First off would like to congratulate you on your album “Voice in the Light”. I am pretty sure most of our readers do not know your background, so could you start by telling us a bit about you and your musical background?
Amaran’s Plight - We formed, based around the idea of making a concept album out of a story written by a new author, John W. Crawford. John had ideas for the record, and we worked with him and his drafts of lyrics to create a progressive rock album.
How has the response been on “Voice in the Light” and what kind of expectations do you have for it?
Amaran’s Plight - The response has been overwhelmingly terrific, and it is unexpected... I never know what to expect...
If you should choose one song, which represents the essence of Amaran’s Plight on the album, which one would that be and why. Personal I would pick “Revelation", a song that I feel sums up what Amaran’s Plight is all about.
Amaran’s Plight - That is a good one... I like “Shattered Dreams”, as it has many sections of vocal and musical parts that showcase a few of the different styles you hear throughout the record.
If you should describe music to an absolute ignorant, what would you tell him/her?
Amaran’s Plight - To maybe try something else? No.... I am not sure, I would say to have an open mind, and give it enough attention and hopefully the music will return the favour. I would tell them it is progressive rock, which means "anything goes" and there is a good deal of musicianship, but it is not overdone, and does not hide or cover the vocals and harmonies which are key to the record and of telling the story.
Let’s get into the album where did you record it and who produced it and so on…
Amaran’s Plight - I produced it, and a lot of it was done at my studio- actually at 3 different places. First in Allentown, Pennsylvania... then here in my house and finally I my newly built studio next to my house. The majority of the music was tracked here, and DC's Lead vocals and my backing vocals were also done here. I kept on top of the production elsewhere working the musicians and other engineers over the phone and email, and we mailed some hard drives back and forth after we did some tracking. The Drums and Bass were done in California at The Mousehouse and Kurts place... Additional backing vocals were also cut at DCP studios in Pittsburgh, PA.
Was the album completely written before entering the studio?
Amaran’s Plight - Mostly, although sometimes they occur simultaneously. I put the music together myself and made demos of all of the songs. In many cases, I kept what was on the demo when we recorded the master tracks for the album. DC, John and I worked on the lyrics and Dc and I wrote the vocal melodies... most of this was done upfront before we started drums.
Tell us a bit about the lyrical aspect of the album. It was developed by John W. Crawford and is based on the novel by the same name by him. How did you get in touch?
Amaran’s Plight - Well, he got in touch with me about producing a prog rock record, and I considered it, and agreed to see what we could make of it. He had the story-line, although we developed it together, mostly by me asking him a long series of questions "why does this happen?' "How come this happens" and from there we worked out some of the details. He didn't really have the novel yet, just ideas for it. One thing I made him do was to invent a biography for each character on the album, so we could work in more details... his story was good, but general, and lyrics are about details, so the more DC and I had to work with, the farther we could go with it.. The 3 of us each wrote lyrics for it, but we were always facing a very specific direction of what had to be said and when it had t be said.
Tell us a bit about the album art work…
Amaran’s Plight - It represents the journey of a common man, and his reaching into a higher power, only to find in the end that he was no so common after all.
The name: Amaran’s Plight, what’s the story behind it and is there some special anecdote behind?
Amaran’s Plight - There is more to come on this, but I shouldn’t spoil the surprise yet... It may be on the band website this fall for those who are interested.
What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Amaran’s Plight?
Amaran’s Plight - Simply finishing the record. There was quite a period of time where we were stalled and when we were shopping for record labels... Many did not want it, and the ones who did could not meet the requirements set forth for the budget and vision of the final product, so it sat for a few years with very little happening until Shawn Gordon, of PROGROCK RECORDS got involved and really helped resurrect it back to life. The record could not have been started without John Crawford, and could not have been completed without Shawn Gordon.
What are the strengths and where can Amaran’s Plight improve?
Amaran’s Plight - I think it is original sounding, albeit it may sound a little of some of my past work musically (with Shadow Gallery) we may be able to add more dimension by getting Kurt and Nick to have more creative input earlier in the writing...
What immediately tasks lay ahead of you, any touring plans?
Amaran’s Plight - We are taking it one step at a time, and nobody committed to a tour of this album, but I wouldn't rule it out... in fact I am looking into the different scenarios that may occur with some of us, if not all of us, taking the songs to the stage.
Let’s speculate you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice who would be your ideal touring partners?
Amaran’s Plight - Rush... but more so from a personal preference, as I would love to see them every night.
Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Amaran’s Plight - Getting the album PINK FLODY - THE WALL when I turned eleven showed me that music can be grandiose and larger than life... Seeing them live some years later confirmed that this idea extended to the stage, and showed me that the sky is the limit.
Give me your shot at some albums you’d rip for your iPod if you were to be sent to the MIR space station tonight.
Amaran’s Plight - KITARO's "Dream", Jellyfish's “Spilt Milk", RUSH's "Greatest Hits", the softer Migrator album from Ayreon, “The Division Bell” from Pink Floyd, and my work in progress for a new age album "One Hour forever"
Which album(s) have put a big smile on your face and has made you bang your head in the past year?
Amaran’s Plight - a compilation disc of material, including unused MUPPET songs, from my friend, and the wildly talented songwriter, MARK RADICE..... and banging my head? The Amaran's Plight - just trying to finish the production of it made me bang my head off the studio walls...
I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us…
Interviewed by Kenn Jensen.