Interview med Michael Sochynsky fra Genghis Tron

Genghis Tron

I anledningen af Genghis Trons nye album, Dream Weapon, tog vi os en snak med Michael Sochynsky, som er et af de bærende medlemmer fra den amerikanske kvartet. 

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Jeres nye album, Dream Weapon, fik rosende ord her på Heavymetal.dk. Hvordan føles det at være tilbage efter 13 års pause?

Jeg er glad for, at I kan lide det nye album, og det føles fantastisk at være tilbage. Selvom det altid har været planen at skrive et nyt album efter Board Up The House, ville jeg lyve, hvis jeg sagde, at der ikke har været tidspunkter de sidste 10 år, hvor jeg troede, at det aldrig ville ske. Jeg føler mig beæret over at have chancen for at arbejde på det nye album og endelig at være på den anden side.

Tilbage i 2010 besluttede I jer for at tage en pause på ubestemt tid, og sidste år annoncerede I jeres tilbagevenden. Hvorfor besluttede I jer for at tage en pause?

For at være ærlig var det ikke planen. Vi besluttede i 2010 at tage en pause med at spille koncerter. Det var planen, at det bare skulle være en kort pause, men det ene førte til det andet, og pausen blev længere. Vi var forskellige steder i livet og fokuserede på forskellige ting, og så fløj årene bare af sted. Vi har altid haft ambitionen om at skrive ny musik, men det var først i 2018, vi fandt hinanden igen og begyndte at skrive musik, som vi var passionerede for at dele med resten af verden. Hvis de kreative indspark var kommet tidligere, tror jeg også, at dette album var kommet langt tidligere!

Jeres forrige album, Board Up The House, havde en ret unik stil og har vist sig at være en skelsættende udgivelse blandt jeres fans. Hvordan har det været at skulle udgive jeres nye album med de store forventninger, der har været?

I begyndelsen af skriveprocessen gjorde det mig ret nervøs, at vores fans skulle høre det nye materiale. Vi vidste, at det var en helt ny retning, og jeg tvivlede faktisk på, at andre ville kunne lide det lige så meget, som vi kunne. Men vi var hurtige til at få de tanker væk og besluttede os for, at det eneste, vi kunne gøre, var at lave musik, som vi var stolte af og engagerede i. Hvis vi troede på det, ville fansene forhåbentlig også kunne lide det. Tanken om at lave noget, der lød ligesom Board Up The House føltes bare ikke rigtig. Vi har rykket os musikalsk, og jeg tror, at hvis vi havde prøvet at kopiere den lyd, ville det ikke have gået godt. Det virker til, at vores fans godt kan lide vores nye lyd, så jeg tror, moralen af historien er: Tro på dig selv, og så skal det hele nok gå!

Lyden af det nye Genghis Tron er markant anderledes, alligevel føles Dream Weapon stadig velkendt. Hvor kom jeres inspiration fra?

Jeg tror, at den nye lyd altid har luret lidt under overfladen, også i vores gamle materiale. For mig lyder ”I Won’t Come Back Alive” og ”Relief” som noget, der går godt i spænd med det nye materiale. Vi har altid haft ønsket om at udforske det mere meditative og atmosfæriske udtryk. Så jeg er helt enig med dig i, at den nye lyd er anderledes, men stadig velkendt. Jeg tror, meget af kontinuiteten også kommer fra, at vores sans for melodi aldrig har ændret sig. Med hensyn til selve inspirationen så kommer ideerne bare. Vi prøver bare at skrive musik, der lyder unik og har en melodisk sans, der hverken lyder for corny eller for forudsigelig. Vi har også talt om det i andre interviews, men i 2017/2018-perioden lyttede jeg meget til 80’er-industrial og en del tysk psykedelisk/krautrock. Jeg tror, at en del af den stil inspirerede Dream Weapon.

Tony Kowalski og Nick Yacyshyn er nye medlemmer i Genghis Tron. Har de haft indflydelse på den nye stil, og hvorfor valgte I lige netop dem til at være en del af bandet?

Nick og Tony er fantastiske! Vi føler os meget privilegerede over at have chancen for at arbejde med dem på dette album. Tony kom med en helt ny vision for vokalen. Vi talte med ham om, hvilke ting der ville passe ind, og prøvede nogle forskellige ting af. Ikke nok med at han hurtigt fandt en lyd, der passede perfekt ind, så tog han det til et helt andet niveau. Ligesom Tony er Nick også fantastisk. Han var ekstrem nem at arbejde med og forstod hurtigt, hvilken vej vi gerne ville ned ad. Han vidste lige, hvordan han skulle spille, for at det hele gav mening. Nick og Tony har også et sangskriverinstinkt, så det var en ny og gavnlig proces for mig og Hamilton med henblik på at få respons på, hvordan sangene skulle struktureres og opbygges.

