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Paul Masvidal Gives Update on New Cynic Music and Rebuilding His Identity After Lawsuit

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Relationships are hard enough, and I would imagine that the dynamics between touring musicians are even more difficult. While you might have to wake up next to an ugly face every day, touring musicians have to wake up to four of those and then stay on a bus or van together for unreasonable lengths of time. That would put a strain on any relationship.

In this week’s episode of The MetalSucks Podcast, we sat down with Paul Masvidal to discuss how he had to rebuild his identity for his new solo project (simply titled Masvidal) after the legal fight over Cynic’s name back in 2015. He also sheds some light on the upcoming Cynic album, which isn’t as far off as some might think.

Speaking on the process of discovering who he was after his split with longtime creative partner Sean Reinert:

I feel like it’s the human element of people when they go through certain things whether it be a divorce or something like that, and it doesn’t even have to be a musical partnership, but there is a journey to reclaim your identity and step away from your old identity. Did you feel that process happening?

“Oh yeah, I mean I completely had essentially grown up with this guy (with Sean) and every musical project I have done since we were children involved him next to me, so it was really the first time I was kind of reclaiming myself without that mirror, without that reflection. And often in any relationship — this one being a creative relationship — but even intimate relationships with couples, if you go through a divorce or break-up with the partner, you’re often trying to figure out who the hell you are in the months and years post that situation. You’ve kind of wrapped your whole identity around this dynamic with this person as your mirror, so it’s an unraveling and it’s a rediscovery and reclaiming of one’s self, and that’s really what this has been for me.

“I mean, that’s one component. It’s kind of like ‘who am I’ and ‘what am I trying to say,’ and ‘what’s at the root of all this?’ It’s been really therapeutic in that sense. That’s probably where that healing component comes in with the tones and all that science, almost like therapy. Music always has been therapy. This is definitely another level of therapy that went deep.”

On new Cynic music:

The last Cynic record that you put out was 2014, Kindly Bent to Free Us, and as we know we’re focused on your solo stuff [in this interview], but do you think that it will take a long time for you to want to revisit that band, and restart it back up?

“Oh, well, no. Cynic has been an ongoing thing in the background. I know we haven’t had a lot of online presence, it’s been pretty low key and quiet. There’s a lot of reasons for that, which at some point maybe I will publicly explain, but at this point, [bassist Sean] Malone and I are communicating regularly and swapping files. We have the workings of a new record that are there, and we’re working with Matt Lynch (the drummer) out of Atlanta, and at some point in the next I don’t even know when, before the end of the year or early next year, we will have a record delivered and kind of be on that train promoting the new Cynic work. Again, Cynic has never been a band to rush things and can somewhat argue to a fault but we’ve never been interested in producing things in that way.

“It’s more about just being organic about our process and letting things naturally develop, and coming back to it in an authentic and genuine way versus in an obligatory way. Too many of my friends from early have found themselves in a situation where they could have a career as working musicians and ended up in a cycle of work versus inspired work. I’ve always been afraid of that, not wanting to get into that place where I’m feeling like I have to be in a cycle versus producing real art that holds up and will stand up over time. ‘I truly have something to say’ versus just pumping things out. It’s easy for me at least to write songs because it’s something I do every day, or nearly every day, but writing and composing isn’t the hard part, it’s really finding the entire thing and ‘what are you trying to say? what is this? what does it mean?’ and not getting too carried away with all that, because that can slow you down as well. It’s really a fine line between trying to produce art that has some meaning and substance and holds up. Those are kind of the governing principles of this Cynic project. It’s ruled by that versus the machine of business.”

If you’re wondering what his new solo project sounds like, you can listen to Masvidal’s recently released singles here, and stream the entire podcast episode featuring his interview below!

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