A new album and they enter a new era, a new terra. We are talking about Project Renegade, who are now releasing their new, sophomore album, “Ultra Terra”, and shake the foundations of the modern metal scene. Marianna, singer and co-founder of Project Renegade, talked with us and right below, you can read all the interesting things that were discussed.
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
“Ultra Terra” is your new, sophomore album. How are you feeling now, that this new album is released? Which are your expectations from it? What the fans should expect from this new Project Renegade release?
Good question…Well we definitely feel like this big weight has been lifted off of our shoulders, it’s a record that we’ve been holding on to for the better part of 3 years, so it’s safe to say that we are very happy that it’s out in the ether nowadays. As far as expectations go, we’ve seen the crazy status of the music industry, so for now, we are hoping that people will like it and find themselves in it. We’ll wait for all the rest to play themselves out because you never know. Lastly, the fans can expect a new adventure into a modern day thematic like we usually do. In the end it will be up to them to make decisions and figure out what are the takeaways from that record. Also, I think we’ve always took what we did before and put it on steroids…That is no different this time around we did the exact same thing we saw where we let things off with Order of the Minus and we said “Ok put that sucker up to eleven and see where it takes us”…It was a wild ride for sure!
This new album is released by Pavement Entertainment. How did the deal with this big label come up?
I think the usual way that these things go nowadays. We pitched our new album to them, they liked it and we started discussing. It is a step forward for us and we are really happy to be working with an American label. They are really cool and down to earth people too!
How much different is “Ultra Terra” from your debut, “Order of The Minus”? What do Project Renegade keep form the past and do you leave behind with the past?
We are ready to leave things in the past and change up a bit now (we are also a way different band even now than the one in Ultra Terra). But we felt that we had unfinished business with Order of the Minus. There were demons we didn’t exorcise and things that we felt were left unsaid. This time around we were more confident in our abilities and in our aesthetics, we believed in our musicianship more and we were fearless. Hence why we decided to inject this record with a big dose of extra on everything. Both are records we are proud of but Ultra Terra was what it had to be done in order for us to maintain a natural evolution.
How would you define your music style? I think it’s a kind of modern metal with lots of melodies and riffs, in the vein of Slipknot and Lacuna Coil. Do you agree with me and why?
Man, I hate boxes, labels, categories genres etc. Sure these are bands we love and listen to their records but we don’t pigeonhole ourselves into doing what these bands do… Let’s say Project Renegade sounds like Project Renegade, I think that about covers it up!
You have also many electronic/industrial elements. How much important are these elements for your sound?
Oh, they are pretty much everything, the synth world is literally a wormhole…Once you get into it you can’t get out. Creating interesting soundscapes and sound designs then running them through analog pedals and stomp boxes, changing them up and mangling their sounds is probably where we spend most of our time during pre-production.
If you should describe Project Renegade with five adjectives, which ones would you choose and why?
Hard working – Because we do everything ourselves
Forward thinking – because we strive to push our boundaries and not dwell on the past
Relentless – Because we go through hardships every single day (no joke) and we never give up
Funny – You don’t get to see that aspect but it’s there and has helped us out a lot
Sexy - ...’Cause we are funny (ha! See what I did there?)
Who is responsible for the songwriting (music and lyrics) in Project Renegade?
Lyrics are written by myself. In the music compartment that depends on the song. Most of the music is written by Ody (drums, guitars, bass, synths), but our previous guitarist Nick contributed guitar parts and our new single “Token” was written in guitars, bass and part of the synths by our new guitarist Philipp. I write all of my vocal lines and also write synths and the orchestral parts. All members are good musicians and songwriters and everyone pretty much dabbles in everything so there is not one standard procedure.
Where do your lyrics refer to?
They refer to all sorts of things, most of the time the come from personal experiences and stuff that I have to get out of my system, other times I am coming from a more socio-political place where I am trying to express the state of the world and how we need to unite as people to change it for the better because no one will do it for us…It really depends on the stimuli that I intake at a very specific moment.
Why did you name the new album “Ultra Terra”?
Ultra Terra signifies the final destination that mankind strives to reach through technological advancements and scientific achievements. Now the goal that we are trying to reach – that ultimate earth – seems to be perfect in theory, but in reality, so far it only brought us hunger, war, disease and general decline, so are we really building towards that Ultra Terra or are we building towards our demise…That’s pretty much the whole mission statement and since the general idea revolves around that ultimate earth, Ultra Terra seemed to be appropriate. Either that or someone suggested it and we thought it sounded cool…choose your poison! Hahaha!
In which studio and when was the new album recorded? Who was the producer?
We recorded the drums in Soundflakes studios, a studio in Athens Greece because it’s the only studio that can handle Ody’s drum madness when it comes to recording drums (Dude puts so many mics on the kit… it was ridiculous but sounded awesome) plus the guys that own the studio Nick and George are great guys, shout out to them. The rest was recorded in our own studio and everything was produced by us.
Who did the mixing and the mastering of the new album? Describe the mixing/mastering process, please!
As always mixing and mastering was handled by our sound wizard, our beloved colleague and friend Forrester Savell. Forrester is an absolute gem and one of the best producers in the world. The way we mix is as such. He will get a basic mix down by himself and then we’ll meet online and start hunting down the perfect mix, sometimes we have only a couple of notes and sometimes we’ll be at it for a couple of days, but what matters most is that Forrester is a downright genius and a true professional. So easy going, willing to work until everything feels right and he makes mixing a fun and rewarding experience, we are really blessed to work with him. This time we had a very synth heavy record and the number of tracks per song was way more than what we have ever done before, so we were trying to fit everything in there without overwhelming the mix and hurting the music. It was a labor of love.
Project Renegade was formed by Marianna and Ody. What do you remember from the very first days of the band? How much different are things now?
The first days were really tough. Struggling to find the right musicians, having no idea about several technical aspects of the recording process, small live shows. It was very innocent in a way and maybe at some level more carefree. But definitely wouldn’t want to go back then!
Ody wears always a mask. Why is that?
Depends on what day you’ll ask him, sometimes he’ll give you a 2-hour answer and you’ll have a great conversation, other times he’ll say, “Because I like it” or “Because it’s cool” …I think in the end it appeals to his aesthetic and to his psychology.
How do you make decisions in Project Renegade? Is it only Marianna and Ody or do you decide democratically?
It depends. Sometimes decisions are made collectively and sometimes someone needs to spearhead some things. But everyone is respectful of each other and we always hear each other’s opinions.
You have played lots of live shows! Describe Project Renegade on stage, for the ones, who haven’t seen you live, until now!
I say we give our all and we strive each time to make that special connection with the audience. We want to make them feel and experience something unique so we are going all in, headbanging and jumping all around. We want the audience to be part of our shows so most of the times you will see mosh pits and walls of death. There is definitely energy in our shows and an honest performance.
Which are your concert plans, in support of “Ultra Terra”?
Now we have a big festival coming up in Switzerland. It’s our first time there and we are really excited to visit a new country. After that we will have some winter shows coming up but they are not announced yet. We are thinking about having a release party in Athens in late autumn also, but we want to organize it well so that it is a special show for our fans.
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