Interview: Cameron Maynard of The Contortionist

Cameron Maynard is the lead guitarist for Indianan progressive metal band The Contortionist. His band released their latest album “Language” last year, and completed their latest tour with TesseracT. I had the chance to sit down with him and discuss his band, influences, and future plans.
How long have you been playing music? How long have you known the current lineup for The Contortionist?
Along with the twins, I have been with the group since the conception in 2007. We met Mike and Jordan in 2011, from touring together. We met Eric in 2012 when he worked on the Intrinsic sessions with us.
Who were your greatest musical influences growing up?
Growing up, I was very fond of the punk rock scene and classic rock in general. I eventually fell in love with the grind/metal genre in early high school and, as a result, became very open minded when it comes to abstract music.
What are you currently listening to? Have you discovered any bands or albums lately?
I have been listening to Coheed and Cambria’s new record The Color Before the Sun, as well as Skyharbor’s Guiding Lights. We just toured with Skyharbor and I really enjoyed them – they are great people on and off stage.
When you aren’t playing music, what do you do in your free time?
I teach guitar and music theory/composition privately in my off-time. I also love to skateboard, read, and design guitar electronics.
What is your favorite song to play live? Why?
I love to improvise and bring a new light to the live moment. So any song that allows for a bit of freedom is one I will have the most fun with.
What equipment do you use?
I have been using my current rig for 6 years now!
I use a 2-channel Mesa Dual Rectifier amplifier, and matching Rectifier 4×12 speaker cabinet.
I use Ibanez guitars exclusively – 6 string, 7 string guitars of all types (RG, S, acoustic, and Jazz hollowbody)
Describe the songwriting process. Is there a primary songwriter, or is it a collaborative effort?
It is most definitely a collaborative effort. We all have our own unique skill set and style.
How has the dynamics of the band changed since vocalist Michael Lessard joined?
We are able to really become the best songwriters we can be, now that we have a dedicated vocalist/writer (whereas before our singer was anchored by also being the keyboard player).
What are some of the themes behind your last album “Language”?
The main theme of Language is that everybody, in their own relative world, is creating reality and telling their own story – regardless of how Language is contrived.
I feel like the album’s sound has matured since your previous album “Intrinsic.” Were there any changes made during the making of the album?
The addition of Michael Lessard, and keyboard player Eric Guenther, is solely responsible for the album’s different sound.
Is there any information you’d like to share about The Contortionist or other personal projects, whether upcoming tour/album news, band updates, etc.?
Everybody should check out our new re-releases of Exoplanet and Language and check us out on tour in Europe and North America early next year.
Thanks to Cameron for taking some time for Crash And Ride Music.