12. The new singer is absolutely brilliant, a superb mix of Hogarth (Marilion) and Collins & Gabriel, but also with his very own special timbre!! Where and how did you find him? What did you look for, in a new singer? I guess you had an audition?!
David is a superb singer and a huge asset for the band. Sean Filkins was an excellent vocalist but we were looking for someone with the quality of voice that could help take the band on to the next level. We first heard about him when Rob Aubrey contacted us after he recorded David for Martin Orford's The Old Road album. Rob felt that David would be perfect for BBT. So we had a listen and offered David the job. Martin Orford really helped out in introducing everyone to each other so we owe him a lot of thanks.
13. This fine new album boast prominent guests such as Dunnery, D´Virgilio, Gregory and Godfrey. How did that come about? Dont get me wrong I think it is great! But please do tell why and how!?
Well, Nick played on The Difference Machine as well and is a good friend. I would describe him now as a permanent guest, we wouldn't want to work without him as he is, quite simply, one of the best drummers in the world. The other guests were selected as we felt they could contribute something significant to the album. We were aware that Jem was a fan of Big Big Train and when we realised we needed a powerful keyboard solo we could think of no-one else we would rather turn to. He turned in two stunning performances for us. Francis was a big influence when the band first started out - It Bites were the biggest new prog band at the time and Francis was the most exciting guitarist I'd ever seen live, so I very much wanted to involve him. As for Dave Gregory, well, we have long been fans of XTC and admirers of his work and he's been on our list of musicians we'd like to work with for many years, but we were too shy to ask him. It turned out that he was a good friend of David's, and was very interested in playing for BBT. He turned in a number of beautiful guitar solos and other parts for the album and has become a big feature of our sound.
14. "The Underfall Yard" tells interesting (true?) story´s, please elaborate on the original idea?!
The title track is a long piece of music, so I was able to weave a number of themes together. The main story in the song is about the life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel who is one of the greatest of the Victorian engineers and one of my heroes. The song also expresses my concerns about the state of western society at the present time. We seem, to me, to be heading into an almost post-rational age with the rise of fundamental religious movements, the belief in creationism and other such nonsense. Brunel and his work is used as a contrast against this post-rational way of thinking. There is also a geological theme running through the song.
15. Are you, the original Big Big Train members selftaught or classical trained? Please elaborate individually if possible!
We're mostly self-taught. I took classical guitar lessons for a number of years but gave up to concentrate on song-writing. I found the playing ok, but the sight-reading was difficult when I was taking my exams.