Sunday, June 15, 2014

Steel Prophet Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

We've been planning our record release party on July 19th in Ventura CA with Night Demon and Venomous Maximus.  Other than that not much just doing press and waiting for the album to debut!

2.You have a new album coming out in July, how would you describe the musical direction of the newer material and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

I'd say it explores new territory, but owes a lot to our past as well.  Ithink I’ve grown a lot as a writer and performer, so I think there are things that are done better on this new album, than we’ve ever done.  But we still owe a lot to our past, and this album reflects a lot of that.  I see it as being a mixture of the “Goddess Principle”, “Dark Hallucinations” and “Messiah”, but with more developed ideas.

3.This is going to be the bands first album in 10 years, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap?

We didn’t mean for it to be such a long gap, but when we started to work on writing new songs it was a slow process.  It took us a lot of time.  Then the recording took a long time.  I estimated I spent 2800 hours of my time alone, without counting other people's time like the mix and all the other musicians performances!  Like a lot of artists these days we are doing a lot of the recording and editing at home with computers, and I've found this really slows the process down.  On our older albums we would write for a month, rehearse the songs for a month and record for a month then be done with the whole album in 3 months.  With this album we spent almost a year writing it, about a year and a half recording it, and 7-8 months mixing it (R.D. Liapakis from Mystic Prophecy was the mix engineer).  Then when it was completely finished it took us a few months to find a label, then the artwork was created, and it is finally ready.  It took about three years from the time we stopped writing to finishing.

4.Your lyrics over the years have covered some political, esoteric and conspiracy theme topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these subjects?

I'm a curious type of guy, interested in most everything.  How the human mind and condition works is always fascinating to me.  Rick is the conspiracy guy though.  I'm a bit more skeptical, but we marry the two ideologies together pretty well I think.

5.The band has been around since 1983 and while there where some demo's in the mid 80's and early 90's the first full length was not released till 1995, what was the cause of that?

No Labels were interested.  We tried to get a record out for years, be it Metal Blade, Capitol, etc.  No one would take a chance on us until Brainstorm in 1995.

6.When you first formed the band 30 years ago, did you ever think you would of still been around in 2014?

No, I was looking that far into the future!  It's kind of surprising in a way, but I love to create and I was pretty sure I would always love music and have a need to create it.  I never considered such longevity for the band though, because rock and metal was pretty 'new' at the time.  Black Sabbath was barely 10 years old around then.  The book wasn't written yet.

7.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Steel Prophet'?

Just the classic mixing of hard with soft along the lines of Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, etc.  The prophet part was kind of important though because we really wanted to be mystical and foretell things to our listeners...

8.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I think our Wacken performance in 2000 was pretty special for our fans.  Also, the KIT 2013 was a milestone.  Opening for Fates Warning, Candlemass and Armored Saint back in the old days was always pretty awesome too.  Opening for Edguy and Gamma Ray on our 1999 tour was a lot of fun.  I especially will remember opening for my walking buddy Ronnie James Dio at the Heavy Oder Was festival in 1999.
Our performance is very energetic, almost punk in a way.  Lots of jumping, moshing, thrashing, laughing and smiling!

9.The new album is coming out of Cruz Del Sur Music, how would you compare working with this label to the other ones that you have been a part of in the past?

I love Enrico from the label.  He treats me like a partner in our enterprise.  We brainstorm ideas and decide on them together.  With other labels they tell you what you're going to do and how you will do it.  If you have new ideas to try out they are usually rejected.

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of power metal?

Great.  Lots of fans in Germany, Netherlands and Greece more than any other place I'd say, but we have some fans in just about every country.  Our US brand of power metal is a bit different than the European version as you probably know though...

11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Getting better.  Honing our ideas more skillfully.The musical future is bright but unknown.  I have some song ideas for the next album, and I'd say the prog elements will be in the instrumentation and harmonies more than the song arrangements.  It's gonna have a lot of the same elements as this new one, but only time will tell where the ideas lead to with Jon and JT back in the fold to add their take on things...  I know there's going to be lots of melody and harmony, and the guitar orchestra concept will always be there in my works.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I always fall back on Queen, Zep, Pink Floyd, Nugent, BoC, Mountain, Randy Rhoads, Van Halen, Schenker, Scorps, Kiss, Aerosmith, Starz, Priest, Riot, etc. They were my primary influences in the beginning and I still hear new stuff in their stuff every time I put it on.  Just basic music and harmony theory have had a huge impact on what I do.  Truthfully, I am listening to a lot of Beethoven lately.  He's been like a revelation to me recently.  I don't know how I missed him for so long. 

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

I'm an avid back packer.  I've done month long solo hikes in the Maine wilderness, New Hampshire, etc.  I also love to garden.  Tomatoes are my specialty.  I've been in a flag football league for many years now and have been on a couple championship teams.  I'm in electrical engineering and love being involved in the design of new electronic gadgets.  I also just love staying connected to my friends and family and appreciate good beers and tequila…  Truthfully, it's harder to find something I'm not interested in than to list all my interests.  One thing i'm not into is drama and gutless people… But who is?  Not even wimps like other wimps, right?

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for the chance to connect with your readers and talk about our new album! 

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