Photos: Marc Okubo’s take on Heavy Music isn’t as Metal as you think, he thinks Jazz

Denver — Marc Okubo, guitarist of Veil of Maya, thinks of Heavy Music wisely, he’s an evolutionist in genre. Heavy Music can require an acute lens, otherwise a blind eye will not see the genius. It’s played by musicians with great technical skill and often incredible knowledge of music theory. If you’re a fan, you get it, you love it, it makes you think.

“There’s this Jazz artist named Tigran Hamasyan that I’m like really really into. I’ve been keeping up with him for the last few years, I just feel like everything he touches is incredible. There haven’t been many artists that have hit me like that” Marc’s influences are vast, but asked about current inspiration he jumped right into talking about Jazz as a major influence on him as a musician.

“We want our albums to have dynamics on it and have different sounding songs on it. We want to have a Death Metal song, we want to have a singing song, we want to have songs that mix them together,” Marc said.

Look at Veil of Maya with a macro focus, closely, you see nuance. Marc had many influences growing up in Chicago, “I was in Jazz band growing up, I was really into Fusion Jazz like John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock. I got really into Death Metal too. I started to go to Death Metal shows. We started a Melodic Death Metal band in High School. We played with Hardcore bands and I would see people would go crazy for these Hardcore bands. I wanted that energy. At the same time, I really liked Death Metal. I just started writing songs that were based around the two. It was pretty much my environment I guess.”

He’s a heavy guy whose band has seen some change. Heavy music, metal, often has characteristics that some will pass over quickly as noise. Wrap your mind around these small details that make Veil of Maya interesting. Singer Lukas Magyar brings a “clean vocal,” verses heavy screaming some equate to metal, to the band. Bassist Danny Hauser plays a seven string bass up from the traditional four string. Their music is often categorized as “Djent.” If you hear Marc’s interests, Jazz music in particular, he’s a constant in Veil of Maya from the beginning in 2004 with drummer Sam Applebaum. Their vocal style early on with singer Adam Clemans and the newer “clean” style with Lukas brought them a great deal of attention.

“We started as a metal band, we still consider ourselves a metal band. None of us are afraid to show other sides of ourselves as long as it still sounds like the same band. We want to stay true to what we started, but we want to grow and show all the different kinds of music we can bring to the table,” Marc said.

If you’re a fan of Heavy Music, you’re thankful for the thought musicians like Marc put in their music and the intelligence to leave some things out. You’re thankful for bands like VoM who do more than blast chords and pound double bass, but let’s be honest, you’re happy when they blast guitar and pound double bass drum because your heart pumps faster with the beat. Now wrap your mind around Jazz, Funk, R&B and a concept Like The Who’s Tommy or Queensrÿche’s Operation Mindcrime in Heavy Music.

“I like seeing the audience interacting with us and that’s what drives me on stage.” He enjoys the first three songs of the set including “Punisher.” They’re working in the new songs from False Idol now and will continue to play and put on a great show for years to come.

If you’re into music that makes you think, Veil of Maya is interesting. You absorb a story like False Idol as a concept record or an audio book with double bass drum. Give it a chance. Climb on your coffee table and jump off on a down strum. If you’re alone on a weekend morning listening guiltlessly, stream Veil of Maya, don’t explain it to your friends. Don’t compare it, or try to be so metal you categorize it. Just filter it from your ears to your brain and let the thoughtfulness seep, like the coffee in your veins.