Interviews

019: Richard Henshall of Nova Collective and Haken (March 9, 2017)
018: Diego Tejeida of Haken (March 16, 2016)
017: Matt Brookins of Odin’s Court (September 13, 2015)
016: Mike LePond of Symphony X and Silent Assassins (August  5th, 2015)
015: Ian Jones of Karnataka (April 8th, 2015)
014: Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings & Transatlantic (October 16th, 2013)
013: Ted Leonard of Enchant & Spock’s Beard (August 15th, 2013)
012: Ross Jennings of Haken (August 8th, 2013)
011: Scott Mosher of Oceans of Night (July 5th, 2012)
010: Rikard & Magnus of Beardfish (May 15th, 2012)
009: Jonas Reingold of Karmakanic & The Flower Kings (July 11th, 2011)
008: Jon Anderson of Solo & ex-Yes (June 22nd, 2011)
007: Neal Morse of Solo, Transatlantic & ex-Spock’s Beard (May 12th, 2011)
006: Peter Wildoer of Darkane & James LaBrie (April 30th, 2011)
005: Arjen Lucassen of Star One & Ayreon (October 14th, 2010)
004: Shadow Gallery (August 23rd, 2010)
003: Richard Henshall of Haken (June 26th, 2010)
002: Nicolas Chapel of Demians (June 14th 2010)
001: Nicolas van Dyk of Redemption (May 1st, 2009)


019

It was November 2015 onboard the Norwegian Pearl that I first learned about the project that would become Nova Collective. Richard Henshall, guitarist and songwriter of progressive metal shooting stars Haken was telling me about an upcoming trip to America with ex-Haken keyboardist Pete Jones in order to work with Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs on an instrumental outing. Matt Lynch from Cynic would round out the quartet, and now more than a year after they got together The Further Side is finally available to fans.

Over fourteen minutes we discussed this exciting new project, as well as Richard‘s involvement in Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress, as well as a brief look back and forward from the Haken camp. For those interesting in hearing more from Nova Collective you are free to peruse two tracks from the album below.

Buy The Further Side
Nove Collective Online
Haken Online


018

Diego Tejeida has been working the ivory for Haken from nearly the beginning, and has seen his sound evolve with the band. As we discussed in this 25-minute interview, that’s no easy task. We talked about his process for developing the tones you hear on each record, which goes well beyond picking from the usual pre-packaged sounds. We of course talked a lot about Haken‘s forthcoming album, Affinity, which is due out on April 29th. I mentioned in my review of the album all the new styles and sounds seen on this record, and now have a much deeper appreciation for them than I already did.

We also spoke about the evolution of the songwriting in the band, the addition of Conner Green on bass, and playing live, including some discussion of Haken‘s upcoming European and North American dates. Not one to be accused of using clickbait, let me say, no, there are no set American dates, yet, but they will come! And, as we discussed in the interview, you can watch the first track, “Initiate”, below!

Haken Website
Affinity North American Pre-Order
Affinity European Pre-Order


017

Odin's CourtMatt Brookins of Odin’s Court
Interview conducted: 2015-09-13
Interview posted: 2015-09-14

Odin’s Court Website
Support the Kickstarter
Buy Turtles All the Way Down

Odin’s Court have been a part of the prog-metal scene since the early 2000’s, however it wasn’t until 2008, when the band signed to ProgRock Records and released Deathanity, that they gained a far wider audience. Since that time the band has remained busy, releasing 4 more albums. The most recent of those releases is Turtles All the Way Down, which features the vocals of Dimetrius LaFavors. The band is currently in the process of two projects: First, given a sonic update to their breakthrough album Deathanity, including the inclusion of Dimetrius, and second, recording their new album, Turtles All the Way Down II.

I had the pleasure of talking with Matt Brookins, the long time leader of the band about the road they’ve traveled so far, and their immediate future and Kickstarter campaign. We also talked a fair bit about the business side of the band and music in general. I hope you enjoy this 26 minute discussion, and check out the band’s crowd funding campaign to help make the new album, and the re-release a reality. The video below does a great job of documenting the improvements being made to Deathanity, and some sneak peaks into the sequel to Turtles All the Way Down.


