Interview: Tainted Nation

mit Mark Cross vom 17. April 2013 via Mail
Und wieder macht eine Supergroup die Metal- und Hard Rock-Szene unsicher! Diesmal haben sich Pete Newdeck am Mikro, Ian Nash als Gitarrist, Bassist Pontus Egberg, Schlagzeuger Mark Cross und nach den Aufnahmen zum Debüt-Album F.E.A.R. zusätzlich der Gitarrist und Backgroundsänger Joel Peters - als egänzendes Mitglied - zusammen gefunden. Die Summe all dieser Einzelteile nennt sich in diesem Fall Tainted Nation.
Pontus Egberg dürfte Fans des haarigen Metals von der Band The Poodles bekannt sein, wo er den Bass bis zum Jahre 2008 zupfte. 2012 konnte er auch als Gast für Hammerfall auf der Wacken-Show gesehen werden - eines der letzten Konzerte vor der gerade durchgeführten Bandpause -, wo er den eigentlichen Bassisten der Band, Fredrik Larsson, vertrat. Gitarrist Ian Nash ist aktuell Mitglied der eher sporadisch aktiven Band Lionsheart. Auch für die seit 2006 wieder aktiven Grim Reaper schreddert er die Bratgitarre. Nash und Sänger Pete Newdeck waren mit Steve Grimmett auch schon vor Tainted Nation in einem gemeinsamen Projekt involviert.
Jedoch der bisher wohl am weitesten herum gekommene Muisker der Truppe, dürfte Drummer Mark Cross sein. Er hat unter anderem schon für Helloween, Firewind, Ian Gillan, Nightfall, Metalium, Kingdom Come und At Vance auf dem Drumhocker gesessen und die Sticks gequält. Und wie kann er nun sein reiches Wissen in die noch gar nicht so lange existierende Band einbringen? Wohin soll es bei der Truppe überhaupt stilistisch gehen und wieso sollte man sich die Debüt-Scheibe F.E.A.R. zulegen?
Diese und viele weitere spannende Fragen beantwortet uns Mark im unten stehenden Interview.
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

The Interview:

Michael: Hi Mark! Thanks for taking the time for this interview. How are you doing?
Mark Cross: Hi Michael, not bad, not bad! We are very excited about the release of our latest album, the positive reviews and the upcoming shows.
Michael: Can you please describe your role in the band?
Mark: I am the drummer for Tainted Nation. Some of you may know me for being in previous bands and for those who don’t, jump on my website and find out more about the band and me :-)
Michael: What's the reason you started with music and what makes it so special for you?
Mark: It’s hard to say, because every human being has a different approach to things. Some become musicians, others lawyers, others race cars or are just being lazy … I think it’s all a matter of how talented one is. In my case I started at a very early age and was blown away by all the seventies rock bands who made me wanna become a drummer. Being on the road seeing things, meeting people and being behind my drum kit has always been my thing and I am very greatful for that.
Michael: You have a new album out which is called "F.E.A.R.". What's the story behind it?
Mark: Bloody hard work and honestly we spent some time on thinking how the album should sound and what kind of artwork and storyboard we would like to present. When the name Tainted Nation appeared, it was easy to build up on that political involvement with the cover artwork, showing some oft he most famous monuments of countries and the rioting crowd below. It is time for a revolution and the world has had it with corrupt politicians, lying and money sacking bankers that have managed to suck out the last pennies out of our pockets. The name F.E.A.R. stands for Fight Enemies and Rulers. It was and idea I had a few years for a Firewind album, but was considered to provocative and ignored. Well, I guess it found a much more powerful stand with Tainted Nation.
Tainted Nation’s Music carries a modern punch with great riffs and hard hitting grooves and very interesting vocal lines. F.E.A.R. has been recently described as „Rock 2013“, which we are very happy with. You know creating something new is very hard nowadays, but we are happy that we have an identity.
Michael: You got a lot of quite good criticisms for "F.E.A.R.". What’s more useful for you: Praise or critics?
