[Interview] Exclusive interview with Hamlet (Transport Aerian)

Dear readers, we are pleased to offer you the interview with Hamlet, the mind behind the Transport Aerian project who released the new album “Skywound” via Melodic Revolution Records on October 29, 2021.

> Hi Hamlet, how are you?

Doing fine, thank you! Perhaps, too much work, but it’s a lot better than having nothing to do!

> You are a composer, multi-instrumentalist and do you sing, when and how was your passion for music born?

I’ve been exposed to all sorts of music since I was a kid, music would always play in our home, regardless of it were good or bad times, and I always felt a certain fascination with it, but at that time it felt like music is some kind of magic impossible to reproduce – a feeling became even stronger when I got into avant-garde and progressive rock at the age of 12, so while I was all into absorbing it, I never felt I could be a part of it – no music school, for instance.
But then I stumbled upon a very curious cultural movement of so-called Siberian underground punk: a raw, primitive and completely senseless merge of noise-rock and the absurdist theater – and it changed my perspectives to art entirely, as I realized that essentially music is an instrument of conveying the message with the form serving the message. The narrow, stripped-down arrangements of amateur song-writers broke down what I felt was impossible
and I found a starting point. I was 13. The next few years I spent learning to play various instruments, to sing, and,
perhaps, most importantly, to produce and to record – a skill that eventually turned into my profession and is still very practical to have under the belt! As I was studying language and literature later on, and was rather active in
local poetic circles, my affinity to writing and the ability to make music with a concept in mind, rather than starting with simple riff structures – helped me to easily find my ways around more sophisticated projects, which inevitably
led towards the progressive rock stage. So it all came up naturally.

> Transport Aerian offers a Prog sound with many facets, how did the project come about?

I’ve always been fairly active working with many different projects, ranging from pop to hard rock to more extreme forms of avant-garde, but at the certain point I felt I needed a project which would be able to fasilitate my poetic ideas in the most free form possible, at the same time, hosting the musical ideas of other artists, enriching and expanding my vision. So I made Transport Aerian to make music I want – currently it is a band effort, because I think I’ve finally found a team of musicians whose live performance showcases the best of what Transport Aerian had to offer so far.

I don’t quite like Prog definition. Any genre is a burden, a necessery evil when it comes down to marketing but even then I’d rather refer to Transport Aerian as avant-garde or, occasionally, Rock In Opposition – as I feel somewhat
closer to these movements ideologically. Prog has become a rather restricting genre niche, serving a very particular type of sound and a very limited group of artists, most of which don’t quite seem to evolve past their own – often
genious – shadows.

> Your sound is very varied, what are your main influences?

I don’t think I can name an influence. I approach making music through the scope of musical and literary vocabulary – what has been done so far is rich with technical elements, a puzzle of approaches and methods that should be studied in order to be reassembled but being directly influenced by anything aside from life itself is something to avoid. For Skywound a lot was brought in by the team of musicians who recorded and co-wrote it, no doubt, having very different background than me.

> You have just released “Skywound” what themes does the album deal with?

It is a concept album, whose story revolved around the loving couple of two ordinary people, sitting at their home together and remembering various places and times, while waiting for the world to end – and hoping to still be able to find each other in the afterlife – without any knowledge whether there is even such a thing. It also deals with two biggest taboos of independent music: politics and (a lack of) spirituality. Addressing such sensitive topics from the perspective of protagonists – an ordinary couple caught in the inevitably tragic events thrown upon them by the world on the brink of the catastrophe – enables a far more open and critical position towards both. In a nutshell, this is the album about you and me, here and now.

> Regarding the musical part, how would you describe the album?

It’s just as full of references to the existing progressive rock – or rather contemporary music in general – as the lyrics are with the references to the cultural, political and literature events of the last few decades. We intentionally made an album that could have been released at any epoch of rock music to emphasize the idea of timelessness. Some critics noted a slightly retrograde production, but it has elements of more contemporary Bristol sound or tilts into alternative rock of last two decades, and some elements of contemporary progressive rock too. We think such sound helps highlighting the concept of our album. And it’s seamless, with songs flowing into each other with some help of Rachel Bauer’s narration and Stefan Boeyken’s intermezzos.

> Other guests artists are present, as in previous works, how do they
contribute to the sound of the group?

There are no guests this time. Transport Aerian has been reformed into an actual band with a steady line up to perform live and we made this album together. The current Transport Aerian line up consists of contemporary composer and pianist Umut Eldem, a young drumming beast Paul De Smet and my long-term collaborator Stefan Boeykens on a guitar – wouldn’t ever want to work with another guitar player! This team is everything I could
dream of and more. On Skywound, Rachel Bauer also helped with female vocals and narration but she is not a part of the live band.

> Many fans and readers are wondering if there will be a chance to hear the new release live, are there any plans for it?

We are playing a lot in Belgium this and next year, but we are hoping to expand our coverage to the nearby countries in 2022 and onwards to 2023 if the pandemic allows. It’s slightly unpredictable nowadays, so long-term planning is a mission impossible. Yet Skywound has already been taken on a road and we enjoy incredibly positive feedback.

> The project was born in the early 2000s, how has the sound of the project evolved since then?

I change it drastically from album to album, depending on how I want it to sound. I don’t know if I can describe each in terms of genres or ‘sound-likes’, but they’re very different in all aspects, from music to visual side to the names of artists guesting. At this moment – given that I decided to reform it into an actual band – group effort and internal dynamics make an enourmous difference.

> The music market is constantly changing, what would you recommend to young artists wishing to establish themselves in the Prog scene?

I think to each their own, and the history knows the most unlikely examples of success, on any scene, Prog included! So I can’t tell anyone what is the best approach. However, I can with all the responsibilty tell you what any starting
artist should not do. Do not chase trends. Do not think that your music can be discovered if you don’t actively market and promote it. Do not think that anything at all can emerge without a direction – jamming in your garage is not an effective way of songwriting. And for God’s sake stop thinking that you can reach the perfection ‘some day’ and on that day, you’d finally release The Big Wonder Hit. Nobody’s perfect, even the biggest and most technically proficient artists learn and practice every day – yet they showcase, push and let heard what they have. Nothing ever happens if you don’t make it happen, so go ahead and make it happen.

> The last question as usual in our webzine I leave it free to be able to give you the opportunity to talk about any topic not covered in the previous questions.

That would be too much or nothing, so I just wish you all out there to be safe, sane, and don’t forget to give your beloved a good hug. You never know which time is the last time – so treasure the day, generate, and receive joy.
Oh, and don’t let the idiotic conspiracies and social media infest your mind!

I thank Hamlet for the availability and the time dedicated to this interview, concluding by wishing him the best for the continuation of his artistic

Thank you too!

Transport Aerian |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Melodic Revolution Records |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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