Interviewer: Rodrigo Jimenez R.
November 2003

  • Let's start, how and when born the musical project called VLE?

  • Basically a friend of mine heard a few of my pieces and encouraged me to let others hear it. It wasn't until many years later one night in the summer of 2001 while feeling bored and curious that I decided to put a song up on MP3.com. After receiving a lot of positive feedback and requests for more music, VLE was finally realized. So, everything happened and continues to go along as I receive energy from the people.

  • I guess you have been asked a lot of times about what V.L.E. means, please explain us.

  • The letters VLE are taken from the phrase the eViL onE. Unfortunately, I have come across many frightened people that like to judge me. They see me as this evil dark individual... and for a while I started to beleive this myself. I began signing then end of my letters with ~the eViL onE~ as a sort of sarcastic mocking. So when I first released this music I decided that I would just refer to myself as ~the VLE~ and called the project VLE. The music is just a reflection of this misinterpretation... the illusion as seen through eyes of the flesh. In the end, VLE is just a Virtual Listening Experience, nothing more.

  • After listening the whole "Book of Illusions" trilogy we can appreciate the first two chapters have a lot of musical differences, being the first one more "metallic" and the second one more "atmospheric", then we have the third chapter that mix both first chapters and expands the project musical ranks into unknown paths, this was done intentionally or created as all your work upon the improvisation?

  • The only thing that was intentional was the way I arranged the order of the songs in each chapter. Some songs were written years apart so the way the songs sound is just a result of my own instinctual writing tendencies and reflects upon my life experience during that particular time.

  • About the improvisation is really hard to imagine how you can create all this incredible stuff via improvisation, let us know about your process of composition, everything is recorded at take one or you have all these sounds in your mind then you put write it on paper and start to build a song?

  • In life one must follow a set of laws in order to coexist with other humans in a controlled enviornment… in the realm of music creation, I see no rules nor do I feel the need to concern myself with trying to make anyone else happy with what I create. My goals are release and creating something that is soothing to my inner soul. It still amazes me that others can actually gain anything from my own self indulgence. The fact is that this music was meant for my ears only so for me it represents my true feelings, thoughts and dreams. So ultimately VLE serves as a sort of therapy for myself. I know many people are quite surprised when I tell them this VLE is pure improvised experimental manipulations. I can tell you for certain this music was created without any serious preparation on my part… I think you can tell from the production quality that this was not something that I put a lot of effort into making things perfect. You must understand VLE is more about release of pure energy... like when you want to scream, cry, break the walls, run and hide, but you cannot... VLE is a result of many years of these pent up frustrations. I write and record with bands now and the process is very different as you consciously work towards a perceived goal... a song with structure, melody, harmony and rhythm, all with the desire for others to hear the results. VLE is the opposite of this. The music is created without a set pattern or prior thought of how the outcome of a piece should be. For instance, I pick up the guitar and record the sounds as they happen. When I finish recording this initial release, I then add other sounds, phrases, and outside instrumentation to the initial progression until I feel that the piece is finished. This is determined by how I feel when I listen back to all the sounds together. I don't use any programming techniques (ie. loops). All the music is created in real-time... even the drum sounds (except in the case of Kano). A piece may start with keyboard/synth, guitar or a simple vocal melody. Some songs were done within a few hours, some a few days or months and in a few cases years. Each time I create, it is because I have to express myself... I have to do something in order to regain some sense of calm. It is one of the few outlets available to me. It's just me recording sounds and working with those sounds until I feel I have nothing left to express. I don't re-do the tracks, so you may perceive some timing errors and notes that are played incorrectly as well. There is no technical aspect to it at all... it is only that I have a way that I do things and I don't try to really understand it or analyze it. I regard every musical expression as another form of emotional release, so I suppose this ultimately affects how my music is created.

  • Another aspect we are really impressed is the quality of your recordings, reading your bio, everything was recorded on a 4 tracker and finally mixed on a PC, what's your opinion about the use of computers on the process of creation and recording music?

  • There are some songs that were completed on a portable double cassette recorder as well, but now I am learning more and more about using the computer and hope to incorporate it more as a tool in the writing process. When I wrote most of the music contained in the trilogy I didn't show much care for recording or production technique. A lot of my music is spontaneous and since I am very in tuned to the importance of the moment of a happening, my immediate reaction is to do as little as possible to distract my flow... so the most I will do is turn on the 4 -track recorder which is usually set up already. I think that by utilizing the computer and some music software, I will have more flexibility and control while recording and during post prodution. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to learn and very little patience.

  • Continuing with the subject of the previous question, you have recorded everything on your own studio, you have plans to record your new creations on a "bigger" studio or VLE will continue working on the current basis?

  • Well, I will work with what I have now. I have a computer and a 4-track. I have some music software programs, but I am not a wizard with any of it. I don't really have a lot of hi-tech gear or knowlege to do a great production on anything. I will continue to do whatever I can with the knowlege and tools I have available because sometimes less is more.

  • As I said on the review of the "Book of Illusions" Trilogy, I'm really impressed of the high quality and class of your works, is extremely rare for me to see them self released, have you received offers from record labels or you want to continue in the "D.I.Y" working?

  • Yes, I've received some expressions of interest from record labels but right now it's only words. I guess the record labels will wait for some sure thing, but I will continue to do whatever I have been doing as long as I feel the desire and hear the demand from the people.

  • Another point very which we can notice on your works is the artwork, it's amazing, it really fits to the music, I would like to know if you gave the concept to the artist or he did on his own or they were taken from work alreday done? Tell us more about the graphic artist.

