Your debut album 'City Of Dis' has seen two releases. One in 2003 (Europe and UK), and one in 2004 (America). Was there a difference in the reactions on that album from the press and fans if you compare both continents?
There really wasn't much difference between the reactions of American and Europeans. The press has been pretty stoked on 'City of Dis' for the most part. As far as shows go, we've had great response wherever we play. Lots of people are into it and some aren't, which is to be expected. We played a show in Hamburg, and after or set a guy came up to me and said: "What you need is more dance beats. More dancing! You need to have more dancing". Why the fuck would you go to a metal show expecting to get down on the dance floor. We did take his advice to heart though. Our new album is 100% pre-recorded disco beats and samples from obscure films. Just kidding really. One reviewer asked us not to make any more albums. We're going to send him the new album as a kind of remote control donkey punch.
Now here's your new effort: 'Perfect Picture Of Wisdom And Boldness'. It has become a very direct and intense album with great songs on it. Are you yourselves satisfied with the outcome of your new album?
Very satisfied. It turned out even better than we had hoped. We worked for a long time on it, and I think we accomplished what we were looking for, something focused, loud, quiet, heavy and delicate.
Just like 'City of Dis', you recorded 'Perfect Picture Of Wisdom And Boldness' in almost one session without hardly any overdubs. For what reason did you record the album again in this way?
I guess you could say we found a formula that works well for us. We did both albums with Tim Green at Louder Studios, with mastering done with the masters of mastering John and J.J. Golden. Tim is an amazing musician and engineer, and he knows our sound well. He knows we don't want it overdone. Tim's approach is bare bones, which is how we like it. We recorded to 2 inch tape, mixed down to ½ inch. No Protools bullshit. It was recorded in a couple days with very little messing around with the actual recording. This serves a couple purposes. We're broke as hell and don't have time to book horrendous amounts of studio time. Also, I've found that if you have too much time in the studio you spend so much time on it that you end up nitpicking over every little thing. You start to lose the spontaneity and energy of the recording. Your songs start to sound like you wrote them for the studio. We don't write songs to record them, we write them to play to an audience. The recording is not flawless, it's a creation, it's art, not over-processed computer vomit.
What are, according to you, the main differences between 'Perfect Picture Of Wisdom And Boldness' and 'City Of Dis'?
'Perfect Picture of Wisdom And Boldness' is a logical progression from 'City of Dis'. 'City…' was a very frenetic album, with rapid-fire changes every other second. This new one is very patient and deliberate. It's bigger and heavier. In general it's a much more pummelling album. 'City Of Dis' was maniacal and spastic, this one is strong, epic, and driving. It's still very high energy, just more focused and dangerous.
On the new album there are lots of different musical styles. From Frank Zappa to Black Sabbath and from Dillinger Escape Plan to late eighties techno thrash. Can you tell us what the main influences of each band member are, and how you manage to incorporate them all into your own sound?
Our song writing method is very collaborative, which reflects our various influences, though we never really set out to sound like any band. It would be an exhaustive process to list each person's influences, but as a band we have a few common likes. Nomeansno, early Metallica, Slayer, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Meshuggah, Melvins, early hardcore and thrash bands to numerous to list.
The last time we did an interview with the band, you were not able to tell us any details about the lyrics on 'City Of Dis'. Perhaps you can tell us something about the lyrics on 'Perfect Picture Of Wisdom And Boldness'?
Perhaps. The lyrics are based on whatever I happen to be fixated on at that point in time.
The cover of 'Perfect Picture Of Wisdom And Boldness' shows a piece of modern art painting. Who painted it and what does it mean? Is there perhaps a special relation to the band?
It's a beautiful piece of work, very spooky and ominous. It was done by Bonnie Tomkins. She's a terrific artist. She's also the terrific girlfriend of our guitarist Tom. I think the painting is an excellent
visual accompaniment to our music. As far as what it means, I think it's open to interpretation. She's done a shirt for us as well, which was also great.
There are a few saxophone solos on the album. Does lead vocalist Matt Waters also play the saxophone on stage?
Talking about concerts, in the last interview you told us that the band would come to Europe for a tour in September 2005, but I noticed on your web site that you play some shows in the U.S. during that month. Are there any plans to come over to Europe later this year?
We're starting out on a US tour on September 1st. Then, we'll be over in Europe starting October 17th. Check out our website for updated show listings at www.themass.us.
Well, that's about it from me. I you would like to say anything to the readers, go right ahead…
Thanks in advance to everyone that comes to see our shows on our upcoming tour. Rock!upcoming