|Ever since I remember, I was surrounded by music. Rock music, mostly. During the early years of my childhood, I was brought up listening to my parents’ Supertramp, Europe, Queen, Genesis and Pink Floyd LPs. CDs were already a reality by then, but they were still too expensive we were still in the early 80s. I recall the three of us in the living room, lights out, just listening to those records or to some nice radio programs that played rock ballads and such.
Around my 8th or 9th birthday, I can’t recall for sure which, my parents bought me a small 3 octave Casio keyboard with lots of funny synthesised sounds. It was the first instrument I tried playing “for real” the very first instrument I remember “playing” was a small xylophone, when I was still a toddler, but it was more like just hitting the bars randomly with the plastic mallets. I spent hours playing with that Casio keyboard, just for the fun of discovering all the 100+ sounds it had. I never really created any music with it, but I remember trying to play Europe’s The Final Countdown, A-ha’s Take on Me or Marillion’s Pseudo Silk Kimono.
We were just entering the 90s then and my father had already started to buy some CDs occasionally. One of those CDs was Def Leppard’s 1987 iconic Hysteria. I loved (and still do today) that album and Def Leppard became my favourite band back then.
Of course, I still listened to the other bands. I remember coming home from school one day, back in 1991, and being welcomed by a loud, clear and powerful The Show Must Go On, by Queen, playing on the CD player my dad had just bought. Having a CD player at home, I was able to spend hours listening to Innuendo, Delicate Sound of Thunder, Hysteria, We Can’t Dance and another couple of great albums. Queen, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard and Genesis were my favourites back then.
I still feel sorry for not being able to attend the Genesis concert here in Portugal, to promote their We Can’t Dance album, but, either way, I was only about 9 years old at that time.
Besides, I can’t complain much. I was lucky enough to have my premiere attending a concert of my favourite band at the time. In 1993, I was a fortunate 10 and a half year old boy whose parents took him to the 7-Day Weekend Tour concert, by Def Leppard, following their 1992 Adrenalize album. And what an amazing show that was.
Later that same year, on Christmas Eve, I got the present that changed it all. My family bought me an Admira Spanish Guitar, which I still use today.
The years passed without any relevant events regarding my musical development. Only a few (frustrated) attempts at having a band I actually managed to have a rehearsal session with a friend of mine, who also had a Spanish guitar, and another colleague of ours who played the keyboards. We rehearsed over a song my guitarist friend had composed and, up till this day, I feel sorry for not remembering how the song went, since it was a great song (hat’s off to you, João Oliveira, if you ever read this) and it may never get to be listened to and enjoyed by a larger audience.
Anyway, I started working a bit more on my guitarist skills and began taking my first steps in creating some actual music, including my first lyrics. Some of those first lyrics I wrote I’m still not quite sure what to do with them, but it was back then that the first drafts of If Forever Ends Today started to take shape (including the instrumental part). I was around 15 or 16 years old back then.
Nothing much happened for the following years, except maybe for my getting to know the music of a few new (for me) bands, namely Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Threshold, some Edguy and Stratovarius, etc., all of them much heavier than what I was used to listening to. Being introduced to such virtuosos’ pieces of music as Dream Theater’s made me ‘dream’ again, or rather more willingly, of having my own band and creating my own music.
However, this is not why I started creating music in my computer.
When I first bumped across Anvil I was looking for software that would allow me to create MIDI files so that I could create MIDI versions of songs that I liked in order to use them as a ringtone for my Cell-phone. My first attempt at that was trying to recreate Mama’s (Genesis) intro beat pattern (which came out quite good actually). When I showed it to Luis he immediately got excited about the idea and started looking for software that could allow us to assign real instrument sounds to those MIDI files. Well, he succeeded at that and a whole new world of possibilities was presented to us... and here we are now =)
||When, in 2006, Bruno presented me Anvil, a small computer program designed to create midi files (or, in other words, to write music simply using little dashes), a wave of nostalgia came upon me, and took me back to the days when I, as a teen, played my tiny nylon strings guitar in a garage band, like so many other kids did, as they still do today.
Of course we started-up by playing covers, like everyone else. But even then, I already had developed a feeling of wanting to write my own stuff, and not just to play music from the bands I liked at the time. And I did write a few things, though limited to a painful self-learning process, since, together with the rest of the band members, I started with little or no formal musical training at all, although always trying not to merely imitate others, but to put something of my own into it.
We taught each other how to play, lined-up a few songs, performed two acoustic gigs for some high school friends, the band split and that was about it. Shortly after that, the simple facts of everyday’s life forced me to put my musical adventures on hold for a long, long time.
Many years later (yeah! I’m not that young anymore...) after learning how to use Anvil, rediscovering the pleasure of writing and playing music led me to buy a new guitar and to go back to the basics, this time with a renewed enthusiasm because I was now able to go a little further than before, thanks to the computer technology which allows me to write music and to listen how it would probably sound if played with several instruments I actually don’t know how to play. It’s both a challenge but also a bunch of fun, really.
Although I'm not a professional musician, I like the idea of testing my own creativity and to try and see what I can accomplish in music writing. Of course the end result would be much more fulfilling for me if I could hear it played by “real” instruments rather than by soundfont digital samples, applied to my midi files. Nevertheless, and in spite of being bound by these technical limitations, we at Flammärion try to make a serious and honest approach to our creative process. We do it for fun, but make an effort to get it right, anyway. We know we’re amateurs, mainly midi and guitar-based composers, but we think, despite that, we can try and explore many musical venues anyway.
And, because we’re amateurs and we do it because we enjoy writing and playing, the music we create is available for you to download for free in mp3 format. But please, if you do download it and use it somewhere else, we would appreciate if you’d give us credit for it. Hope you like it.
Finally, I’d like to show my public recognition for those guys who spend their time, energy and effort developing various songwriting and sound editing tools, and share it for free on the Internet. So I thank the developers of Anvil, Synthfont, Audacity, independent soundfont creators and many other computer “geeks” who made it possible for us to take pleasure and benefit from their work and to express ourselves through it. I sincerely hope they may enjoy what we’ve accomplished by using the software they’ve created.
MY MUSICAL INFLUENCES If you recognize strong influences of the seventies’ and eighties’ European prog/symphonic rock in some of our tracks, that “ancient” input will probably be my doing.
As a teenager I grew up not being that open-minded to many musical tastes of those days, actually. And some of the bands I treasure the most now I didn’t even like them at first (a good illustration of this would be Genesis in the Gabriel Era, for instance); I believe I wasn’t mature enough at the time to understand their music and the message it conveyed. Nevertheless, time went by and I slowly became more aware of the musical richness of some bands that eventually left their marks in my musical taste to this day, which, obviously, are reflected in the music I write. I divide those influences in three groups:
• The first one, the one I see as the hard core of the bands that influenced me the most Pink Floyd (post Sid Barret only, sorry!) & Roger Waters, Genesis & Peter Gabriel, Camel.
• The second group is wider and more varied. In it I put some bands that I also like, but consider they didn’t have such a strong impact on me as those from the first group The Alan Parsons Project, Queen, Supertramp (Roger Hodgson Era), Foreigner, Marillion (Fish Era), Styx, Toto, Asia (John Payne Era), Saga, Def Leppard...
• The third group marks a shift in my musical taste, after being alerted and becoming attracted to the sound of some bands in the contemporary Metal scene, mostly from Northern Europe countries, that include names such as Nightwish, Within Temptation, Edguy, Avantasia or Epica, but also, from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Kamelot, Dream Theater or Evanescence...