Thursday, August 5, 2010

INTERVIEW: Zoroaster

'll be chopping and screwing this into a Terrorizer-sized 600ish words, but here's the full transcript of my email interrogation of my man Will Fiore of Atlanta psychedoomelic troublemakers Zoroaster. Buy their new record and come see 'em on tour with Nachtmystium next month!

Interview for Terrorizer
w. Kim Kelly

So you’ve just gotten back from a tour with Black Tusk and Dark Castle, and are
hopefully somewhat recovered by now. Can you share a few stories from the road?
Nothing too incriminating, of course, but a couple of your favorite memories, maybe?

Hmm I don’t know all my favorite memories are way too incriminating. I’ll just say
that any tour that involves as much booze, rooftop pools, broken down vans, fighting,
cookouts, bloody fire extinguishers and cocaine related car accidents has got to be a good
tour, right?

Now you’re already gearing up to hit the road again come September with some old
friends. Are you excited to get back out there again, or would you prefer to have a bit
more downtime? You guys are touring hard on this record – you’ve got Europe on the
horizon, as well! When do you get to take a vacation?

Yeah we head out in September with nachtmystium which we’re really looking forward
to. Blake started this whole thing for us by releasing our first record and we did one of
our first big tours with them back in 2006. I actually wish we could leave right now I
always love coming home after a tour there’s nothing like laying in your own bed for
the first time but honestly after 2 or 3 days I’m ready to get the hell out of town again.
By that time you get caught up with friends you’ve missed but then it’s back to work
and having to pay for beer and liquor and who the fuck wants that? That’s not cool.

The new record is something else. After having heard some of it every night for about
thirty days, I’d definitely say that it’s both immediately compelling, but also something
of a grower – it took some time for the songs to really sink in and open up. How do you
feel about Matador now that it’s out there?

I’m really happy with it actually, getting to finally work with Sanford was great we’ve
been talking about that since before voice of Saturn. I usually don’t think too much about
a record once it’s done though. you live with this thing and it’s all you think about when
you are writing then recording and mixing it and it can be really intense. Once it’s all
done I kind of just let go of it and start all over again I’ve already started making demos
for a new record last weekend so my mind is on that right now. Plus there is always
something you wish you had more time on or could have done something a little better or
whatnot so I try to avoid that it’ll drive you crazy.

What was the writing and recording process like for this record? It seems like you
finished it pretty quickly once Voice of Saturn was released. Can you give me some who/
what/where/when details?

Like I said I’m always writing so there are always songs ready to record we get together
whenever there’s a break from touring and work on songs either brent or I have or we’ll
just work on ideas from jamming. Old world for example is one I was working on around
the vos record but I ended up playing it in a side band I have instead but then a few
months later I realized it really needed to be a Zoroaster song. Plus there are still songs
we wrote when my brother was in the band that we never played with dan or even our
second drummer so we always have those too. Ancient ones, Trident and matador are
actually from that time.

Can you tell me a bit about the lyrics? What are songs like “D.N.R” and “Old World”

D.N.R. Brent wrote about a friend of his who has a terminal illness. He had to sign a do
not resuscitate document for her which makes him responsible for that decision when the
time comes.
In Old World I wrote about letting go of things or people that maybe aren’t good for
you and being able to recognize where and what you should doing or going in life just a
bunch of drunken rabble really.

Who is the Matador?

A car actually. A dead car.

Listening to a song like “Brazen Bull” alongside “Ancient Ones” is almost like hearing
two different bands. Your core elements and influences are still there, but your sound
has evolved and expanded considerably, and gotten way more psychedelic and rockin.’
What brought about this change? Was it a slow-burning evolution, or did you consciously
decide “We want to try something new”?

That’s funny cause Ancient Ones was written when the band first started way before
brazen bull. I think a lot of what people hear is really just us getting more and more
comfortable in the studio. We know what we sound like as a live band and we’ll always
have that so in the studio there’s this chance to take these songs somewhere else without
straying too far from that live sound and I like to be able to have each record have a
certain sound or mood that is unique to that recording while still sounding like us. Dog
Magic definatley has more of that live sound, we went right into the studio to record that
after two to three months touring so we were in that mindset.

The vocals in particular are really interesting – those drawn-out, distorted drone and
stoned harmonies melt into the riffs and seem like another instrument rather than a
focus. Was that what you were going for? How’s you guys come up with that approach?

The vocals are definitely like another instrument to us and a thing where brent and I try
to bring something new to each record and it’s another example of us just getting more
comfortable with that where we are able to push ourselves more than I ever thought.

The current sound of Zoroaster is a logical step, and feels as if that’s where you’ve been
heading the whole time – someplace tripped out, hazy, relentless and never too far from
your dirty Southern roots. With a mystical name like Zoroaster, I guess it makes sense
that you’d like to mess with peoples’ minds a little! How would you say you feel about
where the band is now?

I couldn’t be happier like I’ve been talking about I think we are finally confident enough
and have been playing together long enough to where we can do whatever we want. I
can’t wait for the next record we’re just getting started.

How have your older fans reacted to the new material? Have you been seeing a new
crowd coming to your shows nowadays?

It’s been really great we just played almost the whole record on this last tour when the
record wasn’t even out and people really seem to be digging it. All the feedback we’ve
been getting is really positive but then I don’t know how many people would go out of
their way to tell you your record sucks.

E1 is pushing this record hard, and it’s great to see you guys getting some heavy label
support after doing things on your own for so long. How did you hook up with E1? Did
you have any qualms about signing with such a big label?

They are doing an amazing job it’s awesome we couldn’t be happier. There was
definitely some concern cause we’ve been doing everything ourselves for so long which
is great but it also get’s really expensive and once we met with scott a few times we
knew it was the right decision. It’s been a relief to get a lot of the financial burden off our
shoulders for a minute so we can just concentrate on playing and making this record I
think that really helped out with the outcome of matador.

What’s coming around the corner for you guys after you finish the Nachtmystium tour?

There’s more touring being sorted out now and possibly another video and in the
meantime just working on songs for the next record.

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