Negativa, Scale the Summit, While Heaven Wept, Behold…The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Tholus, Spawn of Possession, Katatonia, Twisted Into Form, Hammers of Misfortune, Enslaved, and Green Carnation. It should be an excellent year in metal.

Which song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written?
Hunter - I’m really proud of “Horizontal Radiant” which, to my mind, distils all the best elements of Canvas Solaris into one 11-minute piece.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Hunter - Cynic’s "Focus" album has had a greater and longer-lasting impact on my life than any other, really. My parents are the greatest people on earth, and they constantly inspire me to better myself. The greatest event in my life so far was getting engaged to my beautiful girlfriend of nearly 6 years. Our getting engaged made October 14, 2005 the greatest day of my entire life. She makes me whole.

Which music do you listen to at home?
Hunter - Lately I’ve been listening to:
Tord Gustavsen Trio, KiloWatts, Velvet Cacoon, Alphataurus, In the Country, Bohren & der Club of Gore, Arvo Part, Boards of Canada, Isildur's Bane, Steve Reich, Battles, Kraftwerk, Hate Forest, Murcof, Faure, Ulver, Alchemist, Scale the Summit, Minus the Bear, Fresh Maggots, Guapo, Sleeping People, God Is an Astronaut, Ildjarn, Simon Steensland's Kamikaze United, early Chick Corea, Iceberg, Enslaved, The Advantage, Gorguts, Marconi Union, and 3.

Vinyl has had a small comeback lately – do you still prefer “the old sound” or are you a CD/DVD kind of guy?
Hunter - I like both vinyl and CD/DVD. They’re both very different media. I tend to think some music—prog, grim black metal, doom, acoustic jazz—sounds really great on vinyl. However, it’s hard to argue against the fidelity, dependability, and convenience of the compact disc.

Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Hunter - Thanks a ton for listening or reading. Your support is appreciated more than you could ever know. We hope, one day, to make it over to Europe ! Tech-metal wishes,

Canvas Solaris - Penumbra Diffuse

Album available on Sensory Records.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Canvas Solaris.