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Viza | PensEyeView
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Viza

Viza is “a passport into a musical endeavor that touches its conspirators ethnic, cultural, spiritual, and literal influences, while translating them into a perfect balance of old world nostalgia and modern experimentation.” Had to throw that out there before we get deeper into the discussion about Viza. The band formally known as Visa isn’t putting up a front when they brand their music with so many influences – the band includes 9 musicians with backgrounds in jazz, metal, Greek, rock and more, and they come from around the globe! 

Band leader K’noup says the group comes together “the same way a chef fuses so many ingredients and origins into a new dish. As a matter of fact that is what this band is all about, in creating a new platform of music, not related to anything else but inspired by many.” You gotta check it out for yourself, specifically one of the band’s latest collections, “Made in Chernobyl”. K’noup says “Our music catalog is an evolution of themes with ‘Made in Chernobyl’ being no exception.  In this record we’re tackling a very experimental and aggressive side of our sound/message and we parallel it to the Soviet regime of the early 1900’s in which they had a plan to govern themselves into glory. Let’s just hope we don’t follow the same destructive path.  But all jokes aside, the idea of the group is to not limit ourselves and to creatively explore other worlds and cultures in the form of music.”

Of course, if you have an opportunity to catch Viza live, do it. Seriously – 9 guys on stage. You know it’s a good time complete with music that’s very much alive. The band just recently made the switch from Visa – so look into their new web site, ExperienceViza.com. There’s more below, so keep reading for the answers to the XXQ’s.

 

XXQ’s: Viza – Answered by K’noup


PEV: So, important question to start off. How do you transport a 9-man band from show to show? 

 

Haha well we squeeze into a firetruck, just kidding.  We all manage somehow by either commuting with our own vehicles or by renting a van.

 

PEV: How did the group come together? Viza is one of the larger acts we’ve ever featured.

 

The project has been around for ten years and it actually started off as a two-piece.  In 2000 in NYC I had a vision of creating Mediterranean music with my co-partner at the time Johnny Nice.  After my departure to Los Angeles in 2002 we both went our separate ways and I hung onto Viza.  After passing my demo around I attracted a few players that were interested in helping this band develop and sure enough years later we’ve grown to be a nine-piece ensemble as I like to put it.

 

PEV: What kind of music were each of you listening to growing up?  What was the first concert you attended?

 

That is what defines our originality.  We all share different tastes in music from Metal to Jazz to Greek, that being said the influences come to together in our writing process that create something rich and more importantly true.

 

PEV: Was there a certain “a ha!” moment when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

 

I myself can pinpoint that day when I was around 16 years old while living uder my parents roof.  I was asleep upstairs and had this epiphany about becoming a singer, I jumped out of bed ran doewnstairs woke my parents up and told them the good news.  Startled they looked at me as if I was talking gibberish and never thought I would even carry that desire for a week much less the rest of my life.  Needless to say music is in my blood, I cant imagine myself doing anything else.

 

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to make music?

 

Well for starters its an open market in our room, anyone can bring anything to the table but most of the time the songs are conceived by the 3 songwriters of the group: Shant Bismejian, Orbel Babayan and myself.  After an idea has been introduced the rest of the band follows through and adds there two cents, sometimes we disagree but if we don’t a song could be done within a week or two.  

 

PEV: I read that Viza = “A passport into a musical endeavor that touches its conspirators ethnic, cultural, spiritual, and literal influences, while translating them into a perfect balance of old world nostalgia and modern experimentation.” How do you mix so many influences into a style all your own? 

 

The same way a chef fuses so many ingredients and origins into a new dish.  As a matter of fact that is what this band is all about, in creating a new platform of music, not related to anything else but inspired by many.

 

PEV: You’ve released several music collections, including “Made In Chernobyl” – what should our readers who haven’t sampled it yet expect from the record? 

 

Our music catalog is an evolution of themes with “Made in Chernobyl” being no exception.  In this record we’re tackling a very experimental and aggressive side of our sound/message and we parallel it to the Soviet regime of the early 1900’s in which they had a plan to govern themselves into glory.  Lets just hope we don’t follow the same destructive path.  But all jokes aside, the idea of the group is to not limit ourselves and to creatively explore other worlds and cultures in the form of music.  

 

PEV: You’ve released several EP’s and LP’s – how has each effort built on the work before it?  

 

Each has been its own chapter.  The EP was more of the Mediterranean sound I mentioned earlier, Maktub was more focused on Arabic schematics, De Facto had Moroccan touch and Eros was very Greek.

 

PEV: How would you describe the sound of Viza? 

 

The sound of Viza is a fusion of international cultures.

 

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Viza show?

 

Viza shows are meant to be a lively atmosphere with epic proportions much like the circus.  We are all entertainers and that is all we want our audience to walk away with.  Satisfaction guaranteed.

 

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance as a band. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

 

As Visa, our first show was quite the memory.  It was only I think about 5 of us and we performed at a private party for an Anti-Circumcision organization here in Los Angeles.  Needless to say it was one of the oddest performances I have ever done.

 

PEV: Got any good stories from playing on the road?

 

Viza on the road is always full of good stories.  We’re a group of wild personalities so to mention one would be like trying to remember what you ate last summer.

 

PEV: Share with us your take on the current music scene. 

 

The music scene is and has been uneventful for many years now.  It lacks the great talent that this world is so thirsty for and yet they are out there.  Luckily the internet allows the listener to search for good music and avoid the surface garbage that’s out there.  One day though, talent will reign once again it always does.

 

PEV: Do you have a dream city that you’d like to play in?

 

I personally would love to play in country of birth, Greece.

 

PEV: What can we find the each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

 

Well we all have our personal life that we love to keep private, but you could always catch most of us enjoying a good drink or five at a local bar here in LA.

 

PEV: Is there one artist or group out there that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

 

I think the fact we’ve collaborated with Serj Tankian on a song called “Viktor” was a dream in itself.  We’re honored in that fact alone and to speculate on anyone else would be perhaps getting ahead of ourselves.

 

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for? 

 

Yes.  Since we are full times musicians we each have side projects that we work on as well.  Check out Neurobox, Ed, Pancho & Sancho, LeaveItAlone and 23 Link Chain.

 

PEV: What's one thing we'd be surprised to hear about Viza?

 

Expect the unexpected.  That’s all I will say.

 

PEV: Some friends of ours in DC turned us on to Viza – any plans to play around here in the near future? 

 

In May we’re doing our appearance on the East coast in NYC so I would imagine DC is not too far off in the future.  Thank you for your support!

 

PEV: So, what is next for Viza?

 

We’ve changed our band name from Visa to Viza. 

 

For more information, check out: ExperienceViza.com

  

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