Have any of you played in other bands? Yes. Ever since I was in middle school I’ve been in a number of different bands. Most recently, I played guitar in the now defunct Florida-based progressive rock band The Oracle, later Spent, and also joined a Jethro Tull Tribute band called This Was as a bass player, which was a lot of fun. The drummer Jorge is a very seasoned guy who has also played in a wide variety of acts, which has taken him to share the stage with Paul Di’Anno of Iron Maiden fame, and Ripper Owens who briefly sang in Judas Priest. Our guest flute player John Pomeroy sang and played flute in the Jethro Tull tribute band I mentioned, as through the years he has been in numerous classic and progressive rock bands in Naples, Florida. Also guesting is Eric Gillette, who is mixing and mastering the album, and contributing a couple of epic lead guitar parts. Eric is an incredibly gifted musician. He plays with The Neal Morse Band, he has amazingly haunting solo material, and was part of Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress.
How is it that you started playing music? At a very early age. I started playing guitar, mostly learning Beatles and Rolling Stones songs. Then bands such as Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and Jethro Tull swept me off my feet, and being a very unstructured person by nature, I was enthralled by the free-style musical journey these bands took the listener into. Chris Squire of Yes, and Geddy Lee of Rush inspired me to pick up the bass. In all fairness, also Paul McCartney and Gene Simmons, with their melodic string quartet-type bass lines. I play some keyboards also, mostly chords, and soundscapes. It would be amazing to include a more season keyboard player on the next Lazleitt release.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
Lazleitt’s upcoming release “On The Brink” consists of:
Alex Lazcano - Guitars, bass, keyboards, mellotron, and vocals
Jorge C. Cuyas - Drums
Special guests on this album:
Eric Gillette - Lead guitar, mixing and mastering
John Pomeroy - Flute
Have you had other previous members? No Lazleitt previous members, but I’m hoping to have future guest appearances and collaborators, very much along the lines of projects such as Avantasia and Ayreon.
Did you make music even when you were young? Absolutely, every since I remember I have been making up melodies, lyrics, etc. It wasn’t until I started playing guitar that I started formally writing. I have also delved in composing for orchestra, and at a very early age composed an opera called “The Miser”, based on Moliere’s play of the same name.
Where are you from? Beautiful Washington, DC.
What year did the band form? Lazleitt started as a musical project early last year. I reached out to Jorge to play all the drum parts, and together we wrote what is now a suite in 13 movements called “On The Brink”, which will be released this fall. With the rough demo finished, I reached out to Eric Gillette who agreed to contribute a couple epic guitar solos, and also to mix and master the project. John Pomeroy’s flute part made it onto the track in the nick of time, as he had numerous artistic projects going on over the last year.
What's your style of genre? Progressive Rock, with hints of Psychedelic Rock and Folk. Some people have described some Lazleitt passages as medieval-sounding.
What inspires you? Everything and anything! Music is an unspeakable gift that touches pulls people’s heartstrings in ways we can’t even describe. So, good music is always an inspiration. I like reading, so good books are always inspiring. A nice walk around the city, a good conversation, interesting people are always a source of inspiration.
How often and where do you rehearse? Everyday, whether it is with other musicians or by myself, rehearsals happen every day.
How have you developed since you started with the music? Music is the ultimate therapy and the ultimate primal scream. For many people it is truly cathartic. I think music has kept me at peace and stress-free. Learning every day, and overcoming challenges makes you a better person than who you were yesterday. It stretches your mind in many different ways, and it also keeps it sharp. Everyday should count. Everyone should strive to be a better person everyday, musically, spiritually, philosophically, and otherwise.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Yes. I am working on other musical projects outside of Lazleitt. I am also trying to put together a small renaissance ensemble in the vein of Blackmore’s Night.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Not at the moment. I am open to anything, but I am not actively looking.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? The music industry has changed in so many ways. Back in the day, a band needed the support of a label, financially and logistically. Studio time was extremely expensive. I am looking forward to working with Eric Gillette’s production company for distribution.
What made you decide to make this music? It happens organically, even if I didn’t want to. I think everyone should just follow their heart and do what makes them happy. Sometimes striving for perfection or waiting for the “right moment” can be the biggest hinderance to do something good, and fun.
