Victor Arduini was a founding member of Fates Warning. After leaving the band he stepped away from the music industry for a while. A few years back he returned with the band Freedoms Reign. His latest project is Arduini/Balich, that he started with Argus vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich. Their debut album is Dawn of Ages. Arduini fills us in on the album,last year’s reunion tour with Fates Warning and other subjects.
Chad Bowar: How did you put the band together?
Victor Arduini: After the tour with Freedoms Reign ended I was already beginning to create ideas for what I knew would be a solo effort. After letting the guys know what my plans were I asked Chris (Judge, Freedom Reign drummer) if he would like to work with me on it as he and I work very well together. We spent a year writing and recording his drums while I built the music at home or in studio. Most of the music was completed when I started speaking with Brian about doing vocals. We didn’t want to rush anything and it gave him plenty of time to learn the music and put his words and voice into the mix. He did a phenomenal job.
After being the lead vocalist in Freedoms Reign, was it difficult to turn over the reins to Butch?
Not at all. I was done being a singer. (laughs) It was a great experience and a lot of hard work, but in the end I grew tired of it and just wanted to concentrate on writing and pushing myself musically. This was my natural element and I’m pretty sure my vocal career has ended.
Describe the songwriting process for Dawn Of Ages.
Generally I would come down to rehearsal with riffs and rough arrangements. Chris and I would work them out together and they would grow from there. At times we would just jam them out and new ideas would come out of them. I record just about everything and would take them home to work out further in my studio, which allowed me the time and freedom to add layers and produce different sounds. Not being part of a band allowed me to be completely unrestricted in what I did which really helped this album become what it did.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I have three years of trying to remember the process, but mostly it was the creative side I had at home adding layers and arranging things. Songs like “Beyond the Barricade” were very basic in the beginning until I began putting in all the different things that turned it into the epic it is. Some nights I’d just pick up the guitar and start playing along and some very col things would come out of it. Some of them I still have no idea where they came from..
How did you approach recording the cover songs that appear on the bonus edition?
Brian and I were given the opportunity to release it as a vinyl and we had too much music for a single LP so we either had to cut something out or add a few more as a double LP. We began throwing ideas back and forth and came up with these three. I remember when I went down to see Brian very early on we were driving in his car listening to Uriah Heep. He began singing to “Sunrise” and I was floored. Brian suggested The Beau Brummels tune (“Wolf Of Velvet Fortune”) which I found very unique. The Sabbath tune (“After All (The Dead)”) was just the right mix of both our strengths and a great way to end it all.
What has the early response to the album been like, and how does that affect your expectations?
I really have been blown away by the many nice comments and reviews. When I was making it I just hoped people would really listen and hear what was going on and hopefully dig it. The reviews have been detailed track by track and I couldn’t be happier with their interpretations. We are both very grateful for all the interest and support.
You have an album release party coming up. Are there plans to do more shows/tours?
There are not any plans at this moment to do any shows. Remember, there really isn’t a band and I’d have to put one together to learn all the different parts going on. I’d love to play the album out live especially to bring it overseas where our music is better received and the music scene is very strong. Brian has toured there many times successfully and his return together could spark some additional interest. We’ll see how things go.
What drew you back into the music business a few years back after considerable time on the sidelines?
For a while I was completely out of the metal scene. My life had gone in different directions and my love of music goes far deeper than just metal. I was playing in a great classic rock band locally and after a while began to feel the need to get creative on my own. I started playing more jam type stuff which generally was heavier and improvised. I also was asked to produce my friend’s demo which eventually led to me me joining as a singer/guitarist (Free Reign).
We did some shows and then began working together on new music which became Freedoms Reign. I was very involved in the writing/recording aspect and that experience really got me back into my love of metal again. But as I always have I started checking out new bands in the underground and realized just how much great music is out there and it influenced me to seriously begin writing/playing which led me to this album.
Do your co-workers at your day job know about your other life as a musician?
Yes they do. Except for one guy (another musician), I don’t think they truly would understand the music that I play. That’s cool because I’m in a different place mentally at work as a nurse.
Tell us about the band Entierro that you recently joined.
Entierro is one of Connecticut’s only doom influenced metal acts. I was asked if I’d like to play with them when one of their guitarists moved out of state. I was already a true fan and it sounded like a great way to get back into rehearsing/writing with other great musicians and get out playing live. We have been working out a lot of songs they already had started for their next album and I’m just trying to be a good complement to their style while adding a thing or two here and there to the songs. It’s sounding great and we hope to get it recorded by this summer. The music is very heavy but also rocks hard. I’m enjoying just being a guitarist and not having to be a leader or frontman.
Who are some guitarists of the younger generation that impress you?
There’s so many out there now I really don’t worship guitarist like I did in the days of Blackmore, Iommi, Page, Hendrix… I’m more into band that make great music together and a guitarist that speaks to me with their riffs, tone and style. Weedpecker is a great band and I just started getting into Sungrazer. I will say I’m a huge fan of Mark Tremonti with both Alter Bridge and his Tremonti project. He is just amazing. (although I never liked Creed )
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
The past week I’ve been listening to Sungrazer –Mirador, Weedpecker, Glowsun – The Sunderling, Wo Fat – The Black Code. Mostly doom/stoner stuff, which is always my go to.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I just would like to thank everyone who has been following our release and the kind feedback you have given us. If you haven’t heard it yet give it a listen if you can and find us on Facebook to let us know what you think. Thanks for the great interview.
(interview published February 24, 2017)