MetalKings.com: I read two different interviews you guys did and in them you had two different versions of who actually started the band, that is in the chat with Primal Agony you said Zonata was started by the two Nyberg Bros, while in you interview to TrueMetal.org you said it was John Nyberg& Henrik Carlsson who were later joined by John's brother Johannes - so which version is correct?

Zonata: It was John and Henrik who started the band!

MetalKings.com: With two brothers standing at the roots of the act you join the ilk of what is called sometimes "brother-bands": the Ramones, Jackson 5, the Cure, Sepultura, Pantera etc. - does that add a special feeling to the music? And (I guess this one goes for John and Johannes) does this fact bring you closer as brothers, or, on the contrary, does it add to the usual "brother-to-brother" competition?

Zonata: Well, the core of the band consists of John and Johannes and they usually get on well together but the other members are just as important for the sound of the band.

MetalKings.com: Your first demo was titled 'Copenhagen Tapes' - why? Any story behind it?

Zonata: It was just because it was recorded in Copenhagen Denmark.

MetalKings.com: You already mention this in a couple of interviews, so the question is kinda odd, but still - things have been happening very fast for Zonata - you formed in 1998 and were signed on Century Media already what.. the same year or next year? - at the same time most of the bands from Sweden that I know had to build an underground activity for a decade until they could get a decent contract (e.g. Band like Vomitory, Insision, Unleashed, etc.) - so, here comes the question, aren't you afraid that because of such a headstart thing might get stagnated and trapped for Zonata at a certain point of time? (I mean everything in life has to be in balance)...

Zonata: No. I don't think so because we have been in other bands before Zonata and worked as hard as anyone else.

MetalKings.com: You newest release 'Buried Alive' is much more on the progressive and keyboard oriented side than the debut "Tunes of Steel" and its successor "Reality" (in my opinion that is) - how did that come out?

Zonata: We didn't plan to make it more progressive! That did just happen but I don't think it's more keyboard oriented than before! I think this one is more riff-based.

MetalKings.com: The first song on the record has a very Judas Priest, 80ies' metal feeling to it, as it seemed to me, was that intended and in case, yes, how much they have been an influence for you?

Zonata: For me (Niclas) Judas Priest are the biggest idols but it was John who wrote that song but he likes Priest as well and when he came up with the intro-riff he thought it would be cool to write a song that was a bit Priest-oriented.

MetalKings.com: What in the hell is that circus music Johannes is playing in the beginning of 'Visions of Sorrow' :-)? Does not sound like anything particularly "sorrowful" to me...

Zonata: Well, we had another intro for that song but it didn't work out in the studio so Johannes came up with that one and I think it suits the song musically?

MetalKings.com: Musically you have a lot in common with the Finnish mega-stars (in the good sense of the word) of Nightwish - is there a chance of you ending up with a female singer as well? And what do you personally thing of Nightwish and their music?

Zonata: No, we won't end up with a female singer. Metal should be sung by men ;-) It is more powerful with a male voice even though the singer of Nightwish has a good voice but I do not think it would suite our music. I have just heard a few songs by Nightwish and they sounded great.

MetalKings.com: After the release of "Reality" you mentioned several times that the production on that one was heaps better then on the debut "Tunes.." - so what can you say now about "Buried Alive" compared to "Reality" production-wise (and let's cover that in the same question - where was the new album recorded, who produced it, how was the studio-time this time, etc., etc...)

Zonata: We think we have taken one step forward with the production of "Buried Alive" but it was recorded in the same studio with the same producer as the previous one.

MetalKings.com: Well, this next question is pretty traditional and unoriginal, if not to say banal, but I can't but ask it anyway - it is the general opinion of everyone in the music business (I mean critics, and label managers, and producers) that a 3rd album is a decisive landmark for any band after which you either stay along and develop or diminish into the mighty oblivion - anything to say about that? And do you agree with this opinion?