Mark: Every positive reaction is very much appreciated and gives us the power and will to create another album! :-) It means a lot to us and we are all very happy with the result and feedback of the album and definitely aim for more.
Michael: All of you guys played in a lot of other bands bands like Eden's Course, Firewind, Lionsheart or Helloween. So you must have a lot of practice, I guess? How do you do the songwriting after all these years? Any changes in the writing process?
Mark: There is a lot of experience in this band and having worked and toured with so many, we all know by now how things are done. The writing started with Pete Newdeck our singer, who is also a drummer and Ian Nash our Guitarist. Both of them started working on songs in 2010 and Pete showed me a bunch of ideas. I was blown away by his vocal abilities. I knew he was a gifted songwriter, but there was just something about his voice and I guess that was the beginning for Tainted Nation.
Michael: What do you think is the most difficult part of it?
Mark: I think to get everyone in one place when you have each band member living in different countries. It’s always a matter of money, the flying in and out, the advances you don’t get anymore from the labels or publishing companies and that makes the logistics quite difficult if you start a new band. We were fortunate enough to live in the same country apart from Pontus, but we wanted him badly enough. :-)
Michael: How do you know when you are finished? Today, one has so many possibilities to put more and more into a song and rework it over and over again until it's literally “produced to death”.
Mark: I guess we know the limits. Over produced albums are no good for everyone, simply because you will never be able to play it live and would probably need an extra keyboard player or tons of backing tracks. That is exactly what we didn’t want. Not that the production is weak, absolutely not, there are enough tracks of vocals, samples and sounds on the album that gives me a hand full using pads and an edrum with synth sounds. The good thing is that everybody in this band can sing and the harmonies sound just awesome.
Michael: Is there a point where you might lose objectivity when looking at your own work?
Mark: Not really, although we always get excited and wish to add more details to our music, we learned over the years how to function as producers and that less sometimes means more.
Michael: Next month you'll do a few gigs promoting the new album. What part of playing live do you enjoy most?
Mark: The girls, my drums and the beer!! Hahaha....
It’s basically everything. The excitement of being on stage, the adrenaline, the energy you create and receive from the audience. Every gig is a unique experience.
Michael: What's your favourite Tainted Nation song on stage and why?
Mark: Honestly I like to play them all live, that’s how we structured the songs. They are all very different and versatile. But maybe „Your only friend“ and „Don’t forget where you came from“ come across very strong live.
Michael: Does one have to be more entertainer nowadays when compared to twenty years ago? What do you think?
Mark: Oh, I think back then we were young and too much was never enough. Nowadays we focus more on what’s really necessary, but when it comes to lights and setting up drums, it’s never enough!!! It’s showbiz and everything needs to be a bit over the top! :-) But I must say stage equipment and PA systems have become easier to carry!
Michael: The last years it seems to be trendy, to play cover songs on stage. Do you play any covers?
Mark: We added „Loser“ (Lambretta’s Bimbo) to the album and made it our first video. We liked the song and knew it would suit us. At this point, simply because we don’t have enough own material yet, we decided to add another cover to our set. I think for now that works, because you can’t really buy time with twelve songs adding guitar, drum solos and fifteen minutes talking. Of course I will play a drum solo, but did cut it shorter than in the past.
We are not to keen to use more covers, it might have become fashionable if you’re a tribute band, but we wanna promote our music.
Michael: Your bass player Pontus Egberg is the only Swedish member. How come?
Mark: We are very good friends and his playing is just great for Tainted Nation. You know, when the chemistry is right you just go for it and Pontus is definitely made for Tainted Nation. He is a great guy and an awesome player! As a drummer I really need to say that our rhythm section is just insane!
Michael: A few weeks ago you hired another guitar player, Joel Peters, from the band Fury! What's the reason for this decision?
