Zanister 11/99

Interview for Planet Metal


1)Once again, you wrote all the lyrics/songs of a record. Is Zanister a real band or just one more solo album?

David T. Chastain:Actually Michael and I wrote most of the songs together to some degree. The Edge of Sanity was written by Mark Shelton(x-Manilla Road) and myself a few years back and I finally found a place to record it. The material was written generally around my ideas and Michael would add his finishing touches like harmonies and the like. I did write most of the lyrics only because Brain Sarvela the vocalist was the last member in the band to join and we didn't have time to wait around for him to write all the lyrics. This is definitely not a solo project. There are 5 members each who contribute something to the band. The drummer Brian Harris is really one of the bright young drum talents in metal. He also just played on the new Kenziner Cd. We hope to continue the line up on future recordings but of course in this business you can never tell what will happen. So, no, I don't consider this a solo project.

2)What about other musicians? Was it easy/fun to play with then?

DTC:I had played with Michael in Chastain/Harris back in 91 and 92 and we had 2 great tours in the US and Mexico. It was a lot of fun and playing with another guitarist is something I enjoy. As I mentioned previously the drummer is excellent. James Martin the bassist plays in Michael's solo band MHP and he is a major force on bass. I knew Brian Sarvela from his work on a record I shopped from Joe Stump, Light in the Sky. We seem to get along pretty well however the five guys have not been stuck on a tour bus for months at a time yet. That is when personality problems usually arrive. Recording a Cd is usually a fun process.

3)Almost all the trendy bands are playing depressive/grungey songs nowadays. Did you think about following this tendency?

DTC:I don't follow trends now or never. I just write and record material I like and just hope other people will also like it. I don't really know what is popular to any degree and anyway, every country usually has their trends and which one are you going to chase? In the US during the 90s, metal has not been really that big so unless you wanted to copy Nirvana or Korn you had no role models. I have always liked metal music with good melodies, singers, drummers, guitarists and great songs. That is what we tried to do with Zanister. We weren't trying to copy anyone but just draw upon our earlier influences when we were first starting.

4)If we had to label the record, we could say that it sounds basically prog metal. Do you agree with that?

DTC:Probably progressive power metal. But I don't know how to officially label it. I just call it Metal and that is it. The word Zanister means sophisticated intensity so that is what we were trying to create. It is kind of hard to really label the band, but if I had to, I would say Progressive Power Metal.

5)It's hard to find the roots of this style. What element belongs to it, in your opinion?

DTC:As I mentioned earlier we wanted to create a sound more like our earlier influences and mix them with a little 90's sound. Earlier Maiden, Priest, my old bands Chastain and CJSS are also from that era, etc. Also bands like Hammerfall who have also tried to resurrect that style. Good musicianship, but not showing off to overshadow the songs themselves. Good melodies and lyrical content that had meanings, at least to me anyway. Songs that were heavy, aggressive and yet still melodic. Great drumming! Everything a true heavy metal band should be in my opinion.

6)There are aggressive songs right there, but there are some long ones, full of experiments. Don't you think it can make the record recommended exclusively for another musicians?

DTC:We tried not to go off the deep end musically like Michael and I do on our instrumental records. However it is much more intricate than a Hammerfall. There are some impressive musical passages on Symphonica Millennia but we could have done so much more if we chose. However, we wanted to let the whole song speak for itself, with all parts being equal. It is not near as intricate as a Dream Theater. Two of my favorite records of all time are Maiden's Seventh Son and Somewhere in Time. I guess we tried to be about as intricate as those Cds. To me those are absolute classic heavy metal albums. The right balance. We did write a few long songs on the Cd but I believe they are interesting enough to warrant such length. I guess the bottom line is we want to appeal to the average metal fans and not just musicians and hopefully we achieved the right balance. If not, then we will try harder next time!!

7)Is there some young/newcomer guitarist you can spotlight?

DTC: I am glad you asked that question!! I assume everyone is familiar with Jarno Keskinen of Kenziner who I have produced his band's first 2 Cds. If not, check it out as he is about the best composer out there. However at this moment I am producing a new band called VAINGLORY and the guitarist in the band Corbin King is really a tremendous talent. It is kind of like a progressive Megadeth band. His guitar playing is really great, kind of taking the best parts of Marty Friedman and Yngwie but the music is heavy as hell with some serious rhythms and grooves going on. This Cd will be something that will make waves in 2000!! Remember you heard it from me first!