016

LepondMike LePond of Symphony X and Silent Assassins
Interview conducted: 2015-08-05
Interview posted: 2015-05-08

Symphony X Website
Buy Underworld
Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins on Facebook
Buy Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins

For over 15 years Mike LePond has handled the bass duties in one of progressive metal’s flagship  bands,Symphony X. He first appeared on their 5th album, and has now been a part of their sound for over 15 years. His duties sandwich him between rhythm section partner Jason Rullo, and guitar shredding extraordinaire Michael Romeo.  The band recently released their 9th album, Underworld, and is gearing up for years of touring, starting with a North American jaunt with thrash legends Overkill.

Mike is also fresh off the heels of releasing Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, which saw him return to his roots, delivering a pure metal performance that any headbanger will appreciate. He is currently working on recording a second album with the band, and hopes to get them into the live setting soon. Finally, Mike is also part of the international collaboration Affector, who released their debut album Harmageddon in 2012.

Mike LePond Interview


015

Ian Jones of Karnataka

Ian Jones of Karnataka

Ian Jones of Karnataka
Interview conducted: 2015-04-08
Interview posted: 2015-04-11

Karnataka Website
Karnataka on Facebook

Ian Jones is the driving force behind British proggers Karnataka. Earlier this year Karnataka released their 5th studio album, Secrets of Angels. If you want to test out the album, there is no better place than our last podcast here that features 3 songs from the disc, including the 20 minute epic title track. Fans in Britain still have 3 opportunities to see the band live this tour; April 12th in Swansea, April 17th in Leicester, and May 9th in London.

As noted at the start of the interview, I apologize for a technical glitch that caused the first two minutes or so of the interview to be corrupted and lost. That said, there was a lot of great topics discussed that didn’t get eaten by technology, and the interview actually “starts” with Ian answering a question about new members to the band and any potential pressures of molding them to the people and sounds that came before them. Make up for my bumble by going out and buying the album!

Ian Jones Interview


014

stoltRoine Stolt of The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, & Agents of Mercy
Interview conducted: October 16th, 2013
Interview posted: October 16th, 2013

Official The Flower Kings Page
Official Transatlantic Page
Official Agents of Mercy Page
Official InsideOut Page

Roine Stolt began his career in the 1970’s as the driving force behind Kaipa, the leading Swedish progressive rock act of their time. In the 1990’s he would start the band he is now most well known for, The Flower Kings. In addition Roine is part of the prog supergroup Transatlantic. The Flower Kings put out an amazing 10 albums between 1995 and 2007, before going on a 5 year hiatus.

While the members of the band always kept active with other projects, this was magnified while The Flower Kings were away, and Roine turned his focus towards Agents of Mercy, and a third Transatlantic album. We now find ourselves on the cusp of a new Flower Kings album, Desolation Rose and an accompanying tour. Then, come 2014 a new Transatlantic album and tour. Listen below to see what Roine had to say about it all.

Roine Stolt Interview

Video for Desolation Rose


013

leonardTed Leonard of Enchant, Spock’s Beard, Thought Chamber and Affector
Interview conducted: August 15th, 2013
Interview posted: August 17th, 2013

Official Enchant Page
Official Spock’s Beard Page
Official Thought Chamber Page
Official Affector Page
Official InsideOut Page

Ted Leonard’s career can be seen as one of feast or famine. The man best known as the lead singer for Enchant first came on the scene with 1995’s A Blueprint of the World. After that Enchant went on to make six more studio albums through 2003. After that Ted stayed largely dormant save a solo album and the first Thought Chamber record, both released in 2007.

Now, with a second Thought Chamber release, Psykerion, on the horizon, the vocalist finds himself soon to record Enchant‘s long awaited next album, part of the international project Affector, and writing and touring with the legendary Spock’s Beard. In the 25 minute interview below Ted and I discussed this recent and exciting resurgence to the prog scene.

