Arch/Matheos – No Exit This Time

Saturday, 30th March 2013 Any time you have songs over ten minutes, people are going to assume that the music is technical. Is there still a desire to play technical and/or over-the-top stuff?

Matheos: I’m not into doing it for the sake of doing it. For me, it always has to serve a purpose. I hope that comes across in the songs. Just to come up with weird-sounding, hard-to-play riffs isn’t enough for me. It has to catch my ear; it’s not about technical exercises. As I’ve matured as a songwriter, I hope I have matured in that. I want to be technical and progressive, but be interesting. I don’t want to create stuff that makes other musicians that go, “Wow, how did they do that?” I read something a while back about how you, Jim, felt some distance from the Arch-era material, that you didn’t feel a spark when you played it. Is that still the case?

Matheos: I have a hard time connecting with anyone that it’s in my distant past [laughs]. Like the Parallels stuff. I see how people can look at objectively and enjoy it, but I see all the faults and the things I could have done better. It’s hard for me to be objective and see the good it in. I can see it from a fans point of view, because I’m also a fan of a lot of bands where I love their early stuff, but they probably scoff at it. I don’t mean that as a slight, and I think some people take than as an insult sometimes. I can’t listen to Spectre Withinand people say that’s an insult to me, but it’s not. It’s not meant that way; it’s meant on a personal level. I look at it and see all of these glaring flaws [laughs]. John, do you share the same sentiments?

Arch: There’s certain things I cringe [over]. It’s hard for me to listen to. I just have to put myself in that point in time, and the time in which we were doing those things, we were doing what were doing. We were enjoying it. I remember the feeling of recording Spectre and Guardian and singing the songs and feeling very passionate. But it’s an evolutionary process. You try to look back and appreciate things are for what they were at that time. I think Guardian has stood the test of time. It’s very unique in every aspect. Vocally, there’s a lot of squeaky irritating notes that were totally unnecessary [laughs]. It’s a good feeling now to be able to create some new music. Let’s face it: during the writing process, you listen to songs a million times and your ears get used to them, so you’re ready to put something new out. John, you’re still very revered as a vocalist in the metal scene and the Fates albums you did are considered classics. For someone who has such a small body of work, how does that make you feel?

Arch: I’m proud of some of the things I’ve done, but I’ve always felt in the back of my mind that I could have given more. To all the accolades I’ve received from the fans who are die-hard, and they’re the most dedicated fans…I guess it really made an impact on their life when the albums came out. But I’m hard on myself and I don’t like to wallow in patting myself on the back. I feel good that now I’m able to do more with A Twist of Fate and the album coming up. I feel like I owe the fans more. It’s a good feeling that I have something left to give. Jim, how did you think the band’s career would have fared how John stayed in the band after Awaken the Guardian? Would have there been a Parallels or Inside Out?

Matheos: That’s impossible to say. I think for No Exit, a lot of the music was written for John, but it would have sounded different, obviously because John would have been singing on it. After that, things changed for us drastically, especially when we got Mark [Zonder, drums] in the band. A lot of people are saying Sympathetic Resonance is the natural follow-up to Awaken the Guardianand I can safely say no to that [laughs]. Twenty-five years of life and influence between these two records…so who knows what anything would have sounded like after Awaken the Guardian. The same can applied to you, John. Do you wonder how things would have turned out had you stayed with Fates or even accepted the vocal slot with Dream Theater?

Arch: I have a bad habit of second-guessing myself and I can do it until the cows come home. It’s just how I am. I don’t know if the touring and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle would have been for me. On the other hand, I enjoy the creative process. No matter who was in what band, there is a natural course as an artist, and we couldn’t put out Awaken the Guardian over and over – things would change and people grow as artists and evolve…it’s hard to answer what would have been. I could have continued with other musicians, but the bottom-line is that I made a decision and I have to live with it. But here is a great opportunity for me; I have the best of both worlds. I have been successful in my own life and am able [to] do music again, and do an album I’m proud of. Any talk of live dates?

Matheos: There’s some talk, but nothing confirmed. John has a regular life outside of music, so any touring…there won’t be touring. It would be one-offs at this point. I’m doing all I can to get John back out there and do a couple of shows.

Arch: And I’ve been more open to it than I have before. I’m not doing this because for any other reason to have studio work, which is difficult and has its own challenges. My performances onstage…I have a reputation that everyone knows that I have certain phobias. I don’t know why or how it happens. Being out of it for so long, it’s going to take some work. I have some work ahead. I have to rehearse; I just can’t let this go. I need to have rehearsals and stick with it. I think it’s safe to say you have quite a few people behind you, John.

Arch: They always have been. They’re the most loyal fans.

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