HUGH BALLESTA - BLACK LOTUS


💿 Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal Hug Ballesta of BLACK LOTUS ! Welcome!! Thanks, it’s also a pleasure being interviewed by such a remarkable site like yours. 💿 Can you tell us somethin’ about the birth of your band? When is this all begun? And which bands have influenced you? Well, since my school days I have always tried to play in hard rock and metal bands which was the music I grew up with. Then in my late twenties I lost a little interest and I disconnected for a while from music as an interpreter. Those days I was very much into extreme metal as a listener. Then the Stoner Rock phenomenon exploded in the 2000's and it represented a breath of fresh air. As a musician, until then I had always been more interested in the Metal classics and Hard Rock, but somehow Stoner Rock assimilated the Grunge of the 90's and recovered the spirit of the original metal as Black Sabbath. This regained my interest in playing music again. Over the next years I tried to find a suitable band for me, where I could contribute and have fun. I first joined a Stoner Metal band (Dolmenn) to reconnect with my instrument. I met Charlie Gotaskull there. But I didn’t share the leader’s view when facing the recording, and together with other personal reasons, made me leave in a friendly way. Later I was involved in an attempt to reboot a local southern metal band called Flying Renos, but that did not fly either. So around 2015 I started to look for people to create my own project which could agglutinate my musical interests. Then Charlie decided to leave Dolmenn as well, and I proposed him to take part of the project. It took us a long time to find Cristian Vil, who started only as a bass player. For our first demo version of “Protective Fire” I decided to record the vocals because back then Cristian didn’t even consider taking the vocalist role. But after that initial recording, and with the band struggling to find a suitable vocalist, he gave it a try and it was a surprise even for himself, because there was a great singer hidden some place inside him...hahaha. I now happily take on the background vocals and only take the lead on “Protective Fire”. 💿 “SONS OF SATURN”, your new album, is “hot’n’ready” and will be out from Oct 19th!. Can you tell us somethin’about its composition process? Are you satisfied about this platter? We have the privilege to listening to it in preview and we were very impressed! Glad you liked it! We are pretty happy with the result. I think we have achieved a great sound at least taking into account that it was a self-produced recording. About our creative process, I think it reflects the variety of tastes in the band, bringing together the elements that constitute our personal style. Our main influence is obviously Black Sabbath in all of its incarnations, the hard and heavy classics as well as the first extreme metal and occult bands like Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, Candlemass, Pentagram, etc. Besides Charlie is a big fan of the alternative rock and metal from the nineties such as Alice in Chains, The Cult, the main stoner rock bands and many more. And Cristian loves gothic and extreme metal as well as the sludge and post metal bands such Paradise Lost, Neurosis, Isis, etc. So with all those tastes, and having this in mind, our creative process starts with someone bringing a pair of riffs or an idea for a song, and then we all work on it in the rehearsal room. There are two exceptions to this, as Cristian has written almost entirely a pair of songs in the album, "Kings" and "The Sandstorm". He has a big capacity for writing music, but his compositions can be eclectic and some go beyond the Black Lotus concept. Charlie does a lot of work as a riff developer and melody maker, and has written a lot of the music in the album. My role is to act as a catalyst, to try and fit all those influences and musical work in the Black Lotus concept, whilst contributing to composition and lyrics. I try to be the lead of the "orchestra”. It is sometimes hard as we all have strong personalities and opinions, but I am a stubborn bastard and always manage to have us all sharing a common view. At least I think I work hard to make all feel comfortable. Anyway, at the end we all give something up for the benefit of the band.

💿 The real “news” in music industry is the return of vinyl; What’s you’re feeling about this classic format and the current music “business”? I love the vinyl format, I am a vinyl record collector myself, and it is awesome to be able to find again all the classics in this format. In some way I think it revalues the music as a complete art. During my childhood, the most I could achieve was some vinyl from my parents or my older sister. I remember the first time I heard the "seventh son" from the Maidens and looking at the details of the cover, which carried me to a magic and mysterious world. So with the original formats and specially the vinyl format I think we can make this possible again for new listeners. Overcoming the current age of internet and the "too many things available in one click" that make it hard for the new generations to appreciate musical works and the great effort behind them, specially for the independent artists. In our case we have tried to do a complete work to thrill the listener and make him or her appreciate the album in its entirety. For the moment we are releasing the album in digipack CD format, but we are working hard to find a deal to release it also in vinyl ... I have taken that as a personal challenge. About the music business, well I think that the "Majors" are totally lost and I don't expect much as a consumer neither as an interpreter. Just bull☆hit. And about metal and other independent record labels, I think they should offer excellence in all of their artistic proposals to distinguish themselves from the garbage that mainstream companies offer, and take care of their audience and not abuse them. 💿 Your new album will be out via INVERSE RECORDS; Can you tell us somethin’ about relationships with them? The main man behind INVERSE is Joni Kantoniemi from Finland. We don't know yet exactly how he found us. We were looking for a record label to release our first album and at one point he contacted us to make us an offer to release the album through his label. We were considering different options, but finally we found that Joni's offer was the best for us. He is a metal enthusiast, and the first was that he enjoys our music, which was the main reason. He is doing a great job so far. 💿 Can you tell us somethin’ about your live projects? So far as the original line-up we have done a few live acts, but recently a new guy, Caio Pastore, has joined the band. He is working on guitars together with Charlie to enrich our live acts. And I think that in the future he has a lot to say also in the creative process, he is a rough diamond. On the other hand, we are planning some gigs following the album release date, and we are working so that the metal festivals and promoters take us into account in their schedules. We are open and willing to receive offers. 💿 We love the cover of your album! Who made it? The author is Solo Macello, an Italian guy with a huge taste in pulp art and a metal fan. He has a fresh style we thought could fit in the "Sons of Saturn" theme. We wanted to express the concept and the epic of the song in the album artwork and we think he achieved it by far. He is doing a lot of works for other bands such as Black Rainbows, Sleep, High on fire, Nebula etc. and gig posters for a lot of stoner and metal acts. We hope we can work with him again in the future. 💿 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on Hardrockheavymetal!

Thank you for your interest and your kind words about our music. See you soon!

#BLACKLOTUS

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