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Your sixth solo album Raised In Captivity was released on July 1st, 2011, through Frontiers Records. It's a very impressive CD – congratulations! Are you satisfied with the feedback you got until now?
Thank you very much, I’m very pleased with it, and with the reaction from public and critics.
I love songs that tell a story and 'catch me'. Your songs do both - what were the inspirations for the lyrics of the album?
The basis for the album is my childhood... being brought up in the middle of England after the war, with rationing and the austerity that goes with the aftermath of a global conflict, I was also confused by Victorian moral values which still hung over the country from the previous century. My school was Draconian... physical, corporal punishment for petty infringements of school regulations. Then we were flung into the swinging sixties where anything was possible, and encouraged! I was very confused - hence, Raised in Captivity.
11 great tracks - is there one that has a very special and deep meaning for you?
Not one in particular... my favourite changes every few days... but I like Goodbye Elsinore right now, a good folk tune and story with a modern treatment, and a nod to Brian Wilson.
On Raised In Captivity you worked together with all-rounder Billy Sherwood (musician, producer and sound engineer). How did you get to working with Billy, why did you choose him?
Billy and I have worked together on many projects for Cleopatra Records (in fact the latest is William Shatner’s new album, Trekkies take note!) so I knew what Billy’s musical and engineering qualities were. He’s also a very nice guy... and that helps when you are locked up every day for a month with someone. I wanted to record in California for the edge and energy, so the combination of Billy and California was perfect for me. Left at home here in a sleepy English south coast town, I write dreary prog/folk classical ballads. However, a good tune is a good tune, all it needs is a different wrapper, and that’s what the location and production provide.
A lot long-time music mates can be heard on the CD. Did they work out their parts together with you in studio?
No, it was all planned beforehand. I knew three of the solo spots (and soloists) before I left UK. Billy and I recorded the whole album, and the guests were asked to play their contributions, and send the files back... it’s very easy, I work a lot like this these days.
There are many guest musicians - how long does the recording for this album take (all in all)?
The recording (the whole thing) took under a month. January 3rd> 28th.
My No.1 on the CD is Mighty Rivers. You're singing this song with singer Anneke Van Giersbergen from The Netherlands, and her voice fits perfectly. Did you know right away that you want to record this track with her?
I recorded this song 3 years ago with Anneke. I fell in love with her voice, and we have recorded three times as a duet. We talk on the phone, email, and text each other, but we have never met.
Where/how did you get to meet Anneke?
As I said, I’ve never met Anneke, but I feel that I know her... she’s lovely, very funny, clever, and her voice is wonderful.
Will you go on tour through Europe soon to present the songs from Raised In Captivity live?
I hope so. When I came back from 3 months on the road with UK and Asia, I wanted just to be at home, to sleep in my own bed, to make tea in my own kitchen, BUT now I’m getting itchy feet again and I’d like to do some shows toward the end of the year.
Social networks like MySpace and Facebook are important platforms for musicians nowadays. Do you see it as an inspiration for your music to get in contact with your fans there and to read their opinions?
Internet is very important, more so than old outlets like record stores. Word of mouth is very strong on the internet.
You are in the music biz since ages now. What technical enhancement was the most important for you as a musician?
Digital recording changed everything... from own any tracks we can have access to, how musicians can record their contribution at home, and send in a file... to actually marketing the product.
Would it be a possibility for you to release a CD as digital download only?
Of course. However, I am loath to lose the physical CD, and box... it just signals the end for something that brought me so much pleasure.
What is on your plan for the next months?
I’m doing promotion for Raised in Captivity, planning a tour, I will be spending 10 days in Philadelphia with ‘School of Rock’ (something that is very dear to me). But my immediate plans are a week in Mallorca with my 13 year-old son Dylan.
Are there any news about other projects, old or new ones - e.g. Asia?
It’s Asia’s 30th birthday next year, so expect a world tour, a new album, DVD and a remastered original Asia album.
What are your personal Top 3 CDs at the moment?
Vilde Frang (EMI Classics) - Sibelius Violin Concerto
Maroon 5 – Hands All Over
Steely Dan - Greatest Hits
Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
I think we’ve said it all!
Thanks for your time. We wish you all the best!
Many thanks, it was a pleasure,
All photos> © by Frontiers Records