Interviewed by Denys (Site Founder/Senior Staff Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Hi Stu thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us here at Myglobalmind about your upcoming third installment in the Empires of Eden series titled “Channeling the Infinite”.
Stu: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me
Myglobalmind: Before we get into the Empires of Eden project, talk a little about your musical background, when did you start playing guitar and what was your first big break in a band?
Stu: I have played guitar now for over 25 years, and my big break was with a band called Dungeon. We toured Europe with Megadeth and also played shows with Edguy, Nightwish, Destruction, Mayhem and many more. It was a great time with touring.
Myglobalmind: How was the metal scene growing up in Australia when you we’re getting started? Which part of Australia are you originally from?
Stu: I am from Sydney, one of the main cites. The metal scene was very small when I grew up; it was hard to get imports for metal. I remember travelling a very long way to find the current (at the time) Manowar album “Hail to England!”. But I think the scene was very dedicated. Of course, we had Mortal Sin who were the biggest metal around in Australia. Great times though in those days discovering metal but you had to work for it to get it..
Myglobalmind: You have been playing guitars for over 25 years, when did you first discovered that this is what you wanted to do with your life? What influences do you draw from in your playing and songwriting?
Stu: Wow, good question.. I think once I saw Kiss as a child I knew Rock N Roll was where my soul was. As far as influences I have many of the usual shredder influences like Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen ETC but I was also very influenced by bands and guitar player in those bands – Manowar (Ross the boss), Judas priest (KK and Glenn), Thin Lizzy (Gorham and Moore) ETC. I think now I still get influenced by modern metal, guys like Olaf Lenk from Atvance he is great and of course Chris Impellitteri.
Myglobalmind: How did you manage to join the Aussie power metal/heavy metal outfit Dungeon? Always thought that they we’re extremely underrated, they’re stuff was very technical from what I remembered.
Stu: I was lucky. A good friend knew I was looking for a band and I spent years playing terrible cover bands, so I was looking for a very serious band. He mentioned to contact Tim from Dungeon and have a talk. I remember the audition, I was really nervous.. once I got the gig I was so excited and enthusiastic, Dungeon had just secured a good deal and had touring plans. It was great. I really loved being in Dungeon it was a great experience.
Myglobalmind: What did you learn in Dungeon that you were later able to apply to your own project in Empires of Eden?
Stu: I think a strong work ethic. You know, it’s very hard work on a touring band, and that helped me also understand the industry as well. This industry is VERY tough, so I was able to see a lot of the truth there. Also for me, I have to work with people I like.. so Empires of Eden has this strong ideal as well. Everyone has to be cool people without the huge ego.
Myglobalmind: Let’s get into the Empires of Eden stuff, when did you decide you wanted to introduce this project and what was your idea behind it?
Stu: I started Empires of Eden in summer 2007, I had collected some material from the writing sessions in my last band “Dungeon” that never made those cd’s but I thought were strong. The original plan was to get this material out there for people to hear.
To make it happen, as I am a terrible singer, I ask three very close friends and amazing singers, to help me to bring them to life and the collaboration was born. It’s very important to understand that EOE is a true collaboration between the singers and I, they inject much of their own soul into the song. I just compose and produce the music.
Myglobalmind: I don’t recall if there we’re as many guest vocalists on the first Empires of Eden if any, am I right on this?
Stu: Yes you are, only three singers but it was good for the album. Three different singers and textures to bring the songs to life.
Myglobalmind: At what point did you realize that you wanted to reach out to all these great metal vocalists to contribute to EOE?
Stu: Once we finished the debut cd “Songs of War and Vengeance” the feeling was very good. The album came together very easily with everyone having a lot of fun. We said “Hey let’s do this again and soon!” From there I started thinking how great it would be to write for some of my personal idols and transfer this feeling with them. So, I commenced going through my metal vinyl’s and thinking who I would like to compose music for. It was as simple as that really.
Myglobalmind: Next question would be simply because every album has gotten better with more superb vocalists, how did you end up getting people like the legendary UDO, Rob Rock, Mike Dimeo, Sean Peck, Steve Grimmett, etc on the new Empires of Eden “Channeling the Infinite?
Stu: Thank you for the kind words. You know the answer does link a little to my last comment that I simply thought “who am I a fan of?” you know – very easy. Of course it’s important to approach singers like UDO and Rob Rock with professional material, finished songs and well developed concepts. Sean Peck is a definite legend, great singer and wonderful song writer so we have actually written full songs together.
Myglobalmind: What’s the process behind the writing and the music? I know the guest vocalists have the freedom to add their own individual melodies to each song assigned?
