off I want to congratulate you on your great new album "Room
V", an excellent follow up to your last one “Legacy”. But
once more it has taken a very long time to write a new album - why
is that? Are you all perfectionists, and every little bit has to
worked out to perfection before everyone is satisfied?
Allman: I think
it takes us such a long time because most of us work day jobs and
have lucrative professional careers outside of music. Add
that to the fact that yes, we are a bunch of perfectionists (we
work on every record up to the last minute and in many cases, past
our deadlines). I believe this shows up in the outcome and makes
it worth the effort in the long run.
Gary Wehrkamp: Also, there were some things we needed to
take care of after we completed our previous record. We
usually update our studio equipment before we begin a new record,
and that takes some time, and we also needed to go shopping for a
new label, and setting up a new deal for ourselves with Inside Out
took some doing to get underway. The fact that we can be
perfectionists sometimes, just adds to the delay.
Actually this time it has taken more than the usual 3 years
between albums (4 in this case). Is song writing a very slow
process in Shadow Gallery? Try to walk us through the creation of
Song writing is not a very difficult thing for us. I think,
without trying to sound big headed in ANY way, I consider us
songwriters first and musicians second, unlike a lot of
progressive bands that tend to over play a lot. Its tricky
deciding when and where to stretch out with the flashy stuff.
Ultimately, the song has to tell you where it wants to go.
Typically, one of us will come up with a seed of an idea...a
chorus or a verse and build around that on our own for a bit, but
we're always quite careful not to write too much by ourselves. We
try and leave room for the other members in the band to put their
stamp on the song. But, in other cases, one of us will write
a song alone. It all comes down to how you hear the song in
your head. I might write a part and think, "Chris should
write the next part to this"... or "
would know what to do with the next part"... and sometimes
songs come to me in their complete form very quickly. I wrote
the song “Rain” in about 5 minutes.... where as a song like
“Room V” was worked on by Gary and me for weeks. I
remember that Chris and I wrote “Hope For Us” in about 15
minutes. That's a proud point on song writing for me... I
wouldn't change a single note in it to this day.
I'm not real sure why this record took as long as It did... we
really only worked on writing the music for 6 or 7 months... and
about the same for the recording.
Brendt, should we point out that the difference from “Tyranny”
to “Room V” is 7 years?
You are often described as
one the most innovative and important progressive metal bands, how
does that make you feel? And does that put extra pressure on you,
when you write songs?
That kind of blows my mind. It's incredibly flattering
to hear and truly a gift from GOD to be in a position to write
music, music that some feel is important in their lives. Some of
the feedback we get is truly inspiring. We've been very
blessed to get such positive press around the globe. I don't
really feel any extra pressure, because essentially, I have to
enjoy the music myself first. If I don't like it, I'm pretty
sure no one else will... or at least, that's how I think. It
also depends on the record. A song like TORN may not have
made it on a non-concept record... I mean, it's a fairly simple
song, musically speaking, BUT, it fits the record well and
is a very important part of it. That kind of goes back to what I
said earlier about letting the song tell you where it wants to
go... writing an album is the same way. You get a feel for what
needs to come next.
We just do what we do. I think every band is, or has the potential
to be completely unique if they search long enough - With some
many different inspirations, your style becomes a big melting pot
of everything you love, and everything you want to include and
I know artists don¹t like
to put a label on their music - but a spaceship from outer space
has just landed in your backyard, and is demanding an answer - so
how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Awesome question.... I would describe it as dumping out all
of your colours on a canvas and wiping off the ugly parts.... or
wait... maybe you're looking for a label here.... in that case,
I'd describe it as melodic progressive metal with a focus on the
A mixture of all feelings, all emotions, all colours, all
degrees of hot and cold, fast and slow - a rainbow of sound and
If the music of Shadow Gallery was an emotion, which one would
It would be anger for one song, love for another - It would cover
all emotions, and sometimes we confuse everyone and mix a bunch
into a single song.
