Open Burn is a new prog/power metal band from the United States, which features three members of the legendary US metal band, Lethal [Dell Hull (guitars), Glen Cook (bass) and Jerry Hartman (drums)]. All US metal maniacs have warmly welcomed the band and its first full-length album, “Divine Intermission”, a disc that should be appreciated for its genuine feeling of power and progress. Myth of Rock magazine couldn’t resist the possibility of an Open Burn interview and the band’s guitarist, Dell Hull, answered our questions. Read the following lines and let the metal flow!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
How was Open Burn formed?
Jerry and I first got together with Eric in the late summer of 2015 to play cover songs for a friend’s benefit. Things seemed to gel so we started working on original material soon afterwards. Glen joined us in 2016 after we got back from Greece with Lethal.
Why did you pick the name Open Burn for the band?
We were looking for a name for a while and couldn’t find anything that fit. One day on my way to the studio I saw a painted sign in a field that said “open burn”. I sort of jokingly mentioned it to the guys as a band name. Glen said he liked it so it stuck.
Open Burn features three members of Lethal. Would you say that Open Burn is the reincarnation of Lethal?
Definitely not. Open Burn is a completely different thing. Like I said, Glen joined us later so that was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with Lethal. Of course, since we have played together since the early 80’s he was a perfect fit.
How would you define the music of Open Burn?
That’s a tough one. We’re just playing what we like, not what we think people want to hear so I see it from a different perspective. I’ve heard people say it is like “traditional” heavy metal so I guess that seems to sum it up pretty well? Traditional heavy metal with a modern sound I guess?
One of the strong elements of your music is the voice of Eric Johns. Do you agree with me?
Of course. Eric is a great vocalist. He doesn’t sound like any other single vocalist but has many influences so as a result, he sounds like himself. In my opinion, he still has a lot of untapped potential. Actually, I think we all do. Hopefully, our new music will help unlock some of that potential.
Listening to the songs of “Divine Intermission”, I get a nostalgic feeling. Would you say that your sound is nostalgic?
I guess you could say that but it doesn’t really feel that way to me. The songs and parts are coming from old influences that each of us in the band has so I guess the songs do reflect those old influences. I guess that gives it that “nostalgic” sound?
Describe the composing process of “Divine Intermission”.
The songs we have written so far have mostly started from either nearly complete songs or musical ideas that I’ve come up with. Eric adds melodic lines and lyrics really quickly so we shape the songs around that as a starting point. As everyone adds their parts that also shapes it further and can even give it a totally different feel. It’s very much a collaborative effort.
Where was the album recorded? Who did the production?
We recorded the songs mainly through two different sessions, except for the acoustic version of “Statues”. Both sessions were done at The Den Recording Company near us here in Kentucky. It was engineered, mixed and co-produced with Dave Swart and ourselves. Dave is also an excellent bass player and has also played with Eric in Simple Aggression among several other bands. They’ve known each other for years. We actually recorded the acoustic version of “Statues”, before Glen joined us, at Justin Newton Audio in Cincinnati. Glen added his parts later.
Where do your lyrics refer to?
You’ll have to ask Eric that one. He keeps it a secret. Lol. Lyrics can mean different things to different people so each person might hear them in a different way? Each song has its own meaning.
What do you recall from the Lethal days?
Long hours of rehearsing in the Cook’s basement. Haha. It was lots of fun of course! We just loved playing. Recording and playing live was fun too but we really didn’t play live much.
“Programmed” is a distinguished US prog/power metal album. How do you see this album now?
It’s hard for me to see it that way because we were just playing what we liked. Even though we recorded the album in one month of straight sessions some things still felt rushed to me. I still remember some of the studio sessions and thinking at the time, we can do this better. Lol. Some of the songs, including Immune, were even written in preproduction. That album came out a few years before the internet and/or social media so we had no idea of any kind of impact it may have been having. I think we’ve just been realizing that in recent years with social media becoming so prominent. The same goes for our ep/demo The Arrival.
How are things now in the States for classic heavy/power metal?
Not great. Large bands like Maiden, Priest, Metallica, etc. are still selling out shows but on a local level, the scene is a lot different. We just play what we like so hopefully our past fans will enjoy what we do now and maybe we will pick up a lot of new fans in the process?