Stu: The process begins by thinking about the singer, their vocal textures and attack. I usually find inspiration in writing for a singer and it comes easily, so for Rob Rocks song, many of the riffs came to me quickly and then the composition of the song begins. Usually I live with the song for two weeks to make sure it’s the exact statement my brain wants to make (Laughs) and then I submit the track to the singer.
Also, yes, the singers have complete control over their own lyrics and melodies. I always think it’s more important for the singer to create their own message and tell their own story. They infuse far more emotion into the track when they own the words. The great thing here is I am not sure what I am going to get, but of course trust the professionalism of the singers which equals the final product.
Myglobalmind: The new album is pure ripping heavy metal, it starts off with a bang and steam rolls all throughout. We’re they any songs that could have been on the new album that didn’t fit or make the cut per say?
Stu: There were 22 songs written during the sessions for this album, only because I just write when I am on a roll. I really felt all of the songs are special and worked well so it was very tough to cut the tracks down to 12. I wanted this album to be more diverse than Reborn in Fire that I released in 2010, and made an effort to create a wider sound-scape. As far as songs not making the cut, I usually kill the crap ideas very early and listen carefully to make sure that everything is worthy of moving forward.
Myglobalmind: How many of the guest vocalists and musicians have you personally toured with, are friends with?
Stu: I have recently toured with Steve Grimmett here I Australia and we have been friends for a while now. I asked Steve to sing on the last cd and we hit it off, he’s just a terrific singer. As far as friends go, I have a great friendship with Sean Peck. I hung out with him in San Diego last year and we are chatting all the time now. Carlos Zema is a great friend, we spent some time in vegas partying up I have some video footage of that which should be out soon, it’s hilarious! – Alessandro Del Vecchio is another good friend, we share the common love to recording studios as we both have commercial set-ups. Of course, the Australian singers are great friends as well.
I have had a great relationship with all of the singers so far. Some of the guys are so busy and involved with so many things. I know we had to fit Udo in between tours for the vocals.
Myglobalmind: How would you describe Empires of Eden new record in two words?
Stu: Majestically intense.
It’s a big album with a lot happening.
Myglobalmind: What’s next for you Stu and Empires of Eden? Any chance you guys hit dates on the road, would be incredible to get all these amazing vocalists in one spot right?
Stu: Yes I totally agree. Everyone wants to tour this.. so promoters note! All the singers involved want to hit the road on this we just need the right promoter. There is some talk of bringing this to the European festivals and my management is looking into that now.
Myglobalmind: Make the readers you’re best pitch on why they should get this kick ass new album from Empires of Eden Stu?
Stu: This is a unique metal experience!, Guys hearing these singers express what they want, no dollars forcing them to be anything other than the perfect singers they are. This album is made with NO compromise or dollars for concern. If nothing else it’s an honest and pure musical statement.
Hahah That’s all I can give you
Myglobalmind: Let’s have some fun yeah? When I say Judas Priest Painkiller, you say what?
Stu: The ultimate statement of heavy metal force power and melody.
Halford is the pinnacle of heavy metal singers of me – I’m a huge fan. Are you reading this Rob?
Myglobalmind: One of my staff writers is from Australia, I asked him once if he ever drank Fosters, here In the USA is the only “Australian” beer they ever advertise on TV. He told me that beers tastes like piss. What does Stu Marshall drink in Australia, name some good beers?
Stu: Yes, it is piss in a can. NO Australian touches it. In fact, Steve Grimmett when he toured here was really surprised that you can’t buy it here in a pub… 😉
For me, my favorite is a rich tasting “James squire – Amber ale” when had on Tap it is one of the finest beers in the world. I also drink good red wine a lot, Shiraz.
Myglobalmind: What’s the craziest music concert you have been a part of or have attended personally?
Stu: The Bang Your Head festival in Germany was amazing. I could fill an entire hour talking about the stories that day. Dungeon was playing the fest, we got to meet Dio, Twisted sister and the list goes on and on…
Myglobalmind: When I heard the song “Hammer Down” with the all star cast and UDO, I wanted to bang my head against a wall, is this normal for a metal head?
Stu: Yes and that is the expected response. When I thought about writing for UDO that poured out. Seriously UDO! What a dream..
Myglobalmind: In all seriousness Stu thanks for taking the time and I wish you the best of luck on the new album upon it’s release date, and keep it heavy!!!! Last words are yours.
Stu: Thank you for these great questions. Please drop over to www.empiresofeden.com we have handisgned UDO packs as a presale, also check us out on Facebook I am always on there.
Peace – Stu
Webzine Review for Empires of Eden – Channeling the Infinite