Ted Leonard Interview

Video for Submerged (Spock’s Beard)
Video for Transcend (Thought Chamber)


012

JenningsIntRoss Jennings of Haken
Interview conducted: August 8th, 2013
Interview posted: August 9th, 2013

Official Haken Page
Official InsideOut Page

Years ago, Nick spoke with Richard Henshall of Haken as their debut album was smashing full steam into the prog scene. Since then the band has continued to grow, releasing Visions in 2011 and playing ever bigger and more prestigious events and tours. Now the band is set to release their third album, The Mountain. Due out on September 2nd in Europe and September 17th in the United States via InsideOut Music the album promises to continue the strong legacy the band has started.

Click below to hear the 14 minute interview about the bands success, the vocalists take on the writing process and live performances, and the new album.

Ross Jennings Interview

Video for Atlas Stone
Video for Pareidolia


 011

Scott Mosher of Oceans of Night
Interview conducted: July 5th, 2011
Interview posted: July 6th, 2011

Official Oceans of Night Page

Scott Mosher is a song writer, multi-instrumentalist, and all around musical storm that has been brooding in the prog and metal atmosphere for nearly two decades now. His last two albums with vocalist Scott Oliva have been released under the Oceans of Night moniker and feature an interesting spin on prog-metal.

The 24 minute interview below covers topics such as the role of technology in music today, how prog musicians can actually choose to cut down the length of a song (who knew?), and of course the appeal of drum machines with an appetite.

Scott Mosher Interview


010

nickbeardfishRikard Sjoblom and Magnus Ostgren of Beardfish
Interview conducted: May 15th, 2012
Interview posted: May 16th, 2012

Official Beardfish Facebook Page

After not getting too much traction with their debut album, Beardfish did what any prog band would do… they decided to put out a double album. Released in 2006, The Sane Day would be the first of five albums released in six years by the band. The band has received praise from Mike Portnoy, and was scheduled to perform on Progressive Nation in America before InsideOut’s financial woes caused an unfortunate drop from the tour.

The band has pushed on and recently played across Europe with Pain of Salvation, and later this year will open for Flying Colors across Europe. Recorded over January and February of this year the band has a seventh album ready for release in August.

The interview below was conducted prior to the band’s performance in New Jersey on May 15th. The opening act, The Tea Club, was sound-checking at the time of the interview, so I apologize for some audio disturbances throughout.

Beardfish Interview


009

nickreingoldJonas Reingold of Karmakanic & The Flower Kings
Interview conducted: July 11th, 2011
Interview posted: July 11th, 2011

Official Jonas Reingold Page
Jonas Reingold on MySpace
Reingold Records
InsideOut Music

A man of many hats, Jonas Reingold is a musician, producer, and most recently a record company executive. Jonas is the mastermind of Karmakanic, which is set to release In a Perfect World on July 25th via InsideOut music. In addition Jonas is the bassist for The Flower Kings, Agents of Mercy, Kaipa, and others.

This 23 minute interview discusses the new Karmakanic album, some of Reingold’s other bands, Reingold Records, and the possibility of The Flower Kings hiatus coming to an end.

Jonas Reingold Interview


008

Jon AndersonJon Anderson of Anderson/Wakeman & ex-Yes
Interview conducted: June 22nd, 2011
Interview posted: June 22nd, 2011

Official Jon Anderson Page

Nobody could possibly blame Jon Anderson if he would have decided to retire, but taking it easy seems to be the last thing on the mind of the vocalist best known for his work with progressive rock legends Yes. In 2008 Jon faced several near death medical episodes and ended up in a much publicized separation from Yes. However he has come back to music with a renewed spirit and is making the most out of life.

Jon has just release Survival and Other Stories, an album which sees him working with musicians from all around the world. In addition Jon has two more solo albums in the works, is coming off of a solo tour, recently did an album with Rick Wakeman (The Living Tree), and this October/November will be embarking on a tour with Rick. Jon is also planning a live release for this fall to document his 2010 tour with Rick Wakeman.

It seems Jon will always be a busy man, a prolific songwriter, and an inspiring spirit. Let Jon’s energy reach you, please visit his site, buy his albums and go see him this fall with Rick Wakeman!