“Divine Intermission” is released by a Greek label, No Remorse Records. How did you come in contact with No Remorse?
We came in contact with No Remorse through our friend and promoter from the Up The Hammers festival Manolis Karazeris. He liked our ep and played it for Chris.
Are you planning to make a tour? If yes, when and where?
We would love to tour but don’t have any immediate plans yet. Like I said the heavy/power metal scene in the U.S. is not great right now so I think Europe, Japan and South America would be the best places for us to take our music. It’s just a matter of us finding the right connections to be able to do it.
Your message to the Greek fans!
The Greek metal fans are great and very enthusiastic! So far we have been getting great response to Divine Intermission so we hope more Greek fans will get a chance to hear it. It is a beautiful country so hopefully, we can bring our new music there to a live venue soon!
You can't include Crystal Viper in the mainstream metal bands, you can't even say that this Polish band is well known in the true metal circles, but that doesn't mean a thing. Crystal Viper's heavy metal music is well-crafted, inspired and imaginative, no one can doubt the band's musical quality and amazing musicianship. “Queen of the Witches” was a fantastic metal album and should not be missed by any classic metal fan! Marta Gabriel, vocalist and frontwoman of the band, and the rest of the guys visited again Athens, Greece, since they would participate in the Up The Hammers Festival 2018. A day after their live performance, Myth of Rock was honored to meet Marta and have a talk with her. What was discussed was very interesting – after all, any interview with Crystal Viper, a band which was formed in 2003 and has released six great traditional metal albums, until now, is an overwhelming experience. So let's cut to the chase and see what Marta answered to Dimitris Zacharopoulos questions!
Crystal Viper began as a project. How did you decide to make it a full band, Marta?
Yes, it all started in 2003 and I can say that Crystal Viper turned to a full band in 2007, when the band was complete, when I met the right people, the people I became friends with, the people with the same passion for heavy metal, for music. Finally, we were able to prepare our first album, to record it and so on. I think that the real beginning of the band was in 2007, after we did the first album together. Before that Crystal Viper was a project, since I just recorded some cover songs with different people, so in the first four years I tried to find the right people with whom I would be able to create the heavy metal band of my dreams.
Would you say that the current line-up of Crystal Viper is the best line-up until now?
Well, the current line-up of the band changed two years ago … Crystal Viper was on a break, we didn’ t rehearse, we didn’ t play or record anything for four years, because I had some health issues and I couldn’t do all that. After the break, our recording bass player told us that he wouldn’t play music any longer, that he would end up everything. We asked him if he maybe knew someone that he could recommend, someone who could take his place. He said that his best friend, Błażej (Grygiel), plays the bass. We met with Błażej and he is right now with us in the band. We also have a new, second guitarist in the band, because I am not playing the guitar in Crystal Viper any longer. Yesterday it was my last live show with a guitar in my hands – I want to have more freedom on stage, to run, to jump ... So we have a new member in the band, Erik (Juris), and I think that the line-up is perfect right now! The important thing is that we aren’ t just a bunch of musicians who play together, we are also very good friends. You can always ask for help from someone from the band, if you need it. We spend a lot of time together, not only while touring. I confirm that this is the best line-up!
How would you define Crystal Viper’s music? Is it true metal, is it traditional metal, is it just metal?
People usually say it is classic heavy metal. It is surely classic heavy metal … I personally listen to different genres, not only metal genres, but all genres of music in general. When I create music, I get inspired by many, many things. But in general, yes, I can say it is heavy metal.
You are from Poland. Is it difficult for a Polish musician to have a heavy metal career?
It is very difficult in Poland. Here we have a very strong death and black metal scene, we have Vader and Behemoth, I am sure you know them, they are great bands! So when I created Crystal Viper, it was a bit weird for people in Poland to see a classic heavy metal band on stage, a metal band being so melodic. But we were lucky enough, because we had the opportunity to play our music behind the border, to have our albums released by a record company from Germany, we have a very very good manager who helps us arrange everything. We still don’t play a lot in Poland, we play mostly in countries like Germany, Spain, Greece etc. This year we have scheduled two live shows in Poland, we are looking forward to it.
