1) The easiest question to start of an interview is to ask you to introduce our readers to the history of the band
so I’ll pass on this, don’t you worry haha But what does interest me is what your dreams and goals were for this new
album (personal as well as a band)? And in which way did they change from recording your debut album up until now?
MIKE: Hello Gerd! The only thing we wanted then and still want know is to play the music we like. Nothing really changed since our first album. Our goal right now is to be able to play as much as possible in order to support ‘’Cosmic Enigma’’..
JIM: Cerebrum is more than a band for us. It’s a way of life , it’s a part of ourselves. We ‘ve been through a lot this 11 years we are together me and Mike . People most of the times can’t understand how it is to have a band and all this effort besides music you have to make to reach your expectations. And we have high expectations for our music. Our goal is to share our vision, effort and energy with those who understand.
2) The cerebrum is a part of the human forebrain. It controls brain functions like language and communication
plus learning and memory. So a band that named itself after this could only be playing some form of technical metal
haha. I hear several influences in your songs ranging from Death, Atheist, Cynic, Gorguts with even some hints
of technical thrash. And you guys will probably also -just like yours truly- appreciate 70’s prog rock acts like
King Crimson and Rush, am I correct? Did bands like these drive you to become a musician and play this
form of intelligent and complex music? Who’s the main song composer within the band or is it a group process
of fine-tuning riffs, jams and ideas?
Mike: Haha ..yes the name implies that so it was a good choice..Old school technical death and thrash metal is what I like to listen too…Nocturnus Demilich,Toxik ,Watchtower,Deathrow…and many more obscure bands…
Not only you are correct ,but 70s prog rock and jazz fusion is at least as important to me as technical thrash and death metal…There are so many great bands and albums from that era..Just an endless source of great music!!
I cant really tell what drive us to play this kind of music..But surely they played their role.. haha
In the first album Jim wrote two songs I did 6 and we co-wrote 3…
In cosmic enigma I wrote ten and Jim the remaining two…So writing for Cerebrum is not a group process…
JIM: You are absolutely right about the genres you mentioned and you are the only one so far that gets the prog rock element . Congrats about that and thank you cause it means that you paid attention to our music! I think it’s a mix of influences our brain makes and adjust it to our composing style and play. We had a distance problem the last 3-4 years with Mike and we couldn’t work together so this album was more individual work than a team work. We trust each other and I don’t have to check every level of Mike’s compositions neither he does to me cause we know that the result is gonna be what we want.. But I think for the next album we will work some songs together for sure cause two twisted minds composing together is better than one… haha
3) For people who have been following you guys it’s known that you had some serious problems concerning your
line-up which caused that the band couldn’t perform live. Drum god George Kolias played in the drums for both
your albums, and after a long search he was live replaced by a certain Jakub Chmura from Sceptic.
You mailed me that you’ve finally managed to find a competent live line-up.
Please fill us in some more about the story behind all of this.
JIM: It was a pain in the ass trying to replace George. It was also devastating to be a studio band, it wasn’t what we started for.. We wanted to perform live so after long search and talks with lots of drummers (we talked even with Marco Minnemman , Hannes Grossman and many others ) we found Kuba whom we could afford his budget. Now this is over , we have a Greek drummer, he’s name is Defkalion Dimos and he’s 20 years old! I know it’s gonna sound big but I think he is the next George if he continuous to work like this .. He’s definitely got the talent.. Also we got a new singer Kostas Mexis also Greek and talented as well. You ‘ll be surprised .. haha
MIKE: George cant follow us on tour because of his schedule.. He is like a ‘’studio’’ member. Thats why we had to find Kuba with whom we went on tour and played some shows and fests.. Right know our line-up is complete ,we are rehearsing and soon we ll be ready to start playing live
4) The name has fallen, George Kolias. Already a legend in the scene,and well deserved.
His drumming must have been a blessing and a curse for Cerebrum because not everyone can play his parts
so finding a replacement is a bitch and secondly… don’t you guys sometimes get tired that everyone
markets your album as a band featuring George Kolias on drums? Because, except for the obvious high standard of
drumming (many bands can only dream about this), it’s just a part of the total package.
The quality of the songwriting and the riffs are just as important, if not more. How do you stand on this?
MIKE: Well it s very difficult I agree ,but that s over. It might have delayed us but now that’s not a problem anymore.. As for marketing , people can say whatever they want.. I ve read reviews for our music referring to bands I don’t like or don’t listen too ….The thing is that we have the option to have George on drums,who by the way really likes our music , so our choice is easy, because we want the best for our music..
JIM: First of all is about music. He’s is the right person for the job . His Technique , experience and musicality gives us what we need . In my opinion when you have an album ready and you have the option of George, you don’t think who’s gonna perform live cause you want the best result for your music.. Second George have stated many times that he’s proud to play for us and have this musical freedom our music brings.. And third I agree with Mike, we are not jealous or something haha.. IF you stay on the surface knowing that George Kollias plays here you ‘ll pay attention only to the drums.. If you go deeper you ‘ll listen that the compositions making the drums playing like this so it’s much more important
5) I also noticed that vocalist Apollon Zygomalas is no longer part of the band? How come, and who’s
responsible for the vocals on the new album? If I’m not mistaken, he was also mainly responsible for the lyrics
and the cosmic link to them, no? How dit you tackle that problem?
