It's rare to find a new melodic death band with the potential of Zonaria. Considering their young age, they've already been on tour with Impaled Nazarene and had their demo mixed by Jonas Kjellgren. Curious to hear more, I contacted guitarist Emil Nystrom.
Wayfaerer - First off, could you give a brief introduction of Zonaria for the Harm
readers? How would you describe Zonaria's sound?
Emil - Zonaria is a melodic death metal band from the north of Sweden with an atmospheric, dark and heavy sound. We are four members in the ages from 17 to 19. The band was formed in 2002 and we have been working really hard on our sound ever since. So far we have toured Europe once and are currently looking for a label to release our first full-length album.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Well, everyone in the band is listening to different bands. But when it comes to writing our songs we are mostly influenced by death- and black metal bands like Hypocrisy, Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy, Darkane, Naglfar and many other bands. Sometimes you can sense other influences, but mostly it is the more melodic death and black metal we get inspiration from.
Have you gotten much feedback on your latest demo, Rendered in Vain?
So far, the single has gotten nothing but good and excellent reviews and feedback from fans and webzines. Out of 25 magazines we have been given praise and high grades except from one zine that graded us "average" or something like that. Otherwise the grades have been 4.5/5, 9/10, 8.5/10, 4/5 and words like "All hail the Swedish princes of Metal" and "The saviours of modern day melodic death metal" have been said.
Rendered in Vain was mixed by Jonas Kjellgren and Christian Alvestam
appears on "Attending Annihilation". How'd you get a hold of those two?
Jonas was playing guitar in Centinex which we shared stage with a couple of months before their split up. In that way we got in touch with Jonas Kjellgren for the mixing of the single. He also plays guitar in Scar Symmetry, so we got in touch with Christian through him. It is really not that hard to build up good connections with people in this business, everyone is so good-hearted and willing to help.
The Rendered in Vain artwork was done by Seth. What exactly is the object
that the person is holding in his hand?
Well, the artwork is kind of futuristic. We think the ball in his hand symbolises the earth and the wire shows that we could destroy it in a possible future. It comes nicely along with the lyrical theme on the record.
You created a video for "Rendered in Vain" that is viewable on your
website. What was recording it like?
It was great, a completely new experience. We recorded it in this big concert hall with black walls, floor and sealing. And when recording a video you always have to concentrate on everything you do so that it all looks good. You always have to exaggerate your moves and stuff. We recorded it all in one day due to the budget, but it proved to be enough to make a kick-ass video. The editing was done by some people we know and we were very satisfied with the product.
Have you had any label interest based on your demos at this point?
Yeah, a couple of indie labels have offered us deals. We are currently discussing with an American label that is interested in releasing our debut album.
If you could sign to any record label, who do you think you'd pick and why?
If we could ink a deal with any label it would probably be one of the major ones, maybe Sony or EMI, haha. But if we had to choose one of the metal labels it would be Roadrunner or Nuclear Blast I think. Simply because they have a bigger budget to offer and good distribution worldwide.
You went on a mini-tour with Impaled Nazarene, how was that experience
Two of the most interesting weeks in my life can tell you. I can't say the best, but it was really on my top 10. Before we went on the tour we heard loads of people saying "Holy shit, ImpNaz is a really tough band touring with", so we were kind of nervous before we got there. But the guys in ImpNaz were amazing. Helping us out, giving us tips and stuff. But all was not good with the tour, we got to cancel two shows because of the touring company and there was loads of shit from them.
Do you have any other live shows in the near future?
We have no shows booked at the moment. We want to put all focus on the new material and an upcoming album. After we have finished recording and releasing it, we will tour as hell.
You have a 2005 demo, Evolution Overdose. How does that compare with your
We have developed a lot since that, haha. We have a much darker and a more well thought out atmosphere in the music. The guitar riffs are more techical and symmetric now, we are simply better musicians and Simon has developed very much as a song writer, taking every aspect of all instruments into consideration. We also have a heavier, more mature sound now without the lead keyboards that you hear on the EO-demo. The keyboards are just pads in the background now, supporting the other instruments, kinda what the keyboard does for Hypocrisy. The Evolution Overdose tracks are also really aged by now, although they are not "old". It was some of the very first songs we wrote. I would not say they are bad tracks, but they don't reach the same level as our songs does today. Simon has written tons of tracks now that are true to our own sound.
For an unsigned band, you seem to have gotten a number of excellent
opportunities that other unsigned bands would kill for (Seth's artwork,
Jonas Kjellgren's mix, Christian Alvestam's vocals, ImpNaz tour). Is there
anything you can attribute this to?
We have worked really hard the last year on all ways. We have been very busy writing songs, arranging gigs, booking gigs and promotiong the band world wide. Through the gigs we have come to know many good guys who we have kept contact with.
Where would you like to see Zonaria in 5 years?
Hopefully releasing good albums on a major label, touring the world as a support act to great and well-known bands and stuff. But that is wishful thinking - right now we need to focus on releasing a debut album and get out on the road as much as possible.
Given your ages, I'm assuming some of you are still in school. How does
this affect Zonaria as a band?
It actually does not effect us that much. Since schools in Sweden are really mild attending. When we got the tour offer we could without any problems at all take time off for a couple of weeks. If we have a gig far away we could skip some of the lessons that day to get there in time and that kind of stuff. But since a couple of months ago Simon and I graduated from upper secondary school. I currently work as a teacher and Simon is looking for a job. All in vain, haha...
What are some of your favorite discs of 2006 so far?
Woow, there are so many. But some of my favourites are Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Stadium Arcadium, Scar Symmetry - Pitch Black Progress and Blind Guardian - A Twist in the Myth. But as I said, there are many more really good albums.
Thanks for your time, any closing comments you'd like make?
Promote all the bands you like, help them reach out to the people and keep your eyes out for any upcoming tracks from us of course. Eat your beans and recycle too.