Zanister 2000 Interview #2

Interview by Arda Turac for HEAVY METAL Magazine

Arda:Let's start from the beginning. How was started ZANISTER adventure?

DTC:Michael and I worked together in the early 90s on the Chastain Harris project and we have been looking for the opportunity to do something again. I had a bunch of traditional metal stuff laying around and I asked Michael if was interested and he said "Hell yeah!!" James, the bassist, was already playing with Michael so he was an easy choice. Brian Harris, Michael's brother who had never been in a band with Michael before wanted the job, I checked him out and he sounded great. We then auditioned a bunch of vocalists and we decided on Brian Sarvela, who I had worked with before on one of Joe Stump's Cds.

I know that you're a musical machine and you've a lot of bands and tens of albums. So why did you decided to make another group in the name of Zanister?

DTC:The goal was to put out a Cd that was more like my earlier influences and tastes. It was more of my musical vision. I had wanted to do something more like my CJSS and early Chastain material for awhile. I just never found the time to put it together. I decided late last year to put it as my main priority. I sent the material out to Michael and he added his touches to the songs. I wrote most of the lyrics about things that were of interest to me.

Would you introduce us Symphonica Millennia? Symphonica Millennia has very different sound. Like a complex of many sounds. How can you describe Zanister's sound?

DTC:I describe the sound of the Cd as more of traditional metal influences with more modern sounds and recording techniques. I wanted to recreate the feel of the bands that I grew up admiring and I hoped that we achieved that to some degree. Plus as I mentioned earlier I wanted a male vocal with the music of my earlier bands.

I did not searched your lyrics. So what is Zanister explaining? Have the songs any history? Would you talk about a little?

DTC:1)Fighters from the Sky-An uptempo track that showcases everyone in the band. Michael wrote and recorded the intense intro. A track about willing to sacrifice one's self for what he believes is right. Even if it means the ultimate sacrifice. 2)We will Bring Glory Tonight-One of my favorite tracks. About defending one's territory against tyranny. 3)Save Me Now-Basically about the greed of many religions. Michael wrote a great harmony guitar part in the middle. 4)Searching For Freedom-The music to this song was actually a CJSS song back in the old days and I resurrected it for Zanister. Song is about minorities standing up for their rights and standing proud in the face of bigots. 5)The Edge of Sanity-A song written by Mark Shelton (Manilla Road) and myself back in 89 or so. I wanted to use it in Chastain but Kate didn't like the story. I love the story. It is about the curse of the Pharaohs! One of Brian Sarvela's best vocal tracks. 6)Let Them Live-One of my major concerns. Millions of animals are killed in the US every year by animal shelters and the like. It is murder plain and simple. I only support no kill animal shelters. They all should be. Once again how can a civilized society allow the wholesale slaughter of other creatures to make their lives more comfortable. As you may have guessed I am a vegetarian. I recommend everyone to research the benefits to such a lifestyle and the negative impact of eating the decomposing corpses of animals. 7)Born in Cold Blood-Sounds like a Chastain track to me. It is about how the US was born and expanded due to very horrific means. The US government are hypocrites and its' history is tainted with blood. 8)Downfall-Actually I wrote this song in support of Bill Clinton when the assholes in the US Congress where trying to throw him out of office. He eventually won and they lost a couple of their leaders. 9)Children of the Gods-My song in praise of the ancient Egyptians. Their society had some amazing things that even today are unmatched. 10)The Evil Will Survive-It always seems that the Evil does survive in one way or another. A cool heavy track that once again showcases Brian Sarvela's amazing vocal range. The ending is just fading into the intro again and we have come full circle.

Would You explain your emotional situation while you're writing songs?

DTC:I try to write about things that matter to me. Sometimes I drift off into fantasy and write a track of a make believe situation.

I saw that only you and Michael Harris wrote lyrics? Why only you and Michael?

DTC:Actually I wrote all of the lyrics except The Edge of Sanity. Michael and I wrote the music. Brian Sarvela is actually a pretty good songwriter but the material was already written by the time he joined the band.

I wonder group's name's meaning. What does ZANISTER means?

DTC:It was a name I had made up years ago and was waiting for the right moment. Since I made up the word Zanister I also made up the definition- Sophisticated Intensity.

Why did you decided to put this name to Zanister album?

