After a cool demo Zero Mentality came up with a great debut full length called "In fear of forever" which was released by GSR Records. Reason enough to do an interview with these guys...

Hey there, who is answering my questions? Please introduce yourself and what's your "job" in Zero Mentality? What would you do right now if you
wouldn't answer these questions?

Hey there, this is Dominik and I play the guitar in ZERO MENTALITY. If I didn't answer your questions right now, I'd answer one of two other interviews I still have to take care of...

First off, let me tell you that I like "In fear of forever" very much, but I don't think that you hear these words regarding the record for the first time. Are you surprised how well the album was received by fans and
critics alike? I mean a haven't read one single bad review...

Thanks for your appreciation! Well, we are kinda surprised, yes. When we finished the album, I was quite satisfied already, but I never expected those reviews. You're right, there's hardly any negative words on "In Fear Of Forever". Seems like people got into our music and the approach we take. Although quite a few told me that it takes a couple of spins until you actually  appreciate the whole album, but that's fine with me. Better this way round than getting bored after listening two-three times...

Even though this might indeed be a bit boring question, let's start with the very beginning of Zero Mentality. You guys started in 2002, right? Did you play in other bands together before or how else did you find together?
What was the motivation to start the band in the first place?

Yes, we started in 2002, actually the other guys. I joined ZM in the beginning of 2003. We all played in different bands before, Ben and Dennis in Death Or Glory, Marcel in some punk-rock band and I played in Drift for a couple of years. Thorsten got into the band in 2004 and was part of Furnace a long time ago. Also, Dennis still handles the four-string in Black Friday '29. Well, the motivation to start the band was quite simple: A HC band that combines a lot of good elements of hard music, including NYHC, thrashy stuff from the 80's for example as well as melodic tunes. The development so far you can hear on "In Fear Of Forever". Judge for yourself.

The first recordings could be found on your demo which was later released as a 7", too. Which label put it out and did any of those songs find their
way on the full length? What did you think about the demo/7" back when it came out and what do you think about it now?

Dead Serious put it out in 2004. They thought the demo-recordings were good enough to put on a 7" and the deal was perfect. Actually all the songs made it on the album as well, re-recorded of course.
I still like the songs, especially with the new recordings and they are still a main part of any ZM-live set, but our new material is different I guess, with more influences and more emphasis on diversity.

"In fear of forever" was mastered by Tue Madsen at Antfarm studios. Countless bands worked with this guy in the younger past, so how come you decided to work with him as well? Was that a decision of your label or was there a special record you listened to and then said" let's work with him"?

Well, that's not the whole truth...in the first place, "In Fear Of Forever" was recorded and mixed by Jacob Bredahl (also singer for Hatesphere). He showed me some of his previous productions and we all liked the overall
sound. It was different from other studios and it seemed like it could fit to our style. Also, he knows what hard music should be about so we decided to work with him. Like you said, the mastering was done by Tue, but
only that, and it's not that influential on the sound as for example the mix. However, he did a great job as well, but it was just a small part of the works on "In Fear Of Forever".

Has your attitude towards music in general and Hardcore in particular changed since the beginning of the band? Both regarding the music you're creating with Zero Mentality as well as Hardcore in general from your
perspective as a listener?

No, not at all. Ever since I was a kid listened to whatever I liked, may it be pop music, death metal, hardcore, whatever. Anything could be an influence for the sound of ZERO MENTALITY. I still like the hardcore scene for what it is like almost ten years ago when I first got in touch with it. I might have lost some enthusiasm over the years for everything is repeated like every 2-3 years. There's bands that stick to what they've done for the last 10 years and there's bands taking a different approach or a new development from record to record and I'm fine with that as long as the music touches me.

I have the impression that at the moment classic New York styled Hardcore is coming back big time. I mean after we saw the MetalCore hype during the last few years more and more bands play classic Hardcore again, what do you think is the reason?

I don't know, in Germany Metalcore is getting bigger and bigger as well, I don't think that "hype" is over yet. Way too many bands that all sound the same though...But yes, there's more and more "Classic hardcore" bands, some are really good, some aren't. I don't see no reason for any of those hypes but it seems that this is what hardcore's all about for some kids. You see them come and go, so there's no need to argue about that anymore. At least that's what I learned... 

When I attended this year's Light the Fuse Fest in Holland I thought that there are so many great Hardcore bands from Europe, and I have the impression that many of them are way more enthusiastic than American bands. Would you agree? Do you also think that people are nowadays more open towards European bands? I mean I remember that some years back many people thought that American bands rules while bands from Europe were sometimes not taken seriously. Would you agree that this has changed?