Mark: Yes, Joel basically played in the band live since day one, but we weren’t quite sure if we always really needed a second guitar player. As I mentioned before, we want to go 100% live and Joel filled the gap and we asked him to join the band. He is a very talented young guitar player, check out his previous band Fury.
Michael: Do you maybe also plan on putting more guitar solos into the songs?
Mark: I don’t think Joel’s addition would lead to something like that, but more to strengthen the harmonies, rhythm guitar parts and twin solos.
Michael: What's your formular to keep the band clean of conflicts?
Mark: I don’t really know, hahaha. Stay out of trouble, who has gone to jail lately? I think we all had our share in life, done this and done that, we don’t really step out of the line anymore. It would just cause anger and cost a lot of money we don’t have. We like to hang at the Pub and the „Bajee“ and IF for any reason we might step out of the line … Run!! :-)
Michael: Dennis Ward from the German band Pink Cream 69 did the mastering on the album. Did you work with him personally? How was it?
Mark: Dennis is a pro and an absolute mastermind at work! He understood exactly what we wanted and what the production needed. With a few guidelines he brought F.E.A.R. to life!
Michael: Are you already working on new material?
Mark: We recently started throwing ideas on the board, but nothing concrete yet. I’m sure that when the weather gets better, we will be able to come up with new ideas!
Michael: If you could change one thing in music industry, what would it be?
Mark: CD’s and bring Vinyl back!!! That would ease everyone’s mind and increase record sales again, which would mean a better living for us musicians.
Michael: What do you think about this new "problem" called “internet piracy”?
Mark: It’s a disease not a problem. As I said, bring the vinyl back. Many kids don’t understand what that means, but they have to understand that making music costs a lot and takes a lot of time. It’s not just a hobby, we make or made a living of it and with simply downloading music for free, means we don’t earn anything from it because no one buys CD’s anymore! That has to change.
Michael: Is there anything a band can do against it?
Mark: Not really I’m afraid!
I intend to record a solo album at some point, release a limited edition on vinyl and online!! I wanna see how that works! :-) You will need to buy yourselves a record player before that! :-)
Michael: What do you think, how has the music changed over the last 30 years and especially in the last years?
Mark: Technology helped develop the recording process, but ruined the entire business. My main concern is what the new generation will have to suffer with.
First of all it’s sad to see that kids waste their precious time on iPhones and iPads gaming and chatting and admiring the fame stories. You cannot make it just five weeks, there is too much behind this. Go play an instrument and hang with your friends making music. Some do, yes, but looking at the majority and the Music Fairs around the world we visit every year as professional musicians, I must say that it has becomes poorer and poorer every year! That is a very sad. Electronic music and sound creation makes me sick, Honestly, what happened to good songs with meaningful lyrics? How about reading a book? Where are the great drummers and guitar players of the future??
You don’t actually believe to become a star over night?? It never lasts.
Michael: Is there a favourite movie you wanted to bring in a song or compose the whole score?
Mark: Perhaps Science fiction movies, but also good comedy :-)
Michael: What do you think about the rock cliché of "sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll"? Is it still alive or only a romantic look on the touring-job?
Mark: The way it looks I’d change it to drugs, sex and rock’n roll!! :-) As for it being a touring job, I’d say it is sex, drums and rock’n roll! You know what I mean? It’s all a matter of lifestyle. You can change it anytime you like! :-)
Michael: Do you have any tips on new bands the people should hear?
Mark: Get back in basement, practice hard, bang the girls, listen to the old cats and their music and read their stories and you’ll become a wise and gifted musician.
Michael: What's planned for the near future of the band?
Mark: The tour, a new album and a nice cold beer!! :-)
Michael: Thank you very much for the interview! Maybe a few final words for the people out there?
Mark: Let’s raaawk!! See you all on tour soon.
Moderation: Michael Voit
Wer in das aktuelle Album „F.E.A.R.“ von 2013
reinhören möchte, kann dies hier tun:
[amazon "Tainted Nation – F.E.A.R. (2013)"]B00AJZC5H2[/amazon]

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