Jon Anderson Interview


007

nickmorseNeal Morse of Transatlantic & ex-Spock’s Beard
Interview conducted: May 12th, 2011
Interview posted: May 12th, 2011

Official Neal Morse Page
Official Transatlantic Page
Official Radiant Records Page

What can be said about Neal Morse that fans won’t soon know in great detail? The founder of progressive rock giants Spock’s Beard, Neal is set to release the album Testimony 2 on May 23rd alongside a biography entitled Testimony. The interview covers the album and book and also the Testimony 2 tour which will kick off next week and see Neal touring the United States for the very first time as a solo artist.

In addition Neal talked about the recent Transatlantic tour and also announced the some exciting releases are in the works. Come Fall Transatlantic will be releasing a DVD from their Tilburg show and audio from their Manchester show. These will compliment the Live in London DVD/CD release which has already documented the Whirld Tour. And last but not least we talked about the forthcoming project featuring Neal Morse, Steve Morse, Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue and Casey McPherson. The project, MMPLM for short, is said to be quite diverse musically and fans should see a release sometime in the fall.

All of these albums you can now, or will in the future find at Radiant Records, and if you pre-order Testimony 2 now you will receive an email allowing you to download the first disc of the album, allowing fans to have time with the music before the US tour kicks into full swing.

Neal Morse Interview


006

Wildoer-3Peter Wildoer of Darkane & James LaBrie
Interview conducted: April 30th, 2011
Interview posted: April 30th, 2011

Official Peter Wildoer Page
Official Darkane Page
Official James LaBrie Page

Peter Wildoer is a Swedish drummer who recently discovered a whole new audience when he appeared on James LaBrie’s 2010 release, Static Impulse. Though many now know him thanks to that album, Peter was already a successful clinician in Sweden and is the drummer for metal act Darkane. His amazing performance on Static Impulse led James to ask Peter to be one of the lucky seven who would audition to take over for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater. Though the band decided to go with Mike Mangini, Peter has been kind enough to walk us through the audition process as well as tell us what it was like to work with James LaBrie on Static Impulse and to give us an idea of what’s to come.

Peter Wildoer Interview


005

arjenArjen Anthony Lucassen of Star One & Ayreon
Interview conducted: October 14th, 2010
Interview posted: October 14th, 2010

Official Arjen Anthony Lucassen Page

Most known for his work with the rock opera Ayreon, multi-instrumentalist Arjen Lucassen also finds time to work on various other projects. One of those other projects is Star One, which is set to release their second album, Victims of the Modern Age. The album sees a return of original Star One vocalists Russell Allen, Damian Wilson, Dan Swano, and Floor Jansen. Arjen was kind enough to talk with Nick about the new album, how it relates to the greater Lucassen universe, and various other topics. The 23 minute interview can be heard below.

Victims of the Modern age will be available via InsideOut records on October 25th in America and on November 1st in Europe. The release will have two versions, a single disc set, and a two disc special edition featuring a bonus disc with five extra tracks and a video about the making of the album.

Arjen Anthony Lucassen Interview


004

SGShadow Gallery
Interview conducted: August 22nd, 2010
Interview posted: August 23rd, 2010

Official Shadow Gallery Page

Rising from the ashes of the band Sorcerer Shadow Gallery released their debut album in 1992, and later would Gary Wehrkamp into the group. Since then they have put together five more progressive metal albums that are among the best available. Four of those albums (and the debut) featured leading vocalist Mike Baker who suffered a heart attack and passed away in October of 2008. Mike’s vocals were considered an integral part of the band’s sound and his loss was felt deeply within the band and amongst fans. However, the remaining members decided to push on with new vocalist Brian Ashland and in 2009 they released Digital Ghosts. The release saw the band hinting that more could be in the works, that after 17 years as a purely studio project perhaps a few live shows were finally around the corner…

Fast forward to the current day and the current lineup of Brian Ashland, Brendt Allman, Carl Cadden-James, Gary Wehrkamp and Joe Nevolo are set to make their live debut on September 5th in their home state of Pennsylvania (Click for more info). After that the band is headed to Europe for a tour that includes a headlining slot in ProgPower Europe. In the 52 minute interview below the band (sans Brian) discusses everything from the early days of the band, to the story behind Tyranny and Room V, and of course Digital Ghosts and the upcoming tour.

