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City of Souls - Interview: City Of Souls

01 May 2020 // An interview by Chris Chick

Auckland alt-rock outfit City Of Souls have dropped their mammoth 16 track debut album Synaesthesia. Chris Chick from Muzic.net.nz had the privilege of speaking to Marcus Powell and Trajan Schwencke about their journey, influences and the future. Here's what went down:

How have you as a band, and individually, been coping with the COVID-19 situation and the lock down?

Marcus: Well, it did cancel the Blindspott Tour and the Deftones opening slot - City of Souls planned the release of the album around these shows, but we trucked on and thought we cannot delay any further so during COVID we researched how to make dope videos and stream and engage with our audience. It’s great that technology can keep us so connected and also chat with fans from all over the world.

Trajan: We have utilised the resources available to migrate all our meetings online to ensure smooth transition of business. Individually we have been adhering to lockdown protocols as per in accordance with Level 4 lockdown requests. And Mad Men. lots of Mad Men.

Your new album Synaesthesia comes out on 1st May 2020, an exciting time, especially in strange circumstances. What was the journey like bringing this project together? what was the inspiration?

Marcus: Five years ago we released Sleep. We had worked on a lot of these songs building up to this release and we did hit a lot of obstacles on the way. Cancelled tours, management and record deals etc but everything for a reason right? I feel the time created a family. The boys in the band, the partners and children we all have and the fans. Especially our street team. I feel like I could call those guys anytime if I needed help and I would hope they could ask the same of me. Inspiration for the album came from all of us and our influences. We released some Spotify playlists that highlight our musical influences but also drew on stories that have made who we are.

Trajan: I was discussing this with Steve the other day that we were both very different people now to when we started, and it’s all for the better. The goals that we set out in the beginning were right up there with other slightly impossible bucket list things, there was bound to be some bumps along the road. Ultimately it’s been a rush, some of the best times of my life with these guys, and when I have had some of the lowest they were there for me too. It has been a well-supported journey of exponential growth.

What are your favourite parts of the album?

Marcus: Lifeblood is magical. It’s the first track and holds a special place with me having the song start with the sound of my daughters heart beat in her mum's womb.

Tying Tongues is just epic, The outro is just so much fun to play, Shimmer as well is a lot of fun. I could go on with every track to be honest.

Trajan: Drums on the album are world-class. Corey did a great job. Vocally Lifeblood and Brushstrokes give me a vibe every time I hear them, Richie has such a unique and beautiful voice. He has that warm familiarity like the male vocalists of the 80's I grew up with. I think that’s why a lot of people have resonated with the songs because his voice really draws you in. Lyrics too. And the Mix! Foz did a stand-out job. I’m a huge fan of this band and album, I would have died to do this stuff as a kid.

We are now 30 years into the future, what would you hope people say about you in regards to your music, and in particular, the new album?

Marcus: That this album is timeless. I would hope that they listen to it then and the emotions that are felt still resonant with them and new listeners. I am super proud of every part of this album

Trajan: I would hope that the swamp is drained, the Deep-State is defeated, much needed suppressed technology has been released to the public to heal the Earth and its occupants. Most importantly music is now seen as an essential healing tool for people recovering from 6000 years of a satanic death cult posing as world government. I would hope that this album was instrumental in people’s journeys.

What has been your most memorable moment so far (within the music world) on this crazy roller coaster ride we call life?

Marcus: Well, when Blindspott released Nil By Mouth, I remember the feeling I had then... It’s the same as what I am experiencing now with COS. Excitement, anxiety, love etc... You put your heart into a project and it is a direct reflection of you as an individual as well as a band member. The tours and the people are what is memorable. Meeting the people who listened and created their own story from something you've created. That is priceless.

Trajan: Getting a hug from Corey Taylor out of the blue, that was some childhood dream stuff. I was standing in the hallway before we went on stage at Spark and he walks past. I’m very shy and I never want to impose on bands even if they’re my heroes. I quietly said, “Thank you for having us, Mr Taylor”. He turns around, all 5 feet of him, looks at me and says, “Cut the crap, it’s Corey, bro” and pulls me in for a hug. Legend. After that: The last Blindspott Tour before it got cut short from Covid-19, vibes were so good.

