Ron Jarzombek interview with Mickael Cochet

1. When will the new Spastic Ink CD be released?

We're now probably looking at a very early 2000 release date. Things got thrown back even farther because we had another lineup change. At first I was going to just use drum programming, but I got too much email in favor of a real human drummer, so I ditched the computer drummer idea. Trying to find musicians to play this material has been a bit rough. If we would have went ahead with the drum programming, we'd probably be talking about a late '99 release as was scheduled. Also, it's taking a while because I'm writing everything, music, lyrics and now videos, totally on my own.

2. What will be the differences between "Ink Complete" and the upcoming "Ink Compatible?"

"Ink Complete" is more of a experimental, anything goes, musical adventure. "Ink Compatible" is more aggressive and heavier, and the "songs" are more structured, since there will be vocals. The music is still very wild and spastic, and the whole CD as a concept is more intertwined. "Ink Compatible" is totally based on computers (internet, nerds, memory, bits, viruses), while "Ink Complete" isn't really based on a concept, it's just tons of musical ideas.

3. Are you going to play on the second Gordian Knot?

Not sure about that. Sean's (Malone) got a few guitarists in mind for the next CD, and I don't know if I'll be there. He did ask me to do some playing on a new demo song that he's working on, but that doesn't mean that it'll happen for the actual CD. Sean's a very diverse writer/player and he's probably got too many guitarists already lined up. One guy that I think would be awesome is Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah. Of course he does the real heavy shit, but his spacey Holdsworth tonality would work very well with Knot. His solo CD "Sol Niger Within" is just brilliant.

4. You seem to be friends with Sean Malone and Sean Reinert. How did you met them?

The internet. I just got an email one day from Sean Malone out of nowhere. I've never asked how he got the address. He probably just came across the Ink web page or something. He asked me if I would play a few solos on his next solo CD, and I asked him to play a few tunes on the next Ink CD, and we just clicked from there. I was still looking for another bassist and drummer at the time, and an email buddy of mine Michael Joffe in Holland suggested that I check out some of Steve DiGiorgio and Sean Reinert's work. I then picked up a few Death CDs and checked into it. I had also known of Sean Reinert's playing from his work with Sean Malone.

5. What are the differences between Steve DiGiorgio and Sean Malone.

From what I've heard from both of them, I would say Steve is more aggressive and hard edged, while Sean is more of a theoretical genius. Malone probably grew up listening to jazz standards, Jaco Pastorias and Jeff Berlin, and made straight As in school, while Steve was tokin' it up, headbanging and listening to some Maiden and Sabbath. I think all of us grew up with progressive rock, but there are differences. I'm very fortunate to have both of them helping me out. There are two songs on "Ink Compatible" that will have both of them playing bass.

6. So who is going to play drums on "Ink Compatible"?

Originally, Sean Reinert and Richard Christy were both going to play drums, but we had a studio setup in Oakland that was too good to pass up, so we booked the sessions and Reinert was going to record everything. Steve and Sean are both in California so everything was working out. I had CD-Rs and sheet music mailed out to everyone, and everyone's schedule was perfect. But sure enough, a few weeks before we were going to start, Reinert had a radical change in his schedule, and didn't have the time to rehearse or record, so the sessions were cancelled. I then thought of asking Bobby if he wanted to get involved, and so far, that's where we're at. Richard Christy is still there, but it might be more sensible if Bobby and I just work things out here.

7. Why didn't Bobby just continue with Spastic Ink after "Ink Complete"?

Actually, after "Ink Complete" was released, I wasn't even in the band/project. It had been almost two years since we had done the recordings. By the time we found someone to release the CD, everybody was doing different things. Bobby and Pete were recording and touring with Riot, and gigging around locally. I was teaching, and getting into computers taking programming courses, and composing orchestrated pieces totally on computer. When I saw the response from "Ink Complete", mostly magazine interviews/reviews and email, I began thinking of doing another one. Bobby was somewhat into it, but hesitant. I guess he just remembered all the time and effort involved in writing and recording a full CD when you have so much other things happening. There are a lot of times when I'm up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, sitting at my computer editing music files or working out parts on guitar, wondering what the hell I'm doing this for. Chances are that when "Ink Compatible" is finally done and recorded, we'll break even, maybe make a bit of a profit, or it might lead into something else. I figure I'm still doing it because I'm really stupid or it's something that I really believe in.

8. Steve DiGiorgio, Sean Reinert and Richard Christy all have played in DEATH, Reinert and Malone were in CYNIC. Do you like these bands?

Cynic was doing something really progressive and original. It was very obvious the guys were top notch musicians. Paul Masvidal, the guitarist for Cynic, also played on Death's "Human" CD. Death has had quite a few musicians in the band during the past several years. Chuck seems to round up a new set of players for every release. He's had some serious musicians working with him. I'm not a big fan of all the low barking vocals, but I can really appreciate the band's music. I think Chuck even has grown tired of the barking vocals. His new band Control Denied, has a melodic vocalist. Steve (DiGiorgio) just finished recording with them. He also playing on the latest Testament CD, and is now touring with them. I don't know how Steve finds any time for this Ink project. The guy is very motivated.

9. Like Cynic, WatchTower split early. How can you explain it?

Both bands have totally different reasons for splitting up. WatchTower couldn't find a vocalist after Alan left, I had severe hand problems, and overall there was a lack of drive and motivation. I think Cynic just had "musical differences". It is a shame that both bands split up so early, because we were doing something unique, but have very little to show in terms of releases.

10. So has there been any news concerning WatchTower?

Yeah, we just finished recording "Run If You Can" for the upcoming Accept tribute CD. It's being released by Nuclear Blast sometime in August. Jason McMaster, from WatchTower's "Energetic Disassembly", is on vocals. If all goes as planned, he'll also do all the vocals on "Ink Compatible". WatchTower might also do a song for the Scorpions tribute, but that's up in the air right now.

11. What are your new and currents projects?

Well, right now I'm writing videos that will appear on "Ink Compatible" as .avi files. You'll be able to put the CD in a CD-ROM and "watch" a Spastic Ink tune. I'm really getting into the multimedia side of things. I'm thinking that when we finally get "Ink Compatible" done, my next release will be an interactive CD. I don't know if it will be Spastic Ink or something that I do totally on my own.

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