Opensight’s Grindhouse Cine-metal (interview)

Opensight's Grindhouse Cine-metal

Forked Tongues: Opensight’s Grindhouse Cine-metal

Many bands claim to be unique. London’s Opensight don’t even need to make such a statement. 

Bringing together the sound and visuals of cult classic film and TV, with cultivated prog metal, this band is a one-off operation. Delving into spy stories, horror, hard-boiled cop shows, and more, they bring a special character to their music and live performances. But with such an unusual and defined aesthetic, was it difficult to assemble a team who all caught on to the concept? Slow Dragon Music takes a peek behind the screen…

Ivan David Amaya (vocals/guitar):Opensight definitely has a clear identity because of the influence of genre film music and Grindhouse movie vibes. The team members got drawn to the Outfit because we enjoy what the music, concept and visuals are about, so being an unique operation is more of an advantage in that sense. We’re unique, intense and adventurous for sure but we’re not hard to digest. We have very diverse tastes but despite Opensight being a clear concept there is still a feeling of freedom in what we do.”

As far as film goes, they have quite a wide palette of influences. What makes a cinematic experience worth writing a song about for the band is no throwaway homage. In fact, they have a deeper relationship with each chosen subject.

IDA:I like the idea of pouring different things that we love into the band somehow. This includes things besides music as well so it could be books, films, video games or any other interests. Opensight displays a more evident inclination towards genre movies and film music in particular, but a song can come from anything that resonates with you. So, if you grew up loving a film, a video game, or a television show, or a book, then that can creep into the music spontaneously somehow. Our song “Plot Twist” has a very Pink Panther / A Shot in the Dark Henry Mancini vibe, “The Great Silence” got its title from a western of the same name, but sounds more like a 70s funky crime film theme in the Dirty Harry vein. “Stained Remains” has a more John Carpenter/80s Horror synth approach, but you can tell all of them belong to the same family. Some things touch you deeply when you are growing up. You discover vibes and influences that you end up emulating through your music somehow.”

There is also a love for references and Easter eggs.”

“Researching and discovering new things all the time. Growing up with bands like Iron Maiden, you end up discovering films like “The Wickerman” or “Where Eagles Dare”, because they wrote songs inspired by those movies. One of the main inspirations for Opensight when it comes to film music is Ennio Morricone. A lot of people in the Metal scene know about him because of Metallica opening their shows with “The Ecstasy of Gold”, and they might discover an amazing film like “The Good The Bad and The Ugly” because of them too. We also like to leave clues of the things that inspire us, which in big part relate to genre films, cult movies, exploitation cinema, and lots of other fun stuff.”

When they are writing, it’s not all ideas which reach completion, and head to stage and screen though. Is there a “cutting room floor” collection lurking somewhere in the Opensight vaults?

Duncan Arkley (bass):We’re coming up with ideas all the time that don’t see full production. We all have such widely varied influences and styles that, sometimes, ideas just don’t fit the thing that is called “Opensight”, but they’re important to get out, and sometimes small pieces find their way into other material, and better songs. With anything, it’s a case of making sure whatever we write ‘serves the song’, and serves the Outfit. The vaults are pretty full at this point – there’s a huge amount of ‘fat trimming’ that goes on before we decide a song is actually ready and worthy. Who knows? One day they might see the light of day, but for now that vault is firmly sealed.”

IDA:Exactly. Most of the time it is not worth it to force things. If a particular idea doesn’t gestate the right way, it could be stagnant forever, or be revisited later on. But there is also the performance element. I could bring songs already demoed that could seem completed, but playing them together in a room is the thing that will give them life. Playing live is key for Opensight, and the emotional response of us playing the song as a band is a main indicator of whether a song needs tweaking or not.”

Forked Tongues: Opensight’s Grindhouse Cine-metal

Opensight – Mondo Fiction: The Director’s Cut
Opensight - Mondo Fiction: The Director's Cut

Release date: 25th August 2023||Genre: Progressive/cinematic metal||Label: Self released

London’s Openisght re-issue their 2022 album, Mondo Fiction as a special edition “Director’s Cut”.

