Marco Minnemann- A Mouth Of God-
13 Songs about pain, aggression, faith and disbelief, Love and Hope…..
All noises composed + produced between Jan-May 2008 by MM at Seacoast with guests:
Mike Keneally, additional guitar on 2 and 8.
Petra Lukovic, add Voice on 5+6
Carmen Zavaleta Rojas, Voice on 2
Stephanie from Starbucks:-) add voice on 13.
Dolphins and Waves on 7+13 recorded on Seacoast!!
Mike Haid interviewed Marco in June 2008 about his probably most controversial album to date!
1. What was your inspiration for this new collection of songs on Mouth Of
–Well, it deals with the eternal struggle I see in mankind regarding beliefs, disbeliefs, and the ongoing search and argumentation of why and how people practice or exploit religion, or confuse or even combine it with destiny, stardom, money or wisdom. Also I\’ve seen people living off their own made \”checklists\” instead of reacting from their hearts…and when I hear words like \”everything happens for a reason\”, then I think people are looking basically for an easy way out…not having to question anything further, because someone, somewhere will provide it for you…and you don’t understand why, and you don\’t need to understand why.
Even though it\’s easy to do and nice to think that way, I\’d rather like to rephrase these words into: \”You\’re the reason to make it all happen\”.
So I say, make something out of what you follow…otherwise you\’ll constantly waste energy and have to start over and over again.
2. Where did you come up with the unique and innovative concept of altering the pitch of many of the vocals on this CD?
—Yeah…I want to keep the listeners excited…I want them to listen, especially on this album….so the different pitches and using the vocals as a quasi instrument, using extreme edits, transposing and variations, keeps the energy flowing. It\’s like having different conversations with new people about the same topic:-)
3. Are you playing all of the instruments on this CD? Discuss the positive and negative aspects of playing all of the instruments.
—For years I’ve made pretty much all the noisesJ on my CDs. It’s good for me because I know how I like to hear the song and can execute them without the interference of others….you know, you put your vision down and there you go.
It’s interesting: If I’d play you one of the final mixes and tell you that it is a demo and ask for your opinion, it would give you automatic access to find parts you can judge. If I play you that SAME mix…ready on CD in a digi-pack, you have to take it for what it is, and maybe even go: Yeah..sounds good. Isn’t that great?
Negative aspects…hmmm, well it’s difficult to reproduce it live because that’s when additional players have to learn all that stuff that I even forgot how to play. Meanwhile, because most of my compositions happen on the spot and won’t be tracked again….you know…I want to keep the moment of the virgin idea and let it evolve while recording. See, I don’t practice the words “I love you“ to then really say them at a later point to make them sound…more honest?
4. The rhythmic structure of \”Feeding Birds\” is quite unique. Can you talk a little about the various time signatures and polyrhythmic concepts found in this piece? I particularly like the way you incorporate speed metal chops into this track without it sounding too heavy.
– Thanks!…..Well, the main part is in 13/16th….snare on 2 and 5 e….end part is in 5/8+9/8..that’s how I divide it. Yeah, I didn’t want to use too much distortion on the guitars because they would clash a bit with the synth sounds and vocals going on the same time…..so no, it’s not speed metal.
5. \”Moondown\” has a Nine Inch Nails vibe, a bit techno, dark and mysterious. Is Trent Reznor an influential artist to your writing style?
–I like some NIN stuff, but I wouldn’t consider Reznor being influential on my style…..however you’re right on this song. I wrote this one prior to the MOG sessions for UKZ….Eddie Jobson was looking for a tune with that vibe….we ended up using some parts…this song was a leftover. I found it again on my hard drive and thought…man….fits into the concept. Same as for the Song “Where We Started“…both UKZ demos…lyrics are totally out of the blue, improvised on the spot….no kidding…
6. You tackle some heavy lyrical topics on this release. Particularly, the track \”Relocator (Satanic Characteristics).\” Your vocal sampling and pitch altering are most effective on this track. Talk about your recording concepts on this, and the theme of the lyrical content..and the album cover….