In 2017 you released your sixth album, “Queen of the Witches”. How do you see now this album?
To be honest with you, I love it. This album has a lot of positive energy, coming from all of the members of the band. As I mentioned before, we had a three-year break, so for us this album was like a comeback album. We began working the album in the studio, we were so enthusiastic, we were so happy that we were able to play music again, to spend time together, to tour together and so on. Musically to me, “Queen of the Witches” it isn’t so much different from the previous albums, it is still Crystal Viper, it is the music I listen to, the music I would like to listen to. However, as far as the feelings are concerned, this latest album is a little bit different. It is the most important album for us.
During this break, was there any moment that you thought that Crystal Viper is over and won’t play again?
Well, I had some thoughts, because I didn’t know if I would be able to sing again, you know, I was thinking that I could focus on the guitar and try to find another vocalist, but people were saying that my voice is so much recognizable and that they couldn’t imagine how Crystal Viper would sound with another singer. Yes, I was thinking of ending Crystal Viper, but not stop playing music, since I play the piano, the guitar, the bass guitar. There are many things I could do musically, not only singing and so on. Thankfully I am able to sing and play again!
You are going to release a new EP the following days in June.
In the beginning, we were planning to release it as a seven inch single, which would include only two songs, the title song, “At the Edge of Time” and the polish version (“Zwiastun Burzy”), as the b side. We found out though, that we had more music material to put on this release, so we switched to the ten inch. In this EP you can find, apart from the two versions of the title track, another new song, called “When Are You”. These new songs are inspired lyrically by Michael Moorcock’s works, “Stormbringer” and “Eternal Warrior” – the cover artist (the one and only Andreas Marschall) is also inspired by Moorcock.
We see you holding the Black Sword in the EP’s cover!
Yes, yes! … You can also find a new version of our song, “When the Sun Goes Does”, we call it the Giallo version, because of the keyboards I recorded for this song, they are in the style of old horror movies …
….Italian horror movies!
Yes, I recorded only a few keyboard parts, but the song sounds now completely different!! It is a cool version, that’s why we decided to put it in this release. Finally, we recorded a Quartz cover for this EP, “Tell Me Why”.
How do you select the songs you are going to cover?
Trust me, it is never easy to choose the cover song! I mean, which one?! The list is very, very long! When we are picking a song to cover, it is a cool thing, because we are fans of music, we are fans of metal, and we are also musicians, so we are able to play our favorite songs, not only listen to them! There are so many great songs that we would like to play live, not only to record them, it is a lot of fun for us, you know, not to sing them only under the shower! It is also a way of showing to our fans which our roots are, musically, to show our fans which is the connection of Crystal Viper music with other bands. It is a tribute to musicians that we respect, that we love. We will keep on doing that in the future – the only problem will be which song we will choose as our next cover (laughs)!
One of the things I admire in Crystal Viper is your way of singing. Which are your vocal influences?
There are many, many great vocalists I am influenced by. I love Tony Martin, David DeFeis from Virgin Steele, Rob Halford, Doro, Leather Leone …
What’s your opinion about the female fronted symphonic/gothic metal bands? Have you ever thought of introducing some symphonic/gothic metal elements to Crystal Viper?
Maybe not in Crystal Viper, because I would like to keep Crystal Viper as a classic metal band. But personally, I listen to several genres of music and from the genre you just mentioned I like Delain, Within Temptation … There are some things I like in this genre and not only in this genre, in gothic rock/metal. I also listen to death metal, black metal, I also like some pop music, there are so many things, classical music, thrash metal …
Any possibility to add some pop elements to your sound? For example like Battle Beast, who are very popular nowadays?
No, no in Crystal Viper, I don’t think so (laughs) … Crystal Viper is inspired by classic metal bands. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying something bad, Battle Beast is a great band, I am a huge fan of Noora’s vocals, her voice is amazing, their music is very powerful and they kick ass on stage, however, Crystal Viper is Crystal Viper. If we bring pop elements to our music, we wouldn’t be as heavy as we want to be. It isn’t something we would like to do. Also, our fans would be kind of disappointed. I wouldn’t have a problem to do some of this stuff with another band in the future, a band which would play something completely different from Crystal Viper.
