Q. When is the Viking Age?
The Viking Age takes place from 793ce with the Raid on Lindisfarne, England to 1066ce with the Norman Invasion of England and expulsion of the Vikings
Q. When will the game be set within this era?
We currently can only speculate, but two settings in a Ubisoft Poll from a few years ago were during the Viking Era. The Invasion of England by the Great Heathen Army (865ce) and the Norman Invasion by William the Conqueror (1066ce). I’ll discuss more in depth below.
Q. Where will the viking game take place?
Based on polls from Ubisoft that included the viking settings of the Great Heathen Army and Norman Invasion, England is a relatively safe bet. It is also likely that at least some of Scandinavia will be available as well. From the map above, I believe the best guess would be the island of Britain (modern England, Wales, and Scotland), Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. I will be discussing all of Northern Europe that’s shown in the map, though.
Q. Why codename it Kingdom in the viking era, and what will the actual name be?
The codename Kingdom could be in reference to a number of things that could be present in the game. The vikings had several major kingdoms throughout the Age, the largest of which was the North Sea Empire ruled by Cnut the Great. It could also be in reference to the English Kingdoms that players may invade; or even a gameplay mechanic to making your “kingdom” stronger. While the official name has not been revealed, it’s widely speculated to be called “Ragnarok” as a reference to the end times in Norse mythology, due to the connection to Origins, popularity in media, and name being used in several unconfirmed and fake rumors plus a potential concept art leak from 2018.
Q. What evidence is there for the game?
While Kingdom has not been confirmed by Ubisoft, it was leaked by Jason Schreier, who has a perfect track record with AC leaks. It was followed up by a leak by french website xboxygen that many consider to be legitimate due to accuracy on Watch Dogs Legion leaks. We also have concept art from an artist at Ubisoft that was supposedly fan work for their portfolio, but named “michele-nucera-assassincreedragnarok-bay-09.jpg”. The naming convention and timing has many fans speculating heavily. This of course matches with at least one fake leak and several small 4chan rumors that have stated the next game will be named “Ragnarok” and follow Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons great army.
Q. Will we play as assassins again with hidden blades?
Nothing is officially confirmed yet, but it is unlikely to be full assassins fighting Templars again. The term assassin did not exist until the crusades as a term used to describe the followers of Hassan Ibn Sabbah, who wasn’t born until about 1050ce. With the viking era ending in 1066, it’s unlikely his influence had been amassed and the Hidden Ones were rebranded within AC lore. Templars were in a similar state, with the Templar orders not existing until the early 12th century. Rather than playing as either a Hidden One and fighting the Order of Ancients, we may also play as a viking mercenary popular towards the end of the era called Jomsvikings to further capitalize on Odyssy’s success. I’ll discuss them more later.The hidden blade is a bit more likely though, with it having been invented around 460bce and popularized in 44bce.
Vikings raided and pillaged most of Europe during their voyages, reaching from the Baltic States and Kievan Rus as far south as North Africa, Italy, and even vandalizing Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. I will, however, be focusing on Northern Europe for this discussion, breaking down regions to discuss their land, cities, and architecture. This map of viking trade routes may also be helpful though it isn’t 100% accurate.
Europe is filled with rivers and marshlands as seen here, which was easy for vikings to maneuver due to their longships. As a result, I do think we might see a few rivers enlarged in Kingdom/Ragnarok in order to make ship travel mildly easier and more conducive to gameplay, much like Rogue did.
England, being the most likely to appear, seems to be the best place to start off. England is the largest of the countries in Britain, with the map previously shared it taking up Wessex, Danelaw, Mercia, and Northumbria. I’ll be discussing the changes of those Kingdoms later. England is a largely low lying country, with the largest mountain range, Pennine Mountains, in Northern England. Much of southern England, however, are forests and rolling hills in the center of the country, with much of the outskirts being thick marshes that viking longships could navigate through.A good map of Mountains can be seen here:
Map of swamps here:
I have seen maps of wetlands from the Uk that indicate that there used to be wetlands in the Pennine Mountains, but it seems to be fairly speculative.
Wessex was the southernmost kingdom, and under Alfred the Great underwent a large change to fortify many of its towns or burhs. Stone was hard to quarry and come by at the time, with most of it being taken from Roman fortifications and used in defensive perimeters and churches. This did make abandoned roman forts a popular place to start burhs though. We see largely wooden fences with a trench in front surrounding many towns to help defend from vikings. Inside are mostly 1 story houses separated by a few fairly wide streets. A church was oftentimes a centerpiece of the city, and it wasn’t uncommon to have some farms within the walls itself along with the outside. While burhs like this were more numerous, they likely won’t be the focal points for our adventure in the next AC, instead looking at larger cities instead. They may appear as forms of PoI though or tied to a settlement system. Those closer to Roman ruins were sometimes repurposed to include the first Motte and Bailey castles (more on them in a few moments).
Our bigger cities will likely include Winchester, Canterbury, London, Chester, Bristol, and York. York was by far the largest city with about 15,000 people in its walls by the time the Great Heathen Army landed, with the other cities having 5,000 or fewer. These cities, however, unlike the other burhs had large Roman walls around them already. This did mean that the city size was restricted though, and rather than rebuild walls, the people began building up.
Following the collapse of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Dark Ages the early medieval peoples lost the knowledge on how to build out of stone well, and quarry for more stone, making it a very valuable commodity. As I mentioned, this meant many burhs and towns were built on top of Roman forts, stripping them for stone to build churches and walls. The rest of the buildings had to deal with cheaper architecture. The most notable of which is wattle and daub. This is thin branches are weaved together and placed into upright slats and then have a thick mud caked on and hardened. This was the most common form of architecture in the early medieval period due to how cheap it was. Timber was still expensive, and despite using cheaper woods to create floors (these often had be elevated slightly on stakes in order to help slow rot, but had to be replaced regularly), was fairly expensive. Timber frames still had to be used though to help keep the shape of the building. Not common early on, at some point around the Viking Era in Britain, we begin to see diagonal bracing added to help keep houses steady.
