– Hello, thank you so much for taking the time. First of all, how’s everything doing in the ATHEIST’s camp?

Hi Tania, everything is great!

– If I’m not mistaken you entered the band in 2006, how did everything start? Were you a fan of the band before joining them?

Yes, I was a fan of Atheist since I had the Unquestionable Presence cassette tape in 1991. In 2005 I became aware of Gnostic – Steve Flynns new band that just started – and they needed a guitar player at the same time, so I joined the band in Feb 2006. About one month later I got the email that Atheist had some shows lined up, and needed a guitar player…. And so I joined with Atheist as well….


– And, do you think this step will help you growing and developing as musician? Or has it done it so far?

of course! I had to immediately work on my lead style, to sound more like the Atheist style. Timing and nuances had to be fine-tuned to meet the style. It was a huge help!


– Though the band came back in 2006 you didn’t release a new album until last 2010; what were you guys up to during that time?

The Atheist reunión was supposed to be only for the 2006 tour….. by 2007 there were more tour offers, and we continued with another tour…. This was to be the last of the Atheist reunión tour… 2008 we did no touring… our other band Gnostic released the first álbum in 2009, Atheist released the live Wacken 2006 album, and BOTH bands went on world tour, together… that’s TWO SHOWS per night for me… yeah!


– The band split-up in 1994 and came back in 2006. Do you know what prompted the band leave and what made them return?

in 1992 Steve Flynn quit the band to go to college… much of this had to do with the passing of Roger Patterson… Kelly Shaefer did one more record as “Atheist” but with a totally different drummer and an additional guitar player. Kelly didnt play as much guitar, but Rand and Tony were still there. This lineup did some touring as well, and then broke up, I’m not sure why.


– And is this a definitive comeback? Do you plan releasing more albums or do you have any other projects in mind?

More projects, certainly! More Atheist albums?? There is some discussion about that, we will see what the future holds.


– Your first full-length album since such return is “Jupiter”, as well as your first full-length album with ATHEIST; how do you feel about it? What did, and still does, this record mean to you? I guess it may felt quite exciting..

It is always great to be in the studio…. I love recording… and it is an honor to record with a band like Atheist…. The álbum has lots of great parts, and it was fun to record…. It meant the most to me when it started showing up in reviews and people sent pictures of their new Jupiter CD… the connection with our friends, fans, etc is the most important part of it all!


– The album came out past 2010, anyway I would like to get a bit into it so, first off; how was its feedback?

We received tremendously positive reviews! Very few negative comments, mostly by people who were expecting a repeat of the old days. The majority of reviews found it to be refreshing and fun to listen to, that’s all I really wanted from this album.


– And did the fact of being the “come-back album” put some kind of pressure on you when creating it?

YESSSS!!!! You would not believe the pressure we received from everybody!


– I guess you’d have now opened to younger audiences; have you noticed this?

yes at the concerts there are more younger people than in the past! And buying the CD also… and on the fórums….


– How was the songwriting process for this effort? Is it a team work or do certian (or the original members) have the final saying?

We live in Atlanta, Shaefer lives in Tampa Florida – this is very far apart – and makes it challenging to write an álbum…. So… Everybody comes up with riffs, but we get together a few times to arrange them and form songs… it’s not the easiest way to do it but it’s the only way… the ability to send MP3 recordings back and forth makes it possible.


– Honestly, this record is awesome, it seems like ATHEIST haven’t aged at all but, what are your thoughts on this album compared to their earlier stuff?

Thank you Tania! My favorite Atheist álbum ever was Unquestionable Presence…. I didnt expect that we would turn out something exactly like it…. Nor did we try to do that…. But every Atheist álbum is different, and this one is no exception… very different and more modern production… yet with plenty of raw energy too.


– Your music has always been a huge blend of different influences (with several Jazz nuances) but, how could you describe your sound?

Tania, we really don’t have Jazz influences in our music…. People say that a lot of times, but it’s not there in the music… Most of this perception, is because of the wide range of different influences and styles within the Atheist music…. There was far more variety, technicality, and risky invention than with other metal bands…. Steve is a huge fan of Neil Pert from RUSH. His style is heavily influenced by Neil, and there are some good drum beats, fills, etc that you won’t find in other Death metal bands. Roger came up with some insane technical riffs, but it wasn’t jazz-oriented at all. I think all the guys liked Rush, Watchtower, and other ‘progressive’ types of rock and metal, that may be one of the more noticeable and consistent themes… however, “jazz-death” is not accurate. It’s just fun for everybody to call it that!


– I believe technical music has become a lot more popular during your hiatus; has this affected the band in a positive way?

Atheist was at the leading edge of technical metal, when it was not popular whatsoever….and the band broke up early 90s…. when we came back in 2006, we were astonished at all the technical bands out there, that claimed ATHEIST as their prime influence… and our comeback was in demand! “pleasantly surprised” would be one way to describe it.


– “Jupiter” was engineered and mixed by seasoned guys into this camp. Were you satisfied with the result?

In some ways, yes… we all have our opinions and preferences, of course…. To me, the álbum definitely has good instrument tones, good use of effects… I like the vocal treatment…. However, I would prefer a different mix that isn’t as bright and harsh, and I would like to hear a lot more bass…


– The cover artwork was also crafted by an artist who has worked with well-known bands. Could you please shed some light on this? How did you hook up with Eliran Kantor, the artwork’s meaning, who did you work on it…

He did an amazing job with it! I didnt have input… I was just shown the artwork, one day, and heard “this is our guy”… I am very satisfied!


– I have always thought of the things that make you guys stand out are your lyrics; what do they deal with in “Jupiter”?

oh my…. Many topics like religión, reincarnation, life’s lessons, and even some reinventions of well-known subjects. Shaefer does quite a nice job with the wording!


– And what does inspire you when it comes to write lyrics? Though I guess just life is a big influence for you…

thats really one for Shaefer…. He comes up with all his own lyrics…. And yes life experience is probably the biggest infuence.


– I’m specially curious about the lyrics for “Third Person”; what could you tell us about it?

My interpretation is that it discusses a multiple-personality scenario with somebody…. The subject seems carefully folded with the words, and there are some great lyrical references in there. But, it’s also up to each listener’s interpretation. What’s yours, Tania??


– Is there any kind of link between the lyrical content and the album’s name? If not, I would anyway like to know why such title for the record.

Jupiter is an amazing planet… the biggest, hottest, strangest one…. The lyrics from Second to Sun reflect on it, to some degree, that is perhaps the most evident connection.


– And finally, what are your near-future plans?

We have the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise coming up next month January 2012… after that??? Maybe we’ll surprise you?


– That’s all, thanks once more for your time. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Thank you Tania!


Tania Giménez

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