As we said before, you used to sing and play the guitar in Crystal Viper. How is it to combine singing with playing the guitar?
In the very beginning, it was kind of challenging … we had a problem some years ago, in finding another one guitarist for Crystal Viper. And you know, heavy metal with only one guitar, hmmm … I was already learning to play the guitar, since I was composing the music … One day at the studio I brought my guitar and tried to play, to see how it sounds. The guys in the band saw me playing the guitar for the first time and said to me: “OK, we already have a second guitarist, we don’t have to look for another guy!”. For me, in the beginning, it was challenging, because I was only singing or only playing the guitar during the composing process. So, I had to learn to do both things the same time, but I rehearsed a lot, I learned it and by now it comes out naturally, I go on stage, I sing and play, I don’t think about it, I just focus on what I have to do.
Marta, are you the main composer of Crystal Viper?
And lyrics writer?
Your lyrics have fantasy and horror themes. Why is that?
Well, life sometimes is gray and sad, you know, politics, war, religion, all this kind of bullshit is around us, it surrounds us, I want to get away with music from all that stuff. Writing music and concept albums based on fantasy themes is like making a movie, like writing a book, you do something that can take you away from all these things that aren’t so much pleasant. You can get away with music to a totally different place.
In your latest album, “Queen of the Witches” you have some famous guests: Ross The Boss, Mantas and Saracen’s Steve Bettney. How did it come and you collaborated with these well-known musicians?
For us, inviting a special guest to our albums is like … it is the same situation with cover songs: we want to pay a tribute to our favorite artists and to show people where we are musically, where our musical roots come from, what kind of music we like and so on. And of course, for us it is something totally fantastic, to be able to work with all these fantastic musicians! Steve Bettney is one of my favorite vocalists, Ross The Boss … well, I don’t have to mention anything!!! … And Mantas! …Well, they are great! It is a huge honor for us that they agreed to take their part in our songs.
At the production helm, you have Bart Gabriel. How much important is it to have Bart with you?
Actually, it is the best thing that happened to Crystal Viper, because in personal life, Bart is my husband. So, we know each other very, very well, we like the same kind of music. He knows me, not only as a person, but also as an artist, he knows the band very, very well, he knows our music. Working with such a person in the studio, with a person who is also your life partner, is a perfect combination. There is a fantastic understanding in the studio. Apart from that, he is a great producer who doesn’t want to change the sound of the band, he doesn’t say “You have to sound like this …”. He only wants us to sound like Crystal Viper.
Let’s talk about decision-making in Crystal Viper. Are you the one who makes the decision or do you discuss things with the other guys?
When you play in a band, it is not like that you are the only person who decides about everything. You have to co-operate with different people. You have to co-operate with the guys from the record label, when you play live, you have to co-operate with the sound engineers. There isn’t only one person who says to the others what to do. There is a huge team of persons who co-operate and want the best thing for the band.
Your record label is the German AFM Records. Are you satisfied with the guys?
Yes, of course! And I hope that we will co-operate for many more years in the future!
Yesterday you played in front of the Greek audience. How was it?
It was fantastic as usual! A few years ago we played in the Up The Hammers Festival and played some other shows here in Greece. It is always, always great to be back to Greece, because you guys are so enthusiastic. It is fantastic to share your energy with all these metal maniacs in front of the stage. Greek fans are so supportive of heavy metal, it is beautiful.
Any similarities or differences between Polish and Greek fans?
There are more heavy metal fans in Greece in Poland … but in general, in all places, heavy metal fans try to enjoy the live show as much as they can. Yesterday it was amazing, I felt all this energy coming from the people!
Future plans? Apart from the upcoming EP!
Very soon, in the summer we will release a new video clip. And I will also be recording the album of my other band, Moonchamber, it is the band I created with Rob Bendelow from Saracen. We have some plans to play some more live shows with Crystal Viper, to promote our new EP and to start working on our next album.
Finally, your message to the Greek fans!
Stay as great as you are! Go to live shows, support your favorite bands, buy CDs and stay metal!
The new The Quill album, “Born From Fire”, amazed us! We are so excited that the Sweds returned with such a good album, where you can listen to Magnus Ekwall’s vocals again. Myth of Rock was obliged to get in contact with the band for a nice chat, so Antonis Mantzavinos spoke with Roger Nilsson (The Quill’s bassist). Continue reading, you will find everything very interesting!
