Hi Laurent/Loh, how are you and what the f*** is going on with Tao Menizoo?
Hi Arthur, thank you for keeping alive your interest for us !! ;-) I must admit we have been very, very, silent…Silent as a dead body buried in a grave ;-))…I think it’s mainly because we have no talent for communication, promoting and marketing actions. I mean: when we are working on music compositing, or recording, we do not dare going in touch with people until we have something new to offer, we have some kind of fear to disturb people, or being ridiculous or boring by doing too much…Communication professionals know how to keep a buzz even when there is nothing real new to tell about…But we don’t… And we have been very long to achieve this record, so during this time we did not look for gigs. And we did not look for keeping the audience attention directed toward us either…Kind of professional fault in business like music business…So, to all of you that remember us and liked what we have done previously: we’re not dead, we’re working hard to produce new songs and music, but we are so…shy ? ;-))
Tell us something new, what´s new (hot) in the band?
The hottest new is the forthcoming album: we are finalizing the mixes. I mean there’s nothing more to record, the sound design is completed, we have now to finish the balance between drums, guitars, vocals and so on…Even that is almost finished: we are…polishing, listening and listening, again and again to check any error or problem (although we know it won’t be perfect, of course). Four excerpts are available as preview tracks on our website (www.taomenizoo.com). These tracks are not yet absolutely polished, and are not mastered yet. But we HAVE TO release some meat to feed the beast! We have not yet made our decision about the way to expose our music : partially free or not, a CD or not, online or not…An option is to offer, at first, one or two full tracks and some excerpts on the website, and in the same time, to look for gigs and reviews with unmastered CD-Roms, burned by ourselves or by digital replication, and then finally, to search (and find !) a distribution, while the songs being mastered for a final release on CD… About the band, we’re still the four same guys, being here from the first day, in spite of the fact we have been a quintet for a couple of months: we have worked in 2005 with Cyril, an old friend of ours. He’s a basically a drummer, but he can play keyboards, percussions, he can sing, and he had great ideas about arranging vocal parts. He did some shows with us, too. But he finally had to return to his passion: drumming, compositing, and to his job too: free-lance web designer…But even if he’s not member of the band anymore, he stills works with us occasionally: he made some great (back) vocals part on the record for example…
Tell us the reasons, why you need so many time (more than three years!) to record an new stuff?
Shortly said: 2003: album #1 is released, promoting, reviews, some gigs…End of 2003 : been fired of the place where we had our rehearsals (because of closure)…The new place is as far as one hour by car! Hard to work well in these conditions…But we did…And compose new songs…2004: Got into recording sessions of a demo of the five new songs (instruments: Spring/Summer, vocals : Fall) Beginning of 2005: a new rehearsal place (less than 10 minutes of my home ! great, isn’t it ?) Summer/Fall 2005: we finally have the mix of the demo recorded the year before !!!! The engineer really had some problems in the delays (because of a moving)…!! That’s why we decided for the second album to do EVERYTHING BY OURSELVES…So we started to buy gears, softwares, plugins to build our home studio…It takes time to choose the equipment, spare money and buy the stuff…Summer 2006: drums sessions by Koshee (aka KSH), guitar session for Totof and I…Then Totof (aka TTF), the other guitarist broke his hand (fight fist vs wall, the wall won). Hopefully –if I may- it was after he has made his tracks…He needed an operation, convalescence, re-education and so on…He’s OK, now. Fall 2006: bass sessions (we all have a job, so it was during some evenings, each week, during 3-4 months)…October : I move off from my flat to a house with a special room for my home studio…Winter 2006: rough vocal recording for testing lyrics…Ronan (aka RNN), the bass player, badly hurt his left hand with a drilling machine (something gore, with flesh on the drill – gasp !)…He came close to amputation !!!! He also needed an operation, convalescence and re-education too…Now, he ‘s OK too. Spring 2007: definitive recording of lead vocals, back vocals, keyboards, arrangements, mixing…up to summer 2007…Here we are !!!
really short answer! Thanks!
What is new, what are the differences of the new songs? What could we expect from Tao M.?
More mid-tempos I think (there is still old-school thrash rhythm, and blasts too !)…More triple-rhythm pattern, clean voices, harmonized vocal parts (have a listen to “never get me” on the website)…The music may seem to be sometimes more simple (?) but for sure, it’s richer and more subtle…There is even a song with orchestral part (“funeral”, you can listen to an excerpt on the website too). There are 13 songs, very different from each other…I still think you can’t say we have a monolithic style, I do believe you can’t say we always play the same song, that’s the main point…And I sincerely think I sing quite much better now than on the first album…My voice should sound less hardcore, because less screamed, and more metal/thrash I thing…(but still with the world-famous french accent ;-))
What can you tell us about the lyrics. Tell us something about some great songs and the deep meaning of the lyrics?!
