domingo, 10 de junho de 2012

Interview With Arjen A. Lucassen - Welcome to the New Real!

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, fan fiction movies and series, calls himself a social recluse, does'nt like read newspapers or watch the news, does not like to play live (noting that what he feels is a lack of contact with the fans, but fortunately with the Internet can change e-mail them at least), has an unusual creativity, do not allow limits, and on 90's, in a totally unfavorable time, he recorded his first Metal Opera,!! Has produced stupendous works with his projects Ayreon and Star One , and others of equivalent quality as Guilt Machine and Ambeon.

Went through a difficult period (in 2007), with a divorce, having to move out of his old house and studio, have been diagnosed with anosmia and faced a depression, but sought in music all the forces against it, and presented us with more great music (Ayreon - 01011001, Star One - Victims of the Modern Age, Guilt Machine - on This Perfect Day), and now in 2012, released his second solo effort, bringing an atmosphere lighter and less dark than the previous works, where, besides the sense of humor in this album, we also find a wide variety of music, furthermore the Dutch genius recorded all the vocals.

We spoke to Arjen to talk more about "Lost in the New Real" about movies, series, your music and more in a funny and very interesting interview! With you: The Maestro!!! 

RtM: After too many bands and projects, “Lost in The New Real” is just your second “solo” album. Why did you take so long to release another “solo”?
Arjen: I’ve been planning to do a solo album for years, in fact the last Ayreon and the Guilt Machine album were planned to be a solo albums. But…I never stick to the plan, I always change my mind at some point! Often I hear a great singer, like in the case of Guilt Machine, and then I invite other singers anyway…but not this time, I stuck to the plan…just me on vocals!

RtM: You said that was a challenge to record all the vocals, commented that like to sing but never was comfortable or satisfied with your voice. For "Lost in the New Real” records, how did you prepare yourself, and what has change in your way to sing to get such good results? And now, with the CD already released, how did you analyze your performance? 
Arjen:  I think I definitely got better and more versatile. At least I learned my own limitations. And I wrote these songs especially on my voice. I couldn’t sing metal like for instance Russell Allen does. I'm proud of it and pleased that people enjoy it too!

RtM: When you work with Stream of Passion, you said that was really great to be a part of a band again, make tours, live shows… With this new album, without too many guests like Ayreon or Star one, did you work on it thinking that will be easier to play alive, and maybe will there be a chance to see you take this album on tour?
Arjen: Sorry, but no… Did I really say that?(Redator's Note: In an interview to brazillian magazine Roadie Crew, in March 2008, said that on one hand like to participate in the tour with the Stream of Passion, mainly because he misses the contact with the fans, but on the other hand, as we know, does not like to play live)

Anyway, I really hate playing live, it's my biggest nightmare. I see myself as a composer / producer, that's what I prefer doing and that's what I do best. I am a total recluse. I don't like to socialize. I don't like to travel and I hate waiting. Touring is 90% waiting, it's not productive or creative at all. I'd rather be creative and work on new stuff instead of playing the same songs night after night. It's just not my passion anymore. Sorry, folks!

RtM: Man!With your mind focused exclusively in studio and to create music, you will blow our minds with many masterpieces!!
Arjen: That's the plan, Carlos! I'll do my best!

RtM: Tell us a little about the “Lost in The New Real” concept. How did the initial idea, the concept and the history development?
Arjen: "Lost in the New Real" tells the story of Mr. L, a man dying of cancer who was cryopreserved in the early 21st century and revived sometime in the undetermined future. In this future world, cancer and other diseases have been eliminated, and the social fabric of humanity has changed drastically: computers have developed emotions and most social interaction takes place in virtual reality. The line between what is considered "real" and what is not has blurred beyond recognition. 

The 15 songs comprising the album follow Mr. L's emotional journey as he, with the help of a psychological advisor (the narrator), is confronted with various serious and comical aspects of this "new real" and tries to decide whether or not he can find a meaningful place within it.

RtM: The history reminds me old fiction movies, and  the “Austin Powers” comedy! I felt many sense of humor in this album, and I believe that’s a great difference of it!  
Arjen: Oh yes, my last albums were all very dark, it was time for some humor again!

RtM: The album cover is very nice too! “In Stereo”! “Totalvision Trekknicolor”! Like the old fiction movies posters! You must have a lot of fun doing this album! Great!Tell us a little more about the cover art idea!
Arjen: I wanted something very colorful and nostalgic. Luckily I found someone who has the same fascination for old sci-fi stuff as I have: the artwork guy Claudio Bergamin. We tried to capture the feel of those old cheesy sci-fi movie posters from the 60’s and update it a bit to our time. If you look closely you’ll even see the Holodeck from Star Trek!

RtM: About the sense of humor, we would like you comment about the lyrics of “Pink Beatles in A Purple Zeppelin” (the title have seems to pay homage to some yours favorite bands too) and “Where Pigs Can Fly”, this song it’s hilarious! 
Arjen: It gets harder and harder to be original in music. I figure that in the future they will have this computer program that will just create the perfect music for you, tailor-made. Just punch in your favorite bands like Floyd, Beatles, Purple and Zeppelin and the computer will mix their styles into a new composition.

Where Pigs Fly is about an alternate reality, what would our world look like if everything was exactly the opposite, like matter and anti-matter?

RtM: Another thing that differentiates this album from the others is the musical diversity. Your other project have, in some ways, a more defined line, in “Lost in the New Real” did you feel more comfortable to experiment?
Arjen: Oh yes, absolutely. I wanted to get back to the feeling I had when I started Ayreon. No expectations just make an album for myself, even if everyone else would hate it. No limits.

