Uncured is a very talented Progressive Metal band based in New York City, formed by two young but ambitious brothers, Zak and Rex Cox. Their first EP “Spontaneous Generation” featured Max Portnoy, the son of legendary drummer Mike Portnoy, as a guest drummer. And the EP was critically acclaimed. In order to introduce you to this dynamically creative band, we conducted an interview with the main brains behind the music: Zak and Rex.
Hello Uncured! This is Antoine Kanaan from Metal Bell Magazine.
REX: Hello Antoine, thank you so much for taking the time to interview us!
It’s my pleasure Rex. How are you both doing today?
REX: We are doing great, thank you for asking. We were just working on some new material for our full-length album, which we are still writing!
That’s awesome to hear! Before asking you about that, would you mind introducing yourselves to our readers?
ZAK: No problem. Hi, I am Zak Cox from the band Uncured. I have been playing guitar and writing music with Rex for over 5 years now. We have just released our first EP called Spontaneous Generation and it has been receiving critical acclaim! We are so excited to have the opportunity to talk with metal magazines about our music!
REX: Hey, I am Rex Cox from Uncured. I played guitar and bass on Spontaneous Generation. Like Zak, I have been playing guitar and writing music for about 5 years. We are psyched that our first EP has gotten such positive feedback so far!
Wow, you’ve begun writing already? You guys don’t rest on your laurels, do you!
REX: We actually recorded Spontaneous Generation over a year ago, but we wanted to prepare videos and other releases to promote our EP even before the release. Nonetheless, we have been working on the full-length album for about a year and a half so far!
ZAK: Although our first EP was instrumental, our next record will feature Rex and me on harsh and driven vocals, with the occasional clean melodies, similar to Opeth and Lamb of God.
Then “Spontaneous Generation” was pretty much the culmination of 4 years worth of writing music?
ZAK: The 4 songs on our EP are a reflection of about 1 and a half years of writing, but we have written material before then that was not released.
REX: We made sure to be very selective in terms of what made it on to the EP and what got cut from it. We wanted to encompass a wide variety of sounds and instrumentation on the EP to make sure that we were not limited in our writing going forwards.
That’s a very good call; almost always what separates great from good is not what was included, rather what was left out. And having listened to three of the songs on the record, I can tell that you succeeded in following that philosophy. The stuff I heard kicks ass guys.
REX: Thank you very much! We really appreciate hearing that you liked it!
My pleasure. What was the song-writing process like? And did Max Portnoy contribute by writing the drum parts or was he just brought in as a sessionist?
REX: We like to write songs and develop ideas in a variety of different ways. For example, we like to expand upon ideas by playing around with different sounds and influences. We use a lot of acoustic instrumentation and wiki guitars to diversify our sound. We also like to write from a music theory perspective as well to expand the ways that we can write as musicians.
ZAK: Funny story about Max. We initially recorded our EP to sequenced drums, but decided that we would like real drums on the record. We sent our EP to Mike Portnoy and he loved our material so much that he wanted his son Max Portnoy to guest drum. We had already had the drum parts written, but Max added his own flare and helped give the EP more of a live and groovy feel.
It’s something when Mike Portnoy is impressed. Will Max join full time? Will he tour with you?
REX: No, Max was just a guest artist on the EP, so he will not be touring with Uncured. We have located a number of very talented drummers who are interested in joining Uncured full time.
Care to reveal a few?
REX: Sorry, but we are waiting to release our full lineup sometime soon!
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That’s fine! What drove you to write the music that you wrote? What inspired you? And are your parents supportive of what you are trying to accomplish?
REX: We are most inspired by bands like Opeth, Dream Theater, and Lamb of God. Though we find inspiration from these bands, we want to distinguish our own sound.
ZAK: Yes, our parents are completely supportive of us becoming full time pro musicians. We have both left high school and we are encouraged to pursue our dreams. Our dad Mitch Cox owns Conclave Studios in NYC , where we recorded our EP and will continue to record our next records.
Yes, I can hear your influences in the music, but I can also hear your own sound there, which I think is what has allowed your music to boom so fast.
That’s a very tough decision to make, leaving school. Would you advise other aspiring musicians to do the same?
ZAK: Yes, it is a very difficult decision to make, but as long as you have a plan, we feel that we can be successful with hard work and dedication over the next few years. So yes, if there are like-minded and dedicated musicians like us that have a dream, we would encourage them to do whatever it takes to live their dream.
That’s good advice. What was it like, entering the studio to record? Was it a learning experience?
REX: Our dad who is also our engineer/producer owns Conclave Studios and we were very comfortable working in the studio. Our comfort level in the studio was very high, which allowed us to focus on the product, so that we could make the best EP possible and give the best performances possible.
Did you manage to learn anything from your time in the studio?
REX: Though we were very comfortable in the studio, we still learned more about our playing and got to see an even more in-depth recording process.
Thank you! Much the same! My final question is this, where can people listen to your album?
Thank you! Good luck guys. It was a pleasure.
ZAK: Of course! Can’t wait to see that article! Thanks again!
REX: We are very honored to have had this interview. […] It has been a pleasure talking to you sir!
Read more by: Antoine Kanaan.
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