Hello Roger, we would like to welcome you to our online music magazine, Myth of Rock! We are very pleased with the new The Quill record and we believe it is a really good album which will hopefully be appreciated by hard rock fans. Based on the new release, we would kindly like to ask you a few questions, so that our online readers could get more easily informed about you, the band, and of course the new record. First of all, we would like to ask a few things about the conception of this new record, the recordings, where/when was it recorded etc.
The album was recorded in two different sessions about six months apart. We recorded it in the same studio as the last time, a place called 491 Studios. It’s located just where we live so it’s really convenient and cost-effective. It’s also really nice to be able to go home and sleep in your own bed after a full day in the studio. In the earlier days we usually recorded far from home and stayed in the studio for weeks. Recording away from home is good in that it keeps you focused on the recording but you tend to lose some healthy distance from it all.
Give us some hints about the album title and the awesome cover.
Album titles are always tricky. Usually we start looking at the song-titles trying to find something there. This time we didn’t find anything that felt really good. So the next step was looking at the lyrics. There’s a line in Electrical Son – “Born from the fire – I am the Electrical son”. Somehow Born from fire made sense to us, sort of Phoenix rising from the ashes. So that’s how it all came about. The cover-art more or less was born the same way. I’ve been a fan of Sebastian Jerke who did the artwork and I really loved his cover for Rise about the meadow by Greenleaf – so he was really our first choice. He was up for doing it and we sent him some songs and all the lyrics. He then had the idea to incorporate different parts of the lyrics into the painting. So the music, lyrics and artwork are all connected.
What do you think about the comeback of Magnus Ekwall (vocals) to the band and how did that happen?
I think is a real blessing to be able to still work together 22 years after our first album. Not many bands last for so many years. We were more or less kids when we stared out so we’ve grown up together going thru various stages of life. And it all came together very naturally. A mutual friend of ours where having a private party and wanted a band to play some Kiss-covers. He asked the four of us to do it but unfortunately Jolle was booked elsewhere. But we decided to do the gig anyway with Magnus’ son playing the drums just for the fun of it. Once we did that show it was a natural step to just meet up and see if there might be some spark left between us. Me, Christian and Jolle had been more or less drifting along doing nothing for a year or so it seemed like a good idea to just start jamming together. And from there on it all came together very quick. In fact it felt like the 12 years apart never happened.
What was your contribution on writing this record?
Some small bits and pieces here and there, but Jolle and Christian are the two main writers when it comes to the music. They usually bring in an idea and then we all work on it together adding a part here and there ‘til we’re all satisfied. Magnus writes most of the melodies and all of the lyrics. But it’s really a group-effort. Everything is arranged in the rehearsal-room as a real band sweating it out.
I would musically place the album, in regards to its sound and feeling, in between “Voodoo Caravan” and “Hooray! It's a Death Trip” Do you think this record is a step back or a new effort, with new elements, new approach and the beginning of a new ear for the band?
We just wrote whatever came to us, so there really wasn’t any conscious effort to sound like in the old days. But with that being said Silver Haze was the album we talked about as the bar. Maybe not so much for its sound or songwriting but more for the energy and the state we were in when we recorded it back in '98.
Will the band tour for the promotion of the record? Any shows already planned?
We’ll certainly try to play as much as possible, we just have to plan it really well since we’re all involved in other bands, have family and daytime jobs. Performing songs on stage is really were they come alive and take on a second life.
And a few personal questions! We know that you Roger have played and toured also with Spiritual Beggars, Arch Enemy, Firebird. What other musical projects/bands are you involved with?
During my years away from The Quill I played a lot as a guns-for-hire type of guy doing just about everything with everyone. I played covers, doing sessions and also where involved with a few bands playing original material. I did two albums in Swedish with a band called Henrik Björkman & Paj Malaj. The idea when I left The Quill in 2005 was to play a little bit less than the previous years but in the end I played even more…:D Me and a drummer I played a lot with during these years counted that we performed 140 unique songs on stage together in one month. Crazy!
