What are your musical influences?
Peter: Rush, Genesis, and some neo-prog bands like IQ and Marillion. “Yes”, too.
Denis: My influences are bands like Rush, Van Halen, Kiss, The Police to Frank Zappa.
How often do you guys rehearse?
Peter: Two times a week usually.
What band (or bands) introduced you personally to prog?
Denis: Rush and Yes were probably the first. Genesis as well.
Peter: I listened to Genesis before I knew what prog was. ABACAB and Invisible Touch were my first albums I bought as a kid. As well as Pink Floyd The Wall. I saw the movie as a young kid. Then I went back and discovered all the older Pink Floyd albums.
The Wall, that sounds like a very depressing movie to see as a young kid 🙂 Did it leave any lasting impressions on you when you saw it at a young age?
Peter: Yes, I did think it was very cool, but as an adult, I understand how depressing the subject matter really is. I was attracted to the movie more because the adults told us not to watch it.
Centrifuge have different musical styles to the songs. Some tend to be more in an instrumental prog rock vein, others have vocals and strongly incorporate funk elements. How does the writing process work in the band?
Peter: Usually Sam and I come up the musical ideas. He thinks more in terms of vocals, and I think strictly instrumentally. But we find common ground, and blend our ideas.
Denis: Pete and Sam come up with the music and I will add rhythms.
Peter, do you and Sam usually bring in songs individually, or work on the same tune together?
Peter: Sam is definitely more funk/fusion influenced than I am. We usually bring them in individually. But there was one song we did called “Do you want to go”, and that was a 50/50 blend of our ideas.
What does music, and specifically progressive music, mean to you?
Peter: To me, it mean we are free to mix and match any musical styles. Of course time signatures and odd rhythms play a huge part. Sam and Denis really like coming up with unique rhythms.
Denis: Music is definitely an expression of one’s creativity. The prog thing boils down to how much you can push the typical limits of songwriting.
Peter: I would say prog draws more from the classical approach as well. Complex harmonies and chord progressions.
What’s the most favourite instrument or piece of music gear in your possession?
Peter: I have a minimoog model D, but it need serious repairs. I used to use it a lot. Now, I love my Tokai Les Paul copy. At home I use an American Strat. But the Les Paul has a better sound for the band.
Denis: For me it has to be my 2 Ludwig drum sets. The one I play mainly is a clear acrylic kit. Probably my favorite for now.
What are some of your hobbies?
Peter: Hobbies, geez….I love anything with wheels for the most part. Motorcycles, ATV riding, RC cars. Geeky stuff like that. Travel of course too.
Denis: Practicing the drums when we are not rehearsing is one. I work a lot and have children. Also playing with them. Not much time for other hobbies these days.
Peter: Yea, I love to share my hobbies with my kids too.
What’s your favourite venue in Toronto (to either attend or play a show)?
Peter: I don’t have a favourite, but I really liked going to The Bovine Sex club. I had some great memories from Velvet Underground, but our shows there have been hit and miss. Duffy’s was fun too.
Denis: The Bovine Sex Club was a great room to play. One of my favorites.
What was your most memorable experience of a concert you went to see?
Peter: I went to see IQ in Quebec City. I ran into Ken Baird [Canadian progressive rock/folk artist] there. Was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. Met the band afterwards. Super nice guys.
Denis: Seeing Rush for the first time in 1990 Presto tour. Watching how tight and polished they were. That was my first concert as well.
Peter: Saw Rush for the first time in 91, Roll the Bones [tour]. Amazing experience.
Who are the people that inspire you? Any people that inspire for any reason, not necessarily musicians.
Peter: I guess it would be all the musicians from my favourite bands. Peter Gabriel is way up there for me. David Gilmour, he is so down to earth and humble. Steve Hackett too… Nice guy.
Denis: For me it had to be all my favorite musicians and any new song I hear or artist that really interest me. Terry Bozzio is one drummer who really inspired me to look at drumming differently.
What do you do right before you go on stage? Is there any band ritual when you’re about to play?
Peter: Not really. Just not to drink too much, but coffee is fine. I like to warm up my fingers if possible. Sometimes I will practice in my car beforehand.
Denis: Just kind of focus a little and get excited. Nothing too serious.
How do you see the future of the band’s career?
Peter: We will just continue as we are, because we enjoy playing this kind of music together, and that’s the most important thing. Success is nice too, but passion is what keeps us going. Or at least that’s how I feel.
Denis: If we keep a positive attitude and keep enjoying the music and working together then we are okay. The passion for the music is key for us.
Peter: But we will release an album at some point, and that is important to get our music out there. We meet some new people who are helping us with that next step…
Sounds good! Do you know when we can expect an album from Centrifuge?
Peter: Hmmm, hard to say. It just depends on everybody’s schedule. And the studio we will record in is still under construction. We just signed with a small company. Perhaps an educated guess would be in 6 months or less hopefully.
Peter Albrektsen and Denis Banko from Centrifuge were interviewed by Serge T, Interviewer 5/4 FEST 2016