Alyeus brings concept album to life

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: ALYEUS
Ivan Recinos, Andrew Van Der Voort, Kyle Alexander and Dean Greco are Alyeus, a band with big ideas.

Meet Alyeus, a local progressive rock band mostly made up of former Falcons: lead vocalist and guitarist Kyle Alexander (Business Marketing, 2009); bassist and vocalist Dean Greco (Music Industry Arts, 2013); and drummer Andrew Van Der Voort (Music Industry Arts and Audio Post Production, 2012). Along with lead guitarist and vocalist Ivan Recinos, they sat down with Interrobang in May to chat about the meaning behind their name, their upcoming album, and the victories and challenges they've faced as a band.

Drawing influence from everything from Tool to Rush to Coheed and Cambria, Alyeus blends hard rock riffs with atmospheric passages into what's been called a “landscape of sound.” They describe their upcoming debut album, Forty Days at Sea, as part of a trilogy of concept albums that tell a story of war, a struggle for existence and a well-kept secret.

What's the meaning behind your band name, Alyeus?
Kyle: “Everything we do is concept based, so it's all entirely story- driven. Alyeus is actually a character in our story that appears at the end of this first album that we're doing, but ultimately has a greater meaning within the story.”

Ivan: “We needed a band name ... We wanted something neutral so someone could just listen to our music. Alyeus was actually my grandfather's name and also my dad's; we just spelled it a little different. And we just really liked the name and it kind of just stuck there.”

Kyle: “It sounded cool, and we created our own spelling, which apparently is not as unique as we thought.”

Andrew: “There's a guy in California who has the exact same spelling of the name.”

Kyle: “And apparently is our number-one fan.”

Ivan: “He likes all our Facebook posts. He wants a shirt. And the album when it comes out.”

Can you talk about your fundraising campaign that you ran for your album?
Andrew: “It was a website called Indiegogo and basically just for bands, music, and artistic stuff mainly, and so we signed up for that. We were having a discussion as to whether we should label our band as ‘rock' or ‘progressive rock.' We set up this (fundraiser on Indiegogo) with all these packages like if you donate $10, when the album comes out we'll send you a CD, or you can donate $100 and we'll send you a t-shirt and a CD and some other stuff. And then we had these crazy packages that were like $1,000.”

Kyle: “Our top one was $2,500.”

Andrew: “Yeah, we'll come to your house and clean for you.”

Ivan: “We'll play a show for you, we'll send you a signed instrument.”

Andrew: “This guy from Germany donated $2,000 and was like, ‘I like what you're doing, I found you by searching the word “progressive,”' which is where that story went and why we decided to keep that.”

Ivan: “Just to add to that, the reason we were thinking of changing ‘progressive' is because a lot of the time, people take a negative look at it...”

Andrew: “If you don't sound like Rush, you're not ‘progressive.'”

Ivan: “Yeah, or like, you have to be very meticulous or snobbish about it. So we wanted to avoid those things, but it's okay to take the negative because there's a lot of positive out of it.”

Kyle: “With the whole process, we raised a bunch of money and coming towards the last couple of days of the fundraiser, this guy in Germany, he messaged us again and said, ‘I've already put all this money into it, there's a couple grand still to go (before the goal is reached), and I want to make sure that you guys can do what you set out to do. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure this gets off the ground.' So he ended up giving us $4,500 in total. We worked out a deal: he became our executive producer on the project and also we gave him European distribution rights.”

Andrew: “He preordered 200 CDs.”

Kyle: “And he's going to sell them over in Germany.”

Ivan: “And to add to the story, we're going to name a character after him, too.”

Kyle: “That's kind of our German sugar daddy. We're so incredibly grateful and very, very lucky to find him.”

Ivan: “He changed our life. He made us be able to record this album.”

Andrew: “He basically funded the whole album.”

What's the hardest part of being in a band?
Kyle: “I think finding out your identity and actually sticking to that. For us, it's taken three years to get to this point. We're just recording our final vocals for this album — it's almost all done. And it's about just knowing what you want to do, finding that out, knowing what you're good at, what works between the band members and how to get that writing style and just being honest with another.”

Andrew: “And don't hold grudges. When things go wrong, you have to let everyone know and then fix it and keep going.”

Ivan: “I think writing is really hard. Some songs we've taken a year to write, but other songs we've done in weeks. And I think that all just comes with we want to make the best possible song. A lot of the time, we're always going back and forth like, ‘Should we do this, should we do that?' At the very beginning, I think the hardest thing was to have patience with the people and commitment.”

Andrew: “Not a lot of bands keep the same members for three years.”

Kyle: “And you need to have trust as well, because every person is responsible for their own part. Me, as a singer, I'm not going to be writing the drums, I'm not going to be writing the bass. I have to trust that these guys know what they're doing.”

Andrew: “In short, finding your identity.”

What are your goals and ambitions for the band?
Kyle: “There's literally no ceiling. We've put so much time into this and we want to see this thing take off. It's not just enough now that we've finally done an album, now we have to send it out, see where it goes and who likes it. Patience is another thing; it's not going to happen all at once. We're just going to use as many resources as we can and play as many shows as we can.”

Ivan: “We've had a lot of show offers without us even asking and that's been great because we don't have a CD out.”

Andrew: “It's all word of mouth from people who've actually seen us play.”

Kyle: “And we've played in Toronto, Montreal; we've played in a lot of places.”

Ivan: “We have to be realistic because we don't have a CD. Once the CD comes out, we can see our options. But yeah, the sky's the limit because it's a concept album. We're writing a story to go along with it.”

Andrew: “This is the first release in a trilogy, but it's actually part two.”

Ivan: “So it's three main stories. We're also talking about doing EPs in between. So it's all meshed together as one long story and we're just breaking it up into albums.”

Kyle: “And it'd be nice to be able to do other things like comic books, novels, and even action figures, video games and movies. There's literally no ceiling with this!”

Andrew: “We're working with an artist in London right now who's doing character portraits of all of our characters. He did our album cover and all of our logos.”

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Kyle: “Be as professional as possible. If you want to be serious, then you have to be realistic. Obviously people are going to start a band with their friends because that's the easiest thing, but you have to know at a certain point that if someone is a problem, or it's not going somewhere because of a lack of talent or a lack of drive or a lack of something. If you want to be serious, you have to know how to cut those strings. Ivan and I have been in bands for a long time, and we've been in about three or four to get to this point. We've had to make some tough decisions along the way.”

Andrew: “And have fun. Have fun with the other musicians around. Don't go to a show and act like you're better than everyone.”

Kyle: “Unless you're selling out stadiums, you really have no right to be cocky. And even then, you've got to be grateful.”

Ivan: “I think if you want to become a better musician, you always have to analyze and be critical of what you do. Dean is really good for that; he's a good catalyst in our band. When we're writing music together, he's always honest.”

Andrew: “And he's very good at explaining why.”

Ivan: “Try different things, be original, and be critical of yourself. That's the only way you can improve to be a professional musician.”

Andrew: “And practice correctly. Don't just practice, practice the right way.”

Ivan: “You have to practice 10,000 hours. That's the magic number to practice, they say.”

Check out Alyeus live in London on July 1 at East Lions Park (1731 Churchill Ave) and on August 2 at Ribfest in Victoria Park. For a full list of upcoming shows and to hear their music, go to and Like them at