ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
HUXLEY WOULD APPROVE
With: Joe & Raider
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Richard hawey - May 2016
PROFIL - Before starting I would like to say thank you for accepting the interview.
JOE & RAINER: Thank you for inviting us. We are very happy to be here!
PR - How the adventure HUXLEY WOULD APPROVE did it start?
JOE: The adventure began a few years back on a Roger Waters’ forum when Rainer posted a request for a concept idea and lyrics for a project he was to undertake. I posted a rough outline of a concept which I then expanded on. A couple of months later the lyrics were complete for Part One and Part Two. Rainer then began the process of writing the music for the concept. His music inspired me to then work on the concept’s artwork in the hope that it would help with the storyline. It’s been a long process with a lot of hard work but the two of us are really happy with it so far. It turns out a lot of other people are happy with it too.
PR - How did you meet?
JOE: Rainer and I first connected on the forum. We first met in the flesh in London, England for the Roger Waters’ Wall Show. We were lucky enough to see David Gilmour and Nick Mason join Roger on stage. What a night! I also saw the show in Montreal and Toronto. And yes, I will see the show again if Roger erects his wall once more!!!
PR - What are the links in your project with writer Aldous Huxley?
JOE: There are really three people who inspired Grave New World. Roger Waters, Aldous Huxley and Carl Jung. I use Huxley’s “Brave New world” as a very lose backdrop in our story. I really think technology and who masters it will control our evolutionary next step. And given that this technology is producing a world of narcissists in my view, I fear, humanity as we know it will cease to exist. In the future, I think, people will go to no end to try and achieve a life span of 500 years… maybe even immortality! Planet earth will not be able to sustain this madness. Let’s hope empathy prevails and we respect the least privileged.
PR - You can talk about "Grave New World part 1"?
JOE: The seed for Grave New World was really my interpretation of Roger Waters’ lyrics for one of my favourite songs. Imagine you staring at the mirror and singing the lyric “wish you were here”. For someone who is absent from responsibility, relationships...life, the lyric could be “wish (I) were here”. The reflection (unconscious aspect) in the mirror could represent the part of you that is absent. Could these two people (you and your reflection) be “two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year”? Yes! And so, our story begins. Our protagonist at the start of our story is not whole! He will endeavor to become ONE! This will not be easy with a backdrop of a dystopian narcissistic world. Will he be able to accept that he is not perfect? Well, our concept tries to help our protagonist by introducing Carl Jung concepts such as the “anima” and “shadow” (a person’s dark side). Maybe the reflection in the mirror is his “shadow” that he refuses to accept. Once he reaches its acceptance he will be able to accept others. Grave New World Part One ends on a sad note! But there is hope in Part Two!
PR - The recording of the album was done where and how, via the Internet?
RAINER: All songs in Grave New World were recorded in my studio (N4A) in Germany. Since the lyrics mostly existed and the moods of the individual phases in the concept were clearly pre-defined it was my job to translate these emotions into music. The songs have emerged in very different ways. Some songs I set down at the piano and sang while playing. For example, the song A Grave New World was created in this way - incidentally my tribute to Mr. Roger Waters himself. Some songs were based on a guitar figure where as other songs were rhythmically oriented in the initial stages. If you, as in my case, play and record all instruments by yourself (with a few exceptions on the album) you have the ability to incorporate all your emotional ideas in the entire work. It also means that most of the instruments have to be continuously re-recorded until it reaches the final product.
The arrangement of a song is the musical translation of emotions and maybe the most significant factor. Joe and I were in constant contact (mainly through the Internet) during the emergence of the songs. And so we were always able to exchange and implement ideas. Olaf Arweiler (keyboards) and Werner Melchior (guitars) have also added a few parts. And of course Judith Mattes-Schneider (singer) is a very important part of the band. On the album she represents the “anima” (the feminine principle as present in the male unconscious). By combining our two voices we were trying to implement a dichotomy of our protagonist in the concept story. Judith is such a great singer and musician! I think we need to give her even more space in part two.
