Ivan Moody: Most definitely! When we were over in Iraq playing our USO tour in Iraq, I had one soldier come up to me, and he laid a burnt iPod down on the table. He didn't ask me to sign it. He wanted me to keep it. I looked at him a bit funny at first. He told me one of his closest friends went out on a mission and didn't make it back. Let's leave it at that. When they found him and his things, his iPod was stuck on "The Bleeding". The last thing he was listening to before he went was one of our songs. I literally teared up. I had no words at the time. It's not only the ultimate gratification. It gives new life to your soul that you mean so much to another person. Growing up, music was all I had so it speaks volumes.
Aaron Nordstrom: Wow, that's a story.
Ivan Moody: Heavy, right?
Aaron Nordstrom: I'm almost choking up. That's intense. I don't know if "gratification" is the right word, but it's also not the wrong word. It's a success in a way like a victory. Like you said, growing up, music was all you had. It was like therapy. To turn around and bring it full circle where my art and music is doing that to someone else, there are a couple of kids from around the world who have albinism, and they found me on Facebook. I remember getting a message from this one girl a few years back. She said, "It's so cool to me that I can see someone who has albinism out there kicking ass and destroying the world. It gives me motivation and inspiration that I can do it too". It's like, "Wow, I motivated you to be comfortable in your own skin because I was brave enough or stupid enough to wear my heart on my sleeve?" That's a huge thing, man.
Ivan Moody: It is. Well put, I like that you said "brave enough or stupid enough". I'm going to use that [Laughs].
Aaron Nordstrom: It's one of the two, man!
Which of your songs means the most to you right now?
Aaron Nordstrom: "Pleasure & Pain" has definitely been up there on my list because it's the most aggressive song we have on the record. I tend to get in mood swings so that's my release during the day, which is nice. There's another song, which is not out there yet called "Take This". It's one of the most vibe-y almost prog-y songs on the record. That's always been my favorite on the album. We're starting to bust that out live.
Ivan Moody: I don't have a copy yet. I'm really fucking excited about hearing the entire thing and getting it. You should send it to me [Laughs].
Aaron Nordstrom: I can arrange that.
Ivan Moody: For myself because it's 24 tracks, I will say there's not one I can really pick out. I put so much of my heart and soul into these CDs. I think it encompasses everything we've ever stood for as a unit and also as individuals. There's not one I can put my finger on. There are definitely more fun songs to play live, but otherwise, they've all got a really special place in my heart.
Aaron Nordstrom: It's hard to pick one.
Ivan Moody: Especially because they're yours!
What you been cranking?
Aaron Nordstrom: Still a lot of Tech N9ne.
Ivan Moody: I absolutely love Tech N9ne.
Aaron Nordstrom: Speaking of rappers who have intellect…he's a freaking genius.
Ivan Moody: I don't even consider him a rapper. That guy's a fucking artist.
What's the approach like between playing with a big production and playing intimate rooms?
Ivan Moody: The first time I saw Gemini Syndrome was at the Cheyenne Saloon in Las Vegas, which is a really small club. They had their own production, which was unheard of at the time. They weren't signed yet. They were still working on it, but they had a full light show and the scrims. It blew me away. There's such a level of pride to that. For me, I've got to say production doesn't really effect me. It never has. It's better to have both bubbles so to speak.
Aaron Nordstrom: When it comes to production, we've always aimed to have a visual show with our music. It still comes down to what I'm doing, like you said Ivan. You create that intimacy by being open with the audience and wearing your heart on your sleeve. I remember that Cheyenne Saloon show. We played there since then and even smaller clubs around the country. We did Rock on the Range and a bunch of those festivals. To go from playing to twenty people in Cheyenne to 5,000 in Columbus is definitely a change, but there are certain elements that remain the same when you're trying to interact with people and make them part of the show. In Ohio, there was one kid singing along to a song that isn't released. He knew all of the words. I was like, "How does he know that?" I pointed to the kid and he began freaking out. My fiancé was behind him. He turned around to her, not knowing who she was, and he said, "He played it!" I made that guy's day like he made mine. I thought, "Holy shit, you know songs you shouldn't necessarily know. You put in your work!"
Ivan Moody: If I were you, I would've called my attorney and said, "This dude's a pirate!"
Aaron Nordstrom: [Laughs].
Ivan Moody: I'm just kidding! How the fuck do you know that song I don't even know it!
Aaron Nordstrom: Come up here for me man. We'll switch places!
The turn of the century scene was so influential. You both recognize that and pay it homage.
Ivan Moody: You've got to have respect for that genre. Those bands changed the face of music completely. That's when grunge was really hot, and Pantera was tipping the scales. All of a sudden, here comes this band with this weird four-letter word for a name—Korn. Then, there was Deftones and Limp Bizkit. They created an entire genre by themselves. If you don't give props to that, it's completely wrong.
Aaron Nordstrom: Well said! As those bands have grown, you go back to their early records and see where they've come as artists and musicians. The last two Deftones albums are incredible.
Ivan Moody: It's mind-blowing. Those bands reinvent themselves constantly.
Aaron Nordstrom: They started off as punk kids being mad and screaming and now they're virtuoso songwriters. It's amazing.