”Room V” is the
sequel to “Tyranny” - and the story picks up just 8 hours
after “Tyranny” left us thinking: “What is going to happen
now?” - is this the conclusion of the story or will more
There is more... Isn't there always more? Was there more to
Brendt Allman: I guess only Carl knows if this is
the end. It's his baby... the story is his brainchild. I certainly
hope it's the end :)
To new fans - will it be possible to follow the story without
Act I & II?
Yes, because It starts from a point where two people are
meeting face to face for the first time, and moves on from there -
It draws on their past to a degree, but really plays focus to new
issues, problems and perspectives...
Brendt Allman: Act III and act IV can
certainly be followed without knowing the story line of “Tyranny”.
That said, there are enough references to “Tyranny” on this
record to make it worthwhile for those fans to pick it up as well,
if they'd never heard it.
Laura Jaeger, who was also an important part of "Tyranny",
returns and does a wonderful job, how important for the story was
it to get her back?
The record depended on her acceptance to reprise her role.
She's integral to the story... and we'd have that no other way.
I could listen to hours of her.
Of course she is necessary to the story, but beyond that, we love
her and her great singing.
I know the album hasn¹t been released yet, but how has “Room
V” been received by the media?
That I don't really know yet. We've heard a few things so
far and all of them have been very positive. As stated earlier,
we've seemed to be blessed with a good deal of positive press. But
that said, we have our detractors as well. There's usually no
middle ground with Shadow Gallery... you either get it, or you
don't. It's really as simple as that. Kind of like the taste of
certain foods... you either love sushi or you hate it... no one
thinks it’s "just ok".
Gary Wehrkamp: Very
well received by the magazines in Europe so far! America
can be tougher, we'll have to wait and see.
Is there any chance we will ever see Shadow Gallery on tour?
That’s a new question for us, I am not sure how to answer that.
Brendt Allman: That
depends on finances. I will say this, there have been more serious
discussions about touring in support of this album than we've had
in the last 12 years.
”Room V” is your first album on InsideOut
Music - why did you change record label, and what are your
expectations for this album?
Our contract was up with Magna Carta... I'll leave that at
that. We heard nothing but great things about Inside Out from
a lot of people. This could be a new beginning for us. I expect
this to be our best selling record by far. I certainly think it's
our best work to date. It's a much more mature record than we've
ever made. The production is better. The packaging is better. It,
as a whole, is my most proud work of art.
Inside Out was the best choice for us once we considered all
This one is by far the best produced album you¹ve ever
released - you have produced the album yourselves, but isn¹t it
sometimes hard to keep the distance necessary to remain objective
to the songs?
Well, as I stated before, I too believe it's our best
production to date. I think it's a learning process. The more
you do something, the better you get at it. Plus,
has a very good ability to separate the musician from the
producer... he thinks like a producer thinks. But the best part
about that, is that he'll listen to the rest of us, even when
we've charged him with the producer’s role.
It is always a band produced record... there may be somewhat at
the top of the pyramid handling things, but we all know how and
when to compromise and this ability allows us to keep our
The mix however was done by Jeff Glixman - why did you decide
on him, and why didn¹t you do it yourself?
Actually, Jeff did the mastering.
did the mix (My mistake, Kenn). Mastering is a very
important part of making a CD - Jeff has incredible ears... and a
ton of years in the industry. His additions to the overall sound
in the mastering phase of this record were the icing on the cake.
He took what sounded very good sonically, to sounding great. Again,
we're very blessed. Blessed to have his input on this record.
Is there a deeper meaning behind the flaming V on the album -
who has done the artwork and how does it fit into the lyrical
concept, if at all?
The same artist that did “Tyranny”, did “Room V”. The symbolism of the cover will become very easy to see,
once the listener digs into the lyrics. I don't want to give
anything more than that away :)
Rainer Kalwitz is his name. Great artist and person, from Germany. There is much meaning in the cover. The albums lyrics will
unblur the covers meaning in time.
I know Arjen Lucassen has contributed on this album - was that
through Mike¹s connection, