2. Do you find it important to be classified as a progband and /or do you see yourself as a progband? Or you couldnt care less about classification genre wise..as long as people recocnize/like your music?
LIAM: I've always thought that the nature of 'progressive rock' is that by definition it crosses over musical borders and mixes styles so that really it is a coming together of musical genres and represents an open, imaginative and unfettered approach to music – but this 'free form' song-writing approach has been labelled prog – Dead Heroes Club very much belong to this 'song for song's sake' category of music, and we acknowledge that we are prog for all the right reasons. Having said that it is not vital to us that listeners immediately connect us with progressive rock and we hope that the songs stand up as just good songs.
GERRY: I don't think it's important in any vital terms but seeing as all bands get pigeon holed whether they like it or not we might as well be classified alongside bands we admire. I like to think we are a bona-fide Prog Rock band and as long as people appreciate our music they are free to call it what they wish.
MICHAEL: I fear progrock may be unhealthily obsessed with categories and sub categories. The reason for this is beyond me.
WILSON: I really love the whole freedom of prog but I'm just glad people are enjoying our music.
3. Do you find cover art important? Please elaborate.
LIAM: Yes the art is all part of the package that is the album; the cover art of an album is like the gateway into the music and a good cover should reflect some of the themes and mood of the music within. We were lucky enough to have secured the services of Ted Nasmith, the JRR Tolkien estate official illustrator, for the artwork on 'A Time of Shadow'. The cover art, after a consultation period in which he discussed themes and motifs in the lyrics with us, is his interpretation of the album title
4. Which comes first in your process of composing/creating music, the lyrics or the music?
LIAM: It's an organic process really and has no fixed format. Sometimes the music and lyrics grow, develop and evolve together. The mood of the music can suggest a theme in the lyrics or visa versa.
5. Which bands/artists/genre would you name as your inspirational source? Please elaborate and individual perspectives would be great.
LIAM: One of my 'Dead Heroes' is Elvis Presley; I love his approach to music - he always gave his heart and soul to each performance. Also I'm a fan of a lot of bands and artists from progressive rock particularly Genesis (all eras), and performers such as Francis Dunnery and Greg Lake. The Police and U2 are bands that I greatly admire also.
GERRY: Classic Prog Rock bands such as Genesis, Floyd, Camel, Tull, Yes. Later Prog Rock bands such as It Bites, Marillion, Pendragon, Porcupine Tree, Sylvan, Sieges Even. Kate Bush for her inimitable originality, consistency and unashamedly skewed approach to music. More traditional Rock bands like Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and anything with a smattering of inventive and innovative guitar playing.
MICHAEL: Very varied influences - but here's a few: Toots Thielemans/Bjork/Mahavishnu Orchestra/Tom Waits.
WILSON: Everything you hear makes you the player you are. For me though a lot of blues players really showed me the way.
6. The Mellotron, has become an icon..a pseudonym in progmusic circuits. Whats your thought on that and the particular instrument?
LIAM: It's a multipurpose instrument, not only does it make a great sound but if things aren't going well money-wise you can hollow it out and live in it!
GERRY: I hope we never hire a keyboard player who owns one, they way an absolute ton! It is a great sounding instrument in the right musical environment but I am fairly Mellotron 'laid-back' other than that.
WILSON: I'm more of a Hammond man myself.
7. If the ultimate choice were given to you, which comes first, live performances or studio work? I realise that is 2 sides to one story, but please do tell...elaborate!?
LIAM: That question is very difficult to answer; it's like asking a parent which is their favourite child. But I suppose the purest connection to the music is via a live show, because this is where a band becomes a band and feeds off the audience. On the other hand an album is the definitive statement of where a band is musically at a given point in time. That answer is a bit of a cop out...sorry!!
GERRY: Nothing quite beats the playing live experience; the studio experience can be a mixed bag for some musicians. Personally I love the recording environment.
WILSON: Recording the album was great but I think we're all looking forward to playing it live. That's where the fun starts
8. In many interviews Beatles comes up as as the ultimate forerunners of prog!? In other words...without Beatles, no progscene as we see it today! Do you concur? Please elaborate!
LIAM: The Beatles began experimenting with the album format in a way that no one else had done previously. It's perhaps going a bit far to say 'without Beatles, no progscene' but they certainly paved the way for a more imaginative approach to song writing and album creation
GERRY: I am a huge Beatles fan and their influence on everything that followed them cannot be over stated. As to whether Prog Rock as we know it would or would not have existed without their experimentation it's impossible to say.
MICHAEL: I don't think any one person or band is totally responsible for any new musical form.
9. In a given concert, with you headlining, whom or which band/artist would you most like/love to see on that Imaginative poster! Please feel free to name several!
LIAM: I would love to see a Genesis concert with Gabriel and Collins sharing vocal duties, complete with Steve Hackett - but I would be too overawed to share a stage with them...
