Amazing Interview with Michael Meinhart from Socionic made by Shanti
We have good news for fans of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Deftones and Alice in Chains. The American alternative progressive rock band Socionic has fresh great sound for you. Check the art videos and listen to Identity on Reverbnation
Shanti: Michael Meinhart (lead singer of the band) found free time for our conversation between recording, song writing and video editing. So the first we want to say thank you, Michael, for answers and attention. We know you’re very busy so appreciate for your kindness.
Michael Meinhart: I thank you for reaching out and taking the time to write the interview. We are very appreciative of all who love and support independent music.
Shanti: You’re a lead singer and song writer but who else play in Socionic? Introduce other member of the band. We know you got a new guitarist?
Michael Meinhart: The other members of the band are: Matthew Denis playing bass guitar, Lior Dar on drums, and Billy Grazcyk playing lead guitar. Billy recently joined the band earlier this year and has already been a valuable addition. Everyone in the band is an extremely talented musician, and it is truly an honor to be able to be able work together.
Shanti: We also know that you’re on the hunt for a new lockout and home for the band. Did you find something? Did Socionic get home?
Michael Meinhart: Yes, we had been rehearsing and doing auditions out of a monthly lockout for awhile after we left our last lockout, but with Billy joining, we were able to find another, more permanent home. And I have to say it is a nice upgrade. It’s a great place in North Hollywood where we now are able to be more productive as we formulate our schemes for world domination and artistic exploration.
Shanti: When we prepared for this interview we read some of your interviews for other sources and you told that you search a place of balance between promoting and creating. Did you find it?
Michael Meinhart: In today’s new music industry, it is very difficult to strike the right balance between promotion and marketing, and creating. It’s something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past and it remains a challenge today. Obviously creation is the whole center of art and what this project is all about, but at the same time we want to get the word out about our creation and connect with others. As proud as we are of the creative efforts that we pour ourselves over, it somehow seems a shame if no one else would experience it. That may sound a bit egocentric or misguided given that I also believe in creation and expression as a necessity for personal discovery and growth, but the fact is, that connection fuels and inspires more effort and exploration. Not to mention it is our dream to eventually be able to connect with people in person by going on tour all over the world, which requires some of the business side.
To get back to the question, however, I don’t think I have yet found it myself, but I am certainly closer than I have ever been. I’ve resolved to creating and expressing in more diverse ways such as blog and journal writing, as well as other more visual explorations in addition to music, and want to do so on a regular basis. It’s been a concerted effort for this year to try and publish more content that falls within the voice of Socionic such as the blog. At the same time, we are writing more quickly than in the past and I hope to continue on that path as well.
Shanti: How is creation and recording of new album going? When will you release it?
Michael Meinhart: Things have been going well, we have enough good material already for another EP. The songs so far are a bit heavier, but there are some really strong ones in there. We plan on doing more exploration before looking to record, but what we’ve already come up with is exciting. I’ve always wanted this project to be diverse, with different styles and approaches to music, so there is much more experimentation to be done before going into the studio. So, we don’t quite have a time frame for a new album release yet, but it is definitely on the near horizon.
Shanti: How can you describe the future album? What is it like for you?
Michael Meinhart: It’s hard to completely describe and envision what it will be at this point, but based on the existing songs we have written and direction in which I hope to head, it will be diverse in approach, production and meaning, and exhibit a progression in musicianship. The guys that are involved in the project now are incredibly talented and expressive musicians and are capable of beautiful execution of their instruments. The new recording will definitely be a sonic improvement in the way of performance.
I hope to continue to explore production and alternate soundscapes further as was done on the first EP. I’m a big fan of atmosphere, layering and detail, and have always loved exploring those depths with recording. I’m going to push to move that forward and experiment with future releases. I almost look at production and the vision of its execution as another abstract member of the band.
Lyrically, I have different themes and content noted spanning my entire life so far, so it will be interesting to see how those themes fill into the songs. I have a notebook of literally thousands of lyrical ideas that could evolve into songs, but they have to find the right music to realize their full existence. So far with the new demos, it has been pretty organic how the music inspired the lyrical theme, which is very cool for a over analytical perfectionist like myself. I hope to take different approaches with music inspiring lyrics and lyrics inspiring music as we move forward with more creation.
Shanti: Do only you write the song for Socionic?
Michael Meinhart: Originally I wrote the songs for the “Identity” album, but now we are working together on a bunch more songs. It has been a great process so far and we are all really learning how to work best with each other. As I mentioned before, these guys are incredible musicians so it’s really bringing a next level of depth to the new songs, and once there is an idea to pursue, the process for writing a particular song has been pretty quick. More prolific songwriting and subsequent releasing of material is something I think we all want, so it is showing promise. I believe there are near infinite ways to create and I hope to continue exploring various angles and perspectives to produce diverse results while maintaining the voice of Socionic and the quality to which we aspire.
