Bursting through the fugue with relentless drive | Viper Soup Complex

Currently blazing a trail of live shows locally and internationally, in the wake of the release of their latest album Red Fugue, the bassist of eclectic Prog act Viper Soup Complex Michael Spiteri speaks about what lies in store

Viper Soup Complex
Viper Soup Complex

How does it feel to have a new album out there and ready for consumption? Would you say this is an important milestone in the journey of Viper Soup Complex?

Funny you mentioned consumption, Red Fugue can be consumed much like a BLT sandwich. Joking aside, while sparing you the boring technical details of the process which included recording, mixing/mastering, design, and packaging, at first we felt relief, more than anything.

It was a while afterwards -- most probably during our album release in Zory, Poland -- that we felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.

It’s the milestone we worked for during the past four years and it wouldn’t have been possible without the professional advice and service from UNGL Studio, Reciprocal Records, Hell Next Door Studios and Samuel Attard (Mixing and Mastering).

The Viper Soup Complex sound is intricate and not all that easy to grasp on a first listen. What motivated you to craft such a sound and feel, and how would you say Red Fugue in particular exemplifies this?

The only motivation is on finding our own personal voice and share it with the rest of the band. Once we find some common understanding, the rest will follow. The element of chance is quite inbuilt in our process where, when struck by something which sounds interesting we’ll explore it much like when exploring a curiosity shop.

However, when it comes to settling on a form and presentation of sound we become an entirely different beast. We become much more meticulous and structured, to an almost obsessive extent. Red Fugue is a clear statement of our relentless drive to solidify who we were up to the time of recording.

You’ve also performed abroad recently. How did this opportunity come about, and do you think that other Maltese prog bands would find a warm welcome in such venues?

Our vocalist Annemarie came into contact with Polish band Hegemony, who then invited us for the annual Prog Rock concert in Zory, Poland (Illuzje - Zorski Festival Muzyki Artrockowej). It was all fairly easy, really.

We were also treated very much like royalty. The only thing missing was the key to Zory! The thing is, Malta has quite a healthy pool of distinct Prog-related and alternative acts.

I don’t have any doubt that given the right and appropriate conditions, Maltese Prog (and ‘Prog-affiliated’) musicians would find a very warm welcome.

Also, festivals, both at a small and on a larger scale, occur all round the calendar year in Europe.

What do you hope for the local music scene in 2019 and perhaps beyond?

The DIY approach most bands have inevitably taken has turned from a necessity into a craft in itself.

However, given that the scene is growing and more people are becoming interested in underground music, more venues with proper sound set-ups like The Garage (Zebbug) would be great.

However, personally speaking, this hope business makes you somewhat idle. In the words of Eomer: “Do not trust hope, it has forsaken these lands”.    

What’s next for you?

We have managed to book some gigs abroad for next year. In the meantime, we’ll be performing in upcoming local concerts: Prog The Islands Presents: IL-PROGramm (December 7 and 8) and Dark Malta by Hades Events 2019 (April 5 and 6).

We’re also in the process of refining new material, which we’re also performing live alongside with Red Fugue material.

Red Fugue is out now, and can be acquired by contacting the band through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vipersoupcomplex/