In the older Roman Cities, many of the roman buildings and forts were stripped early on. London didn’t have any of the original Roman houses left by 1000ce, and by 1100ce had stripped the fort itself leaving only the walls behind. This stone was largely used to create stable foundations for buildings, including along the forming of Thames Street and eventually London Bridge. This also meant that combined with improved timber framing, people could start building upwards and outwards. The process of building high floors larger than the first is called jettying, and became synonymous with the medieval era, becoming very popular in the latter half. While jettying had been around for nearly 1000 years, it was still relatively new for Britain, and by 1066, houses were just reaching 2-3 stories high. We do know that this was incredibly popular by 1100-1200, and began being restricted and regulated in London by 1300 due to some fires in 1133 and 1212 due to building proximity. As buildings couldn’t grow their first floors to impede foot traffic (regulated by law), having more room in upper floors became a necessity. Somewhere in this time we begin to see the creation of skywalks or covered pathways between buildings. I could not find an exact date for when these appeared, but there’s evidence they existed in China in 220ce, so it’s not unreasonable for them to have made it to England within another 600-800 years. Again, while jettying was new, we also have mention of the Shambles in 937, a street in York that is famous for its tilted jettying. Most buildings in that picture are from 1300 onwards due to fires, but it’s not unreasonable to believe it could look similar.
Roofing will likely be almost entirely thatching, or made out of dried straw, reeds, etc over a timber frame. There is some evidence for use of wooden tiles, red roman tiles, turf, and timber as well for roofs, but vary in cost and abundance. Many depictions of medieval england use slate or shale shingles, which while possible would likely be anachronistic, as the first records of those don’t appear until the 1300s, more than the few years for other anachronistic changes.
Castles were still in very early stages in this period. The remains of the Roman Forts not picked apart had been used by royalty such as in Winchester and Canterbury, sometimes having a church built into them. The other type that may be linked to the smaller burhs are the aforementioned Motte and Bailey castles. These are very early castles that originated around the 8th-9th century in Carolingian France. In them, we have a protected area within an enclosure called the Bailey, and that included the only real way up to the often wooden watchtower or small 2-3 story keep. The motte was a large fortified hill that the tower sat upon. This provided a nice advantage and lookout for guards, while making it difficult to storm. These really did not reach England until about 1066 with the Norman Invasion, though even if we have an earlier setting, I can see a mild historical inaccuracy occurring to push these through, as French and English dynasties did get along and travel to each other on numerous occasions.
Overall, Anglo-Saxon Architecture was fairly basic work in the beginning of the period, creating square churches and houses from retrievable stone, timber, and mud. It does appear that the Carolingian Renaissance and frankish styles began spreading to England by the 8th century though, allowing for some larger buildings to exist. Make no mistake, stone work though will be fairly basic within the title, with the most elaborate stone work being window arches and a few stone carvings. Larger sprawling castles, complex stone churches with arches, and even brick based houses will not be in game. These advances were primarily coming from the gothic period and early Tudor dynasty which cemented the traditional fantasy medieval style in most people’s heads of churches like Notre Dame, 5 storied jettying houses with plaster filling and timber and brick frames, and massive stone castles with knights in plate armor.
Celtic lands consist of several major areas in the British Isles, now making up the countries of Ireland (and North Ireland), Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales. The celts, while largely good stone workers, each had several unique flairs and differences across the lands due to different cultural influences.
Ireland is largely grasslands with a few major mountain ranges along the southern and northwestern coasts, as can be seen in this map. Within the inner part of Ireland and a few surrounding islands such as Mann and Skellig to as far away as Oakney, which were largely isolated from Britain became the home of the Celts, that - primarily in Ireland - lived in clusters of towns called Tuatha with a probable high king. More on his position later. In the neolithic through early medieval period we see the creation of stone huts called Beehive Huts. These may look familiar as the huts seen in Star Wars Force Awakens and Last Jedi which filmed on the Skellig Islands. The Tuatha meanwhile were a cluster of towns that each held 3000 people and 1000 large houses holding 30 people each. A good example of this is Rathcroghan. Smaller houses for single families could be seen too, and like the large houses were mostly circular wood and largely straw homes. Ireland was far less wooded than Britain, forcing the settlements to rely on wood, stone, and straw far more. Vikings began to settle in Ireland though, creating the first real large cities of Ireland by founding Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, and Limerick which were used as ports and easy staging areas for future raids, especially to Britain.
Unfortunately Wales history has been extremely hard to research and understand the architecture of this mountainous and rugged country. Many fires and revolutions during the high middle ages destroyed the history, leaving behind stone castles built post Norman Invasion and records of political turmoil in the early kingdoms of Wales (more on that later). It’s highly suspected that despite the Celtic Influence from Ireland, the Britons of Wales, especially in the northern Gwynedd, had architecture similar to the Frankish and English. The city I can find the most on that definitely existed in this era was Bangor, which is one of the oldest Welsh cities overall. It seems there were Roman Forts at modern Newport and Cardiff, but the extent of the settlement there post Rome is unknown. Vikings did settle the town of Swansea as well in the early 1000s, but other than that held no permanent residence in Wales due to the Welsh Kingdoms power.
Scotland during its early years was made up of a few separate kingdoms which started to become United under Alba by the Viking Era. The records of many of the country’s cities were actually hill forts nestled into the rocky, mountainous, and ravenous terrain of the region that include Craig Phadrig, Aberdeen, Dunadd, Dumbarton Rock, Edinburgh, and Scone. What wasn’t Roman Fortress was largely low lying single story wattle and daub houses with timber frames, wooden churches, and a few stone beehive huts, most of which was described to blend into the hills.
