Homoiousios and the art of collaboration, Interview!

Occasionally, one finds a piece of music quite by chance, one that immediately has that “something extra”, an undefinable quality that screams of depth, complexity, and musicianship. Such were the thoughts that passed through my mind when giving Homoiousios‘s latest track “The Rite of Lycaon – Part 1” a virgin listen. I’ve never heard about this band/project before, and it was only through some digging on Facebook that it became apparent that the group is a large collective of international musicians. Anyway, I managed to grab one of the team for a chat, Guilherme!

Greetings! Thanks for agreeing to an interview about this music and the project behind it. Can you please help describe for our readers, how this piece and also “Lilium” came about? Where are your musicians based, and what process do you use for the collaboration and sharing of music during its recording and creation? How did you find all the talented artists that were part of this wonderful music-making?

Hey, thank you for reaching out! My pleasure. I am based in Austin, Texas, but I am from Brazil. My wife and I moved from Brazil to the US in 2016. In 2017 I bought a guitar and started really just jamming with a real crappy Line6 30W amp at home, until I found out the amp had a USB port where I could plug my iPhone and record straight into GarageBand. I was like, “wow, I can make metal on my iPhone!” … and that’s how Homoiousios started. It was supposed to be a one-track deal, just for fun. I wrote Lilium entirely on my iPhone with free apps, and the result of that demo was actually quite good, so I decided to try and add vocals to it. It didn’t work. I can’t sing, growl or scream.

So I reached out in a FB group (Metal Vocalists Community) for someone who would be interested in tracking vocals on this demo I had. A kid from Mexico replied and said he’d do it. But get this, he had no recording gear back then, so he recorded all his vocal parts on his smartphone over What’sApp straight into the phone’s mic. So yeah, all the growls and heavy vocals you hear on Lilium were recorded STRAIGHT into a smartphone.

After I got the vocal stems back, I put it all into GarageBand iOs, mixed it as best as I could, but something was missing. It was too aggressive and I thought it needed some balancing with clean vocals, maybe operatic/symphonic vocals (I was listening to A LOT of Fleshgod Apocalypse in 2017). So again I reached out in the FB group, and Paula Teles (from the Band Lilith’s Revenge of Portugal) replied and said she’d be interested in doing operatic vocals over the track. I was stoked! At that point I thought maybe writing songs and sending them out for vocals could amount to a cool project! And so Homoiousios was born. Brazil/US, Mexico, and Portugal collaborating on a killer track, I thought … so why not have the track in multiple languages? That’s when really the idea of bringing not only musicians, but languages, cultures, themes and genres came into play. Why have an entire project in one language and in one genre with one or two vocalists when I could have multiple people, languages, and genres playing under one name? The spirit of Homoiousios was set! Lilium, our first track, is sang in Spanish, Portuguese and English, and it dabs into Death Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic, and some Slam riffing even.

Once both vocalists had sent over their vocal tracks, I mixed it all as best as I could on my iPhone and made a simple video for my YouTube channel (The Gee J). The response was 1k views and some 100 subscribers in a couple of months and a lot of people asking for more. I knew that if there were going to be more tracks, I couldn’t keep recording stuff on my iPhone. So I bought an iPad and a Mac, got me a good DAW, proper plugins and tracked Lilium again. After that, I wrote a couple more tracks and “Nick-Furyied” more musicians to take care of vocals (all via Social Media).

The idea was to bring together a group of musicians who could do all the vocals I couldn’t, and who could help me where I fell short. So as of now, the project has some 15+ artists involved. Some rogue musicians, some from established bands, some solo artists, and a sound engineer from Brazil who oversees mixing and mastering; musicians from Brazil, Mexico, US, Canada, Portugal, France, Morocco… and more. We already have some 21 tracks lined up for release.

Some songs are more collaborative than others. For example, Lilium was a “step-by-step” writing process; I’d write a riff, send it over for vocals, UX would do vocals and say “let’s go Death Metal now!”… then I’d write the next part. Then he’d do vocals and suggest something else. On and on till the song was done. Other songs are more “one-man-banded”, like The Rite of Lycaon, I wrote the whole song and sent it over for Tom to do vocals and some ambient transitions… and may I say, he did such an awesome job we decided to do a trilogy – The Rite of Lycaon parts 2 and 3 will come later this year.

We now have a FB community where we keep each other updated on the progress of each song. It’s been one of the best experiences with music I have had so far. Truly met some wonderful people and some serious talent!

So you record all the guitars, drums and other components alone? It is really great to hear from an artist who so fully embraces the spirit of artistic collaboration, and uses today’s technological tools to connect with guest musicians from all around the world. How long did it take you to lay the groundwork and record the instrumentals for The Rite of Lycaon’s first part? I’m curious if you came up with the structure and components of this piece organically, through the act of jamming and experimentation, or if you already knew what kind of track you wanted it to be, planned it out, and then executed it? We’ve chatted with artists from both ends of the spectrum before, so I’m curious where your recording style might fit into all this.

Will Parts 2 and 3 be written in much the same manner, as in instrumentally mostly completed by you, before being sent off for the addition of vocals? Can you let us in on any secrets about how the second two parts might relate and connect with the fantastic beginning that you’d laid with Part One?

