Interviewed by Ruud Peters (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
First of all: I’m very fond of the album (I gave it a 10/10!) but how have been the responses so far ?
Paul: Wow! Thank you so much, you definitely “got it”. The reactions of the press has been outstanding and our fan base is going crazy over the album. We have also managed to attract a lot of new listeners too, which is really what you aim to achieve with each record. It’s still early days of course, as it was only released in North America yesterday, but in Europe and Japan we have received amazing feedback.
So there are 2 newcomers in the band. How did they came to the band and how would you describe their individual qualities ?
Paul: Our new vocalist is Nikola Mijic who is a young Serbian vocalist who sings with Alogia in his homeland and also with Hungarian band Dreyelands. He also performed vocals on a Prog project called Expedition Delta. When we parted company with Marco we decided to hold some public online auditions, similar to what Dragonforce did, and even though the quality received was very high indeed, we were looking for that certain “je ne sais quoi”. I was researching on the internet through various media streams and I happened to be browsing on the website of Lion Music who have some killer bands. I came across Dreyelands and liked what I heard from their singer. I jumped to Facebook to see if he had a profile and what he was doing and low and behold he did. I reached out to Nikola and invited him to audition, which he did. He recorded 3 songs and we got to know him quite well and he really met all the requirements we looked for in a vocalist and a band member.
Nikola is an extremely versatile vocalist who can sing pretty much anything. He is a great live performer and is also a professional sound engineer owning his own studio in Serbia recording bands there and also mixing live at concerts. He plays multiple instruments and is a really fantastic easy going person.
Our new keyboard player is Steve Williams, the main man behind Power Quest and former Dragonforce member. Steve actually auditioned for the band when Ferdy Doernberg left after the second album, and was beaten by Alessandro and his magnificent voice. We have remained good friends since and it was a very natural decision to ask him to join as he is a great player, songwriter and person, and Power Quest had split and he was contemplating his next musical venture. He asked to hear the new demos and once he did he jumped on board.
When God made Steve Williams he threw away the mould. Talented, intelligent, thoughtful, witty, fun and one of life’s absolute Gentlemen …. they don’t make them like him anymore!
Eden’s Curse is a multinational band, can you tell us how the writing, composing and recording works. And how do you ensure the needed chemistry within the band ?
Paul: The internet is central to everything that we do. Email is our virtual rehearsal, studio and communicative tool and the ground rules are simple; 1 – be respectful and 2 – the song is king. We are now four albums in to working this way, and the more we do it the more comfortable we are with each other as people and songwriters. We actually know each others strengths so well now, that maybe in the early days you would be over protective of your own ideas, but now it’s a case of fully embracing the talents that we each have to achieve the same common goal – a killer song. In terms of actual song ideas, it usually starts from someone, via a piece of music and someone usually works on it to start with, and then we all listen and make comment and build it from there. We work the song to the point were we are all happy with the final demo arrangement and then take that into the studio. Giving people freedom to express themselves musically and to be able to perform without any chains on has really worked for us, and thankfully everyone seems to know now what works for the song. All of this plus that word I mentioned earlier – respect – helps ensure that the chemistry is right, and we all like to have fun and laugh. This is a very happy band at the moment.
On the previous albums there were some interesting guest vocalist (Doogie White, Pamela Moore, James Labrie). If I’m right there are none on the new one. Is there a reason for this ?
Paul: Yes, because Nikola can actually sings his own harmony parts. Michael couldn’t sing harmony vocals, he didn’t know how to, so we build guys like David Readman and Doogie White around his lead vocals on the first album and it kinda became pretty cool. We then messed around with that on each record, but it became more and more expensive the bigger the name we used, and that money could be put to better use, so we always said album number four would be us standing on our own two feet, and it makes even more sense now with Nikola on board. A lot of the backing vocals you hear on the album were actually performed by our drummer Pete Newdeck, he is a great singer.
The band didn’t play live that often, but recently you did a gig at the Firefest X Festival in Nottingham. How did you experience that ? Are there any chances that EC will hit the stage in the US and/or Europe (mainland) soon ?
Paul: Bearing in mind the global spread of the band, we actually have played over 22 shows together which is more than some bands that are all based in the same City, so it’s not actually that bad!
Firefest was an amazing experience. We had a few sound issues on the day but they soon leveled themselves out, and that is par for the course with festivals to be honest. We are at this point in time in discussions with our booking agents over live dates in the UK and Europe at the moment. Ideally we’d like to be doing a UK tour in Spring, some Summer festivals and some European dates later in the year. Now we are all based in Europe, there is no excuse, however touring does remain one of the most expensive parts of this business.
Paul, you are the main songwriter/composer for the band. Tell us how do you get your ideas, both musically as lyrically ? Is there a special moment or place needed for you to get inspiration ?
Paul: That’s an extremely difficult question for me to answer, and I can’t say I really know. In many ways I have to be in the right mood. There is nothing worse than forcing the creative juices, as rarely anything good develops, but it maybe a piece of music I have heard on the radio or a guitar riff idea that’s popped into my head that kicks it all off. Musical ideas come all the time when those juices are flowing and I try and record them and stores banks of these ideas to revisit later. Sometimes I will just sit down with a guitar and translate an idea from my head to it and then actually build a song in my studio around that. So, I try to get 20 or so of these scratch ideas going before starting an album and then kick off from there.
Lyrically, it’s either something happening in my life or around me, or something I have witnessed or watched on TV or read in a book that kick starts that idea. Sometimes it’s even just an idea for a song title and I build it from there – Symphony Of Sin started that way. I thought what a great title and created the orchestral part, then the song, then the lyrical concept based upon a social observation. Inspiration comes in many forms.
What’s your opinion about the important role of the internet nowadays for a band ? There are certainly pro’s & con’s?
Paul: Without the internet the band would not exist, so it’s a subject close to my heart. There has never be so many great and professional ways to promote your music, yet of course there is the flip side of illegal downloading, which to be honest no-one can fix, so you have to look at it as a form of promotion and hope that it translates a percentage into sales or concert goers. The other negative is suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry is a critic. You need a thick skin in this business for sure.
What’s your latest discovery in the field of melodic rock/metal and do you listen to other genres as well (if so, please give some examples)
Paul: I like everything from Journey right through to Megadeth. It’s exclusively Rock or Metal I listen to, but every once in a while I will hear something outside on the radio that is pretty cool and appreciate. I enjoy listen to some Classical Music on radio too every once in a while. My latest discoveries would be Italian Prog band DGM who are amazing and I really like Pagan’s Mind from Norway and the Melodic Rock act Eclipse.
How do you see the near future for Eden’s Curse ?
Paul: It’s now about live work. We feel this is really how we can progress as a band. There are many places we have yet to play, so there are plenty of goals left for us to achieve for sure.
And finally: you are certainly aware about the fact that vinyl is definitely back. In some cases even outselling other media formats. Is this something that you as a band consider to do as well, bringing out a vinyl release ?
Paul: No, I leave that kind of thing up to AFM Records. I am definitely of the tape/CD generation, so I was never a fan of it to be honest and think it’s over hyped.