  • All VLE CD covers were painted by the Disney artist Christophe Vacher. I came across one of his works, "The Legacy" (the painting featured on Book of Illusions: Chapter I and II CD) by mere chance while surfing the internet some years ago. So, when I decided to release this music to the world I wanted very much to use his works. I contacted him through his web site (http://www.vacher.com) and he was very open to the idea as he also enjoyed the music. I am honored to have his art associated with my music. If I continue to release VLE music, I would like to use more of Christophe's work because I think his paintings add to the overall atmosphere and vibe of the music.

  • After the "BOI" trilogy what we can expect for the next VLE release? Will you continue doing the same musical direction?

  • I have no plans, only hopes and dreams. One hope is to release more music, but I have no idea what it will sound like or what direction I will take...

  • Your three recordings are opened by a song called "Kano", why? I would like to know what it means?

  • Kano is the torch... the candle to light the way through the darkness. It is the way towards opening up the mind, body and soul to knowledge by the joining of opposite elements for the creation of new ideas. So, Kano marks the beginning and the end.

  • Another point very remarkable is about the song titles/lyrics, they are not common, for example, "3 in 5", "Freedom to Fly" and "Fortunate Reversal", please explain us more about the lyrical concepts and how you put the titles to the songs (when they have not lyrics), the lyrics are written previously you start a recording or just flow when you're recording the music?

  • I wouldn't really call them lyrics as some are not actual words but merely random expressions of emotions used to add to the atmosphere or give rhythm to a piece. However there are some verses that were taken from my personal writings that I have documented over the years in a notebook. I don't like to call it poetry, but it is similar in flow of style. I like to play with the symbolism of certain words and phrasings, so this is evident in the song titles. Most of the vocals reflect upon the duality of existence, the illusions of the flesh and our natural instinct to dream… more simply put, it's just a glance inside my fucked up world. I write in a vague and somewhat poetic style so it is not too clear the meaning if you just read it straight... that is, without any imagination. Sometimes I already know the song title or have some words in mind, but in theory, it is given as much weight as the other instruments I use to ultimatley create the mood and atmosphere that is pleasing to my soul. There is no logic to my madness… so everything and nothing makes sense. It all depends on how much you choose to take from your exerience with the music. All the concepts contained in the trilogy are from my own subconsious so any attepts to extract meaning from every lyric would result in a neverending interview of which I'm sure your readers would become quite bored with.

  • Reading your bio, you describe VLE as a mixture of Burzum and Pink Floyd, but honestly I can hear a complete universe of different sounds in your music, let's talk about your musical influences, I think they are beyond Burzum and Pink Floyd, but why you choose them to describe your music?

  • Actually I have never used any band names to describe my music... these descriptions are taken from CD reviews. To be honest, I am not a fan of Burzum and I only like a few Pink Floyd songs. Many artist and bands have been used to give a reference to the VLE sound, most of which I have never even heard their music before. Still, it's always flattering to be asscociated with such respected artists, but I think what you hear in my music is closer to the reality of my sound. I listen to a lot of different types of music and that is expressed in my sound, but I also take influence from my life experience and nature. Book of Illusions is a depiction of my life through sound... an emotional rollercoaster through the darkness and light where the basic theme running through every song is the ascension towards chaos...

  • In the last years the MP3 format popularity has increased a lot, even you use this format to promote your music on MP3.com, what do you think about these kind of files, it's trade and the bands whom attack it?

  • Well, I think it is a great way to promote your music. The trading and bootlegging matters to the artists that are only concerned with how these activities will affect their own personal financial sitation… I am not one of these artists. My only concern is with the people in the underground who ripp-off artists. You know the ones who ask you to send them your music so that they can review, interview, promote, put it on a compilation or trade other music with you but then they never do it. Those types of humans disgust me. Above all things, I keep my word by honoring my agreements with people, but these ripp-off whores within the underground that lie, steal and cheat are not far from the cockroaches that infest this city I live in... ahhh, thanks for allowing me to get that off my chest... ;)

  • What do you think about internet as promotion channel? Talk us more about your own site.

  • Well, VLE would probably not exist without the internet, so for me it has been a great way to promote my music. Right now I use my mp3.com page as my home site, but I hope to open an official VLE web site soon. I also have a fan site that was created by the guys behind Infest Zine in Peru, but they are no longer updating those pages.

  • On the first two recordings you recorded all the instruments, but on the third chapter you added a real drummer, why? Have you plans to add more "real" musician into VLE, or you will continue as a two piece act?

  • Actually there is only a live drummer (Michael Molina) on the song Kano which is featured as the opening track of each chapter. All other songs contain drum sounds from a synthesizer that I played in real-time with my fingers. The only reason Kano has live drums on it is because I had the opportunity to use a recording studio for a few hours. I was going to do the drums myself, but thought it would be easier to record someone else, so I called a drummer I knew and he was open to doing it. It was all very rushed but I think he did a good job. I don't have any plans on having more live drums, but if I can I will because I love and prefer the sound of real drums.

  • Well, that's all for now, thanks for your time, any last comment?

  • Thanks for all your support and interest in my art. If anyone would like to explore my Book of Illusions, you can order my CD here: http://www.geocities.com/thevle/paypalorders.htm or you can order copies through Corvus Discos in Chile: http://www.grindermagazine.cl/corvusimportados3.htm Play it Loud. Hail and Kill! ~the VLE~: Thanks again for your support and interest in my music. Play it Loud. Hail and Kill!