Shadow Gallery Interview


003

HenshallRichard Henshall of Haken
Interview conducted: June 26th, 2010
Interview posted: June 26th, 2010

Official Haken Page

Formed about seven years ago, Haken have been slowly building into the band they are today. Though the band has had to face the often seen problem of members going their own way they pushed on and early this year the band released their first full length album, Aquarius, on Sensory Records. Richard Henshall is the primary songwriter of the band along with being one of the guitarists and keyboard players.

Hen talked to Nick about Aquarius, touring with acts such as King’s X and Bigelf, and plans for the future of the band. You can listen to the entire 24 minute interview below.

Richard Henshall Interview


002

nicolaschapelNicolas Chapel of Demians
Interview conducted: May 29th, 2010
Interview posted: June 14th, 2010

Official Demians Page

In 2008 Demians released their debut album Building an Empire. The album was well received amongst prog fans even though mastermind Nicolas Chapel never set out to make a progressive rock record. After touring Europe with Anathema and Porcupine Tree Nicolas has made a return to the studio to produce the band’s second album, Mute.  Mute will be available in Europe on June 28th and America on July 10th.

Nicolas was kind enough to talk with Nick about the music of Demians, the touring the band has done, and where the band is taking us with Mute. The interview is 38 minutes long and can be heard below.

Demians Interview


001

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANic Van Dyk of Redemption
Interview conducted: April/May 2009
Interview posted: May 1st, 2009

Official Redemption Page

Since 2002 the band Redemption has sent waves through the progressive metal community. With three studio albums under their belt Redemption has just released their first ever live set, Frozen in the Moment: Live in Atlanta, a CD/DVD package set released March 3rd via InsideOut Records. The show was filmed during Redemption’s headline appearance at 2008’s ProgPower Festival.  When Prog and Power Unite is privileged to have a few words with the band’s mastermind, Nic Van Dyk, with additional questions being submitted by you, the fans.

PPU: First of all, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Let’s start with something easy and general… what has personally been the best part of heading Redemption?

NVD: Honestly, the experience of touring with Dream Theater, playing on big stages to thousands of people, was pretty surreal and a real milestone in terms of what Redemption has accomplished thus far.

PPU: What would you say was the definitive artist, concert, or musical experience that really inspired you to pursue music as a career?

NVD: The defining moment to learn guitar came from hearing Gary Moore’s solo from Shapes of Things to Come.  The defining experience that led me to actually release music came much later, and was basically the night I met Ray Alder.  Becoming friends and ultimately sharing my music with him gave me confidence and credibility to attract other musicians and label interest.

PPU: If you had the opportunity to join any band, at any point in their career, what band would it be and when?

NVD: I would say Rush, probably on their Test for Echo tour.  Not so much because of that CD, but because that’s what they started doing “evening with” shows where they play for 150 minutes.  Performing live is a huge rush (no pun intended).  From a studio standpoint, probably either Iron Maiden circa Piece of Mind or Rush circa Moving Pictures.

PPU: As a huge fan of Rush myself I can really appreciate what you’re saying about the switch to the evening with format. But the pendulum swings both ways I suppose, as of not too long ago a band like Redemption would not have had the chance to open for Dream Theater as they were doing evening with tours up until the Chaos in Motion Tour. I’ve been able to talk with Redemption’s bassist Sean Andrews on a couple of occasions and I know he is a big Rush fan as well, is this a common influence throughout the band, or just for the two of you? And are there really any bands that a big group of musicians like Redemption can generally agree upon?

