Could you please give our readers a brief introduction to Headspace?
Headspace - Headspace was formed in late 2006 after I wanted to start a band with my closest musician friends who shared the same love of music. I spoke to Damian first, and said that I didn't want to start a band with any pre conceived ideas or direction. We rented a rehearsal room in West London and all got together and just played to see what happened. It could've turned out like Keane or The Killers who knows. Maybe I was naive to think it wouldn't be a prog band but I felt it had to take its natural route, rather than being led in any particular direction.
Debut album out fairly soon tell us what kind of feelings does that bring up in you?
Headspace – We have spent nearly 4 years making this album. It has taken this long for 2 reasons. Firstly, my schedule with Ozzy since 2007 has been quite intense (as has the rest of Headspace's personnel with their other touring commitments). We could never really all get in the same room together, let alone the same country so Pete and I we started getting together when we could . We'd make a start on a track, then send an MP3 to Damian who would make a start on melodies. Then we'd go and record some ideas with him, and Lee and Rich would put some parts down and developed some ideas.
Although it may sound fragmented, it worked really well for us and meant we could live with ideas for a while before we demo'd the whole album.
The second reason it took so long is that we wanted it to be right. The whole point of this band was to make a band and an album that we wanted to make. We turned labels down in the beginning because they wanted us to be more metal, or more traditional prog. They didn't really understand where we were coming from. We wanted to make this album the way we wanted to, without any manipulation from anyone. We honestly didn't care whether there was a label behind us or not when we were making it. We paid all the recording cost and enlisted Blacklake to do the design work, websites and CD artwork way before we signed a deal.
It was pretty emotional once Inside Out came along and actually understood what the band was about. We even changed the cover designs the day before the artwork had to be submitted to the label as we weren't 100% sure it was the right. Probably delayed the release, but It just had to be totally right.
If you had to pick one song off the album that represent the essence of Headspace, which one would you pick and why? Personally I would probably pick “Stalled Armageddon”.
Headspace – Difficult to pick one song as I think it's the album as a whole that sums up the essence of this band. Any one song doesn't quite explore the depths of the band although In Hell's Name gets close, as does The Big Day.
Where did you record the album and who has produced and mixed it?
Headspace – A lot of the album was written at my studio, in Buckinghamshire, England. We then recorded the main vocals at Liscombe Park Studios in Soulbury, UK. Pete recorded his guitars at his studio in London and in random places whilst on tour in America with a band he was playing with called One Eskimo. Lee recorded his bass at his studio, and Rich at his studio! Pete and I recorded the Backing vocals in Los Angeles when we both happened to be in the same city in the same country for a couple of days.
One of the advantages of being able to take so long making an album is that we recorded the whole album first to make sure musically and lyrically it all tied in and the concept worked and made sense. This meant when we came to re record it properly, we could pretty much record it anywhere. We decided on Jen Bogren to mix the album as we all liked his work with bands like Opeth and personally, I was really impressed with the sound of James Le Brie's solo album that he mixed. Sonically, that album is pretty amazing in my book.
If you had the choice to pick the producer of your dreams, who would you work with and why?
Headspace – I've worked with a couple of great producers. Kevin Churko with Ozzy is an amazing producer. I think someone like Kevin would bring a lot to the table. I'd like to see how the band continues to develop really before pinning the tail on my favorite producer...
Tell us a bit about the artwork – who made it etc. and how important do you feel it is to have a cool artwork?
Headspace – Blacklake designed the artwork from ideas that Pete and I had. They were introduced to us by Damian who had worked with them previously and we were all suitably impressed. They are a great company who quickly understood where we were coming from.
I think in a time where the Mp3 culture is 'good enough' to a lot of music buyers, its still important to have a complete package and vision. We're all quite old skool when it comes to that side of things. It's not so much about looking cool, its about completing the story and tying everything together. There's no point having a concept album like this dealing with our individual relationships with humanity and having a cover depicting some melting strawberries in a toaster just because it's a good picture...
In my review I mention bands like Dream Theater, Threshold, A Perfect Circle, Rush and Yes, but who and what has inspired you musically on this album?
Headspace – I think it's so important to embrace your influences. Yes, Dream Theater , Rush, Gentle Giant, Sabbath the list is endless. I'm not a huge YES fan but there are some musical moments where they were truly unsurpassed, By covering up your influences, you probably make them more apparent subconsciously. We know who we are as individuals and the band is the sum of its 5 parts. Hopefully we've taken inspiration from these bands and many theirs and mixed it with our 5 individual musical personalities and created something a bit different.
Could you give a brief introduction to the lyrically ideas behind “I Am Anonymous”?
Headspace – I've mentioned briefly about the concept behind this album but the title of the album has the finger pointed directly at the listener. This is about you and your relationship with humanity, ultimately the battles fought within the mind from child to man. Through Kubler Ross’ model of impending death, with reference to war, the turmoil leads us to peace and acceptance... only then to swing straight back round to chaos. Current events that affect us all are obvious reference points so War , Religion and Mans inhumanity to Man are present throughout.
What’s next for Headspace, any tours planned, work on your next album…?
Headspace – We are planning a two week European tour in September. The first 2 Dutch shows have been announced with HAKEN on the 7 & 8th September - more details as they become available at www.headspaceonline.com. I'm away with Ozzy and a couple of Black Sabbath shows which means I'm tied up until the beginning of August.
We're looking at a longer European run at the end of the year if people want to see us!
If you had the choice to pick your ideal touring partners, who would you pick and why?
Headspace - Well, firstly HAKEN as they are a new British Prog band and we feel ideal partners to do a double headline trip around Europe! Obviously bands like Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater would be great to work with.
Most you are involved in other projects and bands besides Headspace, so is this a project, studio band or a serious touring band? And how easy is it to fit the band member’s schedules together?
Headspace – It has never been a project and never will be. It was started with the intention of being completely to opposite to all the other musical sessions and project we do. It was born from the want of doing something for ourselves that we can truely call our own. All of us can say; "This is my band" and that is something few band members can all honestly say. Regular activity will be a priority for us and will depend partially on how the album is received. If people like it and want to see us play, then we'll do more touring! Ultimately its what we all want to be doing - all of the time. Everything is split 5 ways, which means we all have to get the round in...Live with the Kings or go down with the ship, either way, we'll do it together and have a laugh while we're doing it.
Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?
Headspace – Thanks to everyone that supports recorded and live music. Hope you enjoy the album and we'll try not to take 4 years to make the next one. Download a QR scanning App on your Smartphone and scan the code in the CD booklet to watch videos on what we were thinking and trying to achieve when recording our parts on the album. A bit geeky, but hey, who are we kidding. We're all a bit nerdy sometimes.. AW
Interviewed by Kenn Jensen