It’s not a concept album, but...almost... I mean it’s not a story, like "The Wall“ or "Operation Mindcrime“, but there is a common subject, a main topic for all the songs...It’s all about a messiah-dictator, his life, his toughts, his angers, his fears, his vision of the world, but with no particular order between the songs, be it chronological or logical...It’s not very optimistic, a usual...It’s a bit political (in the original meaning of "the things of the city“, related to the life of the citizens), but it stays in a general point of view : we do not sing slogans...Maybe the lyrics will be available on the website or a CD-Rom part of the album...
How was the recording session and how was the producer in which studio?
Well, as I said above, this second album is 100% home-made: our microphones, our audio hardware, our computer, our recording and mixing skills (level : intermediate ;-)) The main interest is a 100%-control over every aspect of the process. The main drawback is we have to learn the know-how, the tips and tricks, the tools of the trade, on the job ! And we are very far from Andy Sneap !! But even if it take longer time to complete, it allows us to come back to the song and change this or that…Something not possible when you go and record in a professional studio : two weeks of takes, one week of mix and that’s over. So about the recording: Recording session for drums(5 days) and guitar (2 x 5 days) have been made at our rehearsal location. With a laptop computer, 2 x 8 tracks audio interface and professional quality microphones (11 mics for the drums, 2 mics for each guitar). This time, the guitars have been plugged into a Line 6 Pod XT Pro (the kind of gear used, for example, by Fear Factory on “Digimortal”, by Meshuggah,…), amplified to a Marshall 4x12, recording session bass (direct recorded, then reamped with Line 6 Pod), vocals and additional guitars, keys and samples have been made at my home-studio, in my recently-bought house, along the months from September 2006 to June 2007. Mixing has been made with Cubase, Focusrite Liquid Mix hardware and UAD plugins, among others…Of course, we are the producers. Koshee and I a bit more than the other two, because the home-studio is mine, so I’m the one who logically works the most on sound design…
Are you surprised and satisfied about your debut album “Tao Menizoo”?! How was the reaction of the press and fans?
When I listen to this album, I still find there are good things I appreciate, about the songs and the production. But I know how things could have been better, because the recordings and the mixing process where very…chaotic . And now, I have some fav (“Thorns”) and some I like less (“DNA”)…
But the biggest things I have problem with, is my voice and my way of singing…I hope you will find it’s better now, as I do…About the reaction of the press and the fans, it was a very good surprise. For the press (magazines, fanzines, webzines) about 80% of the reviews were enthusiastic, 15% was “I dot not like but maybe you will”, and the last 5% were kind of aggressive “I do not like, so it’s shit”…I have no problem with the fact that people do not like our music, or the way the album is produced, but some reviews were clearly off-topic about us. But anyway, we do not really care this kind of stuff…We have read worse, and we will again ! For the fans (and non fans), everyone was pleased with the stuff, and there’s often people coming to congratulate us at the end of a gig…A recent compliment was about the pleasure to hear some kind of old-school thrashy song, in those days when modern-metal (did I say nu metal ? no ;-))) is the real hype.
Any plans for some further stuff of the new record/new songs (like singles, video, DVD, CD-Rom –again! etc.)?
No single, no video for the moment (or it may be 100 % homemade…), neither DVD…About the CD-Rom section: it’s our intention to add one to the audio tracks on the CD, but it implies that we have chosen to diffuse the music that way, so it won’t be before a few months (we need a distribution, and someone to pay the made of the 500 or 1000 or more CDs !) And about the t-shirts, it’s a possibility : there is a new logo (you see it when you connect to the website) related to the dictatorial design and atmosphere inspired by the lyrics of the new album. But we need money to do all theses things, and we already have spent a lot in the home-studio !!
How important is it for you to play live on stage and tell us something about further Live activities.
In our hearts, in our minds, the real living and feel of the music is on stage. We clearly love the stage. BUT we are very, very, very, bad at selling ourselves to find gigs…So, some bands playing boring music, with no originality as it’s a clone of the hype, and playing a music full of mistakes, will play very much more than us (yes, we do NOT play boring music ;-)) because they know how to get in touch with people and convince them…We are too humble to impose ourselves…A kind of lack of confidence in our music, maybe…For the second album, we are going to try to change things, to be more efficient, to conduct a more aggressive promotion strategy…And any help will be appreciated;-)))
What do you think about the LIVE EARTH Shows in the whole World last Saturday 7.7.07 –“Nature, politics and music”?!?
I must live in a bubble of silence because I haven’t heard about this shows !! Well, anyway, I think that’s a good thing…Not because it catches attention of the audience about the problems: the audience is mostly young (so more concerned then the older) and perfectly aware of that. But it catches attention of the political leaders on what the citizens want for their future…So, the voice of the industrial lobbies won’t be anymore the only voice they listen to. Er…wait…No special show was on 6.6.06 ?? Should have been a “DEAD EARTH” show ;-))
Maybe on 8.8.08!
Thank you very much for your answer. I wish you good luck for the new record and hope to see you live soon.
Thank you for being there, for the metal cause and for giving us the opportunity to present our work!