GERRY: Roger Waters, just to see how grumpy he would be at not headlining!! And It Bites reunited with Francis Dunnery.
WILSON: There's lots of bands I'd like to be touring with - most of which we'd be supporting: Tull, Crimson etc
10. In this day and age of progcircuits, I guess most of your fans, friends & musicians would like to learn the instruments of your choice, im of course talking make and brand. Please elaborate individually!
LIAM: There were various weighted pianos, organs, Yamaha & Roland synths used in the making of the album. I like the old classic Shure SM 58 for live.
GERRY: My main Heroes instrument is a custom made GD mahogany body Strat type guitar with EMG active pick-ups, Wilkinson V100 trem and Sperzel tuners. I also have a 92' Gibson Les Paul Standard for the de-tuned number and Seagull and Takamine guitars for the acoustic stuff. Main amp is a Seymour Duncan 84/50 2x10 50watt valve combo. Effects.....erm.......everything!!
MICHAEL: I used two kits on the album. A Yamaha 9000 and a DW. The Cymbals were a mix of zildjian, sabian and ufip
WILSON: I'm currently using "Old painless" a Spector 6 string bass. Best thing I ever played. Also used a musicman fretless & Fender jazz on the album.
11. I really like your album and especially the lead vocals (which remind this interviewer of the great Rare Bird singer Steve Gould!!) there is a great 70´ prog vibe to it!! Do you find yourselves or even indulce in that early progperiod?
LIAM: Thanks for the kind words, and I'm flattered to be mentioned alongside a great singer like Steve Gould. We didn't purposely set out to create a 70's feel for the album but we have been influenced by many bands who arguably had their heyday in that decade. So I suppose it was inevitable that this would be reflected in the overall feel.
12. I love epic tracks and you guys deliver 4 of them on an album that holds 6 tracks! Is that on purpose? Or do you "just" compose/create music..not minding the time sequences?!
LIAM: The long songs became long songs naturally; there was no master plan. In terms of balancing out the album, however, I think it was necessary to have included a couple of shorter tracks.
13. I find some of the lyrics, sinister, dark and somewhat a social comment (The Centre Cannot Hold)Is that an accurate observation? Please elaborate!
LIAM: Yes, I try to write lyrics that are grounded in reality rather than being flights of fantasy. There are dark threads and recurring themes running through the lyrics. There are sparks of light flickering against a dark, menacing sky and as such the album is not all shadow. Ted Nasmith caught this mood beautifully in the cover.
14. Do you (as a band) find it difficult to reach the greater audiences (fans,listeners) as it where? Do you guys want to be true to your beliefs, both musician wise but also in origin? Meaning, you wont compromise your original ideals, for a wider audience or a record deal?! Please elaborate!!
LIAM: I tried to get into a boy band once but they sacked me when I asked which one was the drummer! No...you have to stay true to the music otherwise everything becomes contrived and you might as well be a boy band.
GERRY: If you mean are we going to turn into a spectacularly uglier version of Girls Aloud in a bid for commerciality, the answer would be NO.
MICHAEL: We're Irish – compromise isn't something we are good at!
WILSON: We're 'song for song's sake!' I don't think that will change. It would be a hollow gesture to try to be something that you're not. People see right through that. I think a lot more people will get it eventually. These things take time.
15. Do you (and im treading dangerous territory here) feel proud as to be an Irish progband? Does it matter? Or do you guys, like many others, think that music crosses borders? Music is music, no matter where it comes from?! I of course realise that coming from a certain place In a given country, makes you proud of that particular heritage!! Please tell?
LIAM: Yes of course, we're not exactly coming down with prog bands in Ireland, in fact to current knowledge we are Ireland's only existing prog band and we are trying to fight the good fight in Ireland. The Emerald Isle, like Scandanavia, is a place where Romance, myth and fire propel the past into the present: it is a country, a heritage and a landscape that has always given rise to emotive and imaginative literature and music, so progressive rock is suited to that environment. I hope though that our music, whilst carrying some Irish fire, resonates with a listener from any background.
16. Any new plans? New album and/or a concert tour? I for one would love to see you guys live in Denmark!!
LIAM: We'd love to play Denmark soon, but we'll have to wait and see on that one. We have shows lined up to promote the album including a performance at The House of Progression/The Peel in London on Jan 30th 2010. Hopefully we can build on the success of 'A Time of Shadow' and get working on a third album sometime next year.
17. Finally, I would like to thank you sincerely for doing this interview and here´s your chance to tell our readers, your fans, everyone into progmusic, what´s on your mind at this moment!??
ALL: It was a pleasure and we hope in some way we are contributing to the world of music in a positive way
18. God´s speed and here´s to you, hoping that you create another superb album!! I for one, will be eagerly awaiting!! Take care!!
ALL: Many thanks for your time Tonny and thanks also to anyone who takes the time to read this and pursues an interest in Dead Heroes Club...right we are off to another rehearsal...taxi !!!