NVD: Sean, Chris and I are ravenous fans.  Chris knows, I am pretty sure, their entire catalog.  Sean knows a lot of it, too.  At rehearsals, they would always just start fooling around playing stuff like Digital Man, flawlessly, of course, and I could never keep up unless they played one of the 10 or so songs that I have committed to memory.  Greg, Bernie and Ray are fans as well, but probably not as over the top as Sean, Chris and I are.  When we were in Toronto on tour with DT, we broke into YYZ in the middle of Bleed Me Dry.  It was just too tempting not to – here we were, in Toronto, playing on Rush’s hometown stage where they had played a month before us, and there’s a little break in the song where I normally played two bars of Spirit of Radio before resuming the rest of the track.  So the night before we decided to do the intro to YYZ there instead and the crowd response was amazing.  This is captured in some of the bonus materials on the DVD.

PPU: What group of bands would you most like to tour with? (Aaron, Texas)

NVD: The Dream Theater guys were fantastic to us.  We had a lot of fun with Into Eternity as well – great guys.  I’d love to go out with DT again.  I think it would be fun to play with Symphony X as well.  Threshold is another band that would be musically compatible and it would be a lot of fun to try to do some shows together with them – I think the fanbase would be very complementary.  We’re friends with Evergrey and it would be fun to play with them.  Kamelot, also, seems like a good match.  At the next level, opening for somebody like Rush or Iron Maiden or Heaven & Hell is something that would be a dream, of course.

PPU: I first saw Redemption live during the Chaos in Motion tour in 2007. How was your overall experience in regards to touring with Dream Theater? (Chris, Maryland)

NVD: 100% positive experience.  They were very good to us, and their crew and management was fantastic.  We got along very well, had a lot of fun, and got great exposure.  I really hope we have the opportunity to do it again sometime!

PPU: I (Nick) was at the final three shows on the tour you did with Dream Theater, and I have to ask about that final show in Philadelphia. For those who don’t know, you guys all dressed up as giant ants, which of course was a play on Dream Theater’s artwork, and then I believe Ray Alder chased you guys around stage during Dream Theater’s The Dark Eternal Night dressed as a can of Raid. Who came up with the idea for this shenanigan, and was there any fun happening behind the scenes that we don’t see in the bonus footage of Frozen in the Moment?

NVD: Well I have to give Ray credit for the inspiration, but I will take credit for the perspiration.  Ray mentioned off-handedly about midway through the tour that it would be funny if we all ran onstage in ant suits.  I don’t think he thought anything would come of it, but I had this vision, including one of us dressed up as a can of raid chasing the rest of us around.  I cleared this with DT’s stage manager, of course, because we wouldn’t do something like that without clearance.  Then Bernie and I went shopping.  I spent most of the day making the outfits…ultimately there were four ants (me, Ray, our tour manager Mike and Bernie) and our keyboard player Greg was the can of raid.  I spray-painted a trash can yellow and wrote “Raid” on the side and then got a red lampshade that looks like the spray-button for him to wear on his head.  We had a blast – it was fun as hell.  Mike laughed, I even saw the implacable John Myung crack a smile.  John was too focused on his guitar playing to notice.  Jordan did a double-take.  All in all, it was in good taste and everybody thought it was fun.  Most of this is captured pretty well on the DVD.

PPU: Which do you find more rewarding, writing the music or the lyrics? (Alex, Pennsylvania)

NVD: Generally speaking, I enjoy music more than lyrics.  Of course at their best, the two are related, with the music complementing the meaning of the lyrics and vice versa, but I can get the emotion from the music more readily than just the words.  I’m also a perfectionist and while I constantly find things I would change about both, there’s usually less that I want to change about the music than the lyrics.

PPU: Do you generally build a song around a lyrical theme or concept or start with music and basically build from the ground up?

NVD: It can vary.  To take two opposite examples from our last CD,The Origins of Ruin, the intro guitar part to the song Fall On You is something I wrote sitting down with an acoustic.  I remember hearing the melody line and coming up with the one vocal line “run faster now, don’t look back till you’re far away” but the rest of the song was written before any other words.  Conversely, the song Memory came together in snippets but I vividly remember being on a golf course, by myself, when the melody and words “I don’t want the emptiness that a spotless mind would bring”  came into my head, and I wrote chords to support that melody line.  So it’s a little of both – the music probably comes first most of the time, though.

PPU: Do you usually write out guitar solos in advance or just improvise them when you record?

