Greetings to you, sir, and thanks for representing Satan’s Empire in Kwarantine Kutz! That’s the niceties out of the way – Let’s get straight into the important stuff!
As the world writhes in the grip of Covid-19, there’s a better-by-the-day chance of the general population being put into total lockdown. Which five classic albums are you planning on giving a good listen to when the unthinkable happens, and why? “Delain – A Decade of Delain (live at Paradiso) A best hits live and an excellent set plus I’ve been a fan since April Rain (2009). Next would be Nightwish‘s Decades – mega band. Floor Jansen is my all time favourite female singer and their songs are epic… Judas Priest‘s Stained Class – the album that got me into heavy metal and changed my playing style completely. Saga – Silent Knight – such an under-rated band. Ian Crichton is a quality guitarist and I have been lucky to even meet them! Last would be Renaissance‘s Live at Carnegie Hall – classic band in the true sense. Love Annie Haslam’s vocals and Jon Camp’s bass playing. A bit of light from the heavy!”
It’s good to mix things up. And I’d definitely agree with you about Saga – massively underrated! I saw them at Hammersmith in about 1986 and that show remains one of the best I’ve ever seen. Anyway – moving on…You’ll have a lot of time on your hands even after repeated spins of those old faves – any new bands you’ve heard about that you’ll be able to lend some ears to? Who is on the up-and-up in your opinion? “They may not be ‘New’ bands but I do like them: The Dark Element – With Annette Olzon (Ex Nightwish). They will capitalise on the Nightwish fan base but Songs the Night Sings (2019) is an excellent album… Within Temptation – their new album Resist is so heavy in sound and so commercial and has great songwriting. Lastly Pagan’s Mind – Full Circle. A bombastic album full of heavy metal, progressive and melodic rock”.
How will you otherwise handle the comparative solitude? Do you write music on your own well? Or do you need other musos around to catch the spark? “I have a Boss BR60 digital recorder which I use for demos and I share these with the band via Messenger. I can also pop over to Derek’s (SE Vocalist – he lives in the next street to me) to do some lyrics and arrange the structure so, it’s a bit of both really though I prefer the organic creative process of a band in rehearsal”.
Away from music, what books, podcasts or TV do you recommend to while away a few quarantined days? “I’m a big anime fan so any Studio Ghibli or any of the Marvel franchise films. I tend to watch probably the more fantasy based movies than reality movies but do enjoy old comedy like Laurel & Hardy and Only Fools and Horses“.
Can’t beat a bit o’ Del and Rodders! There is a lot of comment on social media about the damage being done to our industry by the virus and its attendant countermeasures – how do you see ways to fight this situation working? What, for instance, do you think of playing shows for the internet and hoping fans throw a few coins into the hat via Paypal or Gofundme, etc? “Yeah, web gigs could be an idea but you could end up with the web being swamped. It would need to be controlled in some way but that may give rise to prejudices, who knows? To be honest I think we just have to ride it out and hope that when the sun rises again we will all come back with the same metal spirit that has always been present”.
When it all dies down, what plans loom on the horizon for you? “Depending on the time frame, we would like to return to the British Steel event in Fismes in France in October this year, even if it may be our only gig for this year. We also have five songs for the third album in the offing so working on more ideas to get it done by the end of the year would be a potential goal. We may be in a better place to negotiate another deal depending on sales of Hail the Empire“.
Will rock n’roll be the same after the scare recedes – are there any lessons for the music industry to take from what’s happened so far and implement for a better tomorrow? “It is hard to say. In the UK we have the effects of Brexit to handle by the end of 2020 which will affect all international bands who care to play here. Plus some bands may be affected financially or physically by COVID-19 and that may weaken the strength of the Music Business in general and the effects on small or midstream record labels”.
Anything else you’d like to say to our readers at this difficult time? “Look after each other, support the elderly as best you can and stay safe and be well! HAIL!”
Cheers and stay safe! “You too, my friend!”
Satan’s Empire’s Hail the Empire is out now.