If you had to describe your journey so far as a band, what song would best describe that journey and why?

Marcus: Again Lifeblood, the dynamics in that song is a reflection of COS journey. The fact that this album is out proves how much we love it. Endurance, perseverance and passion are the words I would use for this album

Trajan: Lifeblood. It’s 100% us. That song has our DNA all through it. I recorded that song on the day that I got divorced, Richie penned the lyrics while going through some real heartache in Paris. The song is us, a little older, a little wiser, doing exactly what we want to do without compromise and that's basically our journey.

Who would you say you are most influenced by and why?

Marcus: As a musician I would have to say my environment. Growing up with a musical family but also being surrounded by so much culture and different ethnicities I was absorb into sound. Music of all genres at many different times. I love music as a whole. The story telling, the riffs, the beats. All gives me incite to another person and that is where I connect

Trajan: I’m influenced a lot by Steve, he has actual Synaesthesia [experiences sound as colour] and I’ve found that his favourite sound/colour combinations give off the vibes that I also like. I tend to trust his judgement on melodies because he does have an extra point of reference that can refer to.

Where do you think the next stage of your progression is? to the point where you can say you have made it a bit further up the ladder.

Marcus: We will always aim to raise the bar. And always looking ahead. We have already started on album two and looking at the overseas market. That’s where we are looking

Trajan: A Collab with Chino, or Scott Ian from Anthrax speaking highly of me on a music documentary of some kind. Catering by Gordon Ramsey? Haha, I’m not too sure, life’s internally pretty good at the moment.

What are you most thankful for?

Marcus: My partner Denise. She holds it together for me. I work a lot and put so much energy into my projects. Denise has always supported me and gave me a daughter who is my best friend. You’re only as strong as the people who carry you. I’m grateful for everyone who has supported this project, Blindspott and The Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa. It all ties in. Gratitude

Trajan: Free thought. I had to think about that one for a bit and it took a while. I realised this lockdown scenario we are all in has given me time to think, and a lot of it has been reflective and positive. I think free thought is so important and the ability to objectively question things is a gift. All of our best stuff comes out when the vibes are right and we can just relax, be ourselves and create.

If you could play in any venue around the world, where would that be?

Marcus: O2 Arena in London... Brixton Academy... Saw some awesome gigs there. Hollywood Bowl... Anywhere where the Dave Matthews Band has played, ha ha!

Trajan: 1 ) The Marquee 2 ) Royal Albert Hall 3 ) Wembley. Stadium. If those Gallagher twats can bring people out just by being twats, let’s see if we can bring just as many out by NOT being twats.

Tell your fans one thing about yourself that we would never have heard before.

Marcus: I watched every episode of ‘Nashville’ and fricken loved it. Cried on the last episode. Ha ha ha ha!

Trajan: I went to Antarctica with the military in 2007. In fact, I’ve hidden co-ordinates to Out-Of-Place artefacts in the artwork. If I get “suicided” with two shots to the back of the head know that I was of sound mind and happy at the time of this interview!

What exciting things have you got in store for your listeners?

Marcus: BrushStrokes, Lifeblood, White Ghost, Mountain... Have a listen to these. I am a fan as well as a band member!!! I hope you enjoy as much as I do. Much love everyone!

Trajan: As soon as we are allowed out we want to be bathing everyone in the most ethereal live shows we possibly can. We worked our tails off on this album so I want to share it with everyone.


City of Souls Synaesthesia is out now.

Listen HERE


About City of Souls


It is a word that Auckland six piece City of Souls were bound to deal with from their inception. Boasting members from bands that have etched their mark on the local and international hard rock and metal scene such as Blindspott, Blacklistt, 8 Foot Sativa, New Way Home, Cold By Winter, In Dread Response and Solstate, City of Souls was set to stir some interest, and stir they have.

Too often when something is hyped it is followed with disappointment, yet the first City Of Souls single Sleep arrives unashamedly explosive, touting emotive energy juxtaposed with a certain calm which will become this band’s signature. Recorded between Dreadstorm Media Auckland and Roundhead Studios, it was mixed by legendary engineer Clint Murphy, and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for City of Souls


Year: 2020
Type: Album

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