Scandinavia contrasts heavily with medieval England though. Rather than being a single large Island or collection of isles, Scandinavia describes modern Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. To make it simpler, I’m going to break it up into Viking and NonViking Scandinavia, which was predominantly based on how far north the vikings went.
Viking Scandinavia is primarily Southern Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Norway is a very mountainous and hilly region creating massive and beautiful Fjords or inlets with high cliffs. Sweden is on the east side of the mountains being mildly lower but hilly and mountainous nonetheless. Both are mostly covered in a Boreal Forest, or a subarctic Taiga, a forest that is characterized by evergreens in a very cold climate, with tall but skinny trunks and wide but thin branches. This contrasts from the deciduous forests native to England and most of Europe including Denmark, the southernmost part of Scandinavia that’s a low lying peninsula known as the Jutland Peninsula with a collection of several large islands known as the Danish Archipelago.
The Jutland was home to three of the largest trading hubs in the Viking world, being Aarhus, Ribe, and the largest of Hedeby which contained about 1000 people. Most of the largest cities in Scandinavia were not founded until after the viking era was over, but several major cities weren’t far from them. The religious city of Uppsala and the nearby town of Birka were relatively close to modern Stockholm in Sweden and Roskilde near modern Copenhagen. Oslo (or Anslo as it was called) was founded around 1040, meaning it could appear in the title. Kaupung and Trondheim were larger hubs in Norway, with Trondheim towards northern Norway along the coast of the Norwegian Sea. Reykjavik and a few other towns were founded in Iceland in 874, so it’s not impossible to see them too.
There are many contemporary and modern sources on viking architecture, and while it was almost entirely wood and mud, I do want to discuss some common themes I’ve seen doing research into Viking Architecture styles. To begin with, some commonalities are that viking villages are generally flat with low single story buildings and wide streets. Ubisoft’s last foray into the viking era with For Honor had shown off a viking village with the opposite though, being taller 2-3 story houses, narrow paths on a hill. While undoubtedly visually pleasing, it’s certainly inaccurate. As we see from the potentially leaked concept art for Ragnarok, Bay 09 includes a sprawling viking city on a mountain side overlooking a Fjord, with high towers, multiple story buildings, and even a bridge with houses built onto it. Again it’s visually appealing, and would likely work well with parkour despite being on a more fantastical side of what we ought to see. The other big commonality is that most viking villages had a sizeable mead hall that was used for town religious and political purposes, often being a timber longhouse.
While most viking houses were wooden and had straw and mud roofs, it appears that some commonalities were more based on region. This bit is speculation, as I’ve had difficulty verify the veracity and historical accuracy of this architectural style, but based on the aforementioned concept art, it’s not unlikely to be seeing a more mythicized version of the world, meaning a few historical discrepancies are likely. From what I’ve seen, these largely wooden and more ornate buildings, despite being 1-1.5 stories were more commonly associated with Norway. I’d speculate that more mountainous terrain could make creating foundations for a house, especially longhouses, fairly difficult; thus forcing smaller and more stable homes to be designed out of primarily wood rather than earth works. Sweden, on the other hand would try to marry a larger footprint of longhouses such as in Denmark while being ornate and suited to the terrain, creating wood, straw, and mud houses that may have been similar to this. Denmark would largely focus on larger footprints using primarily longhouses within their city’s defenses, which likely owed to creating some of the larger cities of the viking era like Hedeby. During Harald Bluetooth’s reign and even as late as Cnut the Great, the Viking Ring Fortress became popular, especially in Denmark and Sweden, comprising of several longhouses and smaller houses in squares surrounded by a large earth wall, created by digging a trench along the outside of the desired hill. During construction the hill, 4 wooden passageways were left through the hill, with dirt and sod packed on top and to the sides, allowing people to freely move in and out of the fortress. The hill was then fortified with large timber siding on both the inside and outside, while allowing people from the inside easy access to the top of the hill, which now acted as a wall.
Iceland greatly differs from these areas though, with a far harsher environment. About 50% of iceland is covered in rough rocky volcanic lava deserts and glacial wastelands in a region called the Highlands. The rest of iceland is rocky and mountainous grassland surrounded by massive Fjords. While there were numerous viking settlements throughout the island, the largest and one of the first was the now-capital-city of Reykjavik. Unlike traditional viking settlements though, many homes were timber built but completely covered in mud and sod. This was to keep the heat trapped in the home due to the harsher environment, creating settlements that may have looked a bit like this.
Northern Scandinavia was left largely uninhabited by the vikings, having small tribes of the Lapps and Sami people control the regions, especially in what’s modern Finland. The farthest north of this area was of course marked by the arctic circle and boreal forest while the west was more mountains and forest from Norway and Sweden. Finland, though, has a massive area known as central lake plateau, which is a plateau in the center of the country that is full of lakes, swamps, and boreal forest. Going farther south to the Baltic coast will be met with a large swamp and “Archipelago Sea”. The Sami and Lapps never contained large amounts of wealth or large cities, creating only small settlements of Mud and Wooden huts, not dissimilar from American Indian Tipis.
Frankish territory extended far past modern France, making up modern France, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and a few other countries in what was the Holy Roman Empire. Prior to the viking age, the empire collapsed and eventually split into several regions marked on the map, more on the politics of this later. Seeing all of the Frankish Kingdoms is pretty unlikely, as is seeing any of them in the main game in my opinion, but they do hold some of the richest lands and cities in the Early Medieval Period in Europe.
The vast majority of this region is open grasslands, soft rolling fields, and forests scattered throughout the areas labeled as Brittany, West Francia, Normandy, Lotharingia, and Saxony. Frisia and part of northern Saxony were large swamp lands. Angers, Tours, and Orleans are the southernmost cities in western Francia and near the border of Brittany. Rouen was just inside the Duchy of Normandy, with Paris along the same river not far outside the borders. Frisia’s largest city was Utrecht, with many modern towns like Amsterdam only existing as fishing villages if at all. In Saxony and Lotharingia we’d see larger cities of Hamburg and Frankfurt. While the exact populations of many cities are unknown, by 1050 Cologne had around 21,000 people and Paris had 25,000 by 800, far more than any English city.
Just to the east we have the regions of Pomerania and Lusatia, both regional names for kingdoms of Bohemia and Moravia along with groups of people living in what’s now modern Poland. The northern area of Pomerania is a fairly flat and grassy area known as the Polish Plain, contrasted with the southern portion that has steeper rolling hills. Wolin was a major stopping and trading hub for Vikings, and likely related to the potentially mythical city of Jomsborg. To the south three major cities existed along separate riverways that fed back into the Baltic: Poznan, Prague, and Krakow.
Most of these areas had a very distinct architectural style known as Preromanesque, which as it sounds came before the architectural style Romanesque. The Merovingian Dynasty from the 5th century to 751 is what really inspired this architectural choice, which then split into 2 similar but different styles of Carolingian and Ottonian, after rulers in Carolingian Dynasty and King Otto. An example of the Preromaneque Architecture would be Charlemange’s Palace, which upon observation has clear Roman influence due to presence of arches and round structures, but overall left a fairly flat facade. This Carolingian Monastery has fairly few discernable differences to this Ottonian church in Frankfurt. We do see a large emphasis on the interior beauty though, as evidenced by this carolingian church. By the 11th century we start to see a shift towards being larger and more ornate buildings such as this church, which has an obvious emphasis on the facade. While this is the era in which castles and keeps started to be made, most buildings would not be above 3 stories, and real castles wouldn’t be built until after the Norman Invasions of William the Conqueror. For now, we’d likely just see more Motte and Bailey castles.
That primarily covers the big landmarks made by and for the kings and religious. Peasants, however, did not have such luxuries, often living in the stone houses left behind by the romans in these cities and forts. As the cities grew, due to walls existing, much like England, it became common (even earlier too) to start building up by using wattle and daub, stripping the stone as needed, though France (at least with the rich) had far less of an issue with acquiring stonework. Paris was subjected to multiple raids, though two really stood out and were encapsulated in art that can help show what the city may have looked like at the time. The first was in 845 at the hands of Ragnar Lothbrok, and as we can see, it had a decent sized Carolingian Palace in Ile de la Cite (please note that the larger cathedral attached to the palace and Conciergerie weren’t built until the 13th century, but the section with the lower roofs were updated around 800), juxtaposed by the Preromanesque churches and Roman Ruins on the outskirts. By 885, however, Rollo had to face walls on the other side of the bridges, helping defend the outer city more. The TV show Vikings actually did cover this as well, seemingly combining the two sieges and adding a more anachronistic flare such as the taller roofs on the towers and greatly exaggerating the size of everything, despite Paris definitely being more built up than English cities. It would not be unlikely to see cities largely built up as the classic fantasy medieval cities, though with mildly less stone and no bricks; not dissimilar to this (https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/medieval-port-3d-1144332). Even in that we see the Carolingian church rather than a larger gothic one, which is an important thing to remember for the early medieval period.
Kievan Rus was the most different to any region discussed so far. Like other Northern European areas, it’s largely plains, a few rolling hills, and mountains to the southwest of the region in what is now mostly Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. I do include the modern Baltic States in the map of Kievan Rus territory though due to the area being primarily inhabited by small tribes, Slavs, and often being used as a hub for piracy and trade by the Varangians that inhabited Kievan Rus.
I want to discuss this group of people later, but their land was very important, being the easiest way for vikings to trade with people from Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East, as the Varangians controlled every major trade route in Eastern Europe from the Black to Baltic Sea.
This lead to what would be the most interesting architecture in the title though, as despite likely having roots from vikings, eventually turned to Eastern Orthodoxy based on Byzantine tradition, and developed the architecture as such. By about 1000ce, the capital of Kiev was decorated with large wooden and stone monuments with exotic and ornate domes inherent to the Byzantine Structure. Kiev, while the capital was one of the 3 major cities in the region, with the other 2 being Polotsk in the north west, and the original capital of Novgorad in the north.
TL;DR: There were several distinct regions and architectural styles in the early medieval era, ranging from the viking single story houses and longhouses, to multi story compact cities made of wattle and daub and timber frames which could be surrounded by large stone churches, juxtaposed by the exotic domes of the eastern Rus.