I andre interviews udtalte Jordan, at I (Hamilton og Michael) skrev sangene og sendte dem videre til Nick og Tony, som efterfølgende lagde henholdsvis trommer og sang på. Hvordan har en mere individualistisk tilgang påvirket musikken?

Den måde, vi skrev albummet på, har ikke været anderledes end nogen af vores andre plader. Vores sange starter altid instrumentalt, og på det nye album startede vi faktisk også med at programmere trommerne. Herefter tilpassede Nick trommerne sin egen stil og tilførte lidt ekstra kærlighed, så jeg er ikke helt sikker på, at det er en mere individualistisk tilgang. Hamilton og jeg samarbejder meget intenst og giver altid tilbagemeldinger på hinandens ting. Den eneste regel er, at vi begge kan stå 100 % inde for hver del i sangene, så på den måde vil jeg ikke mene, at det er individuelt.

Dream Weapon er virkelig en oplevelse fra start til slut. Kan du fortælle os lidt mere om konceptet bag albummet?

Selve essensen af albummet er at lære og acceptere, at menneskehedens tid på jorden ikke varer for evigt. Det er svært at acceptere dette, men samtidig vigtigt, og ideen er, at ved at tænke på denne realitet har man mulighed for at finde fred. Det er smukt at tænke på, at livet på jorden fortsætter, selvom vi ikke er her mere.

I vores anmeldelse af Dream Weapon hævdede vi, at jeres nye stil er langt mere psykedelisk og dragende fremfor ekstrem og kaotisk, som den har været tidligere. Selvom dele af Board Up The House havde lignende passager, f.eks. outroen på ”Relief”, lyder jeres nye album ret anderledes. Hvorfor besluttede I jer for at gå denne vej fremfor at blive i ekstremmetallen?

For at være ærlig var det faktisk ikke en bevidst beslutning! Den første sang, vi skrev på albummet, var ”Alone in the Heart of the Light”. Vi var så glade for den måde, demoen kom til at lyde på, så vi prøvede at skrive de andre sange i samme stil. Noget, der var avanceret og havde mange lag, og noget, som man kunne blive fortabt i. Som jeg sagde tidligere, tror jeg, det ville have været hul i hovedet at kopiere, hvad vi udrettede på Board Up The House. Vi har aldrig villet kopiere os selv eller holde os fast på en bestemt formel, og det ville føles uinspirerende, hvis vi havde holdt os til fortiden. Med alt det sagt: Hvem ved, hvad fremtiden bringer! Jeg tror, at efter Dream Weapon vil Hamilton og jeg have en iver efter at skrive noget mere aggressivt, så må vi se, hvad det bringer.

Har I planer om at skrive mere musik i fremtiden eller måske tage på tour? Eller kommer der til at gå 13 år, før vi hører fra jer igen?

Vi vil helt sikkert lave mere musik i fremtiden, og vi har faktisk allerede sendt nogle nye ideer frem og tilbage til hinanden. Der vil helt sikkert ikke gå 13 år igen, og forhåbentlig skal vi også ud at spille nogle koncerter. Det må tiden vise.

Her til sidst: Er der noget, I gerne vil sige til jeres danske fans?

Vi håber, at vi en dag kan komme tilbage til Danmark og spille for jer! Vi spillede engang en koncert i København, og det var en skøn by. Jeg ville elske at komme tilbage dertil.

 

The Great Return of Genghis tron


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Your new album Dream Weapon was well received here at Heavymetal.dk. How does it feel to be back after taking a thirteen-year-long break?

Glad to hear you guys are digging the new album! It feels absolutely incredible to be back. Although we always wanted to write another album after Board Up The House, I’d be lying if I told you there weren't times over the last 10 years when I really didn't think it would ever happen.  I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work on this new album, and to see it all way through to the end.  

You decided to take a break in 2010 and then in 2020 you announced that you were bringing Genghis Tron back. Why did you decide back then to take a break from playing music together?

To be honest, it was largely unintentional.  When we first took a break from touring in 2010, we only wanted to take a small break, but before we knew it, a short break had turned into a longer one.  And then things kept drifting from there.  We moved to different places, focusing on other aspects of life, and the years kind of kept going by.  We always had a desire to keep writing music, but it wasn't until about 2018 that we finally found our groove again and began writing music that we were really excited about and wanted to share with the rest of the world. But if the creative spark had come earlier, I would like to think we would have put this album out much earlier! 

With its unique style, your album Board Up the House has become an important record to the fans. How did it feel making this new album, knowing that your fans had high expectations? 

