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Viza
Interview mit Andrew & Chris [Viza], 04.10.2012, phoner



Sie sind zu siebt, kommen aus den unterschiedlichsten Nationen und haben in Los Angeles ihre Basis. Dort entstand nun auch mit "Carnivalia" der fünfte Longplayer der multikulturellen Rockband Viza. Doch Alaaf- und Helau-Rufe sucht man auf der Platte glücklicherweise vergebens.

In these days you will publish your 5th studio album called "Carnivalia". What do we have to expect on this CD?

Andrew: It's our most recent album and the CD represents an evolution of our sound, how we developed creatively and as a unit. In general we use unique instruments and incorporate them with the tradition rock instruments. For example the instrument I play is the Oud and Chris plays a percussion instrument from the Middle East. And we incorporated these instruments a lot on the whole album "Carnivalia". It's a very significant style, but it's also growing and developing with every album.

How would you describe the current sound of Viza?

Chris: It's something between world music, punk, metal… We're coming from different nations and everybody brings in his own style.

How is it possible to make democratic choices as there are so many musicians within the band?

Andrew: Interesting question. There are seven people in the group and we pretty much do everything together as a family. I mean, we travel together, we tour together, we rehearse together – so you kinda have a very interesting relationship with everyone in a large group. And I think a lot of the personal dynamics that we have kinda comes out in our stage performance. I'm not sure if you have seen videos of our live performances, but with those you can get an idea of how all that comes out on stage.

So you don't have one big boss within the band who has the final word?

Andrew: We try to have everybody feel comfortable with every decision we gonna make, because the band is one unit. And we wanna always make sure that we're on the same page. It's a group project, we're one unit.

Chris: We all share the same goal.

And how did you all find together?

Andrew: A few of us come from the East coast, the Eastern part of the U.S., and all the remaining guys – more than half of them – are from Los Angeles. So the few of us moved to L.A. The project existed for a while before the last years of touring, but the current line-up and the current style has been like this for the last two or three years. And L.A. gives us a good opportunity to work with many different artists and bands. So it is our base.

How does a Viza-song usually come into being? Who composes the music, who writes the lyrics?

Andrew: Our vocalist writes the lyrics. I think for one song Chris did some lyrics, too. And referring to the songwriting: Over the time certain songs were written by single members of the group, but for the last albums everyone contributed ideas.

Chris: Usually it starts up with a beat and some sort of idea and then you just work it out.

Andrew: What usually happens is that one of the guys has an idea and brings it into the room where we rehearse and everybody starts to add their favors. So different ideas start to move, progress and develop and turn into a song that we put on the album.

What have been your inspirations for the new album?


Chris: I think every year we want to get a little bit heavier, we want to progress with the sound and keep the very cultural vibe within the music. Life is our inspiration.

Andrew: Yeah, and this was the first record we wrote after doing all significant touring, because our previous albums we started to write before the touring. So "Carnivalia" is definitely a part of our group.

Are you a big fan of carnival? What do you think about carnival in general?

Chris: Personally I'm not. The album is called "Carnivalia", but it represents more the lifestyle of Carnival like, you know, just touring, travelling around the world, meeting different people and all the experiences you collect individually and within the group.

Andrew: I agree, it reflects all the diversity of experience that we have with all the touring and travelling and the kind of music that we wrote at that specific time when we put that album out.

The album was recorded by Jared Gosselin at Frank Zappa's UMRK Studios (L.A.). How much time did you spend there on the whole and how did the work with Jared proceed?

Andrew: I think it was three months. We had to break it up a little bit with some travel for shows, but working in that studio that Zappa built himself was a cool experience.

Chris: And this time we recorded the record live. Usually we do drums first, then all the other instruments. But this time we wanted to try something different. We all went into one room and pretty much recorded all songs. Everything, but the vocals. We are known to play very tight live. So some of us suggested that it might be a better idea to record all songs together.

Andrew: All in all it was a fun part to just try it that way. It's definitely something you don't do every day.

What is your highlight of the new album?

Andrew: My favorite song is "Magic Ladder" and I have a very good reason for that. That's a song where everyone in the band contributes in a very tasteful way to the combination of the entire listening experience and it incorporates all of our instruments.

You covered the "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" of The Doors and also released a video for that. Who's idea was it?

Andrew: The idea to cover that song came from our singer. We made a Viza version out of it. We kind of really reinvented the song. We added Oud-parts, percussions, we changed the structure and added a solo for the guitars and a lot of electronic dubstep style drops. We were very surprised about the new life we breathed into that song. If we do a cover, we definitely put our Viza fingerprints on it. The song came out very nice. We've been doing a radio campaign in US and Canada, releasing that song as a free download. So we wanna make sure that people will have access to hear the song. And that is actually not a Doors' song. The Doors covered it themselves and made it popular.

Currently you're on tour with Serj Tankian, frontman of System Of A Down. How did this already long lasting collaboration come about?

Andrew: Interesting story. Through some common friends he came to our shows and checked us out. He's been an amazing supporter and he was interested in getting in involved. So he got in involved in "Made In Chernobyl". He was the producer and also sang some guest vocals on one of the tracks on the album. And then we toured with him that summer two years ago over Europe. We kept in touch and now we find us touring with him again.

How do we have to image a show of Viza?

Chris: The energy is a huge fact. People dance around. Our songs are so diverse and different that our shows are like an emotional rollercoaster ride for the audience.

One last question: How would you continue the sentence "Music is…"?

Chris: …life.

Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from graviton-musicservices.com
Website Band: www.experienceviza.com

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(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 11/12 / www.zillo.de

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