|For the Day of the Baphomets solo, how much creative control did you have when recording it?||It was my first take so I guess a lot. Omar only asked me to fix one part but that was it. It is 98% first take.|
|What are your favorite songs to play live, and what would be your ideal set-list of songs to play?||I love Cygnus. I could just play that and Roulette.|
|Who are your biggest musical influences?||Hendrix...hip hop...80's new wave.|
|How is your health? Is everything ok?||I get monitored every 3 months for my blood counts. Been good so far. Anyone w cancer knows you never know when things are gonna turn but I thank all Gods that I have been healthy so far.|
|I've seen activity on your twitter between Kimbra, St. Vincent, and Deantoni Parks about a possible record. Any news beyond the chatter? Speaking of Kimbra, she has admitted in interviews that she is a fan of The Mars Volta. Assuming you've met during festival and touring, how is she and what do you admire about her music? Since Flea played on the first Volta record, could you enlighten me to how his style is different than the bass parts in the latter Volta records that you play on. And is it a challenge in anyway to cover his parts live or do you add your own spin to things?||I would love to record with that lineup. 3 are on board. Bomb St Vincent twitter and let's see if she will agree. I think D is recording with her and David Byrne. Maybe that will start it.|
|Kimbra is the coolest. She is going for it, musically. I bet a lot of industry execs want her to go more pop but she is legit. She wants to stretch stuff. She is a true artist.|
|Omar wrote those basslines so it was more, getting used to playing what Omar intended, as opposed to what Flea played. I learned Mother's Milk when I was younger. Flea destroyed it on that record.|
|Do you ever trip on fools?||I trip on fools that act a fool. Just be cool.|
|I've heard TMV A-Team is #1, care to comment?||TMV A-Team consists of Matty Bitt on the panels, BobbyBadSeed on the logistics, Deezel on the kit, Chase $ running shit, Chino Weeeno on the keys, Juaneezy on the bass, O and C. A Team can never be faded. We barely rehearse and rock it as if it were our last day on earth.|
|Do you remember that one time Snoop Dogg smoked so much in our hotel that the fire department had to come and evacuate everyone?||I saw Snoop Lion's instagram that morning and they were all smoking...Daz, Snoop, Kurupt, Soupafly. I said to myself, "their room looks like my room...they must be here"... a couple of hours later the fire alarm goes off, here come fire trucks and I am outside telling people it had to me the blunt smoke... and it was.|
|Hey Juan, over the past couple years what has Deantoni Parks taught you while playing alongside him? Whether it be about music, spirituality, or overall friendship?||D is one of the most dedicated musicians I have been around. For example, I asked him for some music for our Vato Negro record we were doing and he handed me a drive and said "take all the songs off this drive." I thought there would be 30-40 songs but, I kid you not, there were over 300 songs on there. Mostly complete arranged songs. He makes anyone feel like a half stepper. He is one of my closest homies. He has my back. We are in this together and we will always remain friends.|
|Is the Mars Volta doing a US tour for Noctorniquet later this year? If so, come by Florida. We love you here.||I have not heard of any TMV touring for the rest of this year. Hopefully next year.|
|If you were to pic k one song from each of the projects you've been involved with which would they be and why?||Too many songs to pick from.|
|Is there any tips you can give to an aspiring bassist to learn better techniques?||I would get a Macbook and start with Garage Band and write songs in there. It will inspire you and it will sound pretty tight!|
|Whats going on with Racer X?||Paul has Mr Big, Scott is touring with Judas Priest and I am in The Mars Volta.|
|What's the recording process like with TMV? Do you get parts, do you guys improvise on a groove that Omar and Cedric think of?||Omar writes a record, gives it to Cedric and then they agree on the songs and then we all get to record on it. Some. I think the on fire approach they had in the early 70's is what inspired TMV.|
|Thanks for pedalsandeffects.com! It's really helpful for a lot of us out there experimenting.||I loved Lakland when Dan owned it. There were a bunch of dudes working in an industrial complex and they were all dedicated to making great basses. A true punk rock company. When Dan left, I felt I should to.|
|Why did you switch to Lakland basses and then back to Fender? Also, what makes vintage basses better than new basses?||Plus...I always ended up playing my Fender fretless. I think, over the years, basses woods start to age and sound better. New woods don't have that density and you cant find that wood any longer. All the new basses are from trees that have not been on this earth very long and you can hear it.|
|How has the internet changed the music industry? Do you have an opinion on music piracy? Have sites like Bandcamp helped artists?||I dig bandcamp. I also dig soundcloud. I like that I can throw something up minutes after I finish it and let people hear it.|
|off, thank you for doing this. I am a huge fan of yours and so this is exciting.||Flat wound strings and the tone rolled off!|
|Are you a Zechs Marquise fan?? I saw them open for you playing in Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group last year at Grog Shop in Cleveland. I have been in love with those dudes ever since.||Yes!!! They are so damn funky! They definitely can take you to a place no other band can. It is that sense of fun and family that you get when you watch them. We, as the audience, get to join their band for a night kind of thing.|
|I've been told Thomas Pridgen left the band, because he has a habbit of tagging over gang tags and gang members started threatening band members and their family. Is this true?||Thomas was let go by the band. He was a graffiti guy but that had nothing to do with it.|
|How did the falling out with John Theodore happen? Do you still keep in touch with him?||I love Jon and I do keep in touch with him. Jon was unhappy and when someone is unhappy, someone has to pull the trigger and its Omar's band so he did just that.|
|Which one of your Fender Jazz basses is your favorite?||My 1964 Jazz.|
|Why did you switch from those two Ampeg 8x10's?||Weight issue.|
|How did you guys record Cassandra Geminni?||The first and last part was recorded at a studio in LA...the jam in the middle was recorded live in Australia and probably cut up and manipulated by O.|
|What is Paul Gilbert like in person?||Paul is great and generous.|
|Will Big Sir ever come to Ohio?||Fly us there, put us up and meet our guarantee! haha...|
|Hey Juan, can you tell us what happened with Ikey? How come he wasn't part of Noctourniquet?||He wasnt on the last two records because they were records that didnt have organ. Omar has a vision and he follows it.|
|Will he be back again?||You never know. He is playing w Jack White at the moment.|
