YESWEDO: Interview with Zoltan Sebestyen

Zoltan Sebestyen of YesWeDo

YesWeDo is a project of multi-instrumentalist and composer from Cluj-Napoca, Zoltan Sebestyen, who teamed up with drummer Adam Marko (Special Providence) and guitarist Richard Bordea for the debut album titled “The Missed Sanctification” (review here). Zoltan has recently answered our questions about the project, the album, his future plans, and more.

# # # This interview is a part of the Prog Sphere Showcase feature. # # #

How did you go about forming YesWeDo, define its mission and let us know, what does the name of the project refer to?

YesWeDo is the result of a strong desire to turn my agonies into songs. Beautiful moments have their naturalness but the dark ones need some kind of interpretation. Even my less dramatic songs, such as ‘We Are The Temple‘ and ‘We Will Rise‘, are rooted in deep unrest…

YesWeDo, the name of the project, is explained by the 6th song from the album, with homonym title. It is related to faith, to the human spirit’s deepest connections…

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album “The Missed Sanctification” and the themes this release captures. How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I started to work on the first ideas in (let’s say) 2007 and I finished the 10th song in 2014. The last five songs were composed in 2013-2014, in a more ‘fluent’ creative period, than previously. It took so long due to some dramatic personal events, which turned me off to composing.

The Missed Sanctification‘ is autobiographical. Almost every song is linked to a certain life event, moment, feeling… through faith, love and death. Perhaps the ‘heaviest’ song is ‘Do You Understand?‘, the one I wrote in the loving memory of my sister, Imola Sebestyen.

The Missed Sanctification

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected or is it an organic outgrowth of performing them together? Guitarist Richard Bordea and drummer Adam Marko are also part of “The Missed Sanctification”. How much creatively did they contribute to the album?

Each song had a fully orchestrated demo version, so when I contacted Richard Bordea (guitars) and Adam Marko (drums) I presented them the whole material and concept. The songs are, as you said, ”carefully architected pieces” – we had no opportunity to perform together. They both contributed as session musicians. Their interpretations incorporate their stylistic and creative touch.

I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with them. Adam Markó is the drummer/founder of Special Providence, one of the most respected European modern progressive rock bands. Richard Bordea is a Romanian guitar player, also a professional musician, having his musical influences rooted in contemporary progressive rock.

Describe the approach to recording the album. How long “The Missed Sanctification” was in the making?

The Missed Sanctification‘ was recorded over a period of three months, between June and August 2014, at SuperSize Recording, Budapest. Sound engineer Gábor Nóniusz took care of recordings, mixing and mastering. The trackings were made in the following order: drums, bass, guitars and vocals. The piano and synth parts were kept from the demo versions, prepared in my home studio.

How does the album title effect the material presented on the record? Give me a snapshot of the topics you explore on the new songs.

The Missed Sanctification‘ has double meaning: 1. the sanctification someone is longing for; 2. the sanctification someone failed to obtain.

The title is introspective and it reflects my search for equilibrium. It also has some spiritual depth, mixed with filthy weakness. The chorus of the 4th song, ‘In My Closet,’ is descriptive for the duality incorporated into the album title:

There are demons in my closet,
screaming that „Love does not sell!”.
There is nothing they could show me,
the road to Heaven goes through hell…

You grab inspiration from many distinctive musical genres. How do you go about channeling this inspiration into writing? Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

There’s a lot to learn from everywhere. I don’t see inspiration as a magical moment, even if, sometimes, it can be. I think it’s the result of being focused and determined to create something from (apparently) nothing. In my case, the lyrical content was written first and its ”native” melodicity lead to the given song’s melodic lines.

Even if it might not be obvious, ‘The Missed Sanctification‘ has three main influences: Muse (The Resistance), In Flames (Sounds of a Playground Fading) and Avenged Sevenfold (Nightmare + Hail to the King).

YesWeDo

What were the biggest challenges you faced when making “The Missed Sanctification”?

To record an album in a professional environment involves various challenges. From the administrative tasks to the working process itself. Perhaps the most challenging aspect was to travel the 480 km distance from Cluj-Napoca (my hometown) to Törökbálint (near Budapest, where the SuperSize Recording studio is located), each time we had a recording session. I guess I made it about 10 times, until we finished all the work. But I must say I actually enjoyed it.

What kind of gear do you use for recording your music?

In my home studio, destined exclussively to put my ideas together, I use the followings:

Hardware – MacMini, M-Audio ProKeys 88 stage piano/MIDI controller
and Yamaha HS 80M monitors
Software – Logic Pro

At SuperSize Recording, during the recordings of ‘The Missed Sanctification‘, we used the following gear:

Richard Bordea – Ibanez guitars and Messa Boogie amps/cabs,
Adam Markó – Natal drums and Meinl cymbals,
Zoltan Sebestyen – Warwick and Music Man basses

What is your view on technology in music?

I love technology. Technology in music is inspiring, as long as it doesn’t expulse the human factor. One way or another, that will happen someday, I guess…

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Yes, it might serve, even independent of my will. I would say music is the link between this world and the other side. The experience of listening is an experience of getting involved in something greater than only frequencies. Music is profoundly spiritual.

Are there any plans to promote “The Missed Sanctification” live? What does the future hold?

My plan is to turn the YesWeDo project into a band, to start performing live and to make new recordings. I’m working on new songs and right now I’m looking for a guitarist and a drummer. So, if anyone would like to join me, is welcome to visit www.yeswedomusic.com/wanted.html for further details.

Visit YesWeDo’s official website here, and follow the project on Facebook for future updates.

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