US Metal veterans Jag Panzer do have a new longplayer right in the starting blocks. "The Deviant Chord" will be released end of September and is another highlight in the band's rich history of milestones. Markus' Heavy Music Blog had the chance to get some more details about the new longplayer.
Markus' Heavy Music Blog: First of all congratulation to another excellent Jag Panzer album. It’s great to have Jag Panzer back in metal, with “The Deviant Chord” being the first release after a six years period. How would you describe the new longplayer to fans?
Mark Biody: Thank you for the interview! It’s always good to talk to people. I would describe ‘The Deviant Chord’ as classic Jag Panzer with lots of variety. We do a few different styles of classic metal on the album and I hope that people will find it interesting.
MHMB: “The Deviant Chord” sounds refreshing and dynamic. It feels very much like a matter of heart more than just ‘another album’. How do you see this?
Mark: I tossed aside more songs on this album than I ever had. I probably threw away 70 songs or riffs that just didn’t connect with me. So for me, this album is very much from my heart. My band members as well put a lot of effort into ‘The Deviant Chord’. Many of them came up with multiple versions of parts for the songs. We all worked very hard on this album.
MHMB: In general, the new album is, with songs like “Black List”, in my opinion more spot-on while “The Scourge of the Light” was more complex. How do you see this?
Mark: I like to vary my songwriter in complexity all the time. Sometimes I can really connect to complex music, while other times I want more straight ahead riffs. I think that ‘The Deviant Chord’ is a little ‘in your face’ with the songwriting than on ‘The Scourge of the Light’.
MHMB: When I heard “Salacious Behavior” for the first time I immediately had to think of Iron Maiden, esp. in the verse. Is this a coincidence?
Mark: I think I can hear that as well. Iron Maiden was a huge influence on my songwriting. They were my favorite band during my early years learning to write songs. Steve Harris is an amazing writer, he’s one of my biggest influences.
MHMB: The album means a comeback of Jag Panzer. Looking on the entire discography, how would you rank the album when it comes to importance?
Mark: It’s very difficult for me to attach ‘importance’ to an album. For me an album is a slice in time, a snapshot of the band at that moment. For me, this album is Jag Panzer 2017, it’s what we sound like right now. It’s how we feel musically.
MHMB: How did the songwriting process look like, also thinking about Joey Tafolla being part of this album after 20 years?
Mark: Joey is a world-class shredding guitarist, but he is also a master of melody lines. His playing really adds a lot to the music and not just in the guitar solos. We both have similar influences (Rainbow, Sabbath with Dio) so that really helps us make our guitar parts work together.
MHMB: You decided to release “Foggy Dew” as a lyric video, taken from the new album. Why did you guys decided to go for this song?
Mark: It was more of just me deciding instead of a band decision. Lol! That is a song I grew up with that my Father used to sing. It’s very special to me. I like our version of it too. Since I do the lyric videos it was my choice to pick it.
MHMB: You described your personal attachment to “Foggy Dew” since your father sang it often. Did this fact make it easier or more difficult to arrange a Jag Panzer version?
Mark: It was easier because I have had this arrangement in my head for many many years. I was probably 18 years old when I started hearing a metal arrangement for it. So actually it was one of the easier songs to record on the new album.
MHMB: Jag Panzer released excellent metal records on a constant base but never had a real breakthrough. Instead, the band can count on an extremely loyal fan base. Does this give you guys the freedom to write the authentic music you want to play instead of following advises and recommendations from others?
Mark: Yes, we just write what we want to write. I don’t follow trends in heavy metal and I don’t really care who is selling lots of albums and who is not. For me, songwriting and recording is about expressing my emotions and about the sound of the band at this moment. We don’t take advice from other people about how we should sound. We have our own sound.
MHMB: A new album will be released in different formats – from mp3 to vinyl. That brings me to the question what you prefer, not only when it comes to “The Deviant Chord” of course?
Mark: I prefer vinyl. I like the sound and I like the feel of it. But I know there are downsides to it as well – vinyl isn’t ‘portable’ you can’t play it in your car, I can’t go running listening to vinyl. I’m ok with mp3 for that, but my favorite is vinyl.
MHMB: Is there a chance that we can welcome Jag Panzer for some shows in Europe in the near future? Are there any plans at this stage?
Mark: We are planning some shows right now. Concert and tour planning is the one part of the band that I do not have any input. So I don’t know when or where we are playing, but I can tell you I am very excited to take these songs on tour!
MHMB: Is there anything more you want to mention to readers of Markus' Heavy Music Blog?
Mark: Thank you! Thank you to the fans for listening to our music and seeing us play live. THANKS!
MHMB: Mark, thanks a lot for spending some time with Markus’ Heavy Music Blog. I hope to see you and the band in Europe soon