Webzine: Zero Tolerance / Morocco
Article: Interview with Sean Reinert

Written by: Samir Alorchi
Published: September 2006



Hey Sean, how are you doing?

I'm doing quite well thank you!

Thank you for being at my disposal. It's an honor for me to speak with one of my peers.

I'm more than happy to speak with you.

So can you introduce yourself to the readers?

My name is Sean Reinert. I play drums/keyboards for the band ÆON SPOKE. I have played drums for DEATH on the "Human" cd, and for CYNIC. I have also played on various records and projects over the years.

When did you first start playing drums? And have you ever taken lessons?

I started playing drums when I was 10 years old. I had been taking piano lessons for three years before then, and wanted to switch to drums. I started taking drum lessons right away, it was part of the deal I made with my mom. If I was going to switch instruments I had to take lessons (which was just fine with me!).

Do you remember what was the first album you ever purchased, and what bands got you into metal?

Yes, the first album (which was a cassette) I purchased was KISS "Heaven and Hell" when I was 5. I would carry around my portable cassette player everywhere listening to that. KISS was a big influence when I was really young. Then I really got into Van Halen/Rush/Iron Maiden/Led Zeppelin when I was 9 or 10. When I finally got my drumset (10 ½ years old) I would play to those records constantly! I would drive my mother and neighbors absolutely bonkers with the noise! When I was 11-12 I started getting into the heavier bands like Wasp/Metallica/Accept etc… and then when I was 13-14 started getting into tape trading and the whole fanzine scene. I was listening to bands like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Venom, Slayer, Destruction… ya know the whole first wave of black/thrash metal.

What influences made you want to become a drummer?

Hard to say really. Music was in my spirit. Drums just made sense to me. I could hear a song and know exactly what the drummer was doing. The first time I sat behind the drumset my teacher nearly fell off his stool because he couldn't believe how well I was keeping time with the POLICE song he put on. He called his parents into the garage/studio and had me play for them. From that moment on I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

At the end of the '80s the famous death metal scene in Florida began to unfold. Tell us please about those times, about the bands that have taken part in the scene. This is metal history.

It would be hard to try and give a detailed description of everything that happened around that time. I can say that there was definitely a "scene" going on. The music was so underground, yet there was the sense of a community at the shows. It was quite amazing to be a part of what it ended up being. When we were just starting out there was a big "crossover" phenomenon going on. Hardcore kids would go to metal shows, and metal kids would go to punk shows. Punk kids would go to metal shows. It was all about the music and getting your aggression out either through slamming or performing.

In your opinion, why was Florida the center of the death metal scene?

It's really hard to say because there were a lot of death metal bands all over the US and Europe. For some stange reason there were a large number of bands from Florida that got records deals. The fact that DEATH was from FL probably had a lot to do with it. Maybe it was the hot weather that contributed! LOL

The career of Cynic can be divided into three parts. The first one was 1987-1990. You recorded three demos, you had some line up changes, you had gigs, tours etc. How do you remember those times?

I remember them quite well. We worked very hard in CYNIC. Even in early days (even more so). We all put 110% into the project. All monies and time went into the band. We were a close-knit family in that respect. The emphasis was always good musicianship. From van tours to renting RV's and driving 1000 miles for one show to sharing a bus w/ Cannibal Corpse… it was a long journey filled with good and tough times.

You appeared on Death's "Human". Why did Chuck choose you? Did you know him previously? How was it to work with Chuck and Steve DiGiorgio and Paul Masvidal?

Yes, Death's HUMAN was my first "real" recording date. I think Chuck chose me because of the stuff he had heard on the CYNIC demos. We had been friends for a few years at that time. Paul and Chuck had spoken on the phone a lot and we used to make road trips up to Altemonte Springs (where Chuck lived) to watch Death rehearse and hang out. I remember taking a bus trip up to Gainesville with my friend Brian Bender to go see Death and Hellwitch play. I was 14 and he was 15. So I had known Chuck for a few years by that time. Working with Steve and Paul was great fun. I had obviously been working with Paul in CYNIC so it was fun to work with him in different project. Steve was a really great guy, easy to work with, super enthusiastic and a great player. He brought that "California" vibe to the record. It was a real layed back time for Chuck and Death. Chuck had already been through a slew of bad business decisions and line-up changes. He was commited to having a good time and to not stressing out over stuff.

How did you feel when you were on stage for the first time with Death?

It was both an amazing feeling and a scary one, afterall I was just 20 years old at the time. The first shows we played were in Mexico City just before the HUMAN CD came out. I just remember going over the songs in my head in the hotel room the night before the first gig… then being overwhelmed with the crowd response. It was like a death-metal "beatle-mania"… kids were lined up for blocks to get autographs and to buy merchandise. The shows were really great (we played with SADUS… which was sooooo much fun!).

What can you tell us about Chuck Schuldiner as a person... songwriter and Death master?

Chuck for the most part was a really great guy. Unfortunately he had a paranoid side to him that would ooze out occasionally. I thought it was a product of the stress of the business, but later came to recognize that he was literally sick. It eventually ended up taking his life. It's a sad story really. I always thought Chuck was a great songwriter. He wrote some very strong material. Some of the "catchiest" death metal material to date. I think his legacy in death-metal is very secure.

What's your opinion about "Focus"? After the release of "Focus", you went to Europe and toured with Pestilence. How was it to play in Europe?

We were very proud of FOCUS. We had worked very hard writing and recording that record. It was such a great opportunity to get to tour FOCUS both in Europe and the US. The crowds in Europe were amazing. The best crowd being the one at the DYNAMO open air festival where we played in front of 65,000 people. That was a memory I will never forget!

What did you do after the split of Cynic? Are you still in contact with Cynic members?