What are your songs about? Mostly about positive thinking. Lazleitt’s debut album “On The Brink” uses a door as a metaphor to step outside your comfort zone, make magic happen, overcoming your fears and take that step you need to take to get to the next level. As the track progresses across 37 minutes, it takes the listener on a journey across different places and perspectives around the same subject matter, and it shows the explores the fears, the conquests, the evolution, the questions that may come up. It is built around a recurring heroic motif that keeps coming back in different keys, which signifies “one more battle won”.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? I do most of the composing of the music and write all the lyrics. That is not to say that in the future that won’t change. I am looking forward to collaborating with other songwriters/composer, and most importantly lyricists.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? I write all the music first, typically around a vocal melody and a chord progression, or a riff. The lyrics are always a work in progress. They are never final until it finally comes down to recording the vocals. Every once in a while a lyric may come up without music, or at the same time.
Do you compose in a certain environment? Mostly at home, but it can also be on the train, while driving, while walking… it can happen anywhere, and I use the voice memo app on my phone to record the ideas, typically a vocal melody.
Have you done any covers live? Only original music, but I am open to playing or recording a good rendition of a song I like.
What language do you sing in? English.
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? That is yet to be determined… if Lazleitt hits the stage. I’d love to see something like Ayreon Universe happening.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? Progressive Rock fans are the most loyal in the world. 20 to 65, if I had to make a guess.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? Stay tuned. Right now we are focused on the release, but merchandise will follow.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Personally, I still buy the CD. Then rip it to my computer and download it to my phone. I don’t like to rely on clouds and schmouds and pop corn farts, as Gene Simmons said. I still like the idea of ‘owning’ a physical medium, looking at the cover art, reading the lyrics, the band’s notes, the people involved. In the progressive rock genre the imagery and the lyrics are an important part of the experience.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? It absolutely has. I think it’s helter-skelter now, there is no structure. In many cases there is no incentive for the artist to produce new material.
What do you think of my work? I love the blog. It is great to discover new music and have a look into the musician’s mind.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? It is always good to get the word out there. Anything that helps an artist reach new audiences that would not be reached otherwise is awesome.
Do you have any role models or idols? I don’t have idols. I see other artists and musicians as human beings and never indulge in flattery. I am not star-struck, generally, unless I see Paul McCartney or Keith Richards. Having said that, I do appreciate and admire talent. In today’s music world, people like Roine Stolt, Neal Morse, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Tobias Sammet, Mike Portnoy, and Eric Gillette have my complete musical admiration. Also Jon Anderson of Yes, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Steve Hackett, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie just to name a few.
Why do you think that they exist? That is a great question. Makes me think that perhaps there is a God after all.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? Both. I think music is timeless. I could not care less whether a band was around in the 60s or it’s up and coming. As long as the sound is timeless. Older bands outnumber newer bands in my book only by probability. I am always open, though, to check out new material.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Progressive Rock is not mainstream. The average listener will never understand a 37-minute song. Self-appointed experts constantly preach formulaic ways to write songs, chord changes, structure (A B A B C B), etc. Shows like American Idol and The Voice and their melismatic vocal excessed have brought about a new paradigm as to what constitutes a good singer. Can you imagine a young Mick Jagger or David Bowie being picked apart by the likes of Simon Cowell? Personally, I don’t consider myself a singer, I happen to sing the songs I write out of necessity. On the other hand, an excessively ornate and melismatic singer doing “Amazing Grace” for the millionth time may get more attention that the talented guy or girl songwriter singing a brilliant song with a “conservative” no-frills voice.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Stick-to-it-iveness goes a long way.
How do you get psyched for a gig? Most of my gigs nowadays are studio sessions. I get psyched just being fortunate enough to play music.
Do you have any new material? Lazleitt’s new release “On The Brink” is coming up in the fall of 2018. I am already working on the follow up to that.
What are your web sites? https://www.facebook.com/lazleitt
How can people reach you? They can message me through the Facebook page or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your plans for the future? Continue to making music. I am looking forward to Lazleitt’s release this fall, while working on the follow up for next year. I am also looking forward to being involved in other musical projects and continuing to do studio sessions.
Do you have something to add? Please stay tuned for Lazleitt’s release “On The Brink” this fall, and thanks for the opportunity to talk to you!