It kinda changed, yes. The main reason is that a lot of European bands just haven't been that good in the last years, so it was pretty easy for any American band to leave a big impression. It's different now, kids over here take their bands more serious nowadays and some of them try to create something else instead of being a mere copy of "American band xyz". The quality just got better within the last five years I guess. However, there's no need for a competition, there's still a lot of American bands that are way better than some European bands and vice versa. It's just more balanced these days.

What's your connection with Black Friday 29 (except from the fact that Ben Fink did backing vocals on their records)?

Like I said before, our second guitarist Dennis also plays the bass in BF '29 and those guys are good friends of us as well. Some of them did bands together in the past like Homerun or Death Or Glory. 

And what about the "Ruhrpott" in general? What makes this part of Germany so special for you? Can you ever imagine moving somewhere else?

Besides the fact that there are some good bands coming from that area and that it has quite an intact hardcore scene, there's nothing too special about the area. But I wouldn't wanna move to any other place in Germany, since you can reach at least five big cities within no time. Well, I guess that's what it makes kinda special haha... Anyway, I think the world has some more beautiful places to live, thinking of California,
Scandinavia or Canada for example. If the band was over right now, I would consider moving to one of those places as well, for sure!

We talked about New York Hardcore before. As I originally come from Stuttgart, I watched Sidekick a couple of times and I think they were one of the first German bands to play this style (again). Their farewell show was totally killer, so what do you think about these guys and their music?

We all love(d) Sidekick and the last show was killer, yes! I don't know if they have been the first German bands playing that style, but they did it at a time when not many people cared about that music and that's a shame. I still have their first demo and I remember the reviews on that one. Today's critics would sound a lot different, I'm sure. But hey, we talked about that trend thing already, sad but true... (I hope the DVD of that last show will be out soon 'cause I'm sure it will be killer as well - Stefan)

I think you've been asked this many times before, but how come that some of your lyrics are in German? Can you imagine doing a whole album just with German lyrics?

It just fitted to the arrangements and it was some kind of experiment. Also, for Ben it's easier to write his lyrics in his mother tongue, it just sounds more emotional and more true, somehow. Actually, we're thinking about doing a whole album in German, but we're not sure yet. Surprise, surprise!

Your buddies in BF 29 are all sXe as far as I know, so what about you? Are you sXe, too? What's your opinion on this lifestyle? Well, I am sXe myself, but sometimes I don't like that people take sXe as some kind of
religion and talk bad about so-called "edge breakers". What do you think about all this and what's your definition of sXe?

First of all, I'm not straight edge and I've never been. To me there was never really a need of being sXe. But on the other hand I must admit that I never really experienced to be threatened by sXe people or whatever. A lot of my friends are/were sXe and it never was a big deal to get along. I read a lot about militant kids in the US, but I never felt it to be such a problem over here. And since I'm not sXe, I don't have any definition of it. I think it should be a personal decision for every individual. Even as a smoker I like smoke-free shows and vice versa I don't think I'm offending anyone drinking a beer. Each to his own. 

How is it to put out "In fear of forever" on GSR Records which is run by some guys of Born From Pain? Will your next release also come out on GSR or are there any other labels interested in ZM as well?

We're 100 % satisifed with GSR records. The label is very eager to support its bands as far as possible and we can only profit from that. Our next album will definately be released on GSR as well and I don't see no reason to change the label. Theo and the rest of the team do a great job in any way! 

What can we expect from ZM in the next few months? Any new songs coming our way? What about tours (with which bands)? What are your future plans with the band?

The next few months we will be more concerned with writing new material I guess. We plan to record our next album somewhen in spring 2006. We've just been on a five-week tour through Europe with Born From Pain (which was great btw!) and we have some more shows to come within the next weeks. So far nothing's confirmed yet for upcoming tours, but of course we're working on that as well and hopefully we will hit the road again by late autumn! 

What do you do besides the band and how do you manage to get the band done besides working? I mean I find it hard at times to run this little fanzine besides working, but I imagine it to be even harder to play shows/go on tour with a band, so how do you get that done?

It's hard to get both sides running, yes. On the one hand you have your private life and on the other hand there's the band. Right now I'm working as a free-lancer so I can get off from my job whenever I want. But that means you have no solid income which makes daily life a little complicated from time to time. However, it's worth the fun you have playing your music in different countries for different crowds. Sometimes kids should appreciate it a little more that a lot of bands out there practically give up a big part of their private lives to play in front of them, but what can you do...

Now that I've asked you a couple of questions I think it'd only fair to give you a chance to ask me a question as well, so go ahead:

I just got back from a garage and I need 800 to get my car fixed, do you wanna give me that money? Or a new car? (Well, actually... no. Haha... - Stefan)

I think we're at the end of this interview, do you have any final words? Thanks for taking the time answering my questions!

Thanks a lot for this interview, thanks for your appreciation, keep up the good work cause this one was real fun to answer! Everybody out there check www.zeromentality.com for any news or upcoming shows. Thank you!

(Stefan)