|What gave you the inspiration for Pedals and Effects? What was your first pedal? What got you into music?||I would say all the questions I get asked from fans and the fact that youTube has mostly lame videos of pedals, done by guitarists. I think pedals deserve a better representation so I started my site. It will only get better as I learn how to maintain a site.|
|My first pedal was a chorus by TC Electronics.|
|My father got me into music. He loved jazz and blasted it every weekend.|
|Hey, big fan. Was the beginning of the band weird with learning how to fit in to Omar's style of a band? Have you ever wanted to quit the band as a result of his authority? Just curious, seems like an interesting band on the inside.||Never wanted to quit. I always knew what I signed up for.|
|Who writes the lyrics in most songs? I'm a big fan, thanks for doing this.||Cedric does. I believe Jeremy wrote some when he was alive too.|
|I'm trying to build a very minimal pedal setup yet still pack a punch - what are some essential and versatile pedals that you suggest would be best for this kind of setup?||Get a good fuzz, phaser and octave pedal. Those always make it into the PA and you can combine those for a lot of great sounds.|
|If you can answer it, what really happened with Jon Theodore? In my opinion the band just had a different vibe about it when he was drumming, something perfect that has not been there since he left.||He was frustrated and unhappy. They had to let him go because he wasnt into it as much as they wanted him to be.|
|Every era is great and its is different. I am not a fan of making the same record and I think the change offered great results.|
|Do you like At the Drive In's music?||To be honest, I am not that familiar with their catalog. I know the hit song. I like that they sound like Fugazi, who I love.|
|At the Drive-In and Fugazi are my two favorite bands. How on earth are you not familiar with atdi's catalog?||I am older than these dudes. I listened to Fugazi. My old band, Distortion Felix, opened up for ATDI but I only saw a couple of songs. That is my experience w their old band. Sorry...|
|I've always been facisinated with the concept of TMV's live improvisation. I was wondering how does the structure of the band's live improv work? Is it just like in jazz where each musician takes a chorus or two?||When we would jam, it would just take shape by someone's lead. If the drums took the lead, everyone follows. Sometimes it would be the bass or the guitar or the vocal.|
|Also, the question on everybody's minds - What the hell is the time signature in Cygnus?||What part of Cygnus? The end part is in 5/4.|
|So who/what are you listening to lately?||I love St Vincent. I also love Nippsy Hustle. The Horrors record was worn out. YG got some stuff. James Blake.|
|Do you strive to stay sober while performing? Back in 07' before a show I offered you a hit of my joint which you declined, but Marcel saw that and took your place gladly.||I get my drink on. Weed spooks me. I am good with champagne. Fans in Europe bring me bottles!|
|What's the future looking like for Big Sir? Anything you've learned from collaborating with Lisa?||Big Sir has two shows coming up. One this month at the Bootleg Theater and one next month at the Echoplex.|
|Lisa and I were meant to do music together. Wish we had met in the 80's. We would have sounded like Sparks meets Joy Division.|
|Thomas Pridgen once said in an interview that he thought he was recording for a new TMV album when in reality it was for Omar's album Xenophanes. How often had it happened to you that you were recording with Omar, not aware where you part would actually be used?||You just record with Omar. Who cares where it ends up? It is all great.|
|Sup Juan, I was just curious if you got to play with Zach Hill while recording Cryptomnesia. If so how is playing with him? He is a superb drummer in my eyes.||He is the shit. Another true artist. Doesnt give a fuck about money when he sits behind the kit. He just wants it to be great. And of course I got to play with him. We were all in a room, jamming...Omar was behind the panels a lot but it was Zach, me and Jonathan. We would jam out Omar's parts and getting them tight. It was a blast. Zach and I would go off in between takes.|
|I know you haven't been with TMV from the very beginning (and I'm really sorry if I'm beating a dead horse by asking this), but do you think that drug usage has affected your bandmates' musical style/writing? Would it all have come out the same without drugs involved? What was it like working with a crazy shredder like Paul Gilbert? Good bass playing and a solid rhythm section are the backbone of any band. Has your approach to playing with TMV changed with each subsequent drummer? With TMV, it seems like such a wide array of musicians playing at the same time would end in disaster, especially in a setting where you guys jam in concert. Just as a rough estimate, could you give me a ratio of how just much of The Mars Volta's show is improvised v.s. planned beforehand? (Is it 50% improv, 50% planned? 30% improv, 70% planned? etc.) Again, with such a large group, it seems like the sound engineer would have his hands full. Where/when was your worst experience with a live audio technician? How the hell did you come up with the Blutraush (Smooth Interlude) bassline? Do you just fiddle around with some notes until you've got something that sounds really good, or do you use your musical training? (no disrespect, it just boggles my mind how you consistently manage to come up with what seem, to me, like really unorthodox, oddly-constructed basslines) Just how much of The Mars Volta's songwriting process is controlled by Omar? I know he has written most-to-everything in the band's repertoire, but are the rest of the band basically session musicians or are you given at least "some" room for creativity in the songwriting/recording process?||Paul is the best teacher when you are in a band with him. He helped me become a better musician...and a faster one!|
|You've played jazz, speed metal, prog, hard rock, psychadelic, fusion, and a multitude of other genres. What would you say is your favorite style of music to play? And if it's different, do you have a favorite style of music to listen to?||It changes, for sure. Jon and I had a lot of soul. D just confounds me with his talents. I played fast w Thomas. Dave made me hit harder because he hits so damn hard.|
|Have you considered a podcast to accompany your awesome new website?||I will do podcasts in the future!|
|What advice (from an artists perspective) would you give a young person attempting to start their own independent label/media company.||Stay true to your vision and work with people you like as human beings.|
|What program did Big Sir use to produce Before Gardens After Gardens (my favorite album of the year so far)? What was your production process in general?||Logic. I would write music and send it to Lisa and then we decided whether to cut it in a band situation or keep it electronic.|
|Does pedalsandeffects.com need any help with writing, production, management, or moderation? If so, where could one send in a resumé for consideration?||Sure could. I need help editing my videos!|
