Zach Dean of Messora Speaks With Metal Saves!
Continuing our series of interviews, we caught up with Zach Dean from Montreal's death metal upstarts, Messora. Zach catches us up with all things Messora, their debut album, The Door, and an insight into how their music comes together to form their unique sound.
MS - We’ll get the big question out of the way first, a question we have asked many bands recently, how, if at all, has the global pandemic impacted your ability to promote your music? Is Canada’s situation looking likely to improve soon?
Z: Obviously a few of our live dates and festivals got canceled. We’re not looking to book anything for the future right now because I really don’t know what everything is going to be like in the coming months. The isolation and free time at home is allowing us to develop new material and reinvent the sound of the band and re-evaluate how we want to present ourselves. I’m very happy with how it’s going at the moment honestly. As far as Canada’s situation I have no idea, I’m trying to not get attached to any hopes or predictions about the future.
MS - With that covered, let’s talk about your music! How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?
Z: We’ve often been described as something of a cross between Opeth and Lamb of God. There is certainly a lot of influence from both of those bands on The Door. I think it’s just easy to say that it’s Progressive Death Metal that’s more concerned with being tight and captivating than overtly proggy.
The Canadian metal scene is amazing and I feel that it’s a gift to be able to be a part of it.
MS - You began life as a solo project back in 2016? How has the project evolved over the years and is this the final form?
Z: The original idea of Messora, before the name Messora existed, was just to record a demo for The Door to see how this kind of prog/groove would sound, and after asking Ben Bertrand to play bass on the recording we both agreed to develop this into a proper band and play shows. It has however stayed a “solo” project of mine in that I write all of the music and lyrics and take care of organizing and promoting everything related to Messora.
MS - A lot has been said about the presentation of your live shows, what can people expect to see on stage once you can return to performing?
Z: People can expect me to see me wearing a whole new outfit and different makeup. We’ll have our lights be synched up to the music and change based on what part of a song we’re at. Having the static red lights is already super cool, but to have some strobes and flashes at the same time as major punches and chaotic parts will really help to create an immersive experience.
MS - What’s the Canadian metal scene like, under normal circumstances?
Z: The Canadian metal scene is amazing and I feel that it’s a gift to be able to be a part of it. Especially in key cities, like Montréal, there is always a cool show to go to and interesting people to meet there. Everyone is nice and supportive of each others’ bands and projects and everyone helps each other grow. There is also a great audience in Montréal, people who are genuinely passionate about discovering and supporting local music.
The Door had been in the works for quite some time and I felt the pressure building for so long
MS - Can you talk us through an average day of creating and writing music for Messora?
Z: The average day of writing music consists of coming up with plenty of riffs, variations of riffs and vocal lines that get thrown out. Often whole songs either need to be abandoned or totally rewritten. The special day is the day where I can’t get something out of my head or stop playing it, and everything else seems to materialize out of this special idea and I’ve got the skeleton of a song before I even know it. After that there is a lot adding on to the skeleton, embellishing it, coming up with alternative parts, which all too often occurs on one of those average days where things get thrown out. Rinse, repeat, after many different variations and iterations I end up with a song that I think is special and unique. After enough of those, and maybe a bit of culling, I start to have an idea of what the album will be like.
MS - What was the initial feeling when you finally released The Door out into the world?
Z: It felt amazing. The Door had been in the works for quite some time and I felt the pressure building for so long, so to release the album and relieve the pressure was very important and necessary. Seeing the overwhelmingly positive reaction was
also a huge bonus as well.
I’m also very focused on the next album right now as well as developing the band image and live show
MS - We understand a great deal of emotion and passion went into the recording of The Door, can you discuss the writing and recording process? What did you draw from and what influenced you at the time?
Z: As I mentioned before, the writing process is a solo endeavor and usually takes quite some time to develop the best version of every idea. Some of the big musical influences on the album were Opeth, Lamb of God, Slayer, Children of Bodom, Meshuggah, Gojira, Whitechapel, and Pink Floyd. The main influence on the concept of the album was the depressive state that I was in for a while and the fact that I wasn’t dealing with it the right way. Psychedelic bad trips also played a part in the concept as well. The recording took place one weekend in February 2019 for the drums, and then from April to July to record and mix the rest. All of the recordings went fairly quickly with very few problems. We worked with Jonathan Leduc from Silver Wing Studios, and I highly recommend working with him and I plan on doing so in the future.
MS - What’s next for Messora?
Z: We’re in the process of recording some standalone singles right now, hopefully, to release in the fall. I’m also very focused on the next album right now as well as developing the band image and live show to come out swinging when shows and touring will be possible again.
MS - Where can people find out more about you?
Z: I did a video interview with Thrasher’s Paradise which can be found on Youtube, another video interview in French with Loud TV which is on their Facebook page, and I was interviewed on episode 22 of the Metallic Podcast which can be found on Spotify. They were all fun to do and I’m sure that people who’d like to learn more will enjoy them!
We'd like to extend our thanks to Zach for taking the time to speak with us. You can find the new Messora album, mentioned here on the bands Bandcamp, once you've got your copy, why not give them a follow on Facebook?