Interview: Joe Dragich, Bryan Guzman & Juan Hinojosa of Shaping the Legacy

BearlySinister: Can you start off by introducing yourself(ves) and your role in the band?

Joe Dragich – Guitar/Clean Vocals 
Bryan Guzman – Guitar
Juan Hinojosa – Drums 
Drew Buckner – Vocals (Drew lives in Houston so is not a part of this interview)
BearlySinister: How did you come up with the name Shaping the Legacy and how did you know that it would stick?

Collective: Our original vocalist and Joe sat together and just brainstormed cool-sounding words haha. That, in conjunction with an online word generator, we came up with the name. It sounded epic to us, so we went with it, and it has a lot of meaning to us now. 
BearlySinister: You just released your first new single, “Ethereal” from your forthcoming album, Colors of Infinity. This is your first release with your new vocalist Drew Buckner, so let’s start with that. How many vocalists did you audition before you decided Drew was the perfect fit and how did you know he was right?

Collective: Oh boy, this is a great question. We literally had over 100 people contact us about the position throughout 2015 and early 2016! Not all of them actually got around to sending in a tryout, some claimed to be interested and backed out last minute, and many of them weren’t what we were looking for at the time, being that we wanted a vocalist who could sing and scream. One of our producers recommended we give Drew a shot, he recorded a tryout clip, and we decided to have Joe do the clean vocals like he had on the EP. Drew was too good to pass up, and we needed to get new vocals on the album, so everything kind of worked out. We knew he’d be a perfect fit because of the dexterity behind his voice, and his general work ethic and passion for music. It’s something we all share as a band.

BearlySinister: What’s the story behind “Ethereal” and who created the lyric video for the track?

Collective: Ethereal is all about humanity destroying itself, and the Earth we inhabit, almost treating it as though it’s just an ethereal presence that we don’t feel for or deeply care about. It also tells of how we can leave our self-destructive ways behind us, and move forward to a brighter future. The video was created by Cody Doyle, who is the in-house artist at our management company, CB Entertainment. 

BearlySinister: Colors of Infinity has been a long time coming. There have been a ton of setbacks but, given the sound of “Ethereal” it seems that the wait is worth it. What can you tell us about the writing process for the album and how were you influenced while writing it?

Collective: Well, after we won the Unsigned Artist of the Month competition by Artery Recordings for January 2015, we earned the opportunity to speak with the now president, Shan Dan Horan. He gave us great advice, being that he is well-versed in the music industry, and we followed it by writing an LP instead of writing a second EP. All this inspired us to work harder than ever on writing our first full-length. During the writing process, we spent a ton of time writing and re-writing riffs, songs, drum parts, everything. Even through our many setbacks, we heavily scrutinized every aspect of our music. We were very hard on ourselves to make sure that our debut would be impactful. 

BearlySinister: What has shifted within the band and the way you operate, other than the obvious addition of a new vocalist?

Collective: Since we’ve gotten our wheels turning again by recording this album, playing shows, signing with CB Entertainment, and releasing a single, we’ve just generally bolstered our professionalism. 

BearlySinister: Are you planning on releasing any more singles or possibly a music video before the final release?

Collective: We definitely plan on releasing a music video for our next single before we release the album. We’re still deciding on which song, and what the concept will be, but hopefully it will happen before summertime. 

BearlySinister: How many tracks are expected to be on Colors of Infinity?

Collective: There will be 10 full songs, with an intro track at the beginning of the album

BearlySinister: I’m really intrigued by the artwork for the album, which was revealed today, along with the single. Who created the artwork and what’s the story behind it?

Collective: The artwork was created by an Italian artist by the name of Marco Maldarella. Joe noticed some of his work that was posted by a record label on Facebook, and he contacted him about doing ours. We had a spacey, futuristic, and abstract concept in mind that we thought he could portray, and we took a chance on him after just stumbling upon him. We’re very satisfied with the outcome, and how professional Marco was during the process. We will definitely be going back to him for future artwork. 

BearlySinister: Is Colors of Infinity a concept album or is it a collection of songs with a common theme (s)?

Collective: It’s definitely a collection of songs with a common theme, again with a futuristic and abstract tone. The theme is essentially describing a dystopian planet Earth in which humanity has nearly destroyed itself. It goes on to describe stories of overcoming our self-destruction, through scientific progress, and evolution from bio-organisms to super-intelligent cyborgs. It also lays out visions of these highly advanced beings leaving Earth and exploring and inhabiting the cosmos.  

BearlySinister: Were there any tracks on the album that you found difficult to write, either lyrically or musically? Can you tell us why?

Collective: Musically, this album was quite a challenge, because we were reinventing our sound, while trying to stay out of the box and remain relevant. Lyrically it was also challenging, because we had to come up with a theme to match the music, in spite of none of us being lyricists or seasoned vocalists. 

BearlySinister: What was your favorite track to either write or record (or both?)

Juan: I enjoyed Endeavors–playing it live, recording it, or even just during practice, it’s a lot of fun to play.  

