There was a time when it would sound cliché to say “there is this metal band for the bay area of California”. So many bands from back in the day
came from the legendary “Bay Area”. Some bands that come quickly to mind are DEATH ANGEL, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, METAL CHURCH.
Even bands like METALLICA and MEGADETH had their days there.
But time has not forgotten this fabled place. Despite what some would have us believe, metal is alive and well. Oh sure, it’s not like it used to be.
You don’t hear much about it on the radio or other main stream media outlets. You don’t see very many music stores with 75% of its space
selling metal CD’s or records these days. It almost seem s like a conspiracy the way metal gets dismissed sometimes.
But hey, who cares? Metal will never die and we know it. And the Bay area of California is still teaming with great metal bands.
One such band that we got to know a little is called Crepuscle - (pronounced with a soft "sc" like in scent)
Eligio Tapia - Guitar & Vocals
Cameron Stucky - Guitar
Aaron Robitsch - Keyboards & Backing
Gavin De Vaughn - Bass and Backing Vocal
JB Schuler - Drums
How did you come to discover the wonderful world of metal? How old were you?
I first got into metal when I was around 10 or 11 years old through some older cousins that
were into Hard Rock and Nu Metal. We all have to start somewhere, right? haha
I was into everything that was big at the time such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne, Linkin
Park, Godsmack, etc. It was around that time when I also got into Metallica and then
eventually Slayer and Slipknot. It wasn't until the following year or two when I met some
friends that were into the more underground bands at the time like Unearth, Killswitch
Engage, Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Lamb of God, and so on that I started to get into the
heavier stuff with harsher vocals . I then got into European metal the following year thanks to
bands like Children of Bodom, Behemoth, Wintersun, The Haunted, Dimmu Borgir, amongst
so many others and have pretty much been mainly interested in bands from that part of the
world ever since.
How did you come into playing the instrument of your choice.
I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old after having already been
into metal for a few years but I had always been fascinated by the guitar
since I was a kid . My mom used to sing in the choir of the church we
attended for many years and I remember always loving how the guitar
sounded. I never got around to really picking it up until I was really set on it
and kept bothering my parents about it.
What/who was your primary inspiration?
My main inspiration was Metallica. I remember seeing them when I was 11
years old going onto 12 in San Francisco on their Summer Sanitarium tour in 2003. That was my first metal/hard
rock concert and seeing them, especially Kirk Hammett wailing, pretty much sealed my fate. I knew I had to play
guitar after that and got my first one a few months later.
Do you model yourself after anyone in particular as far as music style?
Wintersun, Equilibrium, Hypocrisy, early In Flames, Ensiferum, and Insomnium which undoubtedly have made an
impact on how I play and write music.
How would you describe the relationship between the guys in Crepuscle?
activities due to our hectic schedules not lining up but we do enjoy each other's company the times that we do
and certainly when it comes to rehearsing and performing live. We always catch up while we're setting up for
rehearsals and joke around in-between songs. When it comes to providing constructive feedback to each other,
it is always done in a respectful manner. We are very respectful towards each other and try to make sure we're
all on the same page.
Do you have a songwriting process?
The songwriting process generally begins with either myself or Cameron Stucky (our other guitarist) composing
a song at home and tabbing out the material on Guitar Pro which then gets sent out to the other members. We
usually write complete songs and then send them out to everyone else but there are a few instances on our
upcoming album where we worked on songs by sending them back and forth, thus resulting in a more
collaborative process. That said, Cameron and I are the main composers in the band.
The process was similar on our album "Draconian Winter" except that our previous guitarist Chris Zinnanti contributed song ideas that were kept for the final album.
Is there a message you try to convey through your music?
I wouldn't say that there is a specific message or agenda I try to convey through our music. I mainly try to write lyrics that I think go well with the feel of the song. I like being able
to write about whatever I want which is why I will most likely stay away from sticking to any specific topics or themes for too long or more than a few songs. I enjoy having the
freedom to select from a wide variety of topics ranging from historical events and nature to personal experiences. Several of the lyrics on "Draconian Winter" do reflect some
personal sentiments and reflections during different stages of grief so one could say that some of the songs are loosely tied together.
Tell us about the song Shattered Sanctum.
