interview with Mark Zonder (2011)

// interview with Mark Zonder (2011) interview with Mark Zonder (2011) interview with Mark Zonder (2011)
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Fresh off a 2010 year that featured the Fates Warning Parallels reunion tour, Mark Zonder has graciously taken the time to answer a few questions about past endeavors, about his current band Slavior, as well as future home-studio projects that are currently in the works.

1) When you were asked to join Fates Warning originally, the band’s previous material was not quite what you were into. What was different about the new material Jim Matheos sent you that brought about your interest?
It seemed a bit more prog and less thrashy. Seemed like Jim wanted to stretch things out a bit and make them a bit more airy-linear than straight up and down.
2) The Parallels reunion shows, one of which I had the great privilege of attending, brought a classic Fates Warning line up to a number of diverse locations. Can you describe the fan reaction at those venues?
It was great. Every gig had ravenous fans. They were waiting for us. It was a great feeling. Now I know what it is like for a very successful band to play sold out shows every night. Greece was absolutely a dream. But then Greece has always been great for Fates.
3) Would you be open someday to touring with an Inside Out reunion line up?
How about the APSOG???? Actually I am open to all of this.
4) How is the label situation in regards to the new Slavior material?
Non existent!!!! I can’t seem to find a deal for Slavior. Very disappointing.
5) The Slavior body of work has both a modern sounding production, and a modern approach to vocals. Do you see the possibility of radio airplay with the band’s newest material?
With the old and new material, it was pointed for radio play, but with a small label and no support, it was impossible. It is very very difficult to get on to the radio. We did not have the support and backing. Really doesn’t matter how good the song is.
6) Is the internet a useful tool in spreading the word about Slavior worldwide?
The internet is great for spreading all kinds of music. But, the only problem is that it is open to everyone and thus it is quite a flood of stuff, good and not so good.
7) You mentioned in the December issue of Modern Drummer that you play for three to four hours per day. Do you have a set routine, or is that simply a measure of the daily duration of time that you spend drumming?
Depending if I have recordings to do for other people or not. If it is my time, I usually work on my band stuff or work on ideas that I have that I want to stretch and develop. Sometimes it is more and sometimes less. I don’t force myself. I have to want to play.
8) offers bands and artists the incredible opportunity to have you record professionally engineered drum tracks for them. What kinds of bands have you worked with so far with this program, and what have been the biggest challenges in terms of the various playing styles you had to bring to the table?
Everything from country rock, to obscure prog, and everything in between, I did the album with the English band Ten, did an album with a great artist Brian Futch, and many others. The biggest challenge is making sure the artist is happy with what you are doing. Another small obstacle is that a lot of these artists record with drum machines and get locked into what they did and have a tough time getting away from this and hearing the bigger picture. This is called demoitis. After I present different ideas then what they have done and they have time to digest it, it usually works out fine. After all, I would like to think they are hiring me to give my input and the Mark Zonder sound and style.
9) You play drums and percussion on the new Stormwarning album by Ten. How did this project come about, and how was the communication with the band during the recording process?
The owner of Frontiers Records contacted me about the album. I have known him for quite awhile and really appreciate the opportunity. Gary Hughes, the leader of the band sent me the files to record to. He wanted me to do what I thought sounded best. As I would finish each song, I would send him via the internet a copy so he could listen to it and have me change things if he wanted. This is how I work with most artists. I love the record and really had a great time doing it. It was one of those projects that I really got lost in the process, in a good way.
10) You also worked with Jake Rosenberg and John Dillon of the band In Progress recording drum tracks for their album Signal Failure. What was your initial impression to the project when it was proposed, and what do you think of the final product?
I think it turned out very well. There is a lot of stuff going on with this record, and I am sure it was not easy to mix. When I first got the stuff, I sort of knew what they were trying to do and they had stuff done with a drum machine. What I tried to do with their stuff was to make it groove a bit more and give it more of a connected feel with the drums. The drums can be a very powerful way to connect the various parts of a song to make sure there is a flow and not sound like just a bunch of parts thrown together. They were open to my ideas and things were very easy and open. I had a good time and thought the final product was a good representation of what they were trying to do.
11) Are you looking forward in 2011 to working with more bands and artists such as Ten and In Progress? Will you continue your (current) home studio program this year, where you record drum tracks for various artists with the help of engineer Joe Marlett?
I basically have three things going:
I have decided to put together an over the top prog style band with great players. We are currently putting songs together and will present to labels in the next month or so. I am very excited about this, and (it) sends me flying back into the prog-metal scene.
I continue to do as many recording projects as I possibly can. I seem to learn something new with each one. I really enjoy this.
I am now offering drum lessons via skype. I have it setup so the student is getting a mix off my recording console so the sound is great, not just a guy in the room banging on his drums with a webcam mic. I am looking forward to this.

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By | 2016-12-02T14:01:15-07:00 January 1st, 2011|Interview|0 Comments

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