Eight years have passed since "Space Metal", why did you decide to get Star One back together now?
Arjen - I'm always looking for new challenges and I hate to repeat myself, so in the meantime I did a lot of different projects. For 8 years fans have been asking for a 2nd Star One though, and after the relatively atmospheric Guilt Machine album I felt it was time to plug in and rock out again!
"Victims of the Modern Age" sounds and feel pretty much the same - where do you see the biggest difference between the albums?
Arjen - The music on Victims is darker, heavier and more down-to-earth. I think the sound, especially the guitar sound is a lot better than on the first album.
What kind of hopes and expectations do you have for "Victims of the Modern Age"?
Arjen - Nothing more than that the fans will enjoy it. And to hopefully attract some new fans who think Ayreon is too weird J
If you were to single out one song from the album that is a favorite which one would it be and why?
Arjen - It's much too early for me to be objective, ask me again in a year! Right now they are all my evil little babies J
Your production has to be you best one yet, any changes in your approach?
Arjen - Yes, I spent a couple of weeks trying to get the perfect guitar sound. I went back to recording the guitars the old way; with amps, speakers and microphones. I tried to make the whole album sound more organic.
Tell us a bit about the lyrical concept behind "Victims of the Modern Age", this time abound inspired by dystopian and post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies?
Arjen - Because the music is less spacey than on the first album, I decided to base the lyrics on dark dystopian and post-apocalyptic movies that are set here on Earth. Like Blade Runner and the Matrix. The lyrics are less obvious and more cryptic than on the first album, more based on the underlying theme of the movies than on the plot.
What do you want to express with the great artwork?
Arjen -That we are slowly destroying ourselves. The figures could be seen as Lori and me, we don't seem to feel part of the madness. I should be taller though, haha!
Any plans for Star One to hit the road (again)?
Arjen -No definite plans, but it is an option. But it would be very difficult, time-consuming and expensive to get these 10 musicians from all over the world who all have their own bands and projects together for rehearsals and a tour.
What does the words progressive metal/rock mean to you?
Arjen - A combination of the progressive rock period that for me started with bands like Floyd, ELP, Kansas; and the metal movement starting with bands like Sabbath, Zeppelin and Rainbow; culminating into bands like Rush, Dream Theater and Devin Townsend.
Name five albums that have made a big impact on today's scene and you personally...
Arjen - The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, Led Zeppelin III, Rainbow Rising, Floyd's Wish You Were Here and Rush's Permanent Waves.
What’s next, back to the drawing board and to come up with something completely new, time for another Ayreon album?
Arjen - I don't feel ready for a new Ayreon album yet. Right now I will finally make the solo album that I have been planning for almost 10 years now. I'm not sure yet what style, I keep changing my mind! I will just let my inspiration guide me I guess.
Thank you very much for answering my questions.
Arjen - You're very welcome, Kenn, my pleasure!
Interviewed by Kenn Jensen