Shanti: Rhys Fulber (Fear Factory, Frontline Assembly, Megadeth, Mudvayne, Delerium, Paradise Lost) helped you with Identity. Does he work with you now?
Michael Meinhart: Rhys produced the “Identity” album and we only worked with him for that time. He played a big part in helping shape the sound of the album as well as the direction and sound of the band with the blending of electronics and layered production. I personally learned a lot from him at that time. I hope to be able to work with him again in some capacity.
Shanti: Are you planning some collaboration for recording or may be for live shows? Who do you prefer to collaborate with?
Michael Meinhart: We don’t have any particular plans at the moment for studio collaboration. As I mentioned, I would love to work with Rhys again one day, but I’m not sure whether it will happen on the next record or not. I’ve always loved the idea of outside collaborations, especially with production and alternative instrumentation, and want to keep that possibility open. We will start considering more about who we will record with soon as we continue to finish more songs.
As far as live collaborations, I was just thinking about those possibilities recently and you can definitely expect something like that in the future. We have ideas to collaborate with my sister, Mo, who is a makeup artist and creature performer, and want to experiment with some cool live performances once we find the right venue. We are also friends with a ton of great musicians in the scene here in LA, so we will most likely do some other performance collaborations with them as well.
Shanti: Tell us more about live shows, please. You explore new sonically and visually new software and technology to use in the project. So what about dynamic light show which you did before or something else?
Michael Meinhart: The project has always been rooted in visual art as well as music and it is something I want to continue to explore with our live shows. With technology, so much is available with which to create as long as you have the vision and technical aptitude. At the moment, we have a custom light show that syncs along with the music and adds another expressive element to our performance. It really helps create a different mood that we think adds to the songs and our set. With the club size venues that we are most often playing now, it can really deliver a great impact.
At the same time, sometimes the smaller venues can be limiting with what we can do with live production. We have pretty big aspirations about what we want to do with our live show in the future, including expressive live video and all other kinds of generative visuals to emote the performance from a different sensory angle. Video is something that I’m really itching to do, but at the moment we are focused on just getting our current set firing without a hitch. As we continue to grow, the live production with definitely be something that comes along with it.
Shanti: You took the initial idea of the band name from psychological science named Socionics. Do you know what type of Socionics types you are?
Michael Meinhart: The psychological science was one of the inspirations for the name, but there are other meanings that derive from more abstract origins as well. It’s funny, now that you mention it, I don’t actually know what my Socionic type is, haha. I know that my Myers Briggs type is what I call INXP, the X being both “F” and “P” since I believe I embody traits of each.
Shanti: You said that for you personally, singing and performing is a huge release that allows you to within the song and escape to another place for that moment in time. It looks like some kind of psychotherapy. How do you think performance is the one of the methods of modern psychotherapy? Is it possible?
Michael Meinhart: To be honest, I haven’t analyzed it to that degree. It is an interesting question, but part of the beauty of it for me is that it allows me to escape and feel rather than measure and rationalize. I tend to over think many things in the creative decision making process and it takes somewhat of a toll on my overall energy and being when existing in conflict, however minor, for any period of time. The absolute beauty of performance for me is that after coming to completion of a creative piece that is a song, and at that point feeling good about the expression it contains, translating it on stage allows me to completely be in that moment retelling a version of that original story. It is consummate release with no conflict of mind, just translation of emotion through body. It is quite a remarkable thing, especially when resonating with other musicians on stage and people in the crowd. It’s almost hypnotizing in a healing way.
I’d be interested to know more about the potential science of that experience, but I don’t feel a great need to pursue it. The creative and boundless side of me is quite content just knowing that it exists.
Shanti: Lyrics of Socionic’s songs are so deep and personal. You explain lyric and video meanings for Stain Serenity and Epiphany. Are you going to do it for all of the song?
Michael Meinhart: Thank you for saying so, that comes as a great compliment. Lyric and prose writing has been very cathartic and revealing to me over the course of my life and there seems to be some kind of relief and understanding found by diving deeply into those sometimes dark places and feeling around for what might be found. It is often difficult and sometimes painful at the onset, but is truly powerful as it takes a life of its own.
I do actually intend on writing entries about the deeper meaning to each song, and have a couple others already completed. The initial intention was to do an artwork video for each song and release the accompanying blog post along with the video, but the video production ended up being a little more involved and time consuming than I first imagined, so that process faltered a bit. I will end up releasing them though, hopefully soon, and I hope to do that for future songs as well.
Shanti: Socionic makes art music video and other art things. Also one wonderful make up artist Mo Meinhart made body art inspired by music of the band. Are you going to do something else together may be for photo set or live show?