Mike: Apollon went to Sweden to continue with his studies…Jim did the vocals for the album and as I told you we have a new singer for live shows..
Apollon wrote the lyrics on the first album yes,but I had the lyrics ready for the new album from the beginning ,so we had no problem with that..
JIM: When Apollo left we started to search for new singer. In the same time I began to make the vocal lines with Mikes lyrics, a kind of a pre production in order to ,when we find the singer ,he only had to do the recording. But we liked my voice and we discussed the option of me doing the vocals. It was a big challenge for me to do it cause I never did in the past besides some backing vocals on live shows.. I talked with friends other brutal vocalists and they gave me some hints and I started to work on it. In the end i am happy with the final result
6) Your debut album was recoreded in Slovenia and it sounded great in my opinion. I couldn’t find any info on the
internet where you recorded this time? Was George Bokos again responsible for the mix? How did the recording
process go? Are you happy with the end result? How do you compare the new songs to those on your debut album?
In my opinion the new stuff is slightly more technical, do you agree? Any cool or hilarious of-the-record stories,
they’re always fun to read
Mike: The new album was recorded in our studios, B-House. Evrything except from the drums. Mix and mastering was also done by me and Jim.. We are happy with the result although we would make some slight changes if we had the chance now,but that’s something that never ends I think.. The more you listen to something you did the more details you ll want to change…haha.. probably things nobody will ever hear…
Not just slightly more technical, believe me.. haha.. Its an album with more ‘’things’’ for the listener who wants to pay attention to it…On the other hand it might sound ‘’easier’’ than our first to a casual listener…
JIM: I believe the “easier” part is cause we worked the compositions to have a “easier” rhythm session structure without losing it’s technicality of course..
Also the vocals this time are there to fill up the song and not to take the leading part.. We want the music to have the first role.. We are both sound engineers (that s where we met actually at the s.e. school) and we had all the gear and the place to do it , it was an easy choice to make the production in our studio.. We put a deadline to ourselves for the recording , mix and mastering sessions. If we didn’t we could still mixing to find the best result haha..as Mike said this never ends ,always you ‘ll listen to something you ‘ll want to change.. hahaha. The funny is that because we had a deadline we had two days each to record our parts .It was like 14-15 hours sessions. So went to a supermarket and bought energy bars and vitamins to keep our energy up for the recording . It was my turn and it was Sunday we run out from energy bars and every shop was closed… So I had to eat a fucking mix of honey and coffee so bitter and sweet the same time to gain energy.. disgusting.. hahaha
7) The cover from your debut album was stunning, did you guys work again with Polish artist Xaay?
What does the cover represent and is it tied to the lyrical theme of the album?
Mike: Glad you liked it.. Yes Xaay did the artwork for ‘’Cosmic Enigma’’ too..
I just had this circle with the symbols that’s on the back of the booklet and on cd that I made some time ago and send it to Michal along with some ideas with what we would like the cover to look like ..
JIM: It’s always good to work with Xaay! He always bring our thoughts to the right direction ..The artwork and the title of the album has to do with the design Mike did years ago, It’s the design inside the cd, the orb with the enigma . All around this orb there are symbols and numbers forming a word. The cover is, lets say the birthplace of the orb.. As for the lyrics they are more abstract so the listener can interpret them as he wants. The lyrical theme is about human , development, dreams and many others. The artwork and lyrics is a piece of the album and they have something to tell you . It’s an ensemble along with music that you have to go deep to find it’s secret passages..
8)Your debut was released by the Czech label Lacerated Enemy Records run by Zdenek. It’s a good wellknown but small
label, your new Cosmic Enigma album will be released through Japanese label Amputated Vein Records.
Again a relatively small label, why did you decide to switch to them? Were there more labels interested because
I can imagine that you want your album to be distributed and promoted to the utmost possible worldwide?
In my humble opinion your music deserves this, I’m honestly very impressed with both your albums.
MIKE: Thank you for your nice words man.. Of course we want the best for the album !Our contract with Zdenek just ended and at the time he was more with his music and bands that his label…Yes we talked with several labels but Amputated Vein gave us the best deal.. And most important everything was clear from the beginning..
JIM: Unfortunately The big labels doesn’t care about music anymore .Except from some very few examples in order to sign in a big label you must have a dick hanging from your face or something like that, to pay attention to you, or a very good manager.. They say our genre is not commercial! Haha. But who defines commercial … I think the labels through their marketing. Am I wrong? If a big label says that Cerebrum is an awesome outstanding bla bla bla.. band everyone will listen to them cause the label said it…haha..
That’s it.. no more or less.. We are happy to be at AVR cause the guy respected us and he did it with the terms of the contract.. He didn’t tried to take all the rights from us and we respect him back for that.. Believe me he’s got a HUGE distribution.. The only think he doesn’t have in the level we want is promotion.. But we are very happy to be in AVR’s roster
9) To sum things up, what are the near future plans for Cerebrum? Any famous last words for your fans over here?
MIKE: Trying to play as much as possible wherever possible!! Hope you guys like the new album and hope to see you and play for you all in the near future!
JIM: Thanks for the support! Get ready.. “psychedelic massacre awaits”