Antihero has just been released, are you relieved or excited by its release?
Zardonic - BOTH! Excited because finally I get to say to the world what I wanted to say. This album is the most honest work I've done to date. I relied on my own voice as a "ghost vocalist", learned guitar engineering and got my perfect tone after months and months of trying, nailing the ideal balance in the mix, and the biggest challenge which was to make it sound like a Metal record at home and like a Dance record on a big rig. Ask any producers out there who do it and they'll tell you how much of a pain it is to mix Guitars together with huge subs. And when you get it done right, the satisfaction man. Fucking hell, I can't even begin to tell you. It's true what they say about the hard work behind all great things. I wanted this album to be a great thing. The fans deserve it man, all these years of support and faith, I can only give them my best. Same goes for Entertainment One who laid the foundations for this to get to the next level. I couldn't ask for a better team. They want revolution, and I'm giving them revolution!
So before we talk about the new album what’s this I hear about the NBC MMA appearances?
Zardonic - I have to thank James Jeda for that one. He's the CEO of Rocktagon Worldwide and connects artists with MMA TV events. They need the music, man. Original music that won't get anyone sued for playing it without permission, you know how it goes with all that bureaucratic bullshit. They want a very specific sound not many are catering either. We were on CBS for the Vendetta In Vegas Armfight show, NBC World Series Of Fighting 22 at the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino and NBC Universo for Combate Américas in Downtown Las Vegas. Half of Antihero has been picked by the fighters for Walkout songs. It's a level of exposure I could have never dreamed of, and I thank everyone involved for it.
You did a bit of work for Warlocks Vs Shadows, how did this come about?
Zardonic - During my shows in Poland, I was approached by developers One More Level about it. It's not news I'm a big time gamer and gamers love my music. It all fits. Always wanted to be a videogame character and do sound design for games, so I did all the voice acting and sounds for the character. Loved the experience!
And what is the in game story for your character?
Zardonic - I'm one of the Warlocks actually. Originally they wanted Zardonic to be a game boss, then we decided we would save that for some other time. I like it better this way. Zardonic is an ominous character because he is overwhelmed with anger, not because he wants to make innocent people suffer. He hates shadows. He sees everything that is wrong with the world in them. They can be anything you want them to be. Your worst enemy, your biggest fear. and Zardonic is there to beat the crap out of them and breathe life back into the player. The powers are amazing too! Just hold Y and you'll see what I mean.
Skrillex meets Slayer? How do you sum yourself up in a mixture of 2 artists, but you as a person and not your music?
Zardonic - Ryan Downey from MTV / AltPress came up with that one. I don't really think my music says Skrillex or Slayer in it, but it's an easy way to say it's Heavy EDM and Heavy Metal together. Works for mainstream purposes and those are two names I respect. As a person, I can't really be anyone but me, but I could say I do have my influences. I don't like to say I'm like anyone else because I believe comparing yourself to someone else is plain weak. You don't see Trent Reznor comparing himself to anybody, but Kanye West comparing himself to Leonardo DaVinci? I think you get the picture.
How did Skrillex help you?
Zardonic - He handpicked a track I did in collaboration with UK duo Bare Noize and released it as part of the OWSLA compilation Free Treats Vol. 2. Millions of downloads. Help? Half the fanbase I have now is thanks to that guy, which is funny because I hate half the music he does, and I know he's OK with that. That's what makes me respect an artist. Someone who no matter what, remains a cool guy, someone who wants to create relationships with fellow artists whether he likes something or not, for the sake of creativity and variety. Someone who is about making things happen. I can tell you a lot of artists whose music I love and I'd never work with them because they're major assholes. So in my book, Skrillex is a fucking legend.
Do you prefer to perform at a metal festival or a dance festival and why?
Zardonic - Dance Festival all the way. Something most people don't get is that no matter how metal it is, this is an Electronic Music act. You don't get The Prodigy to play Wacken. Not even Atari Teenage Riot, see what I mean? It makes no sense. Plus I like the energy in Dance Music Festivals more. People are there to DANCE. Metalheads look at you expecting something to happen and they don't understand what's going on, then they leave saying they just saw a guy pushing buttons. No shit, sherlock. You're just not doing your part. See, this is what's exciting about the nature of dance music. The whole crowd creates the vibe. They make the party, you're just there to provide them with music to dance to. The synergy is more tangible because you're not trying to please the crowd only, but the crowd is also trying to please you. On Metal shows, Metalheads are expecting the band to put on a hell of a show or else they leave. Which I guess would be the same for a shit DJ anyways, but you don't see ravers ranting about it. They're there to have a good time, and they have it regardless of what you do. So I get away with playing whatever I want to play. If it gives me energy and power, it will give so to them. If not, fuck them. Wrong crowd and there's always the next show.
There are a few different styles that mould together wonderfully on Antihero, but how did you manage to combine everything in a way with World At War? It sets the stage for the rest of the album perfectly.