Michael Meinhart: Yes, we are indeed very into the visual arts as well as other mediums of expression and it is something that I hope to continue to explore. I’m fascinated by artists of every medium and would love to get the chance to expand through collaboration in the future. Its funny that you mention it, because we already have plans to do a bigger band photo shoot with Mo. She also does costume design, so we were exploring the idea of doing different things with the shoot. As I had mentioned in one of the other questions, we would also like to do some kind of live performance on stage with her and some of her other creature performer friends once we can find the right venue around here to pull it off.
Shanti: This question about body art reminds me one more question I want to ask. What do you think about sound track? Do you want to write music for movies or games?
Michael Meinhart: Personally I love scores and soundtracks and its always been something that I’ve been interested in pursuing. I’m a big fan of production and as well as big compositions with different instruments and electronics. I love listening to scores by artists composers like Clint Mansel, and Hans Zimmer. I also love how Trent Reznor expanded and diversified his work outside of NIN for the scores that he did. He brought a different approach to the soundtracks he did and it was a really fresh take. It’s amazing how music really effects the tone of a film.
Getting back to the question, I think that some of the music we have and are working on would work really well for certain types of film as it is. I would also like to expand into creating more diverse compositions and arrangements outside of the rock and metal formats as part of our writing process moving forward which may also lend well to fitting film or games. It’s certainly something I would like to pursue.
Shanti: What kind of movies or games do you like?
Michael Meinhart: I love dystopian and sci-fi movies, and I’m also into fantasy and psychologic movies as well. I’m into special effects and visuals so sci-fi and fantasy movies are always fun to watch even if the story isn’t that great. I love worlds and environments created through special effects. It is such an expansive part of the imagination that can be realized through the power of modern movie technologies. It’s something I tried to do, in a very modest fashion, with the “Epiphany” video.
Shanti: What inspires you now? You posted great article about ways for getting inspiration in the blog. Do you find your own way?
Michael Meinhart: For me, inspiration comes from a near infinite amount of places. Considering myself a modest student of modern psychology, just asking questions that lead to more questions that become exploration of the abstract makes for great creative material. That is something that I think will always continue to fuel my creative pursuit. I have pages and pages of themes and questions that I would love to translate into some kind of creative expression at some point.
Emotion and observation in a more literal sense are also huge forces of inspiration for myself. Some of the songs we have and more that we are working on contain an element of anger and frustration and I have found that music is a great way to release and come to terms with that. In a more immediate fashion, I think those concepts are very clear inspirations. Observation of Self and relationships with those around us are also great influences for creativity.
Musically, we are all influenced by diverse types of music from today and the past. I think the main focus of what we are exploring is how to translate musical inspiration with the broader creative themes that really motivate the process.
Shanti: And about the blog. Is it your way for sharing your thoughts and opinion or dialog with fans?
Michael Meinhart: I think that so far the blog is an alternate outlet for expression outside of the musical process. There are so many themes to explore that the blog is a good way to pursue those outside of what makes it into songs on which we are working. At the same time, the blog works as inspiration for lyrical content as well. The blog entry “Love Note to My Anima” has already made itself into one of the new songs that we wrote this year and are playing at shows. That was a really exciting connection for me to have the explorations in the blog fuel the songwriting process. I envision that happening more moving forward. Its somewhat of a matter of stimulating creative exploration on different levels and more often.
Prose takes less effort and production to pursue thought and theme than writing and recording a song or album, so its easier to get it out there. Also, as you mentioned, its a great way to initiate conversations with other people and turn the exploration of that theme into something more communal. That’s quite a beautiful thing in itself and part of the power of the social internet of today. Overall, we have been looking for more ways to expand the voice of the band beyond that of music and performance. I really want to be an artist first, music being central, but ultimately just one pathway among many through which to explore and communicate.
Shanti: Once you named three best songs from Identity – Epiphany, Prodigal and Aisa Morta. Is it still these songs or you change your opinion?
Michael Meinhart: It is difficult to clearly name any favorite song at any given time. Especially being a lyricist, each song created represents a part of me and a reflection of an intimate process of personal exploration. There are a couple new songs that we are finishing that I really love and I’m excited to record and continue to perform. I will always hold “Epiphany” in special regard, whereas it was one of the first songs written and I think in some ways best embodies what Socionic means to me both lyrically and sonically. With that said, I’m very excited about the future evolution and progression of the music and creative pursuit.
Shanti: Unfortunately good things end fast so we need to say thank you again and the last our question. What do you want to say for fans of Socionic?
Michael Meinhart: Thanks again for the opportunity to do this interview, and I would like to thank everyone who has given us support and inspiration up to this point. It’s been an incredible journey already being able to meet and communicate with so many people online who help stimulate intellectual conversation and the inspiration to create more. In the new world of digital media and viral type content, it is essential to have the support of people who truly believe in music as art and who share the hunger and passion for questioning and progressing. We are truly grateful, and look forward to connecting with many more like minded people through music and art.