MEZZANINE FLOOR: South African Architects of Darkness

We do not cross our path so often with bands coming from South Africa. Mezzanine Floor from Port Elizabeth was recently brought out to our attention through the PR wire. The band released their sophomore studio album “Architecture of Aeons” earlier this year. Here is what they told us about it.

You released “Architecture of Aeons” back in September. How do you feel about the release?

We feel fantastic about it, the support has been very heart warming and also very humbling. We followed the release with the first of a few planned mini tours and that has definitely been one of the highlights of our career so far. Since arriving back from that we have played a few shows and many still coming with a brilliant festival in January to kick off the new year for us in style. The reviews so far have all been great and the album has been received well so we are very happy with the way things are going.

How much of a challenge was it to work on the album?

With this one the entire process was a bit different for us because we decided to do a full concept album, I say different though in the best way possible because it enhanced the creative flow. Firstly we mapped out the storyboard based on our ideas, then went off and wrote acoustic pieces and lyrics to match the theme but also used that as a platform to tell an underlying personal story of self discovery through the hardships in life. We then got together and manipulated all of those to match the various emotions and in essence constructed the final tale sonically and thematically.

We recorded this one ourselves so we had to convert our jam room into a studio which was actually a very special thing and brought about alot of comfort for us, the whole project was very organic. The most challenging thing that I think we would all agree on would be the lack of sleep, we all have day jobs and that combined with the late night early mornings for a duration of about 6 months of writing, 6 months of fine tuning and rehearsals and then the 3 to 4 months of the recording for which we were running on about 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night. We were a couple of zombies towards the end and it was very tough but we remained driven because this is our passion and it is so extremely rewarding. There are massive chunks of our beings in this one and we could not be prouder of the final product.

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What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from South Africa are you friends with?

Our specific sub genre is very sparse but in the very vibrant metal genre and scene as a whole we have formed special friendships and bonds with Subject to Slaughter, Atlantic South and Devilspeak from Cape Town, when they come through to our neck of the woods we play shows together, party together and they generally stay over at our places and when we go over there it’s the same thing. The talent is incredible and honestly throughout the local metal community we have a multitude of friends from bands to fans, it’s very special to us.

What is your opinion about the current progressive metal scene?

It’s incredible, the amount of bands releasing albums that I believe will one day still be topping ‘the all time greatest albums’ charts for years to come is unbelievable, the artistic creativity and quality of compositions is at a mind altering level and just when you think the boundaries cannot be pushed any further someone does just that. It’s a great time to be a fan of progressive metal!!!

Can you tell me something about your influences?

As musicians we definitely have a variety of bands which influence us. Not always with regards to our sound, but in the way in which we push ourselves creatively. The bands that influenced us the most during the writing process and the recoding of Architecture of Aeons were definitely Norma Jean, Mastodon, Cult of Luna, Russian Circles, Black Crown Initiate, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Thrice.

What are you listening to these days?

Currently we’re listening to Cult of Luna – Mariner, Russian Circles – Guidance, Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts, Norma Jean – Polar Similar, The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation and Steven Wilson – Hand Cannot Erase to name just a few.

Your 5 favourite records of all time?

Okay for this one I though it only fair to take the opinion of the collective so this list is a favourite album from each band member.: Mastodon – Crack the Skye, Mastodon – Leviathan , Deftones – Around the Fur, The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute, Pink Floyd – The Wall.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “Architecture of Aeons”?

We recorded with Epiphone Les Paul Guitars with EMG JH HET pickups, Boss ME70 Multi Effects pedal, Boss Metal Core and Boss Digital delay stomp boxes, Yamaha Bass, Laney LX120RH Stack Guitar Amp, Ibanez Bass and Guitar Amps. Drums wise we used a Mapex 5 piece, Mapex MPX, 14”steel snare, Evans Hydraulic Black Drum heads Paiste, Meinl cymbals, Pearl Power Shifter double bass pedal, Gibraltar hardware and Promark 5b sticks.

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Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

Initially we are going to be touring the album throughout South Africa. We have done a tour to Cape Town and played three launch shows there as well as our hometown.

We would love to take the tour outside of the country. Architecture of Aeons is actually the first part of a trilogy so we are very enthusiastic about unveiling the rest of the pieces in time.

Any words for the potential new fans?

I think we’d just like to obviously ask potential fans to check us out, give Architecture of Aeons a listen, it’s an extremely special album to us and we’d love to hear back from each and every one of you via our media platforms, the creation is for us but the end product is for the fans and us alike and this one is our heart cut open on a platter for all of you to see. First and foremost we are fans too and it’s so important for all of us to keep supporting each other right across the spectrum, bands and fans alike, together we’ll build it tall and we’ll build it strong for all the future fans to experience and share in this special thing, this music, the metal that has played such a massive role in defining our very lives.

Mezzanine Floor on Facebook.