How you could describe a regular day or week in Roger Nilsson’s day, apart from touring, recording and album and being active with a band?
Just regular everyday-Joe things. I work as assistant principal living in a small town in Sweden so my days are full. I have a wife and two daughters 12 and 16 years old. I live in a nice old house which needs a lot of care. I also try to work out 3 times a week either running or mountain-biking. Not so rock n’ roll at all :D
Who are the artists that have shaped you musically and been your primary inspirational figures as a musician?
It all started with ABBA, when I was really young. You couldn’t really avoid them growing up in Sweden in the 70’s. Then when I was about 8 or 9 a friend introduced me to Kiss and that was the big game-changer for me. It’s a band I still follow and listen to a lot. Next big thing was discovering the big three - Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. My father had lots and lots of tapes and from time to time I would sit down and discover new music thru these tapes. Remember finding "Gallows Pole" and "Black Night" on one tape and immediately there was something about the sound that I loved.
Please name your top 5 bands and records!
Kiss, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Crowes. Narrowing it down to 5 records is almost impossible, so I’ll add a few extra ones! Kiss – "Dressed to Kill" and "Alive", Captain Beyond – "Captain Beyond", Deep Purple – "Made in Japan" and "Come Taste the Band", Joe Cocker – "Mad Dogs & Englishmen", Grand Funk Railroad – "Caught In The Act", Led Zeppelin – "I", "II", "III" and 'IV", Black Sabbath – "Black Sabbath", "Sabotage" and "Mob Rules", Black Crowes – "Amorica" and "Before The Frost ... Until the Freeze", John Coltrane – "Olé", Bob Dylan – "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde", Bruce Springsteen – "The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle", Pink Floyd - "Wish You Were Here", Mountain – "Climbing!", UFO – "Strangers In The Night", Mastodon – "Crack the Skye", Miles Davis – "On The Corner" and "In A Silent Way", The Beatles – "Revolver" and "Abbey Road", The Rolling Stones – "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile On Main Street". To name but a few…:D
If you were not a bass player, which other instrument you would like to play in a band?
I think everyone have a dream being a drummer – except when it comes to carrying all the equipment ... !
Name the most pleasant but also unpleasant experience you have ever had while on tour with a band.
Most pleasant experience is always getting somewhere far away from home and meeting people who are into the band, there’s nothing better with being in a band than that. Hearing that the music you’ve created matters to people. Worst experience was definitely being food-poisoned on tour with Arch Enemy. Me and Daniel decided one day to spend our buy-out dinner money at a fancier restaurant than the usual McDonalds. So we found this place where I had some really nice Catfish a couple of hours before the show. As we were heading back to the venue my stomach started to act up. And by the time we got back I became really sick. Cancelling the show wasn’t an option so I had to do it with a bucket behind the stage. How I got thru that show I’ll never know ...
What kind of music do you listen during your free time? Do you buy any new records? And if yes, which were your recent purchases?
I’ve been a record collector for all my life, so I’m always listening to music, buying records online, at record fairs and record stores. A few weeks ago I went record hunting in Gothenburg and bought among others Jo Jo Gunne – "Where’s the show?" Mastodon – "Leviathan", Luther Dickinson – "Rock N’ Roll Blues", Strawbs – "Burning for you", Billy Squier – 'The Tale of the Tape", Israel Nash – 'Barn Doors and Concrete Floors".
Thank you very much for your time and we hope to meet you soon!
