Swedish band Zonaria is working on their new album and their friendly bass guitarist Max Malmer answered all my curious questions. 🙂
Gravenkiss: Greetings from Obscuro! I bet that lots of our readers know Zonaria, so can you just briefly mention the history of your band?
Max: Zonaria is a band that has been active since the release of our first album in 2007. We play a kind of blend of the Swedish melodeath sound and the symphonic influences of the Norwegian metal scene. The last album Zonaria released was Arrival of The Red Sun in 2012, we’re currently in the process of finishing our new album The Tetragrammaton Arena, which we hope to release as soon as possible.
G: Your music is really powerful and epic at the same time, what´s your source of inspiration?
Max: The band´s sound comes from what the different members of the band have listened to basically. There’s a lot of Hypocrisy, Pain, At the Gates and Dimmu Borgir in there, that’s for sure. Simon is the main writer in the band and I know that his intention is to write something that sounds Zonaria. So you could say that in some way the biggest inspiration to our music is ourselves.
G: Your line-up has changed many times. Can you describe your current line-up? What happened to your former guitarist Caleb Bingham and where is he now?
Max: The current line-up of Zonaria is:
Simon Berglund – Main Vocals, Guitar
Max Malmer – Bass Guitar, Backup Vocals
Rickard Lundmark – Drums
Sebastian Westermark – Guitars
We’re very happy with our line-up as of now. We’re all very good friends and the mood in the band is great. Everyone is putting a lot of effort into the band and that’s the reason the band has moved forward as much as it has the last year.
Caleb wasn’t able to live in Sweden due to migration related problems. We wanted a guitarist that could actually live in Sweden with us and contribute as much to the band as everyone else. So it just wasn’t a good fit anymore. As of now Caleb is living in the US playing in his own band called Ascension. They’re doing quite good I think!
G: As far as I know, your original band name was Seal Precious. Why did you change it to Zonaria and what does this name refer to?
Max: I don’t really know as I wasn’t in the band at the time and I don’t really think anyone actually remembers. But Zonaria is a Latin word with a lot of uses. If I’m not mistaken it has its roots in ancient Greek. One use of the word is to describe something that’s colourful, for instance, it’s very commonly used to describe flowers, animals and insects. But I do believe that the main reason it’s the band´s name is that it has a nice ring to it.
G: I consider Arrival of the Red Sun lyrics really sinister. Who´s the author and how did you manage to create such dark atmosphere?
Max: Simon is the author of the lyrics. The reason the lyrics of The Arrival of the Red Sun are so well made is that he put a lot of time into them. I think we actually took about a year to write them as we had some spare time between the label changes.
G: The video to the song Silent Holocaust is a masterpiece! Who´s the director and how long did the production take?
Max: The video is produced and directed by a man called Jakob Arevärn. It was very easy to produce actually, I don’t think that we filmed for more than a day! And it was done and edited after a week. It’s filmed in a quarry close to Umeå.
G: You have taken a long break after the release of Arrival of the Red Sun (2012). What have you been working on in the meantime?
Max: The band has technically been active. The reason things stagnated was that we didn’t find members that were the right fit until about a year ago. And when the line-up was complete, the band started to move again naturally.
G: As you have already mentioned, the work on your new album is in progress. What´s the release date and what type of material should we expect from you?
Max: The release date isn’t set yet. But we’re aiming to release it as soon as we’re done with everything and things are going quite well, so you can expect more info about the album soon. The material sounds very Zonaria, but there are some new sources of inspiration and some changes to the vocal themes that’ll be very apparent when the release comes closer.
G: I think that you pay a lot of attention to your image. 🙂 Does it play an important role in your stage performance?
Max: Yes indeed we do! We try to put on a show that matches our music and the mood of our music. It is like a very natural thing to do when playing this kind of metal. Though I think that our type of synced head banging is quite out of style right now, but we just keep going with it anyway. We like it!
G: You´ve been touring with many great bands 🙂 Do you enjoy travelling and playing live? What´s your best memory from the tour?
Max: Yes we really do! It’s probably the best part of playing in a band in my opinion. It’s like entering Narnia compared to my life at home. Sometimes I wish I could live that life all the time. We were just out with Evergrey. They are all great guys. Crazy. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but at one point I think one person bit the other person in the penis as a form of vengeance.
G: That sounds really crazy:D Have you ever played in the Czech Republic? Where can we see you live this year?
Max: Oh yes, many times! We played in Ostrava last year in November for example. This year we’re playing in Slovakia as closest so far. The gig is the 9th of October at the City Club in Trnava.
G: Do you have a message for our readers and your fans?
Max: There’s not much to say other than to keep your eyes open for our new album The Tetragrammaton Arena!
G: Thank you for the interview and I wish you all the best in the future 🙂
Max: Thank you very much! I hope to see you all on tour very soon.
Zonaria last album Arrival of the Red Sun
Photos: http://www.globalonslaught.com, band´s archive