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Paul Masvidal (Cynic)

Interview with Paul Masvidal from Cynic
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 17 December 2008, 8:49 AM

I guess anyone would feel honored if he had the chance to have the one and only Paul Masvidal from CYNIC to answer his questions; even if this contact was made via mail. Not only he told us all the details behind the band's new album Traced In Air, but we also talked about the incident that took place when Masvidal and Reinert were obligated to tour as a part of DEATH

Hello Mr. Masvidal! I really feel honored talking to a music genius like you! Congratulations on your latest release with CYNIC. It may sound kind of too much, but I guess you managed to overcome yourselves and Focus with this masterpiece! So, let's get to the questions. I will start with a classic one that has surely been asked to you many times. How did you decide to reform CYNIC, release a new album and hit the road again?

It was the universe's idea. There was two parts to this process, first the reunion and then the decision to make an album. CYNIC appeared in our lives numerous times in the form of synchronicities over the course of a couple weeks. It finally reached a point of critical mass. I called Sean and said,'it's time'. He agreed and we went straight to work on getting the Focus material back together. After we returned from the last reunion tour, I went into my studio and explored new material. I soon discovered we had something to say again as CYNIC. The songs poured out of me and everything just flowed. That led to making the new album and of course now touring to promote it.

The new CYNIC form includes a brand new member, Tymon Kruidenier. This guy is doing some great guitar work, as well as backing you up with some screams to add some brutality to the sound. How did you find this guy and what did it take to let him be in the band?

I knew Tymon for years from the inner CYNIC circles. Finally when I realized we needed a solid guitar player who could also growl, a friend of mine reminded of Tymon. I reached out to him and he expressed immediate interest. Soon he was sending auditions playing Focus songs and growling. I knew he was going to be just right for us.

Talking about the new member, even though you are a band that has actually released only one full-length album in the past, you have already managed to have many musicians come and go from the band. Why was it so hard to find someone who could establish himself in CYNIC and be a part of this machine?

Sean Reinert and I have always been the core of CYNIC. For live performances, things change depending on who's available and able to commit. We haven't really sought out permanent members, but more people who are appropriate for the time. The line-up feels solid now as a touring group, so maybe this one will work for now.

I guess finding a label to release Traced In Air was pretty easy for you. Season Of Mist Records was probably only one of the labels that had formed a row for you… And really, how did you decide to sign a contract with Season Of Mist?

We had about seven offers and although no record company is perfect, SOM seemed right at the time. The president of the label is very enthusiastic about the band and completely trusts us as artists with absolute freedom creatively. He also was willing to make CYNIC a top priority at his company which meant more to us than dollar signs.

Since your music is kind of weird, I had this question since I started listening to you. If you a Black Metal band for example about their influences, they will mention bands like VENOM, SODOM etc. Which bands and musicians influenced CYNIC? I really expect to hear names ranging from VENOM to CHICK COREA. Hahahaha…

We're influenced by a wide-range of musicians. From early Progressive Rock groups like RUSH and KING CRIMSON, to Jazz musicians like Pat Metheney and Allan Holdsworth. Also certain forms of Alternative Rock (RADIOHEAD, SIGUR ROS), Ambient music artists like Brian Eno and classical composers (Debussy, Ravel).  Also great artists inspire me like Venosa and Rothko. The list goes on…

Do you consider yourselves a Metal band? I had this discussion with many people and there is some division among your fans.

At times we are and at other times we are not. CYNIC would like to be one of the great bands that are not classifiable by genre or style. We are forging our own sound and although that can be a more difficult road, ultimately it makes more sense to us as artists.

You have scheduled a tour with OPETH from what I read on your Myspace page. How do you feel being back on the road again? Does it seem harder or easier from the last time you played live before you cease-fire?

The tour is going great. We're enjoying the shows tremendously and are happy to be out there sharing CYNIC's music with OPETH's fans. It's definitely easier for us now because we are better thinkers than we used to be.

The release of Traced In Air was recently pushed back to November. What happened and you had to delay the release?

The delay was due to album packaging. We had the cover embossed and some other special things with the digi book that required some unexpected extra time in the manufacturing process.

You trusted Robert Venosa for your artwork one more time, since he is the man behind the magnificent work in Focus. How do you feel working with him once again?

Robert is an old, good friend who I've been touch with since my teens. I was thrilled to have his fantastic work grace the new CYNIC album. He shared some of his masterpieces with us in the new CD booklet, which contains a unique painting for each song. Venosa is truly one of the great painters of our time, and I think the world or art will eventually realize this.

There is a limited edition collector's box, which apart from the other goodies contains a journal you were writing. Can you tell us what this journal hides in it?

The journal is an intensely layered collage of thoughts, dreams, ideas and pictures that were part of my creative process during the making of Traced In Air. On the surface it makes for a beautiful little art booklet with what appears to be abstract art images. For those interested in digging deeper they will find the truth or fragments of where the songs came from. It's quite an exposing piece of work, but I think that is what CYNIC is about. Nothing hidden, just raw truth in all its madness for everyone to see.

Are CYNIC determined to stay for a long time or is it just this new album, a tour and then it's over again?

This would definitely not be a'reunion' album. I can't predict the future of CYNIC at this moment, but I do know that we feel great about how things are going now and can easily see another record developing.

There is a general madness of reunions the last years. What makes CYNIC's reunion special and different from the rest?

I can't speak for the other bands and their reasons. I can say that our reunion came from universal spirit guidance and was purely cosmic. We are simply following direction from the universe and allowing things to unfold naturally, as they should. Our intentions are as pure as they can be and that's all that matters to us.

How would you describe CYNIC's sound to someone who has no clue who you are and what you do?

A journey into the center of the universe, where radiant beings of light are floating around, shape shifting into beautiful and dynamic objects, as the galaxies swirl around them.

Is there any news behind GORDIAN KNOT? We haven't seen a new release from you since 2003!

That's Malone's project and he is essentially a session musician for CYNIC. Sean Reinert and I don't have anything to do with GORDIAN KNOT other than having played on some songs on his records. You'll have to ask Malone himself about the future of his project.

There is a weird story about you and Reinert being obligated to tour with DEATH, when the band got into a big financial problem and your equipment was confiscated. Tell us the details about what really happened back then…

Our (or DEATH's at the time) equipment was confiscated after the last European tour for Human. A UK promoter held DEATH's gear because DEATH's manager at the time took off from the tour without making the final payment for the tour bus. The promoter then held our equipment as collateral until he got paid. We didn't have to do any touring for it. I ended up speaking with the promoter and asking him to at least return Sean's gear since we were not involved in any of this. It took about six months to get our gear back, which was another delay in making the CYNIC album.

Thanks a lot for your time and I hope you and the rest of CYNIC will be around for a long time to come! Anything last from you?

Thanks for the interview Yiannis! Please check out Traced In Air, and get on the mailing list for updates. Thanks for the support. Peace!


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