|I can't stress enough how much I look up to you. Young Chicanos need more role models like you. Lots of love and respect from North East Los Angeles.||North East? I live in HP!|
|Is it true Ikey was fired because of his habits?||Hell no. He had some conflicts in his scheduling and then it all just naturally evolved into what it is today. Ikey is awesome. I miss dinners with him.|
|Also, I know you're probably not in charge of it but is there any specific reason that of all the old songs TMV have only played The Widow and Goliath on the latest tour? Nothing against them but there are lots of other great songs in TMV's vast catalogue.||Rep that new record!|
|What have been some of the biggest challenges in setting up and now maintaining your pedals and effects website?||Tel Aviv...going to places for the first time. Berlin show was awesome. The ORLG show in Barcelona was the best ORLG show I have ever been a part of.|
|Who is your favorite band to perform with?||TMV.|
|What is your all time favorite piece of gear?||My fretless.|
|Who's your biggest influence as a bassist?||Jaco.|
|A followup, mainly because he's my drum teacher. How did you like Blake Fleming as the drummer for TMV?||I love playing with Deantoni because he lights the stage on fire. He has so many ideas and I could just watch him forever. I did lock with Jon very well because we came up on the same music. It was pretty easy to jam w Jon...still is.|
|Blake was in his prime in Laddio Bolocko and Dazzling Killmen. Look up those youtubes. (I butchered the spelling of those names.)|
|I have so many questions but I'll try not to be too selfish... Are you working on new Vato Negro (or did it kinda just morph into ORLG)? How about Big Sir?||Yes, I am working on a new Vato Negro record. Not sure what will happen to the D, Omar, Juan collaboration.|
|Big fan Juan, I've seen you perform six times I think, always top notch! Cool videos on Pedals and Effects too.||Lisa and I have something up our sleeves that will shock some people.|
|Is your working relationship any different playing over Deantoni instead of Pridgen on record? theyre both incredible drummers but with very different styles so I was just wondering if - as a bassist - it makes that much of a difference?||D is so damn fun... He has endless ideas and always outdoes his previous performance. He is the greatest.|
|Also, did you ever see yourself in a position where you would create a sustainable lifestyle through art, or were you always apprehensive about relying on music for regular income?||Both. I knew I could do it but I have had my doubts and I have had other interests. Life is too short for one profession.|
|Which Mars Volta album are you most proud of, relative to your contribution to said album?||FTM.|
|Relatedly, what kind of general direction would you be eager for the next Mars Volta record to go in? The more experimental, improvisational aspect of an album such as Frances the Mute, or the more controlled frenetic chaos of Bedlam or Nocturniquet?||Been answered...|
|How surreal of an experience was it when you first played in giant venues like Madison Square Garden to thousands of people?||I like smaller venues. Bigger venues and festivals are too much a shit storm.|
|Does your polycythemia ever affect your ability to play live/cause issues prior to concerts?||It hasnt yet!|
|Which band is the best live band you've ever seen?||Van Halen in 1979 and U2 on their first tour in the US. A lot has to do with how young I was.|
|Hi Juan. Miles here (from Bristol/London). Hope you're well. Been rocking some Vato Negro today. Any plans to tour Vato again? P.S. Will try and catch up with you in London again (assuming your doing the Omar tour in Oct)?||If there is an offer, it will happen.|
|And no, I will not be with ORLG this time around.|
|The new website is a great idea! It's helped me learn a lot more about pedals (I've never really experimented with them until recently). Is there one pedal you could not live without?||Boss CS-2.|
|One question fans are dying to know.... Did The Mars Volta really play their last show in London?||No.|
|Hi Juan, your twitter friend and fellow bassist Matt here. What do you do to warm up before playing finger style? Your alacrity and dexterity is amazing. It is a skill I personally am always looking to improve upon :)||Get your heart rate up. Run up stairs or do pushups.|
|How willingly do you talk about the Bedlam In Goliath album and all the problems making that album?||I am willing.|
|I just know that the employees at Ocean Way remember our yelling session in the back of the studio. They had someone come tell us that we were bothering other artists recording there because of the yelling.|
|Hey Juan! Thanks for doing this. I'm a huge fan and follow your site. Was wondering if there are any plans for Big Sir to tour in the future? Mainly the east coast.||I would love to. Lisa too. There just hasnt been an offer.|
|Juan you are an inspiration! Is there anything you can tell us about LP 7?||I hope it comes soon!|
|Who is your favorite hip-hop artist/group of all time?||PE #1.|
|Hey Juan, thanks for doing this AMA. For the Noctourniquet release, if you remember a few fans made a unofficial promo video to get the word out about the album, I was one of the guys who did some 3d graphics for that. What do/did you guys think about that sort of street level promotion for your band? Is it something you'd like to see more of in the future?||I dig it and I think it is the future. Keep it up!|
|Do you prefer a bassline that goes "boo boo boo" or a bassline that goes "buu buu buu"? Player of 13 years looking for some direction, thanks!||No...dooo dooo doo...|
|In the omar roderiquez lopez group do you guys play with Click tracks/in-ear metronomes? because some of those songs are just impossible to do without losing the tempo, same goes for Mars volta. Anyways, big fan hope to see you in The Netherlands soon?||No. never.|
|Has anyone told you you look like Oscar from The Office?||Some fan has. Don't all us Latinos look the same?|
|One of the reasons I first got into Can was because of Please Heat This Eventually. I bought the record and the turntable was on the wrong speed and it was wayyy slowed down and Damo Suzuki sounded like a monster. I was immediately intrigued and have been a huge Can fan ever since. How was working with Damo? Is he a strange person? What was his impact on the group?||I only performed live with him. He is from another planet. I never knew what he was going to do. I was just hoping he was feeling it.|
|What is your favorite strand of herb? who smokes the most in the band?||Not a big herb dude.|
|TMV has had multiple amazing drummers. What was it like to work with Jon, Blake, Thomas, and now Deantoni? Is there something that each drummer was able to do that the others couldn't?||Jon was great for grooves that I was familiar with. He really plays a great Bonham as well as Afro beat stuff.|
|Deantoni plays beats from the future. No one matches his talents right now...no one. He is on fire.|
|Blakes days pre TMV are good. Hit him on youTube.|
|Thomas plays fast.|