At the very beginning of the album-writing process, the thought of our fans hearing the new material made me very nervous.  We knew we were taking things in a new direction, and I had some doubt as to whether people would be into the new sound as much as we were.  But we very quickly put those kinds of thoughts out of our head and decided that the only thing we could do was make music that we were proud of, and that we were excited about.  If we believe in it, then hopefully it will resonate with our fans.  But trying to write something that sounded similar to Board Up The House just because that's what our fans might be expecting felt kind of insincere.  Our heads are not where they were when we were writing Board Up The House, and I honestly think that if we had tried to "copy ourselves," it would have ended very poorly.  In the end, it seems that our new sound is resonating with a lot of our old fans, so I guess the moral of the story is: believe in yourself and the rest will follow! 

Today's Genghis Tron sounds significantly different, yet Dream Weapon still feels familiar. Where did your inspiration come from?

I think the "new sound" has always been lurking beneath the surface, even in our old material.  To me, songs like "I Won't Come Back Alive" and "Relief" feel very much in the same vein as our current material, and we've always had a desire to explore these more meditative, atmospheric environments. So I definitely agree with you that it sounds "different, but also the same."  I think a lot of the continuity also comes from our sense of melody, which really has never changed.  In terms of inspiration, who knows where an idea comes from!  We just try to write music that sounds unique and has a melodic sense that doesn't sound corny or too obvious.  I think we've talked about this in other interviews, but in the 2017-2018 period, I was also listening to a lot of 80s industrial EBM type stuff, as well as a lot of the German psych/kraut stuff from the 70s.  I think all of that seeped into the approach we took on Dream Weapon.  

Tony Wolski (vocals) and Nick Yacyshyn(drums) joined Genghis Tron. Have they influenced the new musical style and why did they join Genghis Tron?

Nick and Tony are awesome! We feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them on this album.  Tony brought a completely unique vision to the vocals. We talked with him about what kind of approach might make sense (and also tried out a few different things), but he very quickly found a vocal approach that not only worked perfectly with our instrumental demos, but also took them to a new level (in my humble opinion).  And Nick is just the best. Like Tony, he was extremely easy to work with, and very quickly understood what kind of vibe we were going for.  He knew just out to play on the record for everything to make sense. Nick and Tony also both have great songwriting instincts, so it was a new and very helpful experience for me and Hamilton to be getting feedback on things like song structure and arrangements.  

Jordan stated in a video interview on Loud Tv that you (Sochynsky and Jordan) wrote the songs before vocals and drums were added. How did a more individualistic approach affect the music?

The way we wrote this album was no different than how we wrote any of our previous records.  Our songs always start as instrumentals, and then we add vocals.  And for these tracks, Hamilton and I actually programmed all the drums first too.  Nick then adapted them to his own playing style and added many of his own flourishes. So I'm not actually sure that this was an "individualistic" approach.  Hamilton and I write very collaboratively and always provide extensive feedback on each other's parts.  The one rule is that we both have to be 100% happy with every part, so in that sense, it is not very individual-based. 

Dream Weapon is quite the experience from the start to finish. Can you tell us about the concept and vision behind the record?

In a nutshell, I think the album is about learning to accept that humans' time on Earth is coming to an end.  It is difficult to grapple with this reality, but doing so is important, and you might find some peace if you spend some time thinking about it. There's quite a bit of beauty at the thought of the earth enduring beyond humanity and flourishing long after we are gone. 

In our review of Dream Weapon we claimed that your new style is more psychedelic and hypnotic rather than extreme and chaotic. Even though bits of Board Up the House had an immersive style e.g., the outro on "Relief", your new record sounds particularly different. How come you decided to go in this new direction rather than sticking to extreme and experimental metal?

To be honest, it was not really a conscious decision! The first song that we wrote for Dream Weapon was "Alone in the Heart of the Light."  We were so happy with how that demo came out, we wanted to just keep trying to write music that achieved a similar vibe.  Something that was subtle, layered, and that you can get lost in.  As I mentioned in one of the answers above, I think it would have been a fool's errand to try to re-create what we did on Board Up The House.  Our band has never been about copying ourselves or sticking to a formula, and it would have felt pretty stale and uninspired if we tried to stick with a past approach.  All that said, who knows where the future will take us! I think after Dream Weapon, Hamilton and I both have an itch to write some stuff that's a bit more aggressive, so we'll see where that goes. 

Are you planning on making more music in the future or perhaps go on tour? Or will it be another 13 years before we hear from you again? 

We will definitely be making more music in the future, and in fact have already been passing some new ideas back and forth. There definitely won't be another 13 years before you hear from us again, and hopefully you'll see us out on tour too! Only time will tell though... 

And finally, is there anything you would like to tell your Danish fans? 

Only that we hope to come back one day to Denmark and play for you all! We once played a show in Copenhagen and it was a wonderful city. I would love to go back there. 
 

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