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15/10/2007 – Interview with ZONARIA

Sweden has a new (Melodic) Death Metal band on its list: ZONARIA (official website) released their debut album, "Infamy And The Breed" last month via Pivotal Rockordings. The band members are still quite young, but show on this first release that they have great potential. You can check out the review of the album at this location.

As a result of this release I sent a couple of questions to the band to know more about this release, their music, their musical background, ZONARIA itself, and other related things. Vocalist/guitarist Simon was the one who would answer it all, but he fell sick shortly before the tour, which they are now doing in support of PAIN. Drummer Emanuel eventually took over from Simon.

Zonaria logo

You're considered as the new Swedish (melodic) Death Metal sensation. This raises the expectations the public has regarding your live performances and what you deliver on CD. Ofcourse, such marketing remarks should be taken with a grain of salt, although they always have a certain importance with some music fans. Does this have an effect on you? Are you more nervous for gigs or maybe when thinking of the writing process for the next album(s), afraid not to meet those expectations?

No, I don't think so. Having our album out dosen't really have the effect on us, we always try to push ourselves and do our best, and of course have a lot of fun on the way. We love and thrive on being in the spotlight and we enjoy the pressure, we feel it helps us improve the most.

Zonaria bandPivotal Rockordings found you good enough to add you to their roster. How did this deal come to existance? Did they approach you? Or did you contact several labels, after which Pivotal offered the most interest or the best conditions?

It was a combination of both, Pivotal contacted us for about 2 years, we also go other offers but Pivotal gave us the best and we work good together. It made the most sense to us and we are still pleased with the work they have been doing for us.

Is ZONARIA a fun project or a serious band? Or in other words, is there a long-term vision or will you take it one step at a time?

There is definitely a long-term vision of this band and the main focus for all of us. We are willing to go all out and do the best we can to support our musical vision as well as give the fans some kick ass head banging music to listen to!

Who came up with the name ZONARIA and what's the story and meaning behind it?

It was Emil and Simon who came up with the name. To us it's a symbol of destruction and self-devastation of this world. It comes from Greek mythology and it is the most treacherous path.

Are you all self-taught musicians or did (most of) you take lessons?

Me, Simon and Emil have all taken lessons in the start, but actually quit pretty soon after. Simon has more education and knows a lot of other instruments too. Markus I actually can't speak for.

Who's responsable for the songwriting? Does it usually start with you and Emil or does everyone contribute? In addition, do you come together to exchange ideas or does everything happen online?

Simon writes pretty much all the music, but of course everyone can submit their stuff, although Simon simply comes up with the best stuff. Lyrics-wise I've helped out with two songs, otherwise it's all Simon there too. We get the songs/riffs from Simon and then we all have our input: sometimes online, sometimes at Simon's or someone elses place and sometimes in the rehearsal place.

In addition, what if an agreement can't be reached? Do you then use a vote-system or just toss the ideas away and start all over?

Well, if there is a riff someone doesn't like, we try to change it or dump it. Sometimes just a thing as changing the drums can give the whole riff a different feel, but sometimes it needs to be thrown away. When it comes to song-writing there is little conflict within the band, we generally are quick to come up with material as well.

Your first album, "Infamy And The Breed", came out last month. How satisfied are you with the result? Were you able to fulfill all wishes and what would you change next time?

We are satisfied, of course there is stuff you always can work on more, but if taken to account that we had limited time to record we are really satisfied. There are already many ideas how the next album will sound. We have like 7 or 8 songs ready.

How are the responses so far from the press (mostly positive, right?), friends, family, colleagues, ...?

The response has been great! Of course not everyone can like you, but that isn't what we expected either. But like now, when the majority likes it, we're really happy. The press has been very supportive of us and we have gotten lots of good reviews and tons of interviews.

The subjects on your EP "Rendered In Vain" were the apocalypse, armageddon, and the inevitable demise of humanity - things to look forward to...not. ;-) Is there any difference with "Infamy And The Breed"? And what inspired you to write about these themes?

There isn't much change in that part on "Infamy And The Breed" but we've added other stuff. Maybe more political stuff, how different things are being handled, about certain self-proclaimed 'World-leaders' and other stuff.

Zonaria - Infamy And The BreedThe cover art looks quite futuristic and not exactly joyful. Who was the creator and what's the link with the songs and/or album title?

It was done by a guy called Seth and symbolizes pretty much what I described above: 'World-leaders', apocalypse, armageddon, humanity. All these are themes of the album and these themes are elaborated on the video for "Armageddon Anthem".

Jonas Kjellgren from SCAR SYMMETRY was responsible for the sound and everything related. How did he get involved? Was it your or Pivotal's choice to work with him?

We played a gig with Jonas old band CENTINEX in november 2005 and he was a really nice guy. We really liked his earlier work and decided to ask him. He also worked with us on "Rendered In Vain" and did a good job. So it was an obvious choice for us!

Related to the previous question: Christian Älvestam (SCAR SYMMETRY) made a guest appearance on the track "Attending Annihilation". Was this (again?) a personal choice, or did Jonas suggest this? Did Christian join you in the studio or was his part recorded elsewhere or at another moment?

It was our choice from the beginning when recording the "Rendered In Vain" single. When we were going to record the full length album, Christian asked us if we wanted him to do the vocals again. Since we were really pleased with the result on the single, we said yes. His part was recorded separately in some studio where he lives. He is very talented and it was great to have his voice on "Infamy And The Breed".

Zonaria bandPersonally I found the production a bit plastic and this is a 'problem' (in my opinion) on many albums nowadays. Was this done intentionally or wasn't there enough time or money to go for something more realistic?

I wouldn't really say its 'plastic', but of course here is always room for improvement. And since we didn't have the biggest budget we had to make stuff the best we could within these limits. And having that in mind we're really pleased with the result. His production style is very unique and you can hear this on the SCAR SYMMETRY records as well.

"Infamy And The Breed" contains 12 songs. Did you have more - to be used later, original version or reworked? - or do you always have a fixed number in mind to complete an album?

We had a lot of other and older songs that didn't make it. The exact amount was never discussed in the beginning, but we had an idea about how long we wanted the album to be. All in all we are happy with everything about it and the length is pretty good. There is an extra track that will go on a Japanese release.

In a couple of days you'll tour with Peter Tägtgren and his PAIN band (note: the bands are currently on tour - Tim). How excited are you and who took the first step to make a tour together?

We are really excited since Peter is a big role model for us, he is a great musician, songwriter and producer and has loads of different bands and projects which are really awesome! Our booking agency approached them and we later got the word that we got the tour. We are currently out with them and having a blast!

You'll be playing lots of gigs and this will have its effect on your instrumental and vocal skills. How do you keep your voice intact? Or do you just make sure you don't overscream after a few days?

Warming up and stretching is the key. With that it will go alright. Considering how much we practice at home, performing each night should not be that big of a deal, although it's going to be a bit more intensive. This tour has some free dates, so that will give us time to rest, need be, or drink!

Will you record your performances for 1) future bonus tracks or 2) a potential live album/DVD or 3) internal use, to evaluate your playing and anything related?

We will film some gigs etc. but we don't have any intention to release anything at the moment, we'll see! Anything is possible.

I'm done, for now. Many thanks for replying, good luck with the tour and work on your next album. If there's anything you'd like to add, be my guest.

Thanks! I hope that everyone with the possibility to come will catch the tour and support us and PAIN! I'll see you on the road!

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