Simon Berglun of Zonaria

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Not too long ago, I had the opporunity to check out the new Zonaria album Arrival of the Red Sun. After doing so, I shot some interview questions over to them via Clawhammer PR. Not too long after, Simon Berglund (guitars, vocals) got those answers back to me for this electronic interview.

How is everything on your end? Arrival of the Red Sun recently dropped, has Listenable Records had you on a tight leash because of it?

Things are fine. The weather is slowly turning worse, summer is pretty much over here in northern Sweden. Nah, the leash is pretty loose, haha. We get a lot of interviews and press at the moment which is great. I have myself on a leash to write album four at the moment.

This is your third album, and the third record label Zonaria has signed to. Why does the band keep hopping from label to label?

After “Infamy and the Breed” we started to look for all kinds of labels and got hooked on a good deal for the second album with another label. I guess the outcome of the second album wasn´t as great as it could have been. We toured extensively but times were dire and the decision was made not to continue on our previous label.

Does your contract with Listenable cover another album, or is that prospect something that will be decided when you guys hand in the fourth album some point in the future, or was it a one album only sort of thing?

We´ll see later on, but from our side we´d love to have them release and work with us on number four. Hopefully that future isn´t another 3, 5 years ahead which I strongly doubt.

Flo Mournier of Cryptopsy

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Early this morning, I posted my review of the new Cryptopsy album, which can be viewed here. I wrote up some interview questions, and shot them over to the fine folks at Clawhammer PR along with the link to it. I was surprised to see a forwarded response in my inbox from them in what is easily the fastest interview response in my entire life. Considering that Flo Mounier took the time to get back to me so fast, I figured I’d return the favor and get these posted as soon as possible…

First of all, how are things going for you and Cryptopsy lately? Given the backlash that erupted after The Unspoken King, have things been a lot better as a whole when the audio streams of this album started hitting the internet?

Things are good, very busy with this release in the good sense. The line-up is very much on the same page which hasn’t been the case necessarily in the past. People seem to be digging the few songs that have been available so that’s always a good thing.

I remember the band being very happy with the direction of The Unspoken King, even being mad at fans for not accepting it. Did Cryptopsy originally plan to retain that specific sound much longer than one album?

The sound itself has nothing to do with the writing of an album or the musical content. Every band that records wants to be able to have a good sound production where everything that has been played can be heard. This is a lot easier said then done. TUK was written with different influences (on guitar) so in a sense there was an adaptation period at least for me in the writing process. I think musically the album has a lot of interesting things to offer. What really set people off was the fact that there was 5% clean singing on the album. The deathcore thing… i just will never understand that because the people writing this album at the time had no idea what deathcore was, and again if people think that deathcore is based on sound quality then i’m sorry but thats just ridiculous. With this new album just like every album in the past cryptopsy has ever done we wanted a great production, and finally this time around we got extremely close to exactly what we wanted, that’s such a relief as many recording musicians around the world would agree.

Either way, it is great to have the old Cryptopsy back, and this album sounds great. I know the final product was handled by Chris Donaldson, your lead and rhythm guitar, as well as Jef Fortin mastering it. I see also the band had a hand in the production aspect. First of all, what was it like working together to produce the album? Were there any issues that came about while doing so, or any interesting stories?

It was a lot of fun and very easy to do. We recorded the drums at my house in 3 days and the rest at Chris’s studio. It’s home made if you wish and i wouldn’t have done it any other way. What took longer was the mixing and mastering because we were really picky on wanting to hear everything clearly and making sure that it remained brutal. There will be some funny parts off course featured on the making of video.

Siegfried Samer of Dragony

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Earlier today I did my review of the 2012 Limb Music reissue of Dragony‘s debut album, Legends, which can be viewed here. I also e-mailed some interview questions their way through Freeman Promotions. In what is quite possibly the quickest turn around, vocalist Siegfried Samer got them back to me a few hours later. The following is what he had to say.

Thank you very much for sitting down to answer a few questions real quick. Before we go on, how are you doing? Everything alright on your end?

Yeah, thanks – things are going fine. Right now half of the band is on summer vacation though, so we’re taking a bit of a break, haha… but we will be back in full force by fall, when our next live shows are coming up. But until then, we’re just recharging our batteries right now, which is really necessary after the eventful past year, with the album production, live shows and album release! At the moment, I’m really mostly occupied with doing some PR stuff for the band – so thank you very much for your detailed review of our album, and also for this interview opportunity!

