Dismantled is Gary Zon, a Russian American who started playing music only recently and ended up signed to Metropolis. His new debut record is coming out tomorrow, June 4th, in the US and June 17th in Europe. I was introduced to Dismantled by TG Mondalf of RhythmUS and after listening to a couple of mp3’s and to his record (reviewed in our reviews section) I’ve decided to interview him, so here is the result of our little interfacing…
Chain D.L.K.: So, how does an Oregon solo musician end up on Metropolis, with remixes of :Wumpscut: and Madonna?
Gary Zon: You tell me. I think it has to do with dedication, talent, and obviously a lot of luck. As for the fact that I’m from Oregon, the most unlikely place for an industrial musician, I believe that the boredom here and my dislike for the whole mellow liberal/”save the trees” attitude that most people have here attributed to me doing industrial music just to get as far away from that as possible.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re originally from Russia… When and why did you move to the US? What do you carry in you of Russia and what’s your relation to the two countries?
Gary Zon: I moved to the US about ten years ago because my dad got a job here and it went from there. I respect both Russia and the US and find benefits and flaws in both of them and since the ideologies of the countries are quite different, I definitely keep an open mind when discussing them.
Chain D.L.K.: A number of bands and musicians strive to keep away from comparisons, instead you seem to be continuously mentioning Leeb’s FLA as your main source of inspiration… You are also very open in terms of mentioning other influences…
Gary Zon: Without FLA, I wouldn’t be making music right now because I never really planned on being a musician and the music is really what prompted me to experiment for myself and try to copy elements from other bands I listened to at the time (Hybrid, VNV Nation, Haujobb).
Chain D.L.K.: Do you feel that by mentioning all your influences out in the open you are somewhat giving it away and that some more mystery around
it couldn’t help? Or do you just have a where-credit-is-due attitude trying to help people understand what it is they are going to get before they get it?
Gary Zon: I don’t believe that I need to mystify the way I describe my music in order for people to get into it, I believe the music is quite strong and different enough to speak for itself. And since I usually first take notice if a new band sounds like the bands I listen to, I think it’s very appropriate to mention influences.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s your tactic when composing music?
Gary Zon: I don’t believe there’s any specific tactic I use when I compose music, sometimes it comes from ideas in my head, other times from lyrics, and yet many other times it just forms when I play around on the keyboard or program a bassline/loop in my sequencer.
Chain D.L.K.: Your toolbox includes Alesis Q7, Ensoniq DP4 and Electrix Warp Factory… are you at all touched by the new computer-music revolution (Reason, Acid or even the big hi-end brother Pro Tools) or do you use the computer just for basic sequencing and prefer to use outside non-PC/Mac generated sounds?
Gary Zon: 70% of what you hear in my music is computer-generated so you could say the information on my website is inaccurate because you only hear about 30% of that gear in the music (strings, synths, and vocals). I use the computer to build the main mix and sequence everything as well as sample certain sounds from my large sound library along with using plugins for FX so you could say I’m very much into the computer revolution of making music.
Chain D.L.K.: You also are a very hands-on do-it-yourself kind of person: you do it all (composing and programming the music, writing lyrics and singing, as well as running your website), what’s up with all of that?
Gary Zon: I feel most comfortable when I’m responsible for doing everything because then it comes out exactly how I like it instead of relying on someone else to do it. Besides, I’m quite good at what I do when it comes to computers so digital manipulation and coding has never been a problem for me.
Chain D.L.K.: My understanding is that you were introduced to electronic music at an early age but that you started playing with synths yourself only recently… What were you doing before? Were you at all involved in music? What do you do now besides music?
Gary Zon: Right now I attend the University but I’m not too fond of it and don’t find anything that could possibly interest me as much as a career in music so we will see what happens. As I said before, I never planned on being a musician so before Dismantled I was mostly just listening to other groups and never gave being a musician much thought.
Chain D.L.K.: Your first Dismantled release was a track on a Dependent records sampler “Septic II”. How did you get on that sampler and how did you proceed from there on?
Gary Zon: To put it bluntly, I got lucky. A guy who worked for Stefan Herwig recommended me to him and told me to send him a demo. Then, Stefan became somewhat interested in the sound and that’s how I got on the Septic II compilation, much to my surprise. From then on, I told Metropolis about my appearance on the Septic II compilation and sent a demo and then it went from there.
Chain D.L.K.: You also took part to Dystopian records’ “Resist the Command 2”, which is supposed to be a compilation series containing strong political messages and calling for resistance and change. What was your contribution (politically speaking) and what is your general political/social attitude today? Are you a politically conscious/active person?
Gary Zon: Far from it, I don’t believe in politics at all and don’t feel that it could truly change society. I’m as far away from all that as you could possibly imagine. While my music does have a message, it is more of an observational one rather than a “change the world” kind of message. I was glad to take part in that compilation and believe that my song Survivor was a contribution from a more observational stance on the devastating impact of nuclear war rather than a politically motivated contribution.
Chain D.L.K.: Both your new album and your first single “Dystopia” feature a tribute to those who perished during the 9/11 attack. What is your take about the whole thing?
Gary Zon: For me it was a very apocalyptic event in the sense that I could have never imagined it to be that massive and horrific and it is the most devastating event I’ve ever witnessed in my life. That week, I just sat glued to the TV and eventually I had to express everything I felt about that event into a song which is what On Your Knees was. At first I didn’t want to put it on a single because it was something so personal but then I decided “the world needs to hear this.”
Chain D.L.K.: How do you think the problem could be solved and which steps in your opinion would be necessary?
Gary Zon: I don’t think I can answer that question because I’m certainly not in the position to come up with a solution. I think it’s a combination of many factors, including relations with other countries and not enough intelligence gathering beforehand but then again it would have been very difficult to foresee something as massive as this.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did you chose “Dystopia” as you first single?
Gary Zon: I feel that the track is very catchy and melodic while being very different from what’s out there today and that’s how the choice came about.
Chain D.L.K.: There is quite a hype about your new album as well as your young musical project. Can you comment on that?
Gary Zon: I’m very surprised by this because I don’t advertise it heavily anymore but yet it seems that people are picking up on it and spreading it around by word of mouth which is the best promotion you could possibly get. I’m very thankful that people care enough about the music to actually spread the word around and without that kind of support, I probably wouldn’t have come as far as I had right now.
Chain D.L.K.: What are you planning to do in the near future, after the official release dates (June 4th in the US and June 17th in Europe)?
Gary Zon: I am planning to rehearse extensively with my live band for some possible gigs in the future as well as do a couple of remixes.
[interviewed by Marc Urselli]