Interview: Game Zero

In February the Italian band Game Zero released their second album, titled W.A.R. – We Are Right. Recently DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen reviewed it here and now he also interviewed them.

Hey, how are you holding up in the difficult circumstances these days?

Mark: Personally, trying to go back to the roots and taking care of myself and the things that are closest to me. My family, my home … my cats! In short, simple things. And then of course the music, I listened to a lot of it and also wrote some new stuff. I consider myself a very lucky person because I love my life and who and what is part of it. For this reason, this strange period (apart from, of course, the great concern about the fate of our planet and our future) has not affected my everyday life so negatively. 

On February the 28th you released your new album, titled W.A.R. – We Are Right. Congratulations with that. I think it’s really nice.

Alex: We are happy that you enjoyed the new album! We have invested a lot of energy to do our best. We believe we have found a new more modern and suitable sound for the band.

W.A.R. – We Are Right is released via Art Gates Records. What makes them the best label for Game Zero at this moment?

Alex: When we finished the recording sessions we immediately realized that this album needed a label that had clear ideas on how to promote it. The AGR staff immediately convinced us with a really interesting marketing plan, it was what we were looking for. We have made a lot of promotional stuff, 3 music videos, behind the scenes video, drum playthroughs. Having a team that knows how to enhance everything is important.

The album’s title obviously is a bit contradicting. Can you tell something more about the story behind the album’s title?

Dave J: Well, the lyrics are all written entirely by Mark, largely inspired by personal experiences; with this title we want to communicate our rebellion to the schemes superimposed by society, trusting in free will, self-determination and self-esteem. Often we do not realize that many of our choices are actually subtly already determined by schematisms, models or archetypes communicated by the mass media or by the culture of the country where we live. Therefore, the ambivalence of the album’s title and acronym represents one’s inner war in search of one’s self. This is a strong concept, but nothing that can relate to bombs or shootings!

Two years ago your bass player Aceyguns joined Game Zero and this is the first album on which he can be heard. Did that change something to the album creation process and if so, what changed?

Mark: By the time Acey joined our band, much of the new material had already been written. This however did not prevent him from making a very important contribution to the success of W.A.R.. His style and the bass parts he wrote for the songs went perfectly with Dave’s drums. In addition, Acey usually plays with the pick and this aspect has been a very important element for the sound impact we were looking for on this album. Last but certainly not least, Acey immediately integrated wonderfully with the three of us, from a human point of view. This is an aspect that can be decisive in the success of any type of project. 

Something that stood out immediately while first listening to your debut album Rise and then starting your new album W.A.R. – We Are Right was the difference in production. Rise was produced by Gianmarco Bellumori, while W.A.R. – We Are Right is produced by Antonio Aronne, who also mixed it, while mastering was done by Riccardo Parenti and vocal production being done by Enrico Erk Scutti. I think it’s a great development. Do you also hear that and how did these people help you to achieve that?

Dave J: Absolutely yes, it was the goal we had set ourselves to make a significant leap in quality. We wanted a fresh and modern sound, obviously without resulting in fake or “plastic” sounds, as often heard around. I had known Antonio Aronne for some time and I was sure of the result! He put us at ease throughout the registration phase, giving us many tips even in the smallest details, thanks to his wide experience and being a multi-instrumentalist. Let’s say we can practically consider him the fifth element of Game Zero!
The leap in quality was also possible due to the immense commitment of Enrico “Erk” Scutti as a vocal producer; he has allowed Mark to express his full potential of the vocal cords, so far only partially exploited in the debut album (Rise), thus making his style and adaptability within each single song much more varied.
Lastly, Riccardo Parenti condensed it all, giving the album a really powerful sound with mastering.

You also included a cover of Simple Minds’ Don’t You on the album. What was the reason you choose that song in particular?

Mark: For those who, like most of us, lived through the 80s, it is impossible not to feel inspired by everything that happened at that time. On the one hand, the 1980s saw the explosion of the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” and Trash Metal. On the other hand, those years have probably witnessed the most important “pop” movement of the past 50 years. Simple Minds were among the greatest representatives of that musical movement and Don’t You (forget about me) can be considered a real anthem of those times. So when we thought about recording a cover for our album, thinking about that song was almost natural. 

I thought it was a bit strange that the track title doesn’t include a mention of it being a cover. What’s the reason for that?

Mark: To be completely honest there is no real reason. It must be said that it is a song so famous that it is immediately recognizable as that of Simple Minds. On the CD and inside the booklet it is specified, also on the video clip title. The title of the digital version does not contain an explicit reference to the “Simple Minds” is true, but it was not intentional. I don’t think Jim Kerr and the other guys are going to be upset about it … or at least I hope! ehehehe! 

On your website I saw that three of you, Mark Wright, Alexincubus and Dave J., all shared one hobby, which is traveling. What are the greatest places you’ve been to and what are places you dream of going to?

Mark: I am a lucky man and I have seen many wonderful countries but I have three trips that have really entered my heart. The first in the United States with my great friend and bandmate Alex (Alexincubus). It was truly incredible, we visited many states and made many miles, seeing the most beautiful national parks. In addition, we had just finished recording Rise and some American radio stations were already starting to broadcast The City With No Ends. The enthusiasm was skyrocketing, unforgettable. The second, also in the United States, but this time with the woman who became my wife during that trip. We got married on the cliff of “La Jolla” in San Diego, I think it is useless to add more. The last in Russia, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, just with my Game Zero, to play together with Equilibrium, was truly a dream come true. There are still many places I want to see, but if I have to put one above all the others, I choose Australia, I have to go there as soon as possible! 

And for the one who didn’t mention that hobby, Aceyguns, what’s your favorite drink and which drink do you still want to try?

Luca: Thanx for the great question!! My favourite one is Vodka in any drink or long drink… I really like the Godfather drink, too. But I really enjoy beer, Smirnoff ice, Jack Daniels whiskey and rum from “La Isla grande”. I would like to try some typical liquor from any country of the world! 

The release party of W.A.R. – We Are Right is postponed due to the corona-virus. Since this situation can possibly go on for a while, are you planning on doing this release party on a later moment, even while the album is already released for a while then?

Alex: Well, this is the most difficult question to answer. Unfortunately, in this moment it is really impossible to make medium-long term plans, the events are constantly changing. We hope for a rapid recovery of the situation so that we can return to having the right freedom to plan this type of event. It’s sad to have a new album and not having the chance to play it for of our fans.

Can we expect some Game Zero shows as soon as the Corona virus measures are less tight? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Dave J: We hope that this huge crisis can end soon. Live activity is the beating heart of Game Zero and we look forward to being able to bring our music to Central Europe, very happy also to Netherlands. It is not so easy here in Italy, where music culture is far from rock/metal oriented.
Stay tuned!

Thanks for your answers. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Alex: Thanks for your time and for the chance you have given us!
Right now we lack the affection of our fans at the concerts! I would like to urge all readers to listen to our new album and go to see the new videos on YouTube. Leave us a comment with your opinions, we will be happy to read them and interact with you!

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