Re-released digitally with bonus tracks this year, Mondo Fiction: The Director’s Cut is an expertly crafted slice of progressive metal. There’s more to it than that, though. Opensight have delved deep into the canon of grindhouse, b-movie, and 60s/70s cinematic OSTs. You’re just as likely to pick up on Tarantino/Rodriguez pulp-soaked surf guitars, as Faith No More funk. Opensight are superb musicians, not just from a technical ability standpoint; they have a deep, group comprehension of the colliding styles they are bringing together. The finale is a perfected melange of screen audio idioms and heavy music melodics, textured and individual. If (like me) you are a musician yourself, the addition of instrumental versions of all tracks is an interesting boon. If you’re just a fan of riffs, cult viewing, and the weird, this is one slick platter you need to add to your collection.

Slow Dragon

Forked Tongues: Opensight’s Grindhouse Cine-metal

Naturally, there is a strong visual component to the band’s work. One has to wonder if that is something difficult to translate to live environments.

IDA:We’ve played different types of venues, always have a great time, and the point always gets across when it comes to our music and vibe, regardless of where we play. Regarding visuals, we have been able to do interesting stuff on stage with projections, lights, smoke, and other atmospherics where possible. Projections have been pretty effective because we can use cinematic visuals, trailers, and present images within a vintage cinematic vibe, syncing to each of the songs, and serving its particular theme. We’ve done 3D images with the audience wearing 3D glasses on Halloween shows, and so on. At the end, everything goes down to resources, budget, and logistics, but we would love to do more and better things, of course.”

With all their cultural influences kicking about, you know Opensight will have thought about some strange collaborations.  Whether it be musically, visually, or otherwise, such things have certainly come to mind. Dream big…

IDA:The idea of having the opportunity to work with your influences is a pretty nice one indeed. Within the rock and metal world, all the people that seem to have no boundaries, and do what they like with their music: The Devin Townsends, Mike Pattons, Mikael Akerdfelts, and so on. There are sections of our songs that are bombastic, and western-like, and I always think how cool it would be to have Edda Dell’Orso just sing on them. Like, just have her come and do whatever she wants on top. Film composers would be deffo on the list, you know, John Carpenter, Claudio Simmonetti, Luis Bacalov, Fabio Frizzi.”

Regarding visuals, one of my favourite videos is of a song called “A New Beginning” by a project called Wolfie’s Just Fine, which is inspired by Friday the 13th, so it would be amazing to work on a video with Brandon Dermer, or Jon Lajoie who did that one. We worked with Solo Macello on the Mondo Fiction album art, which was amazing. It would be cool to join forces with other film illustrators, like Graham Humphries, who is absolutely amazing. If we were setting up a heist, then we would try to get Neil McCauley or Hans Gruber… or maybe Jack Nicholson!

Not a collective to sit about, the band always seem to be working on something behind the scenes. So, what’s coming up in production at Opensight’s supervillain HQ..?

IDA:Our last album “Mondo Fiction” got a great response, and even made some top lists of the year, which was a surprise for us, especially with the type of music being so uncompromising. So we decided to release an extended version of the album, and call it “Mondo Fiction (The Director’s Cut)”, with instrumental versions of some of the tracks. We are giving away some exclusive tracks to those who join our “Director’s Cult” via our mailing list. We also had the chance to film a crime film inspired video for the song “The Great Silence”, so if you want to see our frontman being tortured Reservoir Dogs style, then you will love it. Apart from that, we have a bunch of songs being worked on for the next big release, and we will be unveiling that gradually. Saddle up, start the car, holster the Walther PPK, and be sure to pack the holy water – it’s time to go!”

Forked Tongues: Opensight’s Grindhouse Cine-metal


Forked Tongues: Opensight’s Grindhouse Cine-metal