Zoroaster is a guitar/bass/drums metal trio from Atlanta, Ga. Remember their line-up, and get ready for a surprise about seven minutes into the slowly crushing "Tualatin."
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: Tualatin's a word I don't know. Does it mean anything?
WILL FIORE: It's the town in Oregon where Sunn 0))) amps were made. We play these Sunn 0))) amps, and it says Tualatin on the back. That's where the name originally came from, but Brent [Anderson, bassist] was in a band named Tualatin before he was in this one. He eventually got kicked out of the band—he and the guy that became our second drummer. So, when we were in all Zoroaster, we decided to call a song Tualatin, and it was about his experience in that band, but it was also an homage to Sunn 0))) amps and shit like that.
There are a few answers, I suppose, but what made Sunn 0))) amps worthwhile for you?
Well, initially they were just cheap, loud fucking amps. It was mostly Brent, but I had a few them. I was also as into Orange amps and shit like that, and a bunch of my Orange shit was fucking up. It was before they reissued all of it so it was expensive. That was the main reason. The Sunn 0))) stuff was cheap. Now, I'll be on eBay, and I can sell my shit for two or three times as much as I paid for it. But I've finally gotten to the point where I know I cannot sell my gear. You go through this thing where you don't use something for a bit, and it's inevitable that four months later you need it again. You just have a to buy it over.
Sunn 0)))'s new popularity: Does that have more to do with the quality, or does it have anything to do with Sunn 0))), the band?
I think it's a little of both, actually. Everything goes in cycles, and one thing will become popular all of the sudden. But I guess it gets that way for a reason, you know: They wouldn't be popular if they were shit, but I think a lot of it is something gets popular because of popular people like it, and then everyone wants one.
"Tualatin" is the second longest track on Dog Magic. Three songs are over 10 minutes long, and three songs are half as long. Did that just happen, or is it something you think about?
The weird thing is "Tualatin" was always a short song. That end part that we slow down and we jam out is something that would when happen when we played it live. We would do that. We went into the studio and decided, "Fuck it, let's record it how we play it live." We ended up riding it out. The initial plan was to go back into the studio and improvise a solo over that end and fade it out after a minute or two. But we started trying it and decided, "Fuck it. Leave it alone. It sounds cool." It was just accidental that song ended up that long. Even "Dog Magic," we had the beginning part and that end riff, but we d never fucking really written it or decided what kind of order we were going to do it in. In the studio, I was just like, Let's play it here and we'll add some vocal parts later.' We wound up jamming until the tape ran out. So the tape ran out, and we never came up with any vocals. We ended up adding that tribute to our fiend that passed away at the end.
What happened with the friend?
It was just a good friend, and he was in a motorcycle accident. We wanted to do something, and we had this song with no lyrics or vocal pattern, so we said, "Fuck it." We just recited that prayer for him and decided to keep it. We weren't very well prepared when we went into the studio to record this album. We had some songs together, but a lot of ideas. So we wrote a lot of it in the studio.
When you're playing and recording a song like "Tualatin," how much of it is about finding some groove and just locking into it?
When we went into record, we knew we had so much tape left. But we'd start playing, and—before we knew it—a voice would come out on the speaker that we'd run out of tape. You get lost in it, and a lot of it is from playing live. If you're playing shows and people are into it, you lose track of time. It's repetitive, but it's building in this intensity, and somehow it doesn't seem like it's that long. Hopefully, it doesn't seem that long for other people, either.
Zoroaster plays Volume 11 Tavern Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9:30 p.m.