Ring Of Fire
30 January 2014
MG: Hi Mark, how are you today, the new album the 'Battle of Leningrad' has just been released, how excited and nervous were you as release day approached?
Mark: I'm great thanks! Very excited about the new album, not nervous at all though as I know it’s a great album!
MG: When you conceived the 'Battle of Leningrad', what in particular influenced you to visit the history and struggle of the Russian people in the Second World War?
Mark: Well I wasn’t familiar with the story about the 'Battle of Leningrad', I mean I consider myself to be a bit of a history buff, but this story slipped through. I thought I knew a lot, but this story slipped past my radar. Vitalij the keyboard player in the band and co-writer is actually from the Ukraine, so he has a bit more background into the history of the Russian people. We were sat down talking about a new Ring of Fire album and Vitalij came up with the idea of a concept album, telling the story of the siege of Leningrad. I said yeah, ok, cool. I didn’t know what it was, so said yeah, what’s that? So I did some study, took some books out of the library, looked at loads of stuff online and studied a lot of material. It’s a really incredible story and I felt it led itself to have some really intense music written about it.
MG: Is there a personal favorite track on the album?
Mark: It changes you know, I like all of the songs, it changes from day to day, moment to moment.
MG: Are there plans for a tour of Europe in 2014 with Ring of Fire?
Mark: Yes there is, we have nothing definite at the moment, but we really hope to get over and maybe get some festival dates as well. I am sure it’s not going to be a problem. We have the feelers out and about. We are really looking forward to touring the album and when we do tour, we will be bringing a lot of multimedia stuff for when we play the songs of the new album in particular, because I think the songs need that visually. It will be a cool live performance I think.
MG: How long was the process for the writing and recording of the 'Battle of Leningrad'?
Mark: About three months, some people say that’s too fast, some say it’s a long time. But I took time to research the Battle, and really get into the history and take it all on board as well.
MG: Would you like to actually play Leningrad, now St .Petersburg?
Mark: Yes that would be very special. I have played there before with Royal Hunt and to take this show there would be phenomenal
Mark: Absolutely, it would be a very moving experience.
Mg: You have so many different projects and bands going don’t you? Which band do you enjoy working with the most?
Mark: I enjoy all of it! You know I have been doing a lot of recording lately as there wasn’t much touring happening. You know it’s so difficult for bands to do tour now days, to be able to string a lot of dates together to make it not a losing proposition and a lot of them can’t do that. Ring of Fire would be fine for that as we have a history and it would be easier for us. I love touring the most, but when I am not on the road, I love doing the music, so I just can’t stop recording! But I am a little tired of sitting in the studio now and just want to get out there and play live!
MG: Ring of Fire, have had quite a gap really haven’t they, since the last album?
Mark: Yeah we kind of fell off the wagon and the later albums we kind of experimented with and lost our way. Then everyone went off to do their own thing and then luckily the owner of Frontier records suggested doing a new Ring of Fire album. I am like...hmm ok, you going to give us a budget? He’s like yeah! So I called the other members up and we were like yeah let’s do this!
MG: Do you see an album to follow sooner after 'Leningrad'?
Mark: Yeah why not!
MG: What are your personal views on the current melodic Metal scene?
Mark: Well its different all around the world. I don’t know, I think it’s getting a little better. In the United States, there is not any scene, there’s a lot of bands, but no real scene these days and so not a lot of places for us to play and not a lot of support either. In Europe it’s a little better. Asia is pretty good and South America for European bands, but not for Brazilian bands so much unfortunately! It’s all kind of crazy and a little messed up, but I do think things are getting a little bit better.
The whole music business or lack of it is in a state of change right now, people are trying to adjust as technology changes so quickly and all the time and are faster than business can keep up with. It seems that everyone is trying to figure out what the brave new world of music is going to be. I think it will settle down soon so everybody can be productive and viable.
MG: So being surrounded by music so much, what do you listen to when you are relaxing?
Mark: I listen to a lot of different stuff you know, a lot of jazz, classical, new stuff that’s coming out. I keep listening for bands to become original again. For me the mainstream of rock bands right now are all sounding very generic, they sound almost the same you know and it’s hard to tell one singer from another singer, they are all singing the same, and everybody's playing the same. I would love for some bands to come out and play something unique as they did in the Seventies and Eighties and even in the Nineties. I think that’s seriously lacking in the music industry today. I am looking for it and listening for it! I listen to a lot of stuff, I have always had an interest in any good music really.
MG: Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of The Metal Gods Meltdown
Mark: Yeah, if you have heard Ring of Fire before, well, this album 'The Battle of Leningrad' is our best album yet! If you are not familiar with the band, please listen to it, as I am sure it will touch you in some way!
MG: Thanks for your time!
Mark: My pleasure!
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto