HYVMINE’s Al Joseph Talks with UnRated Magazine
Interview Conducted on December 12, 2017
By Daniel Locke
HYVMINE is the domain, the place for hard work and unhindered expression. It’s where we unleash our anger, our gratitude, our anguish and all our triumphs. It is the very beginning of something new and the onset of something just plain earth shattering. We are the collective work.
Formed in the heart of Los Angeles, HYVMINE is the brain child of world-renown progressive-metal guitarist and virtuoso, Al Joseph. After nearly five full years of flooding the scene with guitar mayhem Al sets out in efforts to make yet another mark on the metal scene by not only chopping trees with his axe, but now blowing down houses as the lead vocalist and front-man of this new guerrilla army.
AJ says, “This new music is not only about bringing the house down but about uplifting the soul.” Now with the collective and creative efforts of his newest members he hopes to express a completely raw side to his music for years to come. Choose your weapons wisely and get ready for war!
The Origins of HYVMINE
Unrated: How did the band form?
Al Joseph: This band is actually the brain child of myself and my publicist George Vallee. The original idea was to work on getting my solo guitar work pushed. Then George he found out I could sing and just wouldn’t let me off the hook. So then we thought, “Why don’t we just create a group?” I began writing and turning some of my guitar solo tunes into vocal tracks and before I knew it, I had a full albums worth of tunes. After that we went looking for great players in the area and Hyvmine was born.
Unrated: How did they pick band’s name?
AJ: After days and days of looking for a band name I finally stumbled on the concept when watching Stranger Things. Nerdy, but the idea just kept at me. The actual term they used in the show was “Hive Mind” to describe a hoard of beings connected mentally to serve a single purpose. I just had a little fun with the spelling and wording and came up with Hyvmine to signify the way we as a group set out to work together as a band. My brother (bassist) phrased it perfectly, “We are a collective work”. We are the hive and wherever we throw down is the mine to which we go to work.
Unrated: Who is in your band?
AJ: Myself (Al Joseph), lead vocalist and guitar player. Fabrizio Cavallaro, Drummer. Chris Joseph, Bassist. AlonMei-Tal, Guitarist and vocals. These fellas are friends and family. I’ve known them for a very long time and I’m happy to share the stage with these guys!
The Music of HYVMINE
Unrated: How do you describe your music?
AJ: Currently this music is meant to be straight ahead heavy metal. There are many virtuosic segments due to the fact that some of these songs were originally meant to be instrumental tunes. But we all strive to make music that is both thorough and uplifting. There so much energy and passion to this music. It’s about it’s unleashed. We just want to rock. Period.
Unrated: What type of music, did you listen to growing up?
AJ: All the 90s grunge and nu metal music you can think of. From P.O.D. to Korn. From Creed to Pearl Jam. Anything heavy and with great soulful vocals and was also on MTV2 and Fuse. Of course as a guitar player I grew up on Joe Satriani, Steve Via, and John Petrucci for the most part. I also grew up and was raised on gospel, R&B, and Smooth Jazz. So a very wide pallet of tastes that follow me still to the date.
Unrated: The music scene in Los Angeles? Is there room for another metal band?
AJ: LA just better make some room. We’re coming and we’re here. Period. As I’ve said before, we want to rock. I believe that kind of energy is contagious no matter what style. We don’t care if it’s on a stage or at little Susie’s sweet sixteen. We will find somewhere to throw down!
Unrated: How did you get signed to Seek and Strike?
AJ: Well it’s a long story. When I flew into LA last year was talking to a fellow guitarist Javier Reyes about where to take my career and he mentioned I should reach out to this big time publicist George Vallee. He also mentioned it would be virtually impossible to reach him due to his schedule and that was bummer because I had just release a record through Jam Track Central. However, fast forward a year or so and I’m having a bit of a consulting/workout session with my good friend Mike from Ibanez USA and he FINALLY tells me “yeah I know this guy George that might be able to help you out… Oh and he’s my roommate.” I’d been friends with Mike for years, never mentioned it till now? We had quite a laugh over that.
AJ: We all finally got together for drinks and barbecue and had a blast. No mention of business, just my kind of fun, shit talking and sharing inappropriate stories. George later told me he and a friend were starting a label and after getting my work placed in Guitar World Magazine within days of knowing him, I couldn’t resist. The rest is history. Looking forward to what’s in store.
