All Around The World: A far-out trip to far-flung prog

Childhood buddies Lalo Mariné and Francesc Messeguer discover that practice makes perfect where prog is concerned.

Mexican four-piece Tangerine Circus had high ambitions when they first started playing together at the tender age of 17. “We were at the peak of our Dream Theater fandom. We really wanted to create music in that style,” explains their keyboardist Eduardo ‘Lalo’ Mariné. A decade later and after a lot of practice, they are displaying a musical talent to rival that of the progressive metal titans. “We want to be big and we have the motivation and the drive to become a big name,” he says with confidence.

Mariné, guitarist Francesc Messeguer, bassist Luis Mauricio Sánchez and drummer Daniel Hernández met each other through family and friends when they were young and have remained firm friends and musical kindred spirits ever since. While their friendship is a charming consequence of shared passions it’s their steadfast commitment to excelling in their field that deserves recognition. Their love of prog, and in particular Dream Theater, saw them set about writing music that would make eyes water. Listen to the epic, symphony-laden opening to The Conspiracy Chronicles and you’ll see what we mean.

“If I’m a fan of Tangerine Circus,” says Mariné, “then I’ll want two things. First, to be amazed by the technical elements of the song and secondly, I want it to say something emotional to me.”

While their debut Urania was, as they describe, “straightforward metal”, their latest release brings in influences from Transatlantic, Neal Morse and Genesis, harvested from the individual passions that the band have for prog, ranging from Beardfish and Moon Safari to Marillion and Symphony X.

Being on the same wavelength helped Tangerine Circus enormously and they were soon writing music with ease but there was one missing ingredient: a vocalist.

“We sat on our asses for two years waiting for the right singer to come along,” says Messeguer. In the end they decided to share the vocal duties. “It was the best decision, ever,” says Mariné. “We have four voices so we can do anything we want, harmony-wise.”

The band write, practice and rehearse in Mariné’s home studio which he also uses for production work. In a vast metropolis like Mexico City it not only provides a convenient spot for the band to jam but it’s also a sanctuary where they can spend endless hours chewing the fat and bouncing ideas around before it’s time to take their show on the road. Tangerine Circus play gigs around their home city and have got to know other progressive bands but while there’s interest at home it’s nothing compared to the response they’ve had in Europe, in particular the UK.

“We’re not a big deal in Mexico, we’re just guys who play nerdy music, but in the UK the response has been really positive. Our dream would be to play Europe one day.” Watch this space!

Holly Wright

With over 10 years’ experience writing for Metal Hammer and Prog, Holly has reviewed and interviewed a wealth of progressively-inclined noise mongers from around the world. A fearless voyager to the far sides of metal Holly loves nothing more than to check out London’s gig scene, from power to folk and a lot in between. When she’s not rocking out Holly enjoys being a mum to her daughter Violet and working as a high-flying marketer in the Big Smoke.