Shattered Sanctum was born as Haunting Darkness back when
we were called Draconian Winter. The song in its original form
was very basic and amateur sounding since we were fairly
young when we wrote it. While we were recording the album, I
was on the fence about whether I wanted to keep that song or
not, leaning more heavily towards discarding it. I ended up
deciding to basically rewrite the entire thing. I kept some of the
basic rhythms and song structure but applied my more refined
approach to songwriting. After the heavy revisions and three
long weeks, it turned out to be one of the strongest songs on
the album and certainly one of my favorites to listen to and to
The lyrics were written about a specific time in my life when my
sibling committed suicide.
Our last release was recorded at my friend Ryan Alvarado's house. From start to finish, the entire thing was recorded in his bedroom. It was fascinating to see and hear what can
be accomplished with a decent knowledge of one's recording gear and resources. I even made a video showcasing some of the process when it was all over. I went into the
process being hopeful as well as skeptical since I had never recorded in a serious setting but had a bunch of preconceived notions about how things had to go and even what
DAW (digital audio workstation) had to be used. I learned very quickly that "industry standard" did not mean mandatory.
Working with Alvarado was a very mutually insightful experience. We learned a lot as we went along and although we are content with what we accomplished, I think we could
probably make it sound even better if we tried to record it today. I guess one could say it was a DIY project since we didn't go into an actual studio. I still take a DIY approach to
recording demos by recording everything from my home setup. I am still very inexperienced but I feel like I improve ever so slightly with each demo so it is a great ongoing
learning process. For future releases, we will probably do some combination of DIY recording and professional studio recording.
How is the local metal scene in your area? How would you describe it? Are there many metal-friendly
venues (clubs, bars,etc.)?
I would say the local metal scene is healthy and thriving. There are a lot of great bands doing great things by
releasing high quality material and playing great gigs. Some of the bands I would recommend checking out are
Cyborg Octopus, Raiju, Enigma, and Graveshadow, to name just a few. There is overall a good sense of
camaraderie amongst bands in the area.
As far as venues go, unfortunately, we are losing many very quickly. I think in December the Bay Area saw the
closure of about 3 venues, all of which hosted metal shows and one of which was all ages.
Another venue, one of the larger and very important all ages club venues in San Francisco, began posting about
how it was losing money and would most likely have to close at some point in the near future. As of now, it still
remains open but those postings started happening when these other venues were closing so things were
looking very bleak. There are still some bars that host metal shows but all ages metal venues, especially for local
bands, are few and far between which makes me wonder how the younger generation is going to be able to
experience live music both as performers and supporters. We will just have to wait and see what happens.
I can't resist to ask about this, you just returned from 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. How was it? Got any cool stories
70000 Tons of Metal is an incredible experience! Shows end at 6am and start again at 10am so, if you like a lot of bands, you
will likely get very little sleep. It's really a huge festival on a boat with metalheads from all over the world. This was my third time
attending the cruise and it really felt like a reunion when I saw people from all over that I met in previous years. Everyone is
drinking all day long so sometimes people end up passed out all over the boat, a sight I'm sure is exclusive to these metal
One of the coolest things about these cruises is that all the performing bands are hanging out everywhere since there is no
backstage or anything like that so you can end up hanging out with them. I had the honor of hanging out and drinking with the
gentlemen in Kalmah on two separate occasions. During their second set, their vocalist pointed at me and called me out as I
was screaming during a break in their song and said "You!". It was a pretty fantastic moment.
Another cool moment was right before that set, I was talking to the people next
to me in the front row. I was wearing my Crepuscle beanie because, you know,
you gotta do a little self promotion. One of the guys I was talking to
complemented me on my beanie. Not knowing I was in the band, I asked him
which point I revealed that I was in the band and told him to find me later so I
could give him a copy of our album and a patch, which I did about fifteen
minutes after the gig. It's cool little moments like these that remind me how
special the metal community is. This will likely be my last time attending the
cruise for a while because I'd like to explore the rest of the world but I would
highly recommend going at least once and taking a few days off afterwards for
If lawnmower jousting was a thing, and the lance was a guitar. Which
two famous guitarists would you most like to see compete.
A match between Kerry King and Yngwie Malmsteen would make for an
incredible spectacle. Pointy guitar of chromatic shred versus a the guitar of
arpeggios from hell? I'd love to see them unleash the fury!
That was such a powerful and devastating event that affected me in so many ways.
Writing the lyrics for this song and several of the others on the album was in many ways a therapeutic process.
Putting those emotions into words really helped me overcome what I went through and since losing a loved one is such a
universal topic, I figured some listeners would be able to relate and maybe even be helped in some way.
How is the recording process for you? Where did you record you last release?
Do you do much DYI recording?
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|Interview by Dave Henninger