|What do you do with bass that you think is unique to you? (i play my bass a style that i have yet to hear anyone else play and want to know if it is me or if everyone has "their thing")||I think I like that it all comes from us with hip hop, soul music, funk music, dance music. Music I listen to the most comes from a great bass line.|
|I was just wondering, what is the one place in the world that made a huge impression on you? since you've toured a lot, i'm sure you've seen lots of interesting places, but there's got to be one place that sticks out as unique.||I would say Mexico City. It was the most intense shows and I felt different there. Like I had been there before but I had not.|
|What was the most harrowing/discouraging part of your path to a fulfilling musical career and what drove you through it?||Being broke and not knowing if I should continue. I started to play fretless for real and that got me through it. When you are stalled, take on a new approach to music. It will work out.|
|What 's your favourite Joy Division song?||She's Lost Control.|
|What drugs do you do?||Hydroxurea for my blood condition. 2 baby aspirin every day to keep my blood thin.|
|I bet you are tripping balls.||No, actually the medication is a form of Chemotherapy. Sometimes it makes my skin burn and sometimes it makes my skin itch. I get blurry vision at times. The baby aspirin is a blood thinner to keep my blood from clotting which keeps me from a getting a stroke.|
|Juan! Muchas gracias para la AMA! Me gusta todo de tu trabajo con Racer X y el Mars Volta. Como se fue tu relaciones con los otros miembros del Racer X? Hablamos con Paul Gilbert? Muchas gracias para tu musica!||Si. Pablo Gilberto es mi amigo por vida.|
|Do you tune to standard 440? Have you ever heard of cymatics in relation to using an alternate 432hz tuning? Is this something Mars Volta would ever experiment with?||TMV is standard tuning.|
|Never heard of that.|
|Juan,thank you for all the inspiring music through the years,you are an important influence on me as a writer and as a player.Seeing you in Lisbon was so inspiring,next time come to Porto ,please. I would like to ask you what do you think about Trevor Dunn and in your opinion (apart from Jonathan Hiscke),what are some of the most innovative and alternative bassists in the last 20 years? Cheers.||I know nothing about Trevor except that these bookers from Croatia booked his trio and they were touring by train with an upright bass and all their own gear. Punk!|
|Hey Juan! Just a quick question: back in 2009 TMV were playing 2h30 sets almost every show. Why were the shows on the Noctourniquet tour here in Europe so short? (about 80mins)||O question.|
|Hey there, my question is: are titles of the songs rather titles of the musical compositions or titles of lyrics?||C question.|
|As a bass player and a pedal/effect aficionado... What is your favourite bass effect, and what pedal could you not live without?||Subs at the moment but it always changes. Boss CS-2.|
|Could you tell us the story of how you met Omar and got involved with The Mars Volta. Thanks for reaching out to your fans like this!||Omar called me from Europe while they were on the first part of the Deloused tour in 03. I was at my desk job and he left a message. The next time he called, he said Manny from Distortion Felix sold him and Cedric on the idea of using me in their band.|
|I didnt meet him until my first audition with him and Jon. He was nice but stand off ish. Jon was cool but Henry, Omar's tech, started to play Scarified on Omar's guitar and I knew then it could be really cool.|
|As far as a question I really wanted to know what it was like working with John Frusciante and for that matter how it was going on tour with the RHCP as a whole.||John is the one take wonder. He is so damn funky and solid. Everyone should be so lucky to record with him. A true inspiration and a true artist. I love touring with RHCP. Flea is always so generous to me. Chad and I go way back to the 80's. He used to hang with my East LA friends back then. I jammed with him at some East LA club ... we did Fire by Hendrix at 200 bpm!|
|Yes. I have skated since 76. I used to get Skateboard magazine when it first came out. We still are known to bring decks out on tour. Punk and skate run together.||Not affected my playing or career at all. Bad Brains. Depends on the era. When we would just run Cicatriz, 80% was improvised. I would say now, 15% is improvised.. All our guys have been pro. Matt Bittman is our guy now and he kills it. There was a Jeff Berlin bass line I liked and I kind of bit elements of it and added it to the fretless. I answered that question a couple of times. Just scroll through. I love new wave and soul music. I would say hip hop is my favorite genre to listen to. Cedric put on a horse head on time. He is funny as shit.|
|I met them after all that. They are doing well.|
|Paul is the best teacher when you are in a band with him. He helped me become a better musician...and a faster one!|
|It changes, for sure. Jon and I had a lot of soul. D just confounds me with his talents. I played fast w Thomas. Dave made me hit harder because he hits so damn hard.|
> Tour de France Odds, Picks, and Best Bets for Stage 16 – Sep. 15th Tour de France Odds, Picks, and Best Bets for Stage 16 – Sep. 15th By Dave F. in News — September 14, 2020 1:27 PM PDT Tour de France Betting Odds. View all available outright and match odds, plus get news, tips, free bets and money-back offers. All you need to bet. Tour de France 2020 Betting Tips & Predictions. Starting later than normal, the 2020 Tour De France will follow the same route as originally planned, ending in Paris on 20th September. This year’s 21 stage route promises to be more testing on the riders than 2019 when the race came under criticism for its touristy nature. Tour De France 2020 - Stage Winner options: betting statistics. The total amount matched on Tour De France 2020 - Stage Winner options so far is £63,822. The total number of runners in Tour De France 2020 - Stage Winner is 158, and you can back or lay 157 of them. Stage 15 is what the Tour de France is all about. A testing mountain stage where the cream rises to the top. With an off day on Monday, anybody who is going to take a run at Roglic is likely to give it a shot on Sunday. GC candidates are among the top contenders to win the stage, which seems reasonable. 2020 Tour de France Stage 15 Odds
[index]          
Bob Roll and Steve Schlanger give you everything you need to know ahead of the 2019 Tour de France. #NBCSports #TourdeFrance #TDF2019 » Subscribe to NBC Spor... From Saturday 6th of July to Sunday 28th of July 2019, the 106th Tour de France includes 21 stages for a total length of 3 460 kilometers. Stage 13 - (Pau / Pau) More information on Continental ... The 2019 Tour de France is just around the corner and we have all the key stages covered, analyse the favourites to take the yellow jersey as well as predict... From Saturday 6th of July to Sunday 28th of July 2019, the 106th Tour de France includes 21 stages for a total length of 3 460 kilometers. BERNAL Egan is the... Brent Graham from Goodforthegame previews every stage of the 2020 Tour de France from a betting angle Sign up for our Tour de France Newsletter here https://...