Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, November 29, 2013

Interview with Paul Masvidal of Cynic and Death

Monday night, as I've said in previous posts, was very, very, good. One of the best aspects was getting to pile back in to the Death to All tour bus (After waiting outside for twenty minutes in the cold!) to interview my hero, Paul Masvidal. Seriously, the only living guitarists I love more than him are in Sabbath and Zeppelin. Suffice to say, it was a special moment, we talked about the new Cynic album (which I had just heard!) Death to All and of course, Chuck.

How has the tour been going so far?
Great, it's been really fun. The shows are good, everything has been pretty much sold out, it's been a good tour.

And what have your favorite aspects of the tour been?
I guess the audiences. They're just appreciative, this is the first time Death's touring Europe, there's a lot of positive uplifted spirits. It's good.

Simply put, what was it like working with Chuck?
That's such a big question, its impossible to answer in one sentence. But to answer it in one sentence, it was fine! (Laughs) He was like anyone else. Just a complex human that had his joys and his pains and for the most part making Human was a fantastic process and touring with him was another process. It was good, I'm happy to be celebrating his life right now.

If Chuck were alive today, where do you think his music would be at?
I'm not sure, I didn't really follow him too much post Human. I know he started the whole Control Denied thing with the more old school vocals. I have a feeling that's where he would have gone with the more old school melodic vocals. It seemed like he was done with the Death thing. Probably more along those lines

What was it like recording the new Cynic record?
It was awesome! We did it in a very intimate environment at a friends studio, in the hills in Hollywood. I cut stuff in my own studio too. It's been a wonderful journey, it was a lot of fun making this record and it's really pure.

Why did you decide to release the record on Valentines Day?
That was a label thing actually. We originally thought it was the end of the year but they wanted more time to set it up. I thought that was good though, Valentines Day, it's a memorable date. It's kind of a cheesy commercial holiday but it's memorable and it represents love which is nice.

What do you think the main themes of the new album were?
I think in general it's a look at the mind. At least my own mind. Inner to outer and exploration. That's the root of the record.

The cover art is beautiful and incredible, could you tell me a little bit more about that?
It's another painting by Robert Venosa who actually passed away a few years ago. He painted it I believe in the late 70s. I've always loved that piece, I've been looking at it my whole life. It looks graphic but it's just an oil painting. It's kind of amazing. It says a lot about him as an artist that you can look at it and think its done on a computer. There's something about it to. It represents some archetypal symbols with the tree, the mind, and an explosion. It's representative of the album in a weird way.

Will Cynic be coming to Europe soon?
We're not sure, it's kind of in the works but nothing concrete. Eventually though.

What does the music of Cynic mean for you spiritually?
I'm not sure I know what it means (Laughs) I feel like it's trying to prescribe meaning to meaningless. It's really just trying to be honest about a process and get to the root of something real. That's really what every song is about. Trying to peel off the layers and say 'Who the hell am I and what's going on here?'.

I saw through your summary of the album, you talk about Terrence Mckenna and Allen West, could you recommend some other authors?
Sure, Terrence Mckenna is amazing, there's so many amazing authors out there. A really great guy that's teaching now is Sakyong Mipham who wrote a book called Turning the Mind Into an Ally. Kevin Wilbur is just ridiculously prolific. He's kind of a legend. He's more of an intellectual spiritual teacher but with some phenomenal work. The list goes on. But any of these people, you just take one of their books and its... Explore and see what resonates with you. They all have their styles and certain people are going to make more sense to you than others.

What is your advice to young musicians?
I would say practice (Laughs) If you're passionate about music you don't have to say that. You will. If you really want music as a path and as a way of living and as a career pursuit, just give it everything you have and trust in the times when things don't make sense and be patient with yourself keep putting one foot in front of the other. The key is being gentle with yourself. It's a very challenging path. You just have to be diligent and patient and work hard just like anything else. Figure out what you're trying to say, develop a voice and exploit that, originality is hugely important. Finding something that is your own and building on it.

What was it like working with with Jim Carrey?
He's the bomb, he's amazing. He's actually not really into death metal, he's more into the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and classic rock. I personally think that the death metal thing was just a kick. He thought Cannibal Corpse was funny because of the gore and imagery. He just thought it was hilarious. He brought it in. He's more of a classic rock kind of dude. He's a tremendous artist, he's a big ball of inspiration. I was just blown away, every day getting into the studio and working with him. He really inspired me. Just to see how he worked and how dedicated he was. We had a great time, it was amazing.

What do you think the future of the Death to All tour will be? 
Who knows? I feel like it does have a limited span. It doesn't make sense to keep doing this. I don't know if there will be another European tour, that's a big question. Why would we do that? We've hit all the major cities. It just feels like this is a moment in time and to pay respects. To share the music with the audience who didn't get to see him the first time around. It definitely has a shelf life, at one point you just have to leave it alone you know? Just out of respect.

What do you love so much about music?
The first thing I love is the subjective nature of it. The fact that you have no control over it and that you don't know what it is. It's this really magical, mysterious ethereal thing that you can't really see or touch it. You can only hear it. It makes you feel a certain way. As an art form it's really magical it has a quality to it...It's a universal language. There's so many things. For me it's my life. I can't say enough. It's my food. It's a powerful medium and art form. It transcends time, boundaries and generations. It's all about connectivity. It's everything.

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you, you had the chance to listen to the new Cynic album. I know that maybe you're not allowed to do like a review of it at the moment, but could you describe it a little? I'm so curious about it like many other Cynic fans.