DTC:I wanted a name that was original and that we could shape any way we wished. There were others but everyone seemed to like this one the best.

And why in other language? (so why not Symphonic Millennium?)

DTC:Once again I wanted something totally original. Something that conveyed a metal vision of the future. When I was saw the cover art-work, I've thought that "Zanister is an symphonic metal band." But ZANISTER has no symphonic instruments. Did you planned that give a symphonic metal band influence? And are you comfort from this misunderstanding?

DTC:Well my interpretation of the title was metal music for the new millennium. I discussed it with the artist and he sent me numerous ideas to pick from and this idea looked the coolest.

How did you made you line-up? I know that ARCH RIVAL and MY OWN VICTIM has no relationship with Leviathan records.

DTC:Actually I have worked with Arch Rival on all of their releases as I arranged all of the licensing deals for the band throughout the world. James, the bassist, was already playing with Michael so he was an easy choice. Brian Harris, Michael's brother who had never been in a band with Michael before wanted the job, I checked him out and he sounded great. We then auditioned a bunch of vocalists and we decided on Brian Sarvela, who I had worked with before on one of Joe Stump's Cds.

Zansiter's Symphonica Millennia has an interesting cover art-work. What it explains to us? (Maybe you would ask it to Rainer Kalwitz)

DTC:As I mentioned earlier, Rainer sent me the sketch ideas of numerous concepts and we decided to combine a few to come up with the stunning visual cover he finally finished.

You're all working with different musicians. Isn't it hard? Would explain it to me?

DTC:I don't think of it as work but of what I do. Every musician brings something new to the party and makes every project unique. Certain people are better in the studio and others are better in a live performance. Some musicians are great songwriters and other can't write a note. I have never found the perfect musician.

This is a really rare happening, two virtuosos are coming together and recording an album. Did you wanted to follow bands like Cacophony? Or did you thought make an original work?

DTC: There are no egos problems as far as I know. We have worked together on and off since 89 when he played on the Leather Cd I produced. Despite what some would think, I prefer playing with 2 guitar players. Even in Chastain when we went on tour I usually brought along another guitarist to fill the holes in the music that one guitar couldn't cover. We really didn't shape our sound after any other band such as Cacophony.

I know that you've worked with Michael but how is your work with Michael Harris? Is not easy to have two lead guitars in a band.

DTC:As I mentioned, we had no problem. Sometimes 2 guitar players in a band doesn't work for numerous reasons. It really is personalities and how they work things out.

Do you have plans to make second album in the name of ZANISTER? Or Zanister is a "Project Group"?

DTC:The band is signed for a 5 Cd deal so there should be future recordings. We should have a new Cd in 2000. I have already written the basics of the music and we will begin recording that later in the year.

What are you future plans? Have you any concert plans?

DTC:My Southern Gentlemen Cd will finally be available in Europe in early 2000. I am currently recording a new Cd with one of my old bands CJSS. Of course I am also producing and it is going great and has been a lot of fun. That will come out on Pavement Music Europe in March or so. Then there is always a Chastain project in motion. And we have also begun writing the new Zanister Cd.

And what are the Leviathan Records' future plans?

DTC:I just finished producing the new Kenziner. I am currently producing a new band called VAINGLORY that also features vocals from Stephen Fredrick of Kenziner. The guitarist in the band is Corbin King and he is great.

Would you give a news from the Jarno' and Joe Stump's bands? What are they doing? When we will listen their new albums?

DTC:Kenziner has a new Cd coming out in Europe very soon called "The Prophecies." It is a continuation musically of Timescape. Actually Zanister's drummer Brian Harris played drums on the Cd. Also there is a new keyboardist named Mikko Harkin who is incredible. Joe Stump's Rapid Fire Rondo just came out in Europe and his Reign of Terror band's second Cd "Second Coming" will be out in Europe this month. He also working on a new Reign of Terror Cd for release in 2000.

Finally, again have you got any message to Turkish heavy metal listeners?

DTC:I know that some of your country went thru bad times with the earthquake and I can understand the difficulties of such an event. I happened to be out in San Francisco back in the late 80s when they had their big one. However it was nothing compared to the devastation that you went thru. Keep the faith and looked to the future. Hopefully good times are ahead for all.

Thank you again for your answers. Stay heavy...

DTC:I enjoyed it.