SPRING VISION FESTIVAL CLOSES WITH ARMI MASTER CLINIC PRESENTED BY THREE WISE MONKEYSby Rebecca Copeland on Oct 25, 2016 • 1:00 pm No Comments
Three Wise Monkeys was Vision Festival’s greatly anticipated headliner on Saturday night, impressing the crowd with their progressive rock/fusion sound. After the band’s dynamic performance, guitarist Brad Kypo, student of the renowned Tony Calabro, led an intimate masterclass on Sunday at the Australian Rock & Metal Institute (ARMI). For those lucky enough to have attended, it was an insightful lesson in song construction and arrangement, with the opportunity to jam with the band. It’s clear that these musicians possess both technical and natural skill, drawing inspiration from the likes of Primus, Dire Straits, Iron Maiden, Tool, Kiss, and so on.
Throughout this exclusive masterclass, Three Wise Monkeys played a couple of their big songs ‘Snowden’ and ‘Panopticon’, while also saving plenty of time for questions. The band discussed how social media affects their creative process—which often involves the recording of jam sessions and picking out their favourite fragments. Social media enables the band to share this process online, allowing them to connect with their fan base—and learning what they love and hate about Three Wise Monkeys.
A key focus of the masterclass was the balance between theory and improvisation. “Music is like a conversation,” bassist Alex King explained. “You don’t plan out exactly what you’re going to say before you say it, but you need to be speaking the same language.” In other words, too much theory can kill the creative process but too little theory can make improvising almost impossible. This analogy was put into practice when the band treated the small class to an improvised performance. Alex initiated the improvisation with a D-flat riff, leaving Brad temporarily at a loss for words. “There are only a few options here for me,” Brad said humorously—explaining his choice to keep Alex’s riff as the focal point.
Despite the improvised nature of the performance, it was evident that there was an unspoken level of communication and calculation between the band members; searching for each other’s eyes and gestures to lead each other forward. Drummer, Brendon Waterman was particularly good at swiftly inventing a beat to complement any weird time signature, while Brad knew when to turn it up and when to keep it simple alongside the bass.
Overall, the ARMI Master Clinic with Three Wise Monkeys was a great experience, diving deep into the creative minds of talented, experienced musicians. Their purely instrumental music not only highlights the important balance between theory and creativity in song construction, but also emphases that stories can be told through music without lyrics.
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Photo: Joshua McCawley