First of all, why did Dragony decide to record and issue a full-length album independently instead of doing a traditional demo or two first? Was this a conscious decision, or was there some other reason that made you go this path?

Well, the thing is, I’ve been paying very close attention to the music scene for the past five years, as I’ve been writing for a rather large Austrian metal webzine myself since 2007, so I think I got a pretty good idea about the business side of things in the metal world. And my experiences in the past years have shown that especially with the situation for record labels becoming tougher and tougher in recent years, it’s really become difficult for a band to be “discovered”. Because I suppose what you are referring to is the “classical” process, where a band releases one or two more or less “raw” sounding demos or EPs, then they catch a label’s attention, and the label goes on to record the first full-length album with them? Now the thing is, while this procedure was definitely a viable option back in the day, with the current state of the music business in general, I think it’s really not the case anymore.

Labels understandably don’t really want to risk very much with new acts, and invest a lot of money in the recording of the first album of a relatively unknown band, not knowing when or if at all that investment will pay off. So nowadays, I feel it really just works this way: you as a band are asked to take initiative, and produce a decent record, and then see if you can manage to get a record label interested in you and maybe sign a deal for that album. That way, the label naturally has less risk to take into consideration, and that again raises your chances to get signed and thus get more exposure considerably.

Of course there are still bands out there that are being “discovered” and then pushed to the moon by (mostly bigger) record labels, but usually even those labels who have bigger budgets are hesitant to invest money in things where they are not 100% sure that they will pay off, so most of the bands that seem to appear “out of nowhere” on big labels these days, those are mostly bands who are very marketable for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s because the specific style is in high demand at a particular moment, as it was the case with the numerous Folk and Pagan Metal bands a few years ago; other times it’s just the image and look of the band – say, if they have a nice-looking female singer, it might be easier since there is quite a big market for that particular style – and other times it thankfully is still because they’re just that damn good.

But as you can tell, classic Power Metal like we play it isn’t exactly the “trendy” thing to do right now, and when last I looked, I also wasn’t a nice-looking female singer, haha – though sometimes I probably sound like one!- so we knew from the start that it wouldn’t be easy for us to get “out there” with our very traditional style of True Metal.

So as said, we took matters into our own hands, and tried to produce an album to the best of our abilities (and resources), and to be honest, we’re actually really happy with the result! Of course, we didn’t have the budget of bands like NIGHTWISH or EDGUY, but we really think that for a debut album of a young band, “Legends” has turned out really really well. Sure, there is still much room for improvement as well, and there are also things that we would do differently the second time around; but that’s just a matter of the experiences you make – and if we’re honest about it, it’s rarely been the case that a band’s first album was already THE perfect album. It’s a process, it’s development as artists and persons… but we think we had a real good start, and the deal with LIMB Music is helping us also to get the name out there, and increase interest in our stuff. So even if we might not have the production of bands like BLIND GUARDIAN or HAMMERFALL, I think “Legends” still sounds pretty nice, and I also think the songs speak for themselves – I think we managed to pack a nice set of tracks on that record with a lot of catchy hooks and great choruses, and we hope that fans of our genre will enjoy those songs as much as we do, and come back craving for more, haha!

Lenny B. of Dust Bolt

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I recently conducted a quick interview with Lenny B., vocalist and guitarist of German Thrash Metal act Dust Bolt a few days ago. Check out what he had to say, and while you’re at it give the song “Deviance” a spin thanks to the ReverbNation player below! You can also head over to Napalm Records and order their debut full-length, Violent Demolition. Also be sure to read my review of the album here at Apoch’s!

Thank you for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions. How’s everything going on your end? I hope all is well.

Yeah everythings going great!! Lots of things to do for the release of our record, but it´s fun!! I´m really looking forward to the release in a few weeks!

Violent Demolition just comes off as a heavily oppressive, despair ridden Thrash Metal assault. Was that initially a goal of the band’s when you were all writing the material?

Yeah that´s it! When we wrote the whole material one of the most important thing for us was to create songs, that work live as good as possible and songs, that produce a connection to the listener immediately. For us it´s very important to deliver emotion, some kind of desperation and lots of aggression. That´s what arises when we play live! And I think you can feel that on Violent Demolition very good!