Interview with Cynic

Infernal Masquerade: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. So, let’s get started:

After releasing the amazing “Focus” album in 1993 the band called it quits in 1994. What prompted the band’s return in 2006?

Paul Masvidal: A series of synchronicities led to the reunion itself. The decision to make Traced In Air was a result of inspiration and realizing we had something to say again.

What were the band’s ideas, back in 1993, behind conceiving an album like “Focus” Was anybody opposed to the risks taken by diverging from the standard formulas of making death metal releases?

The ideas were about writing interesting and unique songs that too the listener on a journey. Lyrically they would asked questions about the nature of existence and who we are. We didn’t care about what the scene was doing or how to fit in. We were just trusting our instincts and trying to be as honest with ourselves as possible about the work. There was lot’s of opposition, especially from the business end, but we just carried on.

“Traced in Air” was released in 2008 featuring a more mature progressive metal sound. Are any of the songs or ideas behind this release, from before the band split up? Or was all the music written after the 2006 reunion?

The root idea of ‘Integral Birth’ was taken from a song from around 2005, but it was completely re-worked and essentially re-written. Evolutionary Sleeper was composed just before the reunion, but otherwise the album as a whole was composed during a 9-month period between late 2007 into 2008.

What’s the story behind using the vocoder for the clean vocals?

Originally it came from a couple things. First off I wanted a melodic voice in our music, but didn’t feel like a standard human voice was the right sound. I also wasn’t entirely confident as a singer and insecure about my natural voice. The vocoder solved both those problems by giving my voice a unique color and sonically creating a sound that made our music more unique and modern. It turned out to be this sort of emotional alien vibe, which felt really appropriate.

How do you think the new album was received by older fans, and how do you think younger metal heads see the album?

So far the reaction has been super positive by older and younger fans alike. It seems the climate is more open now than ever for the kind of music we create. Older fans that really understand what we do, get the record completely and the younger fans seem to really connect with what we’re doing especially lyrically, which is encouraging.

Lyrically Cynic compared to other bands has very a different message. Can you elaborate on what goes to the lyrics writing process?

The lyrics are just an attempt to look at who we are as courageously as possible without hiding. Some songs are birthed out of an emotion that finds a language of it’s own, other songs are specifically related to events or life experiences. For example, the song Nunc Stans (that last song on TIA) is in many ways directly related to my work with the dying. The song is sort of a ‘farewell’ deathbed tune about our own impermanence and what appears to be most important from that perspective.

After being signed with Roadrunner, how did the deal with Seasons of The Mist came to happen?

We had about seven offers when we shopped for the new album and found Seasons to be the most accommodating in terms of what we were looking for.

What are your thoughts about your spot touring with Daath and Dragonforce? How did fans react to the contrast presented between bands?

The tour was a mixed bag when it came to the audiences, but in a good way considering the three bands were covering a variety of styles and overall the reception was positive for everyone.

You are having a few dates in Europe as support for Dream Theater. What are your expectations for those shows? Any other tour dates planned after that?

I try not to have any expectations with future events, but if I had to imagine I think it will go well considering how prog-friendly their audience is. We have some more Euro dates planned for August and that’s all I know at the moment.

After being around in metal for so many years, what can you say is the best memory/moment you ever had? What other goals do you want to achieve with the band and personally?

There’s been too many good memories and moments to narrow down to one. Without sounding cliché, the journey is the goal for me. I could say that more than ever, I’ve learned how to just enjoy the process of being a musician on a day to day basis. It’s been a form a sanity and grounding for me, and an amazing tool for communication. Perhaps some great memories to reflect on were the process of writing Traced In Air. It was an intense and inspiring time. Looking forward, I’m excited to share more music and potentially help alleviate others with the work. Personally, the investigation into my true nature and learning how to open my heart wider to all of life’s experiences is what may be the biggest goal of all.

Is Cynic back for a few good years? Or is this just a temporary reunion and we’ll have to wait another 12 years for a reunion?

Again without trying to predict the future, we’re definitely back and in the saddle. The stream is flowing again with Cynic energy and I think more music will manifest as a result.

Anything else you want to add for your reader?

Thanks for reading. Check out Traced In Air and come see a show if we’re in the neighborhood.


Thanks for the interview and good luck in the summer tour.

Thank you.


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