Pyramaze – Hunger for ContingencyThursday, 4th May 2017
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned that a band has to naturally grow due to natural seasoning and experiences. Is it a delicate balance in trying to meet fan expectations versus your own personal objectives?
Weingarten: We hear what the fans say. I’m one of those musicians who goes and reads what everybody says. It’s obvious to me when people are trolling, and that’s a whole other issue which is kind of funny. When we get constructive criticism, I listen to that and I take it to heart. This person is right- we could have maybe done this better, this guitar riff could have been mixed louder, something like that. Listening to the fans is important- I’m not of the mentality that you should turn your back on that. The fans are our life’s blood, I’ve made so many friendships with our fans. At the same time, we want to make music that is true to ourselves and our own souls. There is a balance there- we are in a fortunate situation that for the most part, what the fans want and what we want is the same thing. Our fans love us because we are epic, because we are cinematic, we tell a story, we are conceptual, and because we are so accessible as people. It’s a big relationship to me- it’s almost as if our fans are unofficial members of the band. It’s all interconnected.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll also be doing some live shows as the keyboardist for MindMaze on their upcoming US tour with Arkona and Sirenia – how did this come about, and have you always been a fan of their music considering you are on the same label together with Inner Wound Recordings?
Weingarten: When you are labelmates with another band, there’s a sense of camaraderie – at least if you are all mature about it. I feel like MindMaze are labelmates, and therefore they are family. They are very talented people- I actually reached out to them and saw they were going on tour in May. They mulled it over for a week and said they would do it. They don’t have a regular keyboard player in the band, they do have some keyboards on their albums that I’ll be able to help bring to life. It should be a good time and I’m looking forward to getting out on the road and meeting all the MindMaze fans and getting to meet some of the Pyramaze fans that I haven’t gotten to meet yet.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you think is most difficult for the average music fan/ consumer to understand regarding the activities of metal musicians in the current marketplace?
Weingarten: Well, there’s no money in it, for starters! (laughs) It’s hard to do, it’s not an easy thing. The way things are set up, we are self-contained, so we are lucky in that regard. I see a lot of bands doing these Kickstarter things, and we’ve thought about it but I don’t know, we may do one at some point. We are still able to do everything that we want to right now, without doing that. We just appreciate the support of the fans that go out and buy our CD’s and shirts, that really makes a difference.
There’s a trillion fans of metal, and everyone that’s a fan also seems to be in a band as well. The whole scene as a result gets watered down, and it makes it hard for bands to rise to the top. I’m sure there are hundreds of bands that are fantastic that deserve to be signed, but they aren’t going to get that opportunity because there are just so many other bands. The scene itself, it’s a big family. The environment of festivals like the Progpower USA, Progpower Europe, Wacken, those kind of things- it’s a huge community. I think people that love and respect metal value the integrity of the music. They aren’t going to be force fed the kind of crap that gets played on the radio. People that listen to metal like to think and use their brains, and that seems kind of rare these days.
Dead Rhetoric: I would agree- the engagement of metal fans as a genre, has never waned. Even today, the interest and intensity for digging deeper into the band through the internet is there.
Weingarten: Technology changes and times must change with the technology. I just hope people don’t lose sight over what really matters. Music and art is very important- to humanity and survival. I was (in a conversation) with this kid I know, he’s 18 and I told him I play in a band, to check it out. I gave him our website, he goes and listens to us, and comes back and says it was really good, but he would have liked this more two years ago back when he listened to metal. I asked him what he listens to now- and he said ‘oh, you know – rap and stuff’. So literally his musical tastes have de-evolved. I just imagine that painting of the monkey that turns into the gorilla, and slowly turns into a man- that image of evolution. I imagined him being the opposite of that- going from a man to now being a chimp. Hopefully he will grow up again.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you view revenue streams like crowdfunding these days?
Weingarten: I don’t know, it’s a tricky one. If you look at the recent Wintersun campaign they did, it’s funny for us to sit back and watch what is happening. It’s hard to not feel like you are not just holding out the beggar’s cup. At the same time, if we are going to dedicate our lives to something, and people are going to listen to it, appreciate it, then why shouldn’t we make a living from that someday? I’m lucky to make a living through my studio work that I do, I don’t make a living from Pyramaze, that’s for sure. You can look at any individual crowdfunding situation and see if it’s done well or not. There’s a stigma attached to it, that’s for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s been thrilling you most in the melodic death metal genre currently? Still into a lot of the Swedish style, or are you branching out into different bands/territories?
Weingarten: I don’t actually listen to as much metal now as I used to. I love Scar Symmetry, Soilwork, all their new stuff. Amaranthe too- I grew up with all the old Swedish melodic death metal, In Flames. Arch Enemy is still awesome, they’ve never not been awesome. Generally speaking, the Swedish scene is still going strong and I’m digging it. I love The Unguided too- Henric (Carlsson) from the band is a good friend of mine.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned in our last talk being into health and fitness – what’s your typical workout and diet look like, and do you believe it enhances your output as a musician?
Weingarten: Yes, having a good, healthy image is a good thing to have for the industry. I don’t drink alcohol, have a high protein diet and I go to the gym six days a week. It helps keep me focused and goal-oriented also. My diet these days is a lot of ground beef and avocados, and eggs. I don’t drink pop or alcohol, and I don’t eat a lot of sugar or items like that.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about the Sentinels album you are working on with Matt Barlow, how will this be stylistically?
Weingarten: It will be different than Pyramaze. Matt and I are hard at work trying to create a new genre of music. It’s a mix of cinematic stuff, and there are some metal elements to it. I could throw ten different names at you, most of which are film composers, but with Matt singing over it. I’m excited to see what the fans reaction will be to this. I think it will fall into the fringe of metal – things like Apocalyptica, Van Canto, sort of like that. My fan base and Matt’s fan base are mostly in the metal world. We may bring this to the stage – but with the two of us it may be difficult so we might have to light some fireworks on stage, or roast some marshmallows in front of a camp fire (laughs).
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2017 and early 2018 for Pyramaze? Small tours, festival appearances, any surprises?
Weingarten: We are playing Progpower Europe in October, and that’s the only show we have booked right now. We may book another one right around that time, make it a weekend or something. If the right festival comes to us with a good offer, we will try to make things happen as best we can. I’d like to start working on some new material for the sixth album- of course, I’m always hungry to do the next thing. This album isn’t out yet and I’m already ready to start writing for the next one. This keeps us going strong- I have ideas ready that will make it even more epic. It’s going to make your head explode, man.
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