Στα πλαίσια παγκόσμιας αποκλειστικότητας το Myth of Rock έκανε προ ημερών γνωστό ότι νέος τραγουδιστής στην προσωπική μπάντα του μεγάλου Timo Tolkki είναι ο Mike Livas. Ο Timo Tolkki, κινητήριος μοχλός των Stratovarius στα κλασικά τους albums, από τους πρωτεργάτες του ευρωπαϊκού power metal, εξαιρετικά επιδραστικός ως συνθέτης και βιρτουόζος της κιθάρας, επέλεξε ως τραγουδιστή τον Mike Livas στην νέα του solo προσπάθεια! Όπως είχαμε τονίσει, πρόκειται για μία εκπληκτική διάκριση για τον Livas και για την ελληνική heavy metal σκηνή, για μία απίστευτη αναγνώριση του ταλέντου του νεαρού Έλληνα τραγουδιστή. Γίνεται εύκολα αντιληπτό ότι με αυτή την έκφραση εμπιστοσύνης του Tolkki προς τον Livas, o τελευταίος γίνεται αυτόματα γνωστός στα πέρατα του κόσμου και όλοι οι metalheads ανά την υφήλιο θα έχουν την ευκαιρία να θαυμάσουν τη φωνή του στις θρυλικές συνθέσεις των Stratovarius κλπ. δίπλα σε πολύ γνωστούς μουσικούς. Καθώς, λοιπόν, και ο Timo Tolkki επισημοποίησε τη συνεργασία του με τον Livas με ένα μικρό video, που ανέβασε στο YouTube, το Myth of Rock θέλησε να μιλήσει για όλα αυτά τα σπουδαία γεγονότα με τον ίδιο τον Mike Livas, ο οποίος δέχθηκε με χαρά να απαντήσει στις ερωτήσεις μας. Εξάλλου, τo live του Tolkki στην Ελλάδα με τον Mike στο μικρόφωνο πλησιάζει και ο ενθουσιασμός είναι τεράστιος από όλες τις πλευρές!
από τον Δημήτρη Ζαχαρόπουλο
Photo by: Antonis Mad-Tony Taniskidis
Γεια σου, Mike! Αρχικά θα ήθελα να σε συγχαρώ για τη συνεργασία σου με τον σπουδαίο Timo Tolkki!
Σε ευχαριστώ, Δημήτρη!
Ο Tolkki, λοιπόν, σε επέλεξε ως τραγουδιστή στην νέα του προσωπική μπάντα. Αλήθεια, πώς έγινε η όλη φάση;
Έλαβα ένα μήνυμα από τον Timo Tolkki πριν από κάποιο καιρό μέσω Facebook. Είχε ακούσει κάποια φωνητικά μου σε μία διασκευή, που είχα κάνει παλαιότερα σε Queensrÿche και μου είπε πως θα ήθελε να με ακούσει και σε Stratovarius κομμάτια. Έτσι, λοιπόν, του έστειλα κάποια δείγματα, τα οποία του άρεσαν και προχωρήσαμε στην συνεργασία.
Πώς νιώθεις που σε διάλεξε ο Tolkki μέσα από τόσους άλλους τραγουδιστές; Διότι άκουσε πολλούς πριν καταλήξει σε εσένα.
Σίγουρα είναι μεγάλη τιμή και πρόκληση για εμένα!
Η νέα αυτή solo προσπάθεια του Tolkki θα είναι μόνο για συναυλίες ή θα περιλαμβάνει και την κυκλοφορία κάποιου studioalbum;
Για την ώρα, το μόνο που γνωρίζω είναι πως θα κάνουμε κάποιες εμφανίσεις τώρα, το καλοκαίρι και από Σεπτέμβρη.
Σε ποιες χώρες θα παίξετε live;
Το πρώτο «σκέλος» της περιοδείας περιλαμβάνει συναυλίες σε Ελλάδα , Βουλγαρία (δεν έχει ανακοινωθεί ακόμα) και Ισπανία. Θα γίνουν και κάποιες άλλες ημερομηνίες μέσα στο καλοκαίρι, όπως επίσης και ένα festival στη Σλοβακία. Υπάρχουν και αρκετές προτάσεις για shows από Σεπτέμβρη, που θα ανακοινωθούν και αυτά στο προσεχές διάστημα.
Έχετε ξεκινήσει τις πρόβες;
Οι πρόβες θα γίνουν λίγες μέρες πριν το αθηναϊκό show, που είναι και ο πρώτος σταθμός.
Τι τραγούδια θα περιλαμβάνει το setlist;
Το setlist είναι βασισμένο στους παλιούς, καλούς Stratovarius! Περιλαμβανει, ωστόσο, και μερικά Revolution Renaissance κομμάτια και κομμάτια από τα solo albums του Tolkki.
