Donnie recently caught up with the affable I AM I frontman ZP Theart as the band recently undertook a short “escape from the studio” tour.
Donnie recently caught up with the former DragonForce and current I AM I frontman ZP Theart as the band undertakes a short “escape from the studio” tour before the release of the new I Am I album. ZP was in a buoyant mood and ready to talk about any subject that came up.
Maximum Volume: How are you?
ZP Theart: I’m always f***king good mate. If I complain no-one listens!! Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you will cry alone.
MV: What’s the reason for the short 5-date tour of the UK?
ZP: We’ve been holed up in the studio for the past 9 weeks, writing and tracking for the new album, and we needed to blow off a little steam and go back on the road just to remind us of the fun of it all before going back to the office.
MV: A chance then to play a new track or two?
ZP: Definitely. We are playing one tonight. (Could be entitled “We Are One” judging by the singalong chorus)
MV: How different is the new album going to be from 2012’s Event Horizon?
ZP: It’s definitely going to be different. We’ve a whole new bunch of musicians. It’s a new energy. It’s a new perspective. It’s going to be marginally the same though.
MV: I saw a quote from the drummer which said that it will still be melodic hard rock but also will have some progressive leanings.
ZP: That’s right. It will be more aggressive but we will keep the melodic side and keep it catchy as f**k. It’s going to be brutalised a bit more and there will be some interesting things thrown in there also.
MV: How many tracks done so far? Do you do the Maiden thing and have 10-12 tracks and keep working until they are right or do you have hundreds in the works?
ZP: We are on 12 tracks at the minute and there is a whole bunch of half-baked ideas that we don’t waste too much time on but there’s a lot of energy and creative atmosphere at the moment that we want to capture. Knock the iron whites hot, mate!!. We get together every fortnight and then we get completely trashed…but not before we hammer it out!!
MV: I suppose a new line-up brings new ideas and new approaches. Is that why you didn’t want to do a solo career following your split with DragonForce?
ZP: That’s right, especially with the bunch of guys we have right now. Good people, great musicians and no bulls**t or preconceptions about what they think the industry is like. They all been there and they know what it’s all about. No delusion of grandeur. These days you have to keep your feet on the ground otherwise you won’t go anywhere.
MV: You must have noticed the changes in the industry since you began with DragonForce.
ZP: Absolutely. The music business has become a really hard stompin’ ground and it’s survival of the fittest, that’s where it is.
MV: Many bands these days are forging their own path whereas in days gone by they would have been led by the record label or promoters. Record labels won’t give you two or three album deals now. There is no time to get established and no such thing as artist development.
ZP: You don’t have to sell a lot to get platinum these days. 50,000 sales does it these days before it was millions. The whole industry has gone downhill. The fans still want the product the many are not prepared to pay for it but it costs money to create it and record it and manufacture it.
MV: At the end of the day it’s your job?
ZP: That’s right man. There is a misconception that things are like they were in the 80’s when all rockers are millionaires. One song could do that for you but today that’s not going to cut it. It’s changed a hell of a lot.
MV: There’s not even a singles chart or album chart to speak of these days.
ZP: It’s a struggle for many bands to get people through the door. There are so many bands playing and today you have to write songs to make an album to go on tour and sell merchandise, which makes you the money. In essence we are merchandise sellers. I don’t know why we do music, we should just get together and have a p**s up on stage and people can come and buy a tshirt!!
MV: Do you think you now have the freedom of creativity that perhaps you didn’t have during your latter days with DragonForce?
ZP: Absolutely. I now have it all. It’s not like I was ever a control freak or anything like that but it’s about being involved otherwise what’s the point.
MV: Gene Simmons (Kiss) recent comment about Rock being dead has caused some backlash. How do you view what he said?
ZP: For someone with all his money, which came from the music industry, I guess Rock is dead as he doesn’t make his money there anymore. It’s all his other investments and merchandise.
MV: What about I AM I’s immediate future?
ZP. New album should be out in early spring and then we take it on the road…………..and sell t-shirts!!!
MV: First time I saw I AM I was at Bloodstock 2012 and you blew the crowd away despite the relatively early stage time.
ZP: That’s was only our second show and Bloodstock was sweet. They are reknown for having quite a brutal line-up but then they are spaces reserved for bands like us. It’s a privelige to play it, especially the main stage. I love festivals. I’m like a kid in a toy store. There are fresh fans to be gained. Those would may never have heard of you until you turn up on stage and then blow them away.
MV: Thanks very much for your time ZP and all the best for the future.
ZP: Thanks mate.