Yes, for the first 18-20 songs I am recording rhythm guitars, bass, drums, and orchestration/ambientation on my own. Whatever I feel is missing and is out of my scope, I reach out to musicians who are on the project and see how they can contribute with more than just vocals.

The Rite of Lycaon – Part 1 came out of the intro riff, a very droney, ambient, bendy-spooky progression I was playing around with. I like to have noodling sessions; 1 to 2 hours of just playing guitar with no intentions other than just play and experiment with sounds. Out of one of those sessions I got The Rite of Lycaon’s melodic riff and heavy riff. Once the riffs were in place, I added drums and the song started to take shape. It took me some months to get the demo together, which I then sent out to Tom (from Canada, creator of Metal Robot Reviews on YouTube) for vocals. He gave me some input and feedback on how to make the song better structure-wise (trimming some parts, extending others). We chatted about the result of the demo, and when we both agreed lyrics and melodies were to our liking, I started working on mix1.

I love running my first mixes by YouTube channel Gear Gods on their Friday Critique live stream for feedback on songwriting and mixing. The chat surely roasted my track hard lol, but some opinions were very honest and helped me understand what was missing still… the song took some sharp turns melody-wise on guitar from insights I got on the livestream.

With the vocals in place, and the structure finished, I tried reworking some riffs and finding space to add melodies. Usually musicians rework riffs and melodies before the vocals are finalized, but I actually prefer to do it after the vocals are properly tracked and locked. That gives me room to think of guitar riffing as a second voice to vocals. The bass was the last thing I tracked, and I am aware this is unconventional, but I am a bass player first, guitar player second, drummer third. I am a lot more creative with bass lines than I am with guitar riffs, so tracking bass last gave me room to fill any remaining gaps with grooves (I grew up listening to Korn, Mudvayne, Limp Bizkit, etc. and NuMetal has had some of the most creative bass players I’ve heard in metal… it couldn’t have turned out any other way for me #bassplayerfirst).

Parts 2 and 3 will retain a similar sonority (groovy Death Metal) and continue the story of Part 1. (A man who eats himself to death as a sacrifice to the gods he believes are giving him this task. The outro of the song even has lots of nibbling, chewing, grotesque sounds to let the listener know the fate of the unfortunate fellow). Part 2 and Part 3 have some very cinematic parts (they almost have a little play within them). Part 3 will feature a female vocalist (from the US) who will do some ambient chanting and choir work, and likely a solo/acoustic part from another musician, still thinking on that. TROL 1-2-3 were songs I came up with in the very early stages of the project, so they were composed by me alone (but polished and reshaped via the critique of the online community and input from Tom).

What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? I’m also curious what kinds of music or life events lead you into becoming a recording artist, and player of so many instruments? Also, aside from recording and coordinating the works of Homoiousios, what other things do you enjoy doing? What is your profession?

When it comes to the music I enjoy listening to, it varies … I have phases. Currently I’ve been listening to a lot of Sceptiflesh and classical guitar pieces. Some months ago I was straight up listening to Death Metal nonstop … Occasionally I have my Synthwave spree. I have always been a fan of classical music and video game music (in fact I have a low-key video game inspired chiptune/DnB album called 16bits of Fury, not a lot of people like it, but I do lol – https://open.spotify.com/album/4IfvzpBcBJlcGQh0AWMnGE?si=7zFVGKkMTRemJ7hA9E1Dng). I grew up playing SNES, so those OSTs are stuck in my head, and in those there’s a lot of classical and metal – Castlevania, Megaman, MarioWorld, Donkey Kong2, etc.

Discovering that usb port in the back of my crappy amp made me become a recording artist… no story here, just curiosity and one thing leading to another.

I always admired artists who could play a bunch of instruments, so I mirrored my musicianship on them. No one famous in particular, rather random Youtube artists I watched playing all instruments and making dope music, “if they do it, I can too” I’d say to myself.

I have a pretty busy life. I work from home (for now, IT stuff), I am married, my wife and I take care of our tiny doxie dog. I have a second project, actually it’s my first, my second is Homoiousios… called The Gee J (EDM + Metal).

Aside from music, I’m also a sketch artist and an avid reader and Lego enthusiast:

My family was always very artistic, so I couldn’t have turned out any other way

It is great to hear about everything you enjoy doing and what attracted you to become a musician of many instruments! What are you plans for the rest of 2022? When do you think Parts 2 and 3 might be released? We’re really looking forward to hearing them and also listening to the series in-full and in sequence! What do you think Homoiousios will focus on once the The Rite of Lycaon works are complete?

The rest of 2022 will see lots of songs, actually… I plan to release some 15 songs till the end of the year for Homoiousios, not sure I’m gonna meet my deadlines, but that’s the plan. I know people with OCD will hate me for this, but Part 2 and 3 won’t come out consecutively. I have some 5 songs lined up already before Part 2 gets released, then Part 3 will only come out by the end of the year. The next release for this month of April is almost finished. It’s in the mixing stage, a song in French… called Outremangeur… it’s… quite brutal and being voiced by the frontwoman of the French metal band Abysses. Work work work 🙂

The Gee J – https://hyperfollow.com/thegeej
Homoiousios – https://hyperfollow.com/homoiousios