Interview with Espen Storø, Circus Maximus (July 13, 2005)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Espen - Thank you very much.
CM started many years ago with Mats, Truls and Michael. They have been playing together for years. There have been some other people involved also, but we became a full band in 2000 or 2001, if I'm right.

How has your new album been received by the media?
Espen - We're totally blown away. The response from the media has exceeded our wildest expectations.

I know artists are not happy to categorize their music, but how would you describe your music to an outsider?
Espen - In my opinion we are a heavy melodic prog metal band. I think that's the best category for our music. It is a mix of all our musical influences.

Where does your inspiration come from, both musically and lyrically?
Espen - From all the music we listen to, all the musicians we play with, movies, TV, games, ourselves, anything. Sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest things. I think emotions are very important too, you can get lots of inspiration from that.

What topics do you deal with in your lyrics and why?
Espen - The lyrics are different from each other. They all tell different stories about different things. Some are very emotional, some tell a story from beginning to end. I'm not too happy about revealing the true meaning in lyrics that should be up to the listener to decide.

Who has produced and mixed the album, and are you pleased with the end result?
Espen - All music is produced by us. I think this works well for us, plus the fact that there is a money-factor. A producer does not work for free. Tommy Hansen mixed the album. He did a great job for us, although the sound is different from what we imagined before the mix, it is great, and he added a whole different dimension to our music.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Espen - It was done by Mattias Noren. He made the artwork all by himself, and when we got the first preview we just said "Yes! That's it!" He is a great artist, we are proud to have him do this for us.
A good cover is important, I think. It should catch the eye when you are in a record shop. If you see an interesting cover you might pick it up to take a closer look, then you check out the music and maybe buy it.

Do you have any touring plans?
Espen - We have some concerts scheduled, but no tour yet. There are no plans about that right now, but I'm sure we will go on tour at a later time.

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label, and are you satisfied?
Espen - So far we are satisfied, I can't think of anything specific I'm not satisfied with at this point.

The Internet is a very important source for many music fans? How do you use the Internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Espen - The Internet is the ultimate source for information and communication. What isn't on the Internet doesn’t exist. You can find a LOT of music out there, not only by file sharing, but also on band websites. There are so many bands that put their songs out, and it works. The first thing we did when we recorded our demos was to spread it all over the web. And then people started listening, and we got lots of feedback.
We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the possibilities of the Internet. I think the record companies should take advantage of those possibilities, not fight them. Face it; file sharing will never go away, so why not use it for distribution of music?

How do you see the progressive rock/progressive metal scene at the moment?
Espen - It is definitely bigger and better than ever. There are so many new great bands coming all the time. In the early 90's there were just a few, now we have Kaipa, Flower Kings, Pagans Mind, Transatlantic, Pain Of Salvation, Symphony X, Spock's Beard, LTE, White Willow, Spiral Architect, Ayreon and many many other amazing bands. The scene is just growing and expanding.

To finish things off - could you pls. make an all-time Top 5 or sort of the 5 most important albums in your opinion?
Espen - That is a very hard question, because it depends on so many things. The most important albums for me personally today would be:

  • Metallica - Master Of Puppets
  • Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory
  • Genesis - Selling England By The Pound
  • ELP - Brain Salad Surgery
  • Ayreon - The Dream Sequencer

Thanks for your time.

Circus Maximus - The 1st Chapter

Album out on Frontier Records.

Click on the album to see more info on Circus Maximus.