Zonata: For some bands that's maybe the case but it hasn't to be that way as well. For every record you made your following becomes bigger (hopefully) and for some bands it maybe takes four or five records to make it. But I really hope that this album will be a giant step for us in a commercial way.

MetalKings.com: Although personally I am not into this type of music - I mean I don't like power metal really and I hate prog - still gotta admit that I listened to you record several times and got a real kick out of it - somehow you managed to create some very memorable and listenable tunes that do not have any of the usual progressive nagging (cuz' prog usually puts me to sleep), nor does it have any of the power metal overzealous joy, which normally makes me feel like going and punching the damn reality into the heads of these dragon-slayer-magician bands! - so what is your secret? How do you manage to do it? Is that literally a natural flow for you, or, do you on the other hand sit down and work with each song - like 'take this piece out' and 'add another chorus' and all this type of thing., you know, so as to make the song sound good and catchy in the end? Also (in the same long question ;) do you think a lot about the life performance when you write the songs?

Zonata: Great that you mention that! Because we didn't want our album to sound like a silly goofy metal record with stupidly "overhappy" and corny melodies. Heavy metal shall in my opinion sound a little bit dark and aggressive but as well has good melodies. And for the technical parts we didn't intentionally made them progressive just to sound complicated. We just made some technical parts that we thought sounded cool.

MetalKings.com: Okay, I am done with the serious part of the interview which brings us to the traditional MetalKings.com stupido questionnaire - the following questions are meant to challenge the sense of humor and are not to be taken seriously - with that said, as Tony Banderas once put it - "Let's play..." ;) - well since I think some of you said they were into Crocodile Dundee - your band is being approached by the Alligator King and - to your astonishment - the reptile speaks in a human voice, saying all of the crocos and gators around the world are real big fans of your music and that they would be honored if you could write a song about alligators and crocodiles, which would sort of improve their image in the eyes of humans, who were giving them a bad name since the dawn of history - and basically with the song prove to the whole world that these reptiles are not a bunch of cannibalistic aggressive ever-hungry heard, but are rather very intelligent, kind hearted, and good-natured creatures, who have been erm.. largely misunderstood - how'd you do that?

Zonata: Oh well! Isn't that a common fact that there are a lot of crocodiles at our shows??? And all our lyrics are about crocodiles and alligators. We even have a crocodile choir on the new record :)

MetalKings.com: Well, to continue the previous question - after you'd done the song (what shall it be titled, by the way?) - the 'Gator King asks you to come on a tour around the South American swamps to play for their reptile nation - they offer a good fee, mind you - so you agree. But, now you have to convince the label and tour managers - whose first reaction is most obviously 'Are you fucking nuts????!!!!" - to organize that tour for you - how would you convince them? (he-he, yes, that's what one silly Crocodile Dundee reference can do to a band dealing with MetalKings.com - now you have to answer all of these stupid 'gator questions :-) :-) :-))

Zonata: Well, our manager looks exactly like a crocodile and the record company consists of alligators so they wouldn't be hard to convince!!!

MetalKings.com: Well, now that you've done the alligator promo campaign yo get approached by the guys from Green Peace - who, seeing how successful you've been with earning crocodiles a good name - ask you to do the same favor for a) whales b) bats c) pandas - which would you choose and why?

Zonata: We would choose humans because it would be a nice thing to bring back true metal to the people again. True metal played by aliens because we're not human ourselves? We're from another planet (Uranus) should be pronounced "your anus"!!

MetalKings.com: The name of "Zonata - the Animal Friends" thunders around the world and finally reaches the bosses of National Geographic who want you to endorse their programs with your music, would you agree to the offer and what particular programs would you be writing music for?

Zonata: Films about the sexlife of dor-beetles.

MetalKings.com: Okay that was pretty much it for tonight, thanks for you time and patience and now your final word to all of the Zonata-fans and animal lover in Russia?

Zonata: Thanks for the interview and we really hope that you like our new cd and that we would be able o come over to Russia and do some ass-kicking shows.


(September, 2002)

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