Tell us a little of your new monstrosity, ‘Arrival of the Red Sun’, out via Listenable Records!
Hey! Simon here. Yeah it felt so good to finally have it out, having worked on it for such a long time you know. Having worked with the songs since 2008 they were beginning to feel kinda old but I think we got them in good shape in the end. The title and cover art came right in the end so it also boosted the whole thing to feel new and exciting for us, haha.
Is there a central theme or concept to ‘Arrival…’? There seems to be a lot of real-world atrocities found in the lyrics…
Yeah I write about fictional atrocities and such things and it doesn´t matter how depressing it gets, you can still draw connections with the real world today. We have no beef with anyone and there´s no real concept, hidden or revealed. The lyrics might be perceived to be a little narrow but I didn´t set out to make a concept album.
There is a video for the track ‘Silent Holocaust’, why did you choose this particular song to help raise awareness of the new album?
Mostly because of the other guys, they heard an instant hit and there was just no question about it after that. We had a much bigger problem choosing a song on the previous album and so it became our mission to make catchy songs.
How do you enjoy making videos? Is the band heavily involved in the creative process, direction, etc.? I have heard some bands say it is a lot of standing around while the lighting gets adjusted and is boring, etc. What is your experience with the visual aspect of your music?
Videos are way more fun to make than albums. Being in a recording studio is mostly boring. Being out on the field shooting a video is great, as well as recording indoors. I think it comes down to re-takes. I´d rather stare into a camera, playing the same song 15 times than failing with a guitar solo that many times. The visual aspect is important to us, with us using outfits and all. So as the time goes we wanna go further into the subject and be more and more interesting to watch, not just hear.
What is the brief but brutal history of Zonaria? Where, when and why did you form?
I started playing with a few guys in 8th grade at my school. We kinda jerked around until in 2005 we had a serious line-up and made our first demo. We got signed for the first album the year after and did two tours following the release. Then we got a new record deal and hit the road again. It has been mostly periods of much to do versus periods of not doing much at all. We just came out of a sort of quiet period so I hope we can get busy this year.
I noticed there was a lack of keyboards that were more present on previous Zonaria albums. Is this a new direction in your sound, a line-up change, etc.?
On the first album the keyboards just kinda run all the time. We knew we had to mature them up a lot so we started breaking down the instruments and arrangements and found that an orchestra was fitting for our sound. Adding choirs and weird sounds on top of that and you basically have half of our sound.
With less keyboards comes, of course, more guitars! Zonaria has long been able to grind an axe, who are some of your favorites guitarists, past and present? Who influenced you to pick up the instrument and why?
I think Noodles from The Offspring inspired me most in the beginning. Nowadays I don´t really know if I have any favorites. My heroes are composers, in all genres.
It has been roughly 4 years since your last full length album, ‘The Cancer Empire’. What has transpired in that 4 years? Was there time taken off, given to other projects, etc.?
There was a lot of touring. We did five European tours and some headlining as well. So with lots of work we had to rest as well. There were no other musical projects going on, just a lot of focus on the new album and re-doing things. Also we had no pressure this time so sloth often kicked in.
What was the recording experience like for Zonaria? I saw a few videos online of having worked in the infamous Abyss Studios, what memories do hold in your mind for ‘Arrival…’?
We mostly did everything ourselves at home in out own studio. The drums needed an outsider producer so we went down and had a great time in Abyss. We mixed it here in Umeå with Ronnie Björnström (Hate Ammo). That was the best experience so far, being able to work that closely with the mix.
How are songs written in Zonaria? Is there a central songwriter or does the band write as a whole group?
I write everything. I prefer to sit at home, just playing guitar and mapping drums in Pro tools and recording my ideas. We then include everyones´ input for arrangements and structures. It is a process where nothing stays exactly the same in the end as you wrote it in the beginning.
What is the best way to experience Zonaria, on the stage or on the stereo?
At the moment we´re three members looking for a fourth. When we get our shit together again it´ll be an awesome show for sure. We had such a well choreographed and energetic live show back in the day during the Cancer Empire-tours but now we´re almost completely a new line-up so we´re back to square one or two in that area.
What emotions or ideas do you want listeners to experience when hearing your music and why?
Frenzy first of all. I hope our sound generates the same kind of excitement and energy for the audience as it does for us. Lyrically I think people can easily draw connections between what I write and the world today. So some sense of frustration also.
How does Zonaria define ‘heavy’ or ‘extreme’? Must it be ‘fast’, ‘evil’, ‘down-tuned’, all of these or none of the above? Why?
Personally i define “heavy” as a laid-back drum beat with a chugging riff. The faster you go the less i would define it as heavy. An extreme sound I´d say is when you go more technical and focus on taking the rhythm instruments to the limit of playability. So we´re not that extreme I think. Heaviness is maybe the perfect mindset I have now for the songs on the next album.
What does the immediate future hold for Zonaria? Tour dates, EPs, etc.?
We have some festival gigs and a smaller tour through Sweden and Finland coming up this spring. We´re looking to be on the road further south maybe in the beginning of summer and fall. We need to buckle down and finish the writing for album four as well.
The last words are yours!
Can´t wait to come back to the stage for real and meet ya´ll! See ya then guys.