Zardonic - Thank you! I'm glad you said that. Nobody asked me about the album intro yet, and it's basically a compendium of everything the album is about. The nature of War. War between nations. War in our heads. Being on either side, becoming the freedom fighter, the terrorist, the hero, the villain, the blue and the red, the black and the white, the jew and the muslim, and then trying to desperately escape that, only to realize that no matter how many peaceful leaders and idols we've had, political heroes and what have you, war and violence is deeply sewn in our hearts. I always speak about how great Europe is and how much peace you have there, because they've had enough of war. Then again, war is what led them to become who they are now. And there you have that yin-yang effect again. By trying to escape it and becoming the anti yin-yang, you end up being part of it. Remember the lyrics of the song "Against" by Sepultura? The more I see, the more I hate. The less I'm in, I'm never out. We can't escape reality. So while the mainstream is playing all this happy music that keeps people like zombies, I play the music that wakes them up. I was just talking to a Serbian lady I met on my way back to the airport in Las Vegas today about it. Fascinating conversation about European music. We agreed that dark music kept us conscious yet relaxed somehow, and she said happy music made her nervous. Since we can't escape the pattern again there you have it, heavy versus mellow, so I've decided it's healthier for me to choose a side. Doesn't take a genius to figure out which side I chose.
On Antihero the feel and sound is much more full band, how have you created this?
Zardonic - That's something I've always looked for. I guess I did have it in the past but took it to the next level on this one. I always wanted to add that rush you get when you see your favorite live band, you know? Combine that with the energy of a Dance Music show and you have people overhyped. Check out the Beats For Love video on my YouTube channel and you'll see what I was going for. That combination man, the huge guitars, coming on stage, hearing people cheering and then hitting them with the hardest I've got. It blows the fans away. I literally feel I'm more of a One Man Band when performing. Always had that, including with my first project Gorepriest.
Whatever happened to Gorepriest?
Zardonic - Well... it's done. I loved what I did, then moved on to different things. I tried to evolve that project specifically into something else too, and called it Sol Nocturno. Released one album for free. It was the music I did for myself and didn't care if people would like it or not. Zardonic takes all the attention and leaves no time for the rest. He is overwhelming and set to take the world by storm so he won't leave room for anything that would hold him back.
How did you go from Gorepriest to Zardonic musically? As Zardonic you are more electronic based musically but you still have that lovely metal sound too.
Zardonic - You know there's more in common between those two projects people would imagine. Gorepriest originally was what happened because as a kid I couldn't afford a guitar or a metal band. I was in school, but nothing stopped me from trying to make "synthesized metal". And that's pretty much what Zardonic is. It just made more sense to me to become a DJ to be able to perform solo instead of playing the fucking keyboard on my own for a crowd full of people trying to understand what the fuck is going on. I remember the first Gorepriest gig man. It was 2003, I was 17. They wouldn't even let me in at the bar where I was performing and literally got there, played and got out. The minute I played my first track, we had a power shortage, and I screamed "WHAT THE FUCK??", then every single person that was in the place who were sitting at the bar waiting for the main act to show up, walked all the way to the front with a O_O face on them. They remained like that during the entire show and still after it a lot of them would talk to me like "Dude... This is... I don't understand. The music is amazing! What, how?". We're talking Venezuela here. Not exactly the country where Depeche Mode was born. That'd be like bringing Venezuelan music to Myanmar. It screwed with their heads. And I loved it because there I understood how much the world needed this innovation. So I took that with me to Zardonic. That's what I love the most about this project. It fills a gap nothing else is filling. That's how you start breaking a scene, and I'll break it or die trying.
Having listened to Antihero I personally would consider it your finest work so far, its a melting pot of different sounds and styles. With Antihero you truly show your talent and musical prowess. In what way would you consider Antihero your finest work so far?
Zardonic - Absolutely agreed. I am glad you enjoyed this record as much as I enjoyed creating it.
At what point were you signed to eOne?
Zardonic - They contacted me around December 2013, and by July 2014 I was signing a contract, then used the advance royalties to build my studio and produce Antihero.
OK a little fun, what is your favourite part of a woman?
Zardonic - Her mouth and teeth. All a woman needs is to smile.
Describe your perfect woman, but in a film title?
Zardonic - No such thing. I despise romantic movies. They're pure cheese and they don't relate at all to reality. In real life, what you want is to have fun, get laid as much as you can. It's a healthy thing to do, really. I don't even understand how or why we even got to the point where Sex became a taboo when it's something everyone should be doing for their own good health. You know you can literally get sick from not having sex? Seriously man. When you find someone you like, if she likes you back, take her to bed. That's how Venezuelans roll. When we like each other we fuck on the first date, and if things keep rolling, you found yourself a loyal girlfriend. Then you settle down because she gives you the things none of the previous girls gave you: peace, stability, support, care. Someone who cares, you know? Not somebody with a sense of entitlement that is too hot to cook you a meal.
Have you ever considered marriage, children, mortgage, car, etc?
Zardonic - Absolutely. I want to do it when the time is right. Still a lot of touring to do and I want to be there for my wife and children when the time comes.
Thank you so much for giving Vampire Freaks this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Zardonic - Yeah! I'd like to thank you back! I fucking love your community. It's a shame I never had the time to keep my VF profile up to date, but I think I'll have to now!
Check Zardonic out on