PR - Listening to “Grave New World part 1 “means a lot of influence of Pink Floyd. Are there any other bands that influenced your compositions and even your musical tastes?
RAINER: I'm a big fan of the progressive genre - classic and modern. I love the music of 70's bands like 'Genesis' (until Steve Hackett left the band), 'Yes' and of course 'Pink Floyd' - but also more experimental stuff like 'Zappa', 'King Crimson', 'Rush', etc.. Also in the modern Prog there are many sources of inspiration. So I love the technical skill of 'Haken' just like the emotional insouciance of 'Crippled Black Phoenix'. I love the playfulness of 'Deep Purple' and the power of 'Opeth'. And of course 'Steven Wilson' is a great artist and huge inspiration. I think all these different styles can be found in one way or another in my compositions. That some people compare the album with the works of Roger Waters of course honors us. And as I said, one song is a very conscious homage to the master of arrangements and emotions.
PR - The album is quite short, about forty minutes, is there a particular reason?
JOE: Grave New World Part One is about 41+ minutes long. Part Two, which we hope to release next year, will be about the same length. So the actual Grave New World Project will be about 80 + minutes. We thought about releasing the entire thing in one go, but we liked the idea of having two parts out there! It’s like our protagonist in the story not being whole. He is “two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl”. So Part One and Part Two are two souls as well ;-) Our protagonist quest is to become one (WHOLE)! We hope our project could be played live in the future as a WHOLE piece of work ;-)
PR - Since the album is presented as a first part, we can assume that there will be a second?
RAINER: We are already working on Part Two and hopefully it will be published next year. Due to its altered mood (our protagonist moves from the dark into the light) Part Two gives more room for realizing different musical directions. And then we'll try to perform the whole piece live with an entire band. Some of the musicians can't wait to get on stage with GNW Part One and Part Two.
PR - Do you follow what is happening on the progressive scene? Do you have any favorite bands or artists?
RAINER: As already mentioned my taste in music is very broad. I love the music of the 70s. The 80s have not given me so much. In my record collection you'll find bands like Genesis, Steve Hackett, Pink Floyd, Yes, Rick Wakeman, Roger Waters, Queen, Deep Purple, The Clash, classic AC/DC, classic Whitesnake and Rainbow, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Steven Wilson, Crippled Black Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Rush, King Crimson, Dream Theater, Haken, Peter Gabriel, Marillion, Fish, Steve Rothery just to name a few. Yes, I have been following the current Progressive Scene of course. There are bands that appeal to me. Haken for example currently impresses me very much.
PR - There are more and more groups are moving towards progressive music, do you believe that the market for this style of music is saturated or that on the contrary it is good for all?
RAINER: I think that any kind of development in the Progressive genre can only be good. I am very curious how the coming years will progress. But I can't quite follow some current definitions of Prog. In my view, too many pop bands are classified under the Progressive context, which is not right. But that's just my personal opinion.
PR - What are your short-term plans?
RAINER: I will continue to write and develop the soundscapes for the project. Joe has finished the lyrics for Part Two and will continue to develop the artwork.
PR - Is there a question(s) that you would have liked I ask you?
Q #1: If you had to choose an artist to work with, who would you name?
RAINER: Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson.
Q #2: Which artist would you like to have a beer with?
JOE: Roger Waters
Q #3: What was your best live experiences in the Art / Progressive topic?
RAINER: Steve Hackett performing Genesis Revisited 2015, Steven Wilson 2016 and Crippled Back Phoenix 2013
JOE: Roger Waters The Wall opening night in Toronto. At the end of the show I just stood there beside myself in amazement thinking what the hell just happened here?
PR - You have the last word …
RAINER AND JOE: We would like to thank you Richard and Profil. Don’t forget to check us out on: