Heyoka’s Mirror was formed in 2015 by Andrew Balboa and Omar Sultan, who were joined by drummer Bayan Sharafi. Fast-forward to December 2017, the trio has released their debut, three-song EP “Loss of Contact with Reality” on which the act succefully blends stylistically diverse genres evolving around Prog Metal and Opera.
We talked with all three members of the band, and here is what they say about the group’s name, writing, inspiration, and more.
What made you go for the name Heyoka’s Mirror?
Andrew: It took months to come up with a name haha. We had many “cool/prog/space” ideas but in the end we decided to just sit down and think about what kind of message we wanted to tell people. After weeks of talking, we arrived to the conclusion that all of us are tired of seen people blinded by media and social standards. We want people to look at themselves and realize who they really are.
I found about this native american tribe called the Lakota while doing some research and read about this mystic mirror they have; a mirror that shows you what you need to work on to evolve spiritually. We felt extremely connected to this message and that’s when we knew our name.
How do you usually describe your music?
Bayan: Progressive Opera Metal.
Omar: Yes, we’ve heard that a lot! I usually describe it as progressive rock/metal, but I don’t think we’re stuck in that genre either.
Andrew: I love progressive metal/rock because it has no rules… You can do anything you like, any style you want… I just describe it as…. music.
What is your writing process like?
Andrew: I go to Omar’s, we come up with a story, make a storyboard, and then we start writing music that describes the emotions our character is going through. We’ll come up with three or five sections and then bring those sections to Bayan. Bayan comes up with an amazing idea, which I record on my phone, and then I go back home and transcribe everything into GuitarPro. The next week, the whole process begins again, and so on until the song is completed.
Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?
Omar: Who? Steve Vai, and what? Emotion. If there’s no emotion in my playing, then I don’t see the point in playing.
Andrew: Who? Jacob Collier, and What? That burst of electricity that runs through your body when you discover new colors in music.
Bayan: Who? Travis Barker, and what? Learning new techniques and playing stuff I’ve never played before…. Creating!
HM: And Dream Theater of course!
What is your favourite piece on the “Loss of Contact with Reality” EP?
Bayan: The guitar solo in Time Manager… that section just melts my face!
Omar: There’s this section we named “Earth trip” during Time Manager.. right at the 5 min mark. Check it out!
Andrew: For me… there’s this big choir section at the beginning of Chronovisor at the 1:28 mark where Omar plays this gorgeous crying melody. It always gets me!
What makes “Loss of Contact with Reality” different?
Omar: I think we have a unique sound… I don’t know if it’s the writing process or our influences… but people keep telling us that they’ve never heard anything like this.
Andrew: I feel like the new prog wave is all about being technical, weird and… the more complicated the better. But for us, if a section calls for a 60’s Jimi Hendrix riff, and it fits the story, we’ll go for it! We are not shy… we don’t care if the idea sounds “cheesy” If the “cheesy” idea belongs there, we’ll use it!
What should music lovers expect from “Loss of Contact with Reality”?
Andrew: The EP only has three songs, but we believe it has enough of everything for everyone. Music lovers… even if they’re not into heavy music, we’re sure they will find something they’ll enjoy. A true listener will surely appreciate this EP.
What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?
Omar: Anger, pain, fear, love, sadness… All of it in just half a song!
Andrew: Listeners should feel emotionally drained in a very good way.
Bayan: I want them to feel lost because they’re so focused on the adventure.
HM: We want them to lose contact with reality 😉
Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?
HM: We’ve never been on tour… and we have heard horrible stories about touring but that’s exactly what we want. Be on stage and spread our music and message to the world!
Pick your three favourite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.
Andrew: Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence by Dream Theater, In My Room by Jacob Collier, and Bridge Across Forever by Transatlantic.
Bayan: Thriller by Michael Jackson, Queen’s Greatest Hits, and Sturm und Drang by Lamb of God.
Omar: Flying in a Blue Dream by Joe Satriani, The Similitude of a Dream by Neal Morse, and the Dream Theater album by Dream Theater.