RtM: And tell us about the Rutger Hauer participation! You are a big fan of fiction movies, and “Blade Runner” is your all-time favorite (probably you like “The Hitcher” too).
Arjen: It was truly a dream come true. Because I really dreamt about it! I’ve been a fan of Rutger ever since I was 10 years old. And yes, Blade Runner is my fave sci-fi movie of all time as well. Rutger wrote about 80% of his own narration. We’ve been skyping for weeks! This makes it really special for me. And very real, he’s not just reading other people’s words. He really dived into the story and music to make the narration his own.

Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner scene
RtM: The movie “Surrogates”, with Bruce Willis, show a future when people interact through androids, and live in isolation, an actually, people seems to prefer to have a conversation or interact through internet instead of talking face to face! Did you thing this can be a serious problem in the future? In Lost in The New Real you touch in some of this point.
Arjen: I’m already like this! The song Social Recluse is about me basically, apart from playing computer games. For me personally it’s not a problem, because I never liked to socialize anyway J But I’m glad I had a ‘normal’ childhood in the time before computers.

RtM: And about the future of the music? Most say that physical album release is something that is no longer feasible, and the bands make the money only with the shows. What do you think about?
Arjen: The answer is simple, . If people keep downloading my music illegally and stop buying my CDs, I have to stop making music. It's my only income because I don’t play live, and I have to invest a lot of time and money in my projects. So you can guess my thoughts on that topic! :-)

With Anneke, Floor and Simone:James Bond Style or Arjen's Angels!!?
RtM: And if you were cryogenically frozen and awakened in the distant future, as you can imagine what would be the music industry? He he he!
Arjen: Like I described in Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin. Making music will become a hobby instead of a profession.

RtM: After having worked with many renowned artists and discovered many talents, what   musicians would you like to work in future? (I remember now a joke with you and Tobias Sammet, about a dispute involving the guests for your projects!)
Arjen: I would of course love to work with musicians that I grew up listening to as a kid, like Floyd, Beatles, Alice Cooper or Zeppelin. But there is also a lot of new talent I’d like to work with.

RtM: And speaking as Arjen Lucassen, the producer, what bands or artists would you like to produce some day?
Arjen: I don’t produce other bands, I’m a total ego-maniac who only works on his own music!

RtM: And about the comments that you would have liked the work of brazilian singer Daísa Munhoz, from Soulspell Metal Opera, and that she could be invited to a future album of yours? (I think it is missing a Brazilian in Ayreon’s  albuns, Tobias had already André Matos in Avantasia! He he !)
Arjen: Thanks for the tip, I’ll check her out!

RtM: Following the same line, a fan of yours, also a musician, begged to us to ask the following questions:
A) Can you talk a little about the work of mixing the album "into The Electric Castle"? The mix of instruments, especially bass and drums, were with great weight and depht compared to all other albuns.
B) And about classics like Genesis, Rush and Yes, are bands that will you cite like influences on your music?
Arjen: A) Electric Castle was still recorded on old Adat tapes. I Think that limitations can be very good. I would love to go back to that transparent sound again, without samples or any digital sounds.
and... B) Oh yes, of course! I love those bands. I listen to a lot of 60's and 70's music and of course this influences and inspires me!

RtM: Tell us how it works the way you do the things, a bit of how works the creative mind of Arjen Lucassen! When you begin to imagine a new album, usually begins the story and then the music, or depends?
Arjen: I start recording some little ideas on guitar (chords, riff, melody) on a simple cassette player. These ideas usually come up when I'm just noodling on my guitar. In other words, when there's no pressure. When I've got about 50 ideas I start recording, layering and arranging them in my studio. After a couple of months I usually have about 2 hours of music.

 Then I put the songs in the right order and start contacting singers when it's an Ayreon. Then I let the music inspire me to come up with a story. When all the singers are confirmed I divide their parts over the album and the last step is writing lyrics. While I'm writing the lyrics the story unfolds itself.

Guilt Machine
RtM: When you started with Ayreon, would you have imagined that such acceptance, with fans to create forums to discuss the concept of the albuns? Your music is able to create that interest, because there are so many details that every hearing, every time I read the lyrics, I find new things.
Arjen: Thanks for the compliment! Not at all, I didn’t expect ANYONE to like my weird music and lyrics! So many styles, and such a complicated story. But I’m truly honored that people enjoy it so much, it’s all I could wish for!

RtM: As a fan of movies and series, would you list your five favorite movies of all time?  
Arjen: Donnie Darko, Being John Malkovich, The Omen, Blade Runner, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Machinist, Insomnia. Oops, that's more than 5 :-) !!!! 

RtM: And your five favorite albuns?
Arjen: Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour; Pink Floyd - Wish you Were Here; Led Zeppelin - III; Queen - II; Rainbow - Rising; Rush - Permanent Waves...Damn, that's was six i believe !!! (laughs).

RtM: And what another movies or tv series would you appointed how your favorites? And about more recent success like “Supernatural”, “Dexter” or “Lost”?
Arjen: Dexter is my favorite TV series ever, brilliant! I also enjoyed the first two seasons of Lost.

RtM: Well, we have a lot of questions, but we wil save your time!!! Thanks for all attention, thanks for the music, and we let the space for your message to brazilian fans!
Arjen: You’re very welcome! All I want to say to my loyal Brazillian fans is that they shouldn’t expect a huge bombastic metal-opera here with load of guest singers. But if you have an open mind, which I know you have from your lovely emails and messages, I’m sure you could enjoy this eclectic and adventurous album, so... have fun!!

Interview: Carlos Garcia
Review: Roy Batty
Collaborated: Luiz Harley & Alan Garcia

Thanks to Arjen and Lori for all attention and kindness!


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