Zeal & Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux Talks Stranger Fruit, Influences, Future Music, and More

The frontman cites local hardcore shows and System of a Down as early influences

Zeal & Ardor at Terminal 5 in NYC

Zeal & Ardor are one of the more unique acts on the metal scene, combining “slave spirituals with harsher music elements”, as frontman Manuel Gagneux described the band’s sound in our video interview above.

Heavy Consequence caught up with Gagneux at the Sonic Temple Festival in Ohio, where he discussed the band’s recent tour with Baroness and Deafheaven, their latest album, Stranger Fruit, his influences, and future recording plans.

As far as his exposure to heavy music while growing up in Switzerland, Gagneux told us, “There used to be a lot of squats, where there was hardcore shows, and punk, and I’d go to those. I wouldn’t say I had a sheltered childhood but that certainly wasn’t something my parents introduced me to.” Regarding his international influences, Gagneux cited System of a Down, who happened to be headlining at Sonic Temple festival later that evening.

When it comes to what’s next for Zeal & Ardor, in terms of new music, Gagneux said, “All I do when I’m at home is just write [music]. We’re taking a little time to actually think about what we want to do next, not to just bang out the same stuff again. … So while I’m writing, I’m not really sure where it’s gonna head, so we’ll see.”

(Live Review: Baroness, Deafheaven + Zeal & Ardor Rock NYC’s Terminal 5)

As mentioned, Zeal & Ardor wrapped up a tour with Baroness and Deafheaven back in the spring. Currently, the band has European dates scheduled through November.

In addition to their latest studio album, Stranger Fruit, which can be ordered here, Zeal & Ardor also recently released a concert album, Live in London, which is available here.

See our video interview with Manuel Gagneux above, and check out the video for “Gravedigger’s Chant” below.


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