NVD: A little of both.  Typically I’ll hear something in my head that will fit as a signature motif in the solo, and I’ll either begin from there or write something up to it depending on where it falls in the solo.  Usually I’ll combine spontaneous performance with writing, or I’ll play something spontaneous and then modify if it it’s not quite on the mark.  I’m always mindful of something that Dave Meniketti from Y&T once said: a solo should have a memorable beginning, and memorable end, and something to chew on in the middle.

PPU: How often do you spend critiquing your music and particularly lyrics? Do you consider yourself a perfectionist when it comes to your music?

NVD: As I intimated above, I spend a LOT of time doing this – more than is healthy, probably.  When I hear our music I think of what I’d change, whether compositionally, lyrically, production-wise, etc.  Thankfully there is less and less as time goes on, which hopefully is indicative of improvement as a songwriter.

PPU: As someone who’s never heard your music, where would you personally recommend I start, and why would that be your pick? (Matt, Wisconsin)

NVD: I would start with our most recent CD, The Origins of Ruin, and if a song had to be picked I would probably choose Fall On You, because it runs the gamut from some of the more technical stuff, some of the more aggressive stuff, but also some of the more melodic stuff we do.  It’s hard to pigeonhole a single song.  The common theme in our music is what I would call emotional and musical urgency.  That can be conveyed a number of ways – sometimes it comes across more aggressively, other times less so.  So any single song can be misleading.  Unless, of course, you want to devote 16 minutes.

PPU: What is behind the lyrics and inspiration for the song Sapphire? (Bill, NJ)

NVD: At its most basic level, Sapphire is about a painful end to a relationship, one without closure, and being doomed to wonder what might have been. It’s an aggressive, sweeping progressive metal love song, I suppose.

PPU: Is the song “The Fullness of Time” based on a personal experience you had or that someone you know experienced?

NVD: Sorry to say, it’s something I experienced first-hand.  I was betrayed by a friend, and I went through feelings of tremendous rage, disappointment, and self-doubt before ultimately moving on.  Frankly I’m still pretty heated about it so maybe I’ve got a bit more growing to do.  J

PPU: What was it about Stephen King’s “Desperation” that inspired you to write a song about it?

NVD: It’s funny; I’m not the world’s biggest Stephen King fan.  But I do think in those instances where he tackles a “big” subject, as he did in this novel or in The Stand, and he gets it right, it’s pretty compelling fiction.  In the case of Desperation, the novel is really an examination of faith, and my sense is it is at least somewhat autobiographical as he wrote this after a near-death experience and the transformative character in the story is a writer who has been tortured for years by self-loathing and he ultimately embraces faith – not a simple-minded faith or a blind faith, but a reluctant one that accepts the ugliness and difficulties and irrationalism of faith without apology.  It’s a beautiful story from that perspective and, I feel, quite moving.  Of course now I don’t plan on adapting any third-party stories for more songs and I think that whole process is a little sophomoric, but I’m at least proud of the source material I used both for that piece and for Something Wicked This Way Comes.

PPU: When people familiar with the music of Redemption watch Frozen in the Moment for the first time, what do you think they will be most impressed by? What aspects to seeing Redemption live do you think are special in general?

NVD: That’s a good question. I think Redemption is a special band because while there is good playing, we aren’t about virtuosity – people either connect with the emotions our music stirs or they do not.  I think, in all modesty, we’re pretty tight and there are some very cool technical sections (the end of The Suffocating Silence is one part, the pre-solo technical section in Sapphire which is pretty nuts is another, etc)  that are fun to watch.  Our drummer, Chris, is a lot of fun to watch.  And our keyboard player really gets into it, too.  All in all, it’s a fun DVD to watch.

PPU: Are there any particular moments from the Frozen in the Moment show of which you enjoyed? Any certain songs that you always love to play?

NVD: I love the beginning of our shows…the rush of hitting those first notes in Threads was one of the special moments for me on that tour. I also really like The Suffocating Silence.  We play it very up-tempo and heavy, and the technical section at the end is a blast to play.

PPU: Can you briefly explain to me what it was like recording Frozen in the Moment, and what went into taking that performance and making it into the product that will be in my DVD player very soon!