Θα περιοδεύσεις σε όλο τον κόσμο και ίσως βγάλεις δίσκο (σε top επίπεδο), μαζί με τον Tolkki και ορισμένους άλλους γνωστούς μουσικούς. Ποια είναι τα συναισθήματά σου; Έχεις καθόλου άγχος;
Χαχα! Ακόμα είναι νωρίς, για να ξέρω τι και πώς θα γίνει! Όπως σου είπα, νιώθω πως είναι μια μεγάλη πρόκληση και θα προσπαθήσω για το καλύτερο αποτέλεσμα!
Επικοινωνείς με τον Tolkki; Είστε σε επαφή;
Επικοινωνούμε όλοι (η μπάντα) για τα διαδικαστικά του tour και για κάποιες λεπτομέρειες.
Σκέφτεσαι καθόλου να μετακομίσεις στο εξωτερικό (π.χ. στη Φινλανδία), ώστε να είσαι σε καλύτερη επαφή με τον Tolkki και τους άλλους μουσικούς;
Για την ώρα δεν ξέρω πολλές λεπτομέρειες για το πώς θα κυλήσουν τα πράγματα, οπότε δεν μπορώ να σου απαντήσω με σιγουριά.
Στις 21 Απριλίου παίζετε live στην Αθήνα. Πώς νιώθεις ενόψει αυτού του live;
Η συμμετοχή σου στην μπάντα του Tolkki γεμίζει με μεγάλη περηφάνεια όλη την ελληνική metal σκηνή. Πώς νιώθεις που μας κάνεις τόσο περήφανους;
Σε ευχαριστώ αρχικά για τα καλά σου λόγια! Η ελληνική σκηνή είναι πλέον καλύτερη από ποτέ και συνεχίζει να βελτιώνεται με κάθε νέα μπάντα, μουσικό, κυκλοφορία. Οφείλουμε όλοι όσοι ασχολούμαστε με την μουσική αυτή να είμαστε περήφανοι για την πρόοδο αυτή της ελληνικής metal σκηνής.
Είναι ο Tolkki ένας από τους metal μουσικούς, που θαυμάζεις;
Είμαι τεράστιος fan και του Tolkki και των Stratovarius.
Ποιο είναι το αγαπημένο σου album και ποιο το αγαπημένο σου τραγούδι από τους Stratovarius;
To “Visions” και το “Episode” θα ελεγα! Όσο για τραγούδι, μάλλον το “Against the Wind”, αν και είναι από άλλο album (σ.σ.: από το “Fourth Dimension”)!
Ποιοι είναι οι αγαπημένοι σου τραγουδιστές;
Μου αρέσουν πάρα πολλοί τραγουδιστές, αλλά σίγουρα ο Michael Kiske, ο Geoff Tate, o Rob Halford, o Sebastian Bach και ο Bruce Dickinson ήταν οι πρώτες μου αγάπες!
Έχεις κάνει μαθήματα φωνητικής ή είσαι αυτοδίδακτος;
Έχεις ανεβάσει στο YouTube videos, όπου τραγουδάς διάφορα metal classics. Πώς και αποφάσισες να ανεβάσεις αυτά τα videos;
Ξεκίνησα να ανεβάζω covers, επειδή ήταν αρχικά κάτι σαν δείγμα της δουλειάς μου σε περιόδους, που δεν ήμουν σε κάποιο σχήμα με original υλικό. Αργότερα άρχισε να μου αρέσει ακόμα περισσότερο η όλη διαδικασία και το συνεχίζω μέχρι και τώρα!
Τώρα που είσαι στην μπάντα του Tolkki, θα συνεχίσεις να είσαι και στις μέχρι σήμερα μπάντες σου (π.χ. στους FortressUnderSiege, στις διάφορες tribute μπάντες κ.λπ.);
Ναι, θα συνεχίσω κανονικά! Για την ακρίβεια ετοιμάζω και ένα νέο σχήμα-μπάντα με μερικούς φίλους και εξαιρετικούς μουσικούς! Stay tuned!
Στείλε ένα μήνυμα στους Έλληνες metal οπαδούς, ενόψει και του live στις 21 Απριλίου στην Αθήνα.
Να είστε όλοι στις 21 Απριλίου στο Piraeus Academy για ένα δυνατό live με Stratovarius classics και όχι μόνο! Ανοίγουν οι φοβεροί Elysion και οι The Silent Wedding! \m/