–You’re right. The topic is heavy. People were offended by the cover art before the CD even got released. I heard comments like, “The cover is an offense to our Lord, Jesus“ …often these are exactly the same people illegally downloading my CDs off the web! Let me explain: The cover represents the terror, pain and struggle a person carries inside while actually searching for love, peace and relief. It shows an unbalance…It also shows the sell-out…heartfelt/materialism for example. The cover shows a person in constant doubt…hiding all these things inside…finally getting exposed…tied to a cross of their own belief. So, by all means, it’s NOT an offense…crucifixion happened…it’s a statement and in this case, it’s PRO-Goodness!! I believe you’ve got to expose, let’s say “evil“ to a certain amount to then learn from it…and then rebuild on the ruins…trying to build a better home! So, yes, I want people to see the cover…to think about it…even if it seems to be gross….look behind the curtain, before you judge it so quickly. That’s something I really dislike: People preaching tolerance are most of the time the most intolerant folks of all…“don’t do this…obey that…be quiet when entering this room…don’t say anything wrong—if you’re not like this, you can’t do that.“. Should I feel offended when somebody knocks on my door trying to tell me about the way I have to live or believe??
7. You incorporate various female voices throughout the CD, in several different languages. This gives the overall project an interesting international feel. Can you discuss how you chose these voices and what they represent within each track?
–That was one of my main concepts for this album….I picked people I know from various occasions…non-musicians…Stephanie is a girl from Starbucks…I go there often to pick up a drink before rehearsing or recording…I liked her voice…she speaks English and Spanish…so I invited her over….it’s fantastic to have someone in front of the mic being nervous…doing this for the first time….it has a certain freshness to it. I like that a lot.
8. There is a reoccurring theme of religion, and broken relationships on this CD. These are topics of life\’s deepest emotional characteristics. Are these topics that have caused you to look deeper into yourself and ask questions about why we are here, and how the emotions of love can go from euphoric to empty?
–Hmm…no…it’s not about the question “why are we here“?…actually it’s about knowing EXACTLY what you want…but then having to deal with stones that are sometimes in your way.
I’ve actually been dealing with persons, even close ones, loved ones, also religious ones, persons you thought you could believe in…that in the end were most probably just in your life to fulfill a “checklist,“ or as long as you can be helpful to them. Happened a few times…and you know…I don’t want to say I’ve always been a good boy, and yeah, I enjoy good times out there…but….everyone deserves a 2nd chance AND…true feelings never die. And for that acknowledgement I don’t need to thank something/someone for dinner every day, you know what I mean?
It’s always the same concept I guess….the real folks stick with you through thick and thin. And in the end, I believe people receive the reward for being either dedicated or indecisive. It’s nice to think fairytale like about this topic: A prince receives a princess. A customer….a consultant?
Let’s at least try to be specialJ
9. Your earlier projects seemed to focus more on material that featured your amazing drumming skills. Your more recent recordings reflect a confident composer that is constantly pushing the envelope in rhythmic, harmonic and melodic creations. How do approach your songwriting now, in terms of what you are trying to present in your compositions?
–Well, first, when you start your career, you try to prove yourself…mostly show yourself, and the world, your facility….technical aspects…sometimes more like “look what I can do“ rather than “look what I have to say“. I can still see that happening in the world today. There are the ones being able to create music….and there’re the race car drivers.
Both have validity…on a drum fest…alone on stage with your kit, you’re a soloist…and yeah, deliver the goods at some point.
As a composer I really think basically about the message or vibe I want to “paint“ and bring across. This album is very dark…some songs desperate…some songs aggressive…sarcastic…but also very high energy and there’re actually some beautiful moments, things I always wanted to say that now come out easier in the songs.
10. You have become one of the most respected and highly acclaimed drummers in the world. Is it important for your career to maintain that reputation, or are you more interested in becoming recognized as a serious composer and musical artist?
–Well, the biggest mistake I ever made was to allow the title ”extreme“ drumming or Interdependence on my educational releases.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about that name and was quasi-talked into using these titles. These are my practice routines and all of a sudden these DVDs and books started to sell well and kind of put me in that “extreme“ spotlight in the media for a while.
But I’m happy that people buy my music and see me using the tools for the creation of composition. That’s what I always wanted, and what I always did. So yes, it goes all hand in hand….but I see myself more as a composer….but you can decide to either pick up my DVDs or CDs …..or…why not bothJ?