NVD: It was a great set of circumstances.  We’re part of the ProgPower family, as I’ve been a friend of the organizer from the very first one and we’ve performed there before, albeit as a much less experienced band.  We had the advantage of the tour with DT to work ourselves into shape, and we were going to be playing to a “home crowd” of sorts – they didn’t come just to see us but we fit into the bill pretty well.  The setup there, from the cameras to the audio, is totally professional – the promoter does an amazing job.  And he had been putting out DVDs of the performance for a number of years so it was a matter of negotiating a deal with him to get our own film, and making sure we got the audio as well.  From there, it was a matter of showing up and feeding off the crowd.  We had a blast with that performance.  The finished product is very true to the actual performance – no overdubs or re-tracking or stuff like that.  I think it adds a human touch to it – we’re pretty tight, but you can tell it’s an authentic performance.

The process of editing the video was a lot of work. I did it myself using Final Cut and it wound up taking a very long time, but I think it was worth the effort.  Putting together the bonus materials was a labor of love, but we had so much good material and so many memories from the DT tour that I wanted to preserve that I knew we had to do something pretty special with it, and I think the bonus materials are really, really cool.  I’m very happy with the quality of the audio, and I have to credit Matt Crooks for mixing and Ty Tabor for mastering.  The package turned out great from my perspective.

PPU: I believe Redemption is currently working on a new studio album, how is that coming along?

NVD: As I type this, we are almost finished mixing and will be turning the master over to Inside Out in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully the CD will be out late summer.

PPU: Is the forthcoming album going to be generally in the vein of the previous two albums or will it show more experimenting in new territory?

NVD: The materials are a little more varied than the last CD, although people won’t be scratching their head wondering what happened to Redemption.  Expect very heavy prog metal with big choruses and a balance between technicality and economic songwriting.  We do some heavier stuff than we’ve done before, and we have some more sweeping prog stuff as well.  I think our fans will really enjoy it – we’ve had a lot of fun recording it.

PPU: What is the probability that Redemption will do any form of headlining touring here in the States on the next album?

NVD: I think a major headlining tour is probably not in the cards – we aren’t big enough yet.  J   I think we will play some shows, though, and I’d love to team up with some other prog bands, or obviously if we got another opening slot that will expose us like the DT tour did, that’s something we’d jump at.

Links:

Official Site: http://www.redemptionweb.com/
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thebandredemption
InsideOut Records: www.insideout.de

Redemption Is:

Ray Alder – Vocals
Nicolas van Dyk – Guitars and Keyboards
Bernie Versailles – Guitars
Sean Andrews – Bass
Chris Quirarte – Drums
Greg Hosharian – Keyboards

Update on Redemption’s 4th Studio Album:

Hello folks. Been a while since an update…hopefully for those interested the DVD has been a good means of tiding you over, but we will have new music out in the next few months and I can share some details at this time.

Redemption’s fourth CD, Snowfall on Judgment Day, is expected to be released this summer worldwide through Inside Out. The album is currently being mixed and mastered by our good and talented friend Tommy Newton, who produced our last two CDs and whose work also includes Conception, Helloween, UFO and others, at Area 51 Studios in Celle, Germany. Artwork will once again be by our creative visual partner Travis Smith.

Musically, we have continued to grow and expand on the basic Redemption formula. We have continued to push the envelope of heaviness combined with strong melody and emotional urgency in the music and I think the collection of songs is very strong, with some very in-your-face tunes that are among the heaviest in prog metal to some quieter, more elaborate moments, with technical thrown in where it belongs.

The tentative track listing is:

Peel
Walls
Leviathan Rising
Black and White World
Unformed
Keep Breathing
Another Day Dies
What Will You Say
Fistful of Sand
Love Kills Us All / Life in One Day

I am particular excited to report that Another Day Dies is a duet between Ray Alder and a very special guest vocalist, James LaBrie of Dream Theater!

Once a firm release date is set, I’ll provide another update. We’re really looking forward to getting new music in your hands.

Thanks again for your interest and support!
Nick van Dyk, Redemption