After the disbanding of CYNIC we put together the PORTAL project. We recorded a 10 song CD and looked for a record company to put it out. We did have interest from ATLANTIC records at the time, but Roadrunner would not let Paul and I out of our contract. This led to the break-up of PORTAL. I still talk to the guys everyonce in a while, and as you are aware of Paul is in ÆON SPOKE.

Can you tell us a little bit about "Portal"?

It consisted of me on drums, Paul Masvidal on guitar/vocals, Jason Gobel on guitars, Chris Kringel on bass and Aruna Abrams on keyboards and vocals. It was an ethereal progressive rock project. We hope to officially release the CD one day.

How did you get in touch with Jim Studnicki and what was the reaction of your fans after the release of the Anomaly record?

I was introduced to Jim through Sean Malone. Jim had done some recording at Morrisound studios where I had tracked the HUMAN and FOCUS Cd's. It was just a "musician for hire" kind of thing. I think the reactions were mixed. Some fans wanted fast/aggressive drumming and others appreciated the style of music that it was.

How were you invited to Aghora? And was it hard to adjust with the members of this band?

Santiago used to take guitar lessons from Paul so we knew each other before the Aghora project. He just asked me if I wanted to play and I said sure. It was also just a studio gig. He pretty much let me playwhat I wanted to as well, which is always nice.

What was the general composition technique for the Aghora material?

Compositionally… hmmm, you would probably be better off asking Santiago that question. As for my parts, that was the time in my playing where I adopted the philosophy that: "It's not about how many notes you can play, but rather the impact that the notes you do play have on the overall song/composition". What good are 32nd note triplets if it doesn’t support the music. Or worse yet take away/distract you from the song. The purpose of the drums is to support and propel the music. Anything short of that, and you are not doing your job as a drummer!

In your opinion, how did the music that you created with Cynic help you to refine and better your compositional skills and how does it effect the way you now write for Aeon Spoke?

Hmmm… I would say it has helped me to hone in on what a song really needs. There was so much information packed into those songs on FOCUS that it made me step back and really find what makes a part/section work. Hence the less is more philosophy. There is a time and place for solos and chops, but not at the expense of the music. Some would argue that FOCUS is a masterpiece and some would argue that FOCUS is musical masterbation. Both are probably right… As for the approach for ÆON SPOKE, the focus is absolutely on "pocket" and supporting the music. Sometimes the simplest groove is the best, and often times harder to execute than a blistering fast double bass run or crazy hand-foot combination.

You did some drum sessions on the Emergent record, where you worked again with CYNIC members, how was your feeling and what can you tell us about this album?

That was a really sterile experience… I essentially played some V-drumparts. Sean Malone took them home and edited them into the track on the CD. There were no rehearsals or real "live" performing. That is probably my least favorite of all the recordings that I have done. I was happy that Jason was involved just because he is such an amazing guitar player and musician and it was great for him to be playing again.

How are things in "Aeon Spoke" at the moment?

Things are going really well. We have signed with the German record lable SPV Records and will be releasing our debut CD in October 2006.

Would you be kind to inform our readers and your fans about the upcoming Aeon Spoke release? Give us also some information about the recording process of Above The Buried Cry?

The cd will be out in October on SPV and it is a self titled release.We should be going over to the UK/Germany for press and radio shows at the beginning of November. As for the recording of the CD it was a series of recording sessions combined. I tracked drums in four different studios: Sunset Sound (Hollywood), SonikWire (Newport Beach), Regime (Hollywood) and Glenwood Place (Burbank). Pretty much everything else was tracked in our home studios. Both Paul and I have our own home studios with protools rigs. Then we had 3 time grammy winner Warren Riker mix the tracks. We mastered the record at Capitol Mastering with Robert Vosgien. I used to work for the mastering dept. there at Capitol so it was kind of like a home coming.

As we can see you played with many different bands... so, I was wondering if there's been a band that you really enjoyed working with (apart from the most current one "Aeon Spoke")?

Hmmm… The HUMAN experience was one that sticks out. Not just because it was my first, but it was really nice to have the necessary budget and time to record. It was fairly stress free, although I was very nervous that I would make mistakes or not cut it in the studio. Turned out quite the opposite as it was a really fun experiece and I'm amazed to this day to hear how that record has influenced other musicians. The PORTAL was also extremely fun. I really enjoyed playing those songs!

What about your relationship with other metal bands from Europe?

We have made some really great friends from all our travels and tours. I wish all the bands we have toured with and influenced all the best!!!

What can we expect from you in the near and distant future?

There is the ÆON SPOKE cd coming out in October. Paul and I might be doing a Death tribute concert in Mexico in Novemver with a few other bands. The details are being worked out at this moment. I am playing 6 songs on the upcoming Aghora CD "Formless". I hope to record and tour… record, tour… record, tour… you get the picture! There are a few other projects on the horizon but until the details are confirmed, I hesitate to speak about them.

Thanks so much Sean, so these last words are yours, what do you want to say to your Moroccan fans and to our readers?

I would say thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for the support over the years. I hope you will enjoy the ÆON SPOKE cd as well as the Aghora cd. Please visit me at www.myspace.com/seanreinert or www.aeonspoke.com and come see us/me live if/when I play in your town!



Cynic - Demo 1988
Cynic - Reflections of a Dying World Demo 1989
Cynic - Demo 1990
Cynic - Demo 1991
Death - Human 1991
Cynic - Focus 1993
Portal - Demo 1995
Anomaly - Anomaly 1999
Aghora - Aghora 2000
Gordian Knot - Emergent 2003
Aeon Spoke - Above The Buried Cry 2004


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Edited for Empty©Words 12-13-07