Unrated: I listened to your new CD “Earthquake,” and it seems Triumph, Prism (Prism is a Canadian rock band formed in Vancouver in 1977. They were originally active from 1977 to 1984 and have been active again from 1987 to present. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Ron Tabak, guitarist Lindsay Mitchell, keyboardist John Hall, bass guitarist Allen Harlow, and drummer Rocket Norton.) And a bit of Living Color. What are the band’s musical influences?
AJ: Well to actually list them off… P.O.D., Korn, Alter Bridge, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Creed, Pearl Jam, Muse, Opeth, Meshugga, Sevendust, and so much more. Like I said, anything progressive, made in the 90s, and heavy metal!
Unrated: How did you pick the person to produce your album?
AJ: Well it was all me (Al Joseph) doing the writing, arranging, recording, and overall production on this record. Recall that the original idea was to feature only myself as the primary artist. But now all four of us are included and are setting sail as Hyvmine.
Unrated: Out of the 9 songs on the CD, which do you enjoy the most recording?
AJ: I had the most fun recording “Earthquake”. Such a passionate and heartfelt song. As you probably can imagine uprooting my identity as a world-class guitar soloist and all the sudden singing in a heavy metal band shook my foundations quite a bit. That’s what this song is about. It also brought out my full range and depth as a singer and player. I imagine it’s going to be quite an intimate song to play live and that’s just how I like it. I also had my good friend Federico Navarro Tries come in the studio and record the guitar solo toward the end of the tune. Such a special moment that I feel really finalized the process of this song. My favorite tune for sure.
Unrated: Who did most of the writing on the CD?
AJ: I (Al Joseph) did everything on this record.
HYVMINE On The Road
Unrated: What clubs have you played in?
AJ: Well Hyvmine is very much a new born baby. Our first show will be held at the Winter NAMM 2018 show at the Slidebar on January 26th. The show is going to be featuring Intervals, Nick Johnston, and Jason Richardson. Should be a real throw down!
Unrated: Any plans for any tours?
AJ: Yes. So many. Right now we are just knocking on all the doors and let’s just say the right people are answering. We’ll be in touch with more details as we progress.
AJ: No we have not yet but can’t wait for the opportunity.
Unrated: Have you done SXSW yet?
Unrated: How would you explain your live performance?
AJ: Well we haven’t performed yet but I imagine it will be powerful and uplifting. Our rehearsals have a lot anticipation and positive energy. We just can’t wait to let go. We are not playing for people to watch what we learned for homework. We’re performing to give our audience an escape to let go and rock out and have a great time. Lots of work ahead but looking forward to it.
Unrated: Who have you opened up for?
Unrated: What music fest would you like to play at?
AJ: Waken for sure but definitely every festival we can think of.
Unrated: If someone was to listening to you for the first time, what 3 songs, would you tell them to listen to and why?
AJ: I’d say listen to Shogun, Earthquake, and Cliffhanger. Elysium as a bonus. These four songs sum up the work.
What is the future for HYVMINE
Unrated: How do you see your band in the next 5 years?
AJ: Granted our heads and vital organs are still intact, I see us working our asses off and just loving the grind. Touring, making music, having fun, and making our mark on the music world.
Unrated: Any guilty pleasures your fans would be surprise you listen to?
AJ: Well I get a lot of blowback as a Creed fan. They were my favorite band growing up and I still follow Mark Tremonti and Scott Stapp everywhere musically. Creed was such a pivotal band for metal in my opinion. Let’s put it this way, almost every person that gave me shit for being a Creed fan in past are now fans of Creed. It cracks me up. All I do is let the album play minus the radio hits and their eye light up. Still listen to that group. Radio hits and all.
Unrated: Who is on your phone for music now?
AJ: The list is way too long but if we’re talking the most modern artist I’ll say Intervals, David Maxim Micic, Animals as Leaders, Monuments, Periphery, Tesseract, and Disperse to name quite a few.
Unrated: Anything in closing you would like to say?
AJ: Thanks for having Hyvmine. First show will be at The Slidebar in Fullerton on Thursday, January 25th during the Winter NAMM 2018 Show. Be there and we’ll be ready!
AJ from HYVMINE