We caught up with Al Joseph from HYVMINE to discuss their new album.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you began your musical journey?
AJ: Yes, I started out playing drums. I played in churches growing up, I grew up in a really small town where there weren’t a lot of musicians. I spent a lot of my time practicing to CDs by myself. I have brothers that play drums and bass so I moved to guitar later on and it’s been my main thing ever since then.
Who are your main influences growing up and who are they now?
AJ: Joe Satriani was the first virtuoso style guitar player I started listening to and then from there, it stemmed into Steve Vai and then, of course, John Petrucci. I actually got into John Petrucci’s solo albums before I knew who Dream Theater was. Eventually, I got into Dream Theater too. I’m really into bands like POD and the Nu Metal stuff like Korn. I also like bands like Creed and Alter Bridge.
How about the new breed of guitar players, anyone who you dig right now?
AJ: Yeah, guys like Jakub Zyteki from Disperse, The guys from Intervals, my friend Hedras Romas originally from Guatemala, he lives right down the street for me, I dig his playing too. There’s just so many.
Did you have any formal music training?
AJ: No, I’m mainly self-taught. I learned a lot from instructional DVD’s and things like that. I spent a great deal of my time playing what I wanted to play instead of book stuff.
What are you currently listening to
I’ve been listening to a lot of this band called Nothing More I really dig them. Actually, I have Spotify Premium so I’ve been listening to a lot of new stuff. Pretty much everything that’s out right now, I try to get into.
Can you tell us about Hyvmine and how you put the project together?
AJ: That started with myself and George when I met him the original idea was to push my solo guitar work. He said” You have a strong voice,” he said make SHOGUN into something “radio friendly”. Shogun was the first song. I’ve been in bands with my brothers my whole life pretty much, it wasn’t much of a transition for me. I felt at home immediately, I feel like I have more of a role than just playing guitar.
What do you currently have released with Hyvmine?
AJ: We have our debut record “Earthquake” that came out this past January and our new EP “Fight or Flight” just got released. It’s on Spotify and all the other digital outlets. For the most part, on this record, we really tried to get in there and show what we could do as a band.
How would you describe your personal style?
AJ: For me, the melody comes first, I haven’t gotten back around to the noodling thing. I’m more of a composer than anything else. There’s a lot of guitar players out there that are really improvisational, some even have a bluesy feel. I have those flavors in my playing too but my thing is this, if you give me time to sit down and write something; you’re going to get my very best! I would say that I’m more of a composer on the instrument than anything else.
Can you tell us about your gear and any endorsement deals you have
AJ: I’ve been with Ibanez since 2014. I have a few LA customs here that I’m really proud. As far as amps, I’ve been with Lany for about two years as well, I love their amps!
I’m now using Elixir strings and the HeadRush Pedalboard. On this tour, we couldn’t fly out with our stuff, unfortunately. I ended up using the HeadRush as my main tone. We ran it straight into the board and it sounded amazing!
Can you tell us a little bit about the Melodic Decadence tour you just did?
AJ: The crowd response was amazing, we actually ran out of merch! Just getting the response that we did out of the crowd was amazing. We didn’t expect that at all. We went out with the expectations that people were just going to hopefully dig it, but it actually ended up turning into an amazing experience on stage, which is what we love to see. Touring with the guys in Day of Reckoning was awesome. We went out a few nights to hang, Rusty he’s just a cool dude and the rest of the guys are cool as well! There was nothing but cool vibes from them and Angel. Angel is cool as hell, it was a great experience for us.
Do you still find time in your week to practice after rehearsing and writing?
AJ: Since we’ve been back, we’ve been working on some cool products we’re going to release for “Fight or Flight” on our website, so that’s taking up a lot of my time. Actually, we just finished today. As far as practice, I haven’t had a lot of time to noodle. I do have some instructional products out with Jam Track Central. My last filming involved showing techniques like Legato, Alternate Picking, and Sweep Picking. We’re going to be releasing it as 3 different instructional’s.
Is there anything you’d like to personally say to the Hyvemine fans?
AJ: Absolutely! check out the “Fight or Flight” EP! it’s all over Spotify. I have a lot of supplemental lessons and tab books available right now on our website at www.hyvmine.com and thanks for your support!