In the Meet The Band spotlight this week are the North Carolina tech death band Ergodic. They just released their self-titled EP. Vocalist Zach Zenicola, guitarist Joel Frazier and guitarist Josh DelVendo introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Ergodic.
Zach Zenicola: Matt B., Joel, and myself were in a band together called Necrocosm which was more of a melodic death metal band. We all had an itch to do something more technical and Joel started writing some cool riffs that had a tech sound and didn’t really fit with what Necrocosm was doing. So we decided to leave Necrocosm and form a new band. We found a hell of a drummer in Matt Francis (Malebogia, Circle of Dead Children) and started practicing together almost immediately. Finding our second guitar was a bit harder. Our friend Donald Boyd (Mo’ynoq,Faith in Ashes) agreed to play live with us temporarily while we continued looking. A few months later Joel and I were at a Septicemic show and we saw Josh play lead for them and figured we should ask him if he would fill the position. Josh seemed interested and liked the music so we were off to the races with our full lineup around September of 2018.
Describe the songwriting process for your self-titled EP.
Joel Frazier: I started saving up some riffs and other ideas for a new project around 2016. I recorded a lot of the riffs as voice memos on my phone and would work them out later and put them into Guitar Pro. I eventually started building out the songs for the EP around those riffs. The rest of the writing process was done on Guitar Pro with a guitar in my hands to work out fingerings. I tried to pay attention to detail when writing the songs and make them flow nicely. I also tried to trade the melody between all the guitars including bass, so you’ll hear each instrument take the lead at different times. When Josh joined, the songs were mostly finished, but he wrote some of the solos he performs on the EP, and he ended up tweaking quite a few parts to his style, and it really solidified the guitar sound you hear on the EP.
Zach: Joel wrote all the string parts for the EP. He would usually write them in Guitar Pro and share with the rest of the band, Josh did come up with and change a few things upon joining, but the EP songs were more or less finished prior to that. Drums were written by Matt Francis and I wrote all the lyrics except “Lashed to Control.” Joel and I wrote those together in the studio.
How did you decide to work with producer Jamie King?
He’s pretty much a local legend around NC, he’s only located about two hours from us, and he’s got a very impressive resume of bands. Zach and Joel’s previous band Necrocosm worked with Jamie on their debut full length, and Josh’s other band Septicemic worked with Jamie on their most recent single release.
How was the experience?
Definitely positive, I think we got everything recorded with Jamie in just a few days time. It was a fun process, and its a cool feeling getting to record where so many other great artists have recorded.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Zach: Melodic tech death with a classical music sensibility?
What lyrical subjects do you cover?
Zach: The lyrics come from really anything. I like to sometimes put my own experiences in there or sometimes tell a story and sometimes just give an opinion. “Exalted Ignorance(s)” is about being manipulated by media (social, celebrity, political) and how some people seem to place those in that system on a higher level then the people actually involved in their lives. “Veil of Dementia” is about my grandfather and his mind slipping away from his family until eventually forgetting himself before he died. “Lashed to Control” is about me and a band member’s struggle with addiction.
What led you to release the EP independently?
Joel: We really just wanted to get some material recorded and out there for people to listen to.
What has been your most memorable Ergodic live show?
Zach: I would say opening for the Devastation on the Nation 2018. Was pretty wild being on a stacked lineup like that even if it was as an opener.
How did you get started in music?
Josh DelVendo: Well it was initially to impress a girlfriend. (laughs) Most of her friends were in theater or the arts or some kind, and all played some sort of instrument, so I tried picking up guitar. I eventually started listening to heavier, more complex music and met some talented musicians in high school which inspired me to get better.
Zach: I just always listened to heavy music and wanted to be involved in some fashion. I started playing guitar at about 14-15 but that wasn’t really my thing. I tried to play in some less then awesome punk and metal bands. I still play now, but not death metal. I never really got the dexterity for it. When I was in my early 20’s I quit smoking cigarettes and was listening to Origin’s Echoes of Decimation and started mimicking James Lee’s vocals and thought I can do this. I just kept at it since then and now vocals is what I do.
Joel: I started playing violin when I was 5 or so. My parents are both musicians and so i was exposed to classical music and I wanted to play. I started getting into metal because my older brother had some metal tapes in the early ’90s, and I think hearing all that energy and technical ability really hooked me. I would sneak into his room to play his electric guitar when he wasn’t home. Eventually I got my own guitar and have always written and played heavy music since then.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Zach: I got started listening to metal pretty young. My mom was in the Air Force and we moved to the Netherlands when I was 8. I remember watching Headbangers Ball pretty soon after that and the European version didn’t really play hair bands like the American one did. I heard bands like Death, Gorguts, Carcass and Dismember on there and that was it. Man, I was hooked.
Joel: My first big influence was my parents because they surrounded me with classical music from the time I was very young, which I’ll always be thankful for. After I started getting into heavier music, my first big influences on guitar were probably Marty Friedman and Nuno Bettencourt. I was so inspired by how melodic and unique their playing was.
Josh : When I first started listening to death metal (around 13-14 years old) some of my early favorites were Deflorate by The Black Dahlia Murder and Chaos of Forms by Revocation. “Conjuring the cataclysm” and “I Will Return” were like my high school anthems. Mainly Ryan Knight’s solos and Dave Davidson’s crazy jazz infused riffs just inspired the hell out of me. I think they’ve both impacted my playing a lot.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Zach: I have a super cool mom when I was younger we lived in the Netherlands and she let a metalhead friend of hers take me to Dynamo in 1994 when I was 12. I really only remember Cynic and Prong.
How’s the metal scene in Raleigh?
The Raleigh scene is pretty solid. We’ve got some pretty good death metal bands, lots of black metal, some brutal death, etc. There’s typically a good metal show every week or two.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Josh: Soreption, Havok, Wretched, Spawn Of Possession, Deeds of Flesh.
Zach: Artificial Brain, Disentomb, Car Bomb, Odius Mortem and Afterbirth.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Just check out the EP if you get a chance and if you like it come out and see us play. If you book shows hit us up on Facebook and lets set something up. We have a lot more material so there will be a LP eventually so follow us wherever you can. Support the underground!
(interview published March 14, 2020)