-Interview- Zion Code (4/2/22)

Zion Code talks about their influences, upcoming plans and much more.


From: Ohio
Sounds like: Metal

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Zion Code" and is there any meaning behind it?

Me and Brandon Ball have been friends since age 15 and 16. We started off self recording demos and passing them around high school back in 2007. We were massively influenced by bands like Into Eternity, Annihilator, Death, Nevermore, Trivium, Machine Head, and Chaos Divine. Our sound initially was metalcore and rock but progressively shifted to a more death/prog power metal sound when we became Swallowed By Apathy in 2009. Our first demo was very reminiscent of bands like Savatage, Nevermore, Control Denied, and Everygrey. We thought of the name Zion Code because in the New Testament of the bible Heaven is referred to as Zion and we wanted to have a more heavily direction minus the direct religious religion based overtones compared to our bleaker use of lyricism in Swallowed by Apathy. Essentially it's always been me and Brandon Ball and it's really the same band with a new name and a broader spectrum of elements. Code was with Zion because we liked the ring of said name but also thought of mysticism and esoteric secrets.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

A message that makes the listener think and challenges perspective as our lyrics are very introspective and insightful towards our personal walks in life.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Our music is heavily layered at times yet retains melody, aggression, and groove within the progressive metal spectrum.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Into Eternity, Witherfall, Heaven Shall Burn AND (for a fun fourth Mastodon even though the prospect is unlikely due to their extensive notoriety but two men can dream).

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

Honestly if anything as a strictly studio based band it has helped us because we've had nothing but time but time to self produce, write and improve our sound. Our first record "The Vibrance" was released last September and we've already dropped "Saviour" within 6 months and that is how we garnered FTD's interest.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Metal?

Brandon Mitchell - I think metal is only growing more and more accepted within the general societal consensus of people however whoever found nu metal needs to return it because we like our music to be thought provoking and we feel like bands are having a tougher time in the market due to the vast majority of kids liking nostalgic trends rather than a new pursuit of sounds. With that in mind Lorna Shore and Oceans of Slumber are killing it.

Brandon Ball - The last few years have been really good for metal as far as the mainstream market goes. With bands like Trivium releasing "In The Court Of The Dragon" because it's a really phenomenal follow up to "What The Deadmen Say" and is super heavy and they have continued to be an inspiration for us as far as carrying on that sound from our era. Into Eternity recently reteamed with vocalist Stu Block which was a dream come true for us and they enjoyed our latest record as well and have been longtime friends. It's exciting to see what the metal scene will bring in years to come.

7. What’s the current music scene like locally there in Ohio?

Well, we own a small imprint called Apathy Entertainment and have studio bands and our solo projects signed with as well respectively. Bands we would personally say keep our style alive are Icona Vera and our labelmates on FTD Voices of the Damned, We don't play shows live in venue for obvious reasons but also really like Lower 13 out of Cleveland and A Serpent's Hand.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

Honestly and initially we viewed this as a labor of love because in most cases progressive melodic death metal does not pay it's own bills and is considered not hip in a scene full of spiked haired nu metal kids but we are in it for the long haul. We certainly enjoy money and the finer meats at the market but we overall think it's for the art itself and would rather be heard than overtly worried about the streaming aspects.We do feel that places like Spotify both are good and because exposure is easier than ever before but like any good thing in life your paying to lose a bit of cash for the experience.

9. What’s next for Zion Code?

More albums, no slowing down too long, and hopefully more livestreams and possibly touring eventually with a full band.

10. Any shoutouts?

A shoutout to Brandon Mitchell's girlfriend Heather, former bandmates Zach Smith, Steven Blankenship, Johnny Anderson, and all the beautiful people of Into Eternity including Tim Roth, Jim Austin, and Stu Block. Also a major shoutout to Andrew of Promethean Complex, Wes Devil, Mike of Icona Vera, Philly Dee of Fool The Crow, Hoist the Mast, and Azrael of A Serpent's Hand. Mad love to our sisters, Jen and Ashley and Lou. And to our best friends James Agar, Jesse Gill, and Danny who is co-owner of Licking County Metalheads. Last but not least our adoptive band moms Annie and Susan.