Joe: I really loved working on Etherial I think. That song just came together so naturally and powerfully. Bryan and I played a very equal role in writing riffs and leads, and I always love when we collaborate and make things work so smoothly, with each of us having a strong impact on the song’s direction. 

Bryan: Etherial, in general, was a fun song to write. There were some parts in the song that changed how we approached writing the rest of the the album. It really helped us develop our sound. 

BearlySinister: Let’s get to know YOU a little bit more: Were you self-taught as a musician or did you have lessons? Do you play other instruments?

Juan: I’m self-taught. The only proper training I’ve had was through high school marching band. I play many instruments, but none nearly as well as I play drums.

Joe: I’m self-taught as well. I’ve learned different techniques and approaches to guitar mostly through online videos, but otherwise I have no formal training or education in music. I literally cannot play anything else besides guitar/bass.
Bryan: I taught myself a fair amount of music theory, but overall my approach to guitar was influenced by Camfrog players back in the early 2000’s. Also, I learned a lot from instructional videos by Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, Marshall Harrison, and many other great guitar players. I don’t play any other instruments beside guitar and bass.

BearlySinister: 10-year anniversary tours where albums are played in their entirety have become a massive thing as of late. Assuming you haven’t already had it happen… what band would you want to see perform your favorite album in its entirety and why did it have such a huge impact on you?

Bryan: I would have Pantera play their album Great Southern Trendkill, mostly because they honestly changed what I wanted to be in life, and it is my favorite album by them. 

Joe: This is tough, but the first album that comes to mind is Issues by Korn. I would want to relive how I felt when I listened to it as a kid, remembering how it solidified my love for metal and music in general. It was a very pivotal album in my life. 
Juan: All Shall Perish – The Price of Existence. That album is nostalgic for me, because I always listened to it when I was starting out as a drummer, and it made me always want to get better and be like their drummer. 

BearlySinister: Shaping the Legacy is told that they have an unlimited, no-genre restriction budget to build their ultimate headlining tour package/festival. Choose a minimum of 5 or a maximum of 15 bands that you would put on the tour and, if you wish, elaborate on why you would choose them?

Collective: Erra, Soilwork, Dreamshade, Intervals, Periphery, Protest the Hero, Animals as Leaders, Whitechapel, After the Burial, Born of Osiris, Scar Symmetry, Veil of Maya, All Shall Perish, Korn, Killswitch Engage. All of these bands have greatly influenced at least one of our lives, in our musical endeavors. 

BearlySinister: This is much like the previous question except, this time, we’re looking for your ultimate dream package as a fan. The rules here are the same BUT (as an added twist) the bands can be either together or not.  The same goes for band members, dead or alive and from any era/genre of music.

Bryan: Pantera, Necrophagist, Scar Symmetry, Iced Earth with Matt Barlow, Children of Bodom

Juan: All Shall Perish, Pantera, Dirty Loops, Periphery, Machine Head.
Joe: Pantera, In Flames, Killswitch Engage, Erra, Scar Symmetry with Christian Alvestam.

BearlySinister: Finally, to end this series of questioning: Pick your ultimate local or unsigned tour package… 5-10 bands to go on a national tour with you. I’m looking for bands that you’ve heard that you KNOW are going to blow up but maybe people haven’t really heard much of yet.

Collective: Halogen, Xurl, Lifelike, Cold Casket, Agamemnon, Taken By Tides, Empty My Lungs. These are just a few bands that happen to stand out, that we’ve had the opportunity to play with, having not been in the scene for very long. 

BearlySinister: What would you be doing if not for playing music? What is your dream job, outside of being a touring musician?

Juan: I would probably be playing some kind of sport somewhere. Outside of music, I enjoy playing sports. 

Bryan: I’d probably be doing graphic design while studying for an engineering degree. 
Joe: I have always been passionate about medicine, and seriously considered trying to be a doctor of some sort. I also really love art. Drawing was my first passion in life, so maybe I’d be doing something with that.

BearlySinister: What can we expect in terms of touring for Shaping the Legacy? Do you already have some tours lined up or announced?

Collective: We’re currently booking our first short tour through the Midwest and back, and we’re looking to get some longer tours to the coasts in summer and fall. 

BearlySinister: Finally: When can we expect Colors of Infinity and will pre-orders for the album be going live soon? Will there be merch bundles, physical CDs, etc?

Collective: We don’t have a release date as of yet, but we will probably have pre-orders, and will definitely have merch bundles and physical and digital albums.

BearlySinister: Thank you for doing this with me. I know you guys are busy preparing all the finer details and I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedules to answer these questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers, your fans and the general public?

Closing: Thanks for all the kind words about our band and music, and for making this release so awesome! Keep your eyes peeled for an album release date, another single with a music video, and a tour coming to a city near you! Also, thank you to Barrett Stephens and New Transcendence for giving us the opportunity to do this interview, and to spread the word about Shaping the Legacy.


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