Jacob Zinn recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Romeo of North America’s progressive metal masterminds SYMPHONY X. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Jacob Zinn: SYMPHONY X is one of the more well-known neo-classical metal bands out there. When you founded the band in 1994, did you foresee the progression and evolution of the genre reaching its mainstream popularity today?
Romeo: You always kind of hope that more people will embrace what you do, but honestly, I never really thought too much about that. It was always just about doing what we like to do. That’s really all it was in the beginning, but it’s good to see where it’s at today.
Jacob Zinn: The new album, “Iconoclast”, has a theme of technology taking over the world. How did this idea come about as inspiration for the album?
Romeo: With every album we do, we try to find some kind of a theme or an idea, something to kind of guide the lyrics and the music a little bit without maybe telling a story or getting too complicated. One day, I was just in my studio hanging out, listening to some different music. I like a lot of film music — all the big orchestral, “Star Wars” stuff, “Lord Of The Rings” — the big epic stuff. I think it was “The Matrix” soundtrack I had playing and it kind of sparked the idea, “What if it was this man and machine and technology kind of thing?” And the next day or two, I just started banging out a couple ideas and some riffs. More textures within the music that kind of had that technology vibe or a sci-fi thing. That’s pretty much where it started.
Jacob Zinn: This album, as well as your previous two, was recorded at your home studio named The Dungeon. Where did the name come from and can you describe the atmosphere within it?
Romeo: Where the hell did that come from? It was probably my family, the wife and kids. “Where’s Dad?” “Oh, he’s down in his Dungeon.” I guess that kind of stuck. It’s in my basement and it’s a good atmosphere for us to work. I have some really good gear and the rooms sound good. We definitely do take our time with these records and it works well that we can have a place where we can just kind of hang out and experiment a little without freaking out about the time and losing money. There’s no real schedule, we’ll just go until we need to sleep.
Jacob Zinn: Recently, you’ve been playing a lot of new songs in your set lists. How have the crowds responded to your latest work?
Romeo: Really good. When the album came out, all the press that we saw was really positive, and like with every album, we really put a lot into it. There was just so much music that we had, it turned out to be a double record. A lot of times, the fans want to hear some older material or whatever, and we try to get some stuff in there, but usually that first tour right after the release of a new record, we just want to get the new stuff out there. Sometimes we’ll take it to an older song that some of the older fans that have been with us for a while, they love it, they go crazy.
Read the entire interview from Jacob Zinn.