Im Gespräch mit Schlagzeug-Legende Mark Zonder
Im Gespräch mit Schlagzeug-Legende Mark Zonder
Hi Mark, my name is Amir and I´m working for the German music magazine www.metal-heads.de, which is focussed on – you may have guessed from the name – heavy music. At least we say, it has to include guitars…distorsion is our passion.
I´m a drummer myself for 35 years now and I´m a follower of your drumming for many years now (I also saw you play live with FATES WARNING many years ago). As I like a lot of it, I was also interested to find out, what you do under the flag ZONDER/WEHRKAMP. So I got myself your new release and reviewed it for our readers. The review (it´s in German though) can be found on our homepage. As – to my opinion – you have a high quality in drumming and that has a strong impact on the songs, you are involved in. I think, that should be recognized by more people. Therefore I wanna give you the chance today, to give the people out there an closer insight in your work and music.
MZ: Thank you. I really appreciate your time and opportunity.
MH: I must admit, I haven´t heard everything, you did. But I follow FATES WARNING for many years and they are one of my favourite prog bands. To hear music recorded in the studio is one thing, but to see you play live, made an even more intense impression on me. Also I got the CHROMA KEY-album, you played on. So my question would be: how to you decide in which project you want to be involved?
Mark Zonder – open to any music!?
MZ: I am pretty much open to any and all music situations, that I feel I can contribute to. I do a lot of session work for other bands and artists as well. As far as bands or projects that I would join, I really need to like the music and the people involved.
MH: how or when do you find out, whether it is a single thing or becomes a „real“ band to stay alive in further releases?
MZ: Every situation is different. Like with the Frontiers project, SPIRITS OF FIRE, I really enjoyed working with the guys and doing the recording and videos, but not sure what the future holds, as it is up to the label. But something like ZONDER/WEHRKAMP, Gary and I have decided to move forward with album 2, as we both enjoy the project a lot.
MH: having played together with so many great musicians, what would be your favourite musicians for future cooperations?
MZ: I would love to do another WARLORD album with Bill Tsamis, as well as a record with the „Parallels“-line up from FATES WARNING. On the side of musicians that I have not played with, there are many, but if I had to say, I would love to play with DEEP PURPLE, KANSAS and MARILLION.
MH: being a professional drummer for so long, do you still see a „development“ in your drumming?
MZ: Yes, absolutely. I think this can be seen on the ZW record. I took a bit of a different approach and used a lot of electronics to create more mood and groove, than just coming up with killer riffs and real heavy playing. Since I try and play everyday, I spend a lot of time recording ideas and grooves that pop into my head. At this point of my playing it is more mental, than the physical side. I try to bring out what I am hearing in my head and then expand and create from the actual physical side.
Playing live on stage or preferring to work in the studio?
MH: do you prefer working in the studio and composing songs or being on tour and performing your music live? Why?
MZ: I love them both equally. I love the process of creating, but also love bringing those creations to a live audience. Also nothing better than seeing an audience react to one of there favorite song, when you play it live. I really do love touring and playing in front of people with a band that, I believe in and really love the music.
MH: how is your personal connection to the guys from FATES WARNING these days?
MZ: Considering I just did two songs on the ARCH/MATHEOS-record, I would say pretty good!! I do talk with Joe Dibiase all of the time. But, yes everything is good.
MH: Which kind of style (Progressive Rock, Metal etc.) do you prefer personally in music and especially for yourself drumming it?
MZ: As far as listening, I really like strong songs, that have a strong chorus and feel. Believe it or not, I am not a big over the top progressive guy. As you can see to the progressive bands I have played with, I always try and bring a song oriented feel and presentation to the music. I think it is important, to always keep the music listener engaged and try not to lose them with crazy playing and time signatures. Not everyone is into that style and it is important to appeal to the masses. For playing, pretty much the same. I really like structure in music and think that is important. Not a big fan of music that goes all over the place, changing time signature and tempos. I think, you really limit your audience.
A long way to the first album…
MH: Please tell our readers, how ZONDER/WEHRKAMP came up? Who´s idea was it and how did it all develop?
MZ: Gary and I have been working together for over 19 years, We have probably over 80 songs, that range from pop to over the top prog metal. We were approached by a label to create a dark, moody atmospheric, PINK FLOYD-style record. So we started writing in that direction. I would send Gary various drum grooves, that I would create and he would take it from there. We would go back and forth with changing parts and me sending him various complimentary parts in the same tempo, to expand on the song. We work very well and and very efficiently together. It is always fun and creative.
MH: Who took over which tasks in the composition and recording of this album and in how far are you satisfied with the result?
MZ: Extremely satisfied. I think, it is one of the most sophisticated and mature recordings, I have ever done. Well, I would finalize a drum track in my studio and mix the drums the way I wanted, down to a stereo file. I spent a lot of time with all of the effects and electronics, trying to get everything sitting perfectly the way, I wanted in a stere mix. Gary then would record all of his parts, instruments and vocals on top of my stereo file. Then Gary did the final mix, which in my opinion is excellent and really is a deep complex mix with many creative ideas happening. We had Rich Mouser do the mastering.
MH: For me as someone enjoying live concerts a lot, I´d be interested, if there is any chance to see you perform the ZONDER/WEHRKAMP-material live any time soon?
MZ: Hopefully as we have talked about this. We were thinking either doing it just the two of us with a computer to cover some of the other parts, or filling out the band with players. Not really sure what the public demand would be, but we are both live players so it would be great. I personally would like to see these songs come to life in a live presentation. Also with money, it could become a very visual show as well.
MH: As you have released your music in various bands and projects in the past…how do you decide, when to make up something new or with whom to collaborate? Do other musicians step up to you and ask für a cooperation or is it your motivation to ask others to get together for a project?
MZ: I am always looking and open to all situations and talked with many people. But today it seems, like if there is not a record deal in place, or money to get paid, people find it hard to dedicate time, as they need to make money. But I am fortunate enough not to be in that situation and I am always looking for great musical projects to get involved with.
Favourite drummers and live concerts
MH: What are your favourite drummers and/or inspirations for your drumming?
MZ: Aynsley Dunbar, Steve Smith, David Garibaldi
MH: Sweaty clubs, big festivalstages and huge multifunctional venues. Where do you see the advantages in the various forms of live appearances and what do you like best?
MZ: I love the big festival crowd, especially if they are into your band. Had great experiences with WARLORD and FATES WARNING in this kind of setting. Great sense of power at these kind of gigs.
MH: Finally our interview partner has the last words. What do you want to tell our readers as a final message for today?
MZ: Just wanted to thank all of the fans for their support over the years. Without the fans, I would still be sitting in my Mom’s house playing along to records. Much appreciation and hope to see everyone on the road. Also please give the ZW record a listen, as think, there are great songs and a lot of surprises for the avid music listener.
MH: Mark, thanx a lot for your time and I really hope to see you around here on tour! First of all, all the best for this release!
Without the fans, he´d be still playing in his Mom´s house…
Here you can find the latest video from the album:
And I like this song even better:
- Mark Zonder Promo photo 01: ALPHA OMEGA Management
- Zonder Wehrkamp If Its Real album cover: ALPHA OMEGA Management
- Mark Zonder Promo photo 02: ALPHA OMEGA Management
- ZONDER-WEHRKAMP-promo 2019: Alex Solca