Drew Hamilton : The “Vigilis” Project

The Vigilis Project compels the listener to enter an enforced visit to an imaginary realm. Their progressive music is song and vocal driven with a dazzling vibrant fusion of acoustic melodies, intense, modern, heavy tones, colorful harmonics, crooked meter and subtle orchestral sound designs. At the helm of the project is songwriter, singer, guitarist and engineer Drew Hamilton and bassist Ronny Johnston with drummer Matt Cascardi recently stepping in.

Vigilis has already released several fluorescent videos including: “Quietly”, “Dismantle” and “This New Devilry.” The trio has an exquisite sense of sound and effervescence with a taste of sophisticated anarchy and a kaleidoscopic essence.

I spoke with Drew Hamilton regarding their unique and multi-chromatic sound as well as the project’s future endeavors…..

Please tell me about your music?

Our music can be classified as progressive rock or progressive metal. But I think it falls more in the area of progressive heavy rock because when I think of metal for example today there is a lot of screaming and more specifically growling, and there isn’t anything like that in what we do. It’s just singing. The band is called Vigilis and it’s Latin for awake, watchful, guard, firemen…it’s just the general notion of paying attention. Essentially that came from a song that I had written in the very beginning. That kind of spawned into this project. It’s essentially a trio with additional elements that we add to it from local musicians like a sound designer but at the core it’s been acoustic. We might have to expand because the material is becoming more elaborate. We are based in songwriting and vocals. We are more interested in the song being just the song that you can remember. It’s decorated with more unconventional harmonic adjectives and textures that feel natural to us. All of this originates from an acoustic arrangement because we are by nature acoustic. We started off as an acoustic project but then we kind of moved it into a more heavier project because we have that kind of aspect to us. When I say heavy, I’m referring to the guitar sounds that have become more aggressive. What’s tricky is that I use the word progressive metal because sometimes we span a little bit into that, but we don’t growl. It’s more the modern sounds and the heavy tones. It’s more about the dynamic. We have a very wide dynamic range. What’s interesting about the project is that there is quite a bit of acoustic instruments that’s kind of stuck in there in such a way that shows the foundation and becomes more elaborate with the heavier tones.

For example?

I use a slightly unconventional instrument. I play eight string guitars. They are becoming more and more common these days but the thing that kind of separates us is the fact that I actually have a steel 8 string guitar. It is an eyecatcher that I play when I go off and play solo.

What have you released?

We just released something in February which was basically kind of a collection of things, tones and sounds that we have been working on the past few years. We kind of developed that sound. Right now, we’re in the middle of tracking new material which is a much larger project that’s going to span over the course of three releases that we should have ready by early 2022.

Do you play live?

We had been but obviously not since the horror. I’ve been working on this demo, or this release and we have had a couple of shows. We opened for a group called “Consider The Source” at the Cornerstone in Berkeley, which is a pretty sizable venue. We have played locally around this region, and the San Jose area and certainly the San Francisco area, so basically just in our regions. We are aiming to branch out and go south like Texas and Chapel Hill, and up the East Coast where we think our music will be more suitable. That kind of got thrown on the back burner because of the pandemic. We were ready before this all happened but then we decided to wait.

The Official Website for Vigilis may be found at https://vigilismusic.com/vigilis

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