Interview with Pete Southern, Balance Of Power (February 14, 2005)

Your new release is a box-set with remastered version of old songs, a live DVD and a live CD - who came up with that idea - the record company or was it your own idea?
BoP - The record company originally suggested filming one of our shows in Germany during 2004.
It was our suggestion to expand that further to include the audio live cd and a selection of songs from previous albums as we felt that made up a more value for money package. We also wanted to maintain artistic control by mixing the audio and making a more comprehensive set of extras for the dvd.

As an old fan of your music I feel a bit let down - after all there's no new stuff, the live show is only 1 hour long, the background material is good, but for fans, who's been following you from the beginning I don't feel this offers a whole lot, but to new fans this is a great introduction to your music - was that the reason behind this release? And can you understand if old fans feel a bit disappointed?
BoP - I'm sorry if you feel that way, but I feel the pack offers a lot to existing fans and a good intro to those unfamiliar with our music. The dvd contains a lot of extra stuff, interviews, old live footage and photos and the remastered compilation features some songs we haven't played live before. The set was one hour as we were playing as guests to Edenbridge and not headlining and new stuff will be coming in the shape of a new studio album, which we are working on at the moment. Which I'm sure will satisfy old and new fans. 

"Heathenology" is your third release on Massacre Records - how is the co-operation with them? Do they give you better support and is it easier to get tours after you've joined them?
BoP - Massacre is ok, they are not a big label and big budgets are not avaliable, but we give them a quality product to market. Unfortunately tour support is not something they help out with so that side of things is very much down to us. Promotion and press has always been good in Germany so they work well on that side. 

In the past you have seldom been out on the road to support your albums, but that changes now, when you join Pink Cream 69 and Axxis on tour this spring - how does that feel?
BoP - This is something I get very irritated about. Balance of Power is a good live band and we get very frustrated about the limited opportunities for touring. Without a booking agent we have managed to play in Europe and the USA, but it has been a struggle. We live to play our music live and it annoys me, when people think of us as a studio band, come to a concert and we'll show you otherwise.

And why haven't you been touring that much in the past?
BoP - I guess my previous answer covers that one. We have been offered tours, but large "buy-on" fees and music business politics seem
to get in the way, that doesn't stop us trying though!

Any chance you might be doing some festivals this year?
BoP - Some things are in the pipeline, but as a saying goes in music business "It's not what you know it's who you know"
I hate to sound cynical, but that's reality.

Jon K is your third vocalist - why did Lance King leave?
BoP - Problems with Lance were never about music, he was and is a superb vocalist. But our working relationship with him also included the business side as his label released our albums in North America. That is where the disagreements came about and unfortunately meant we couldn't continue working together. It's a pity, when business gets in the way of  the artistic side, but I'm sure many other musicians can relate to that.

Jon K is also the vocalist in BioMechanical how does that influence you?
I mean is BoP his first priority or are they at the same level?

BoP - I'll answer these two together, Jon's work with Biomechanical is very different to our music so there is no conflict. However that band is very much his project from a performing, writing and producing point of view, so it obviously takes priority for him. We don't have a problem with that as I work with bassist Tony Ritchie on the music and Jon comes in at the stage, when the songs are written and arranged and does his part in the studio.

When can we expect new stuff from you?
BoP - As I mentioned work is underway on a new studio album although we currently have no release schedule. Once demos and
pre-production are complete we will record in Minneapolis with Lionel producing. We are also taking time out to do shows to promote the Heathenology set.

Now that you all are living in England is the process of writing new songs easier or is it still the same? How is a normal BoP song created?
BoP - The writing and recording process is much the same as before. I work on ideas and send them to Tony - we then get together
and work on demo tracks with Tony singing lead vocals. All our previous albums have been recorded in London in sessions spread over several months and then mixed in the studio in Minneapolis, but this time the album will be recorded and mixed completely in the US.

Why do you think it is so hard for melodic metal bands from England to compete with their counterparts from the US or Germany? To me it seems a lot easier to get recognition in the metal community if you are from the US or Germany, than if you are English?
BoP - For a long time melodic metal was out of favour in the UK and the press particularly either ignored or mocked bands, they didn't consider fashionable. BOP and other bands had to look abroad to get music released. Japan and Europe provided a lifeline for the music and it is a credit to the magazines, labels and fans, that there has been big resurgence in metal music, that goes beyond the nu-metal stuff. We went to America and were pleasantly suprised at the level of interest in power/melodic metal and the fans enthusiasm for European bands.

Any famous last words?
BoP - I'd just like to sincerely thank people for their support and interest in our music. It means a lot to me and the guys
and hope you'll enjoy future BOP releases.

Thanx for doing this interview and the best of luck in the future!

Do check out the new Balance Of Power boxset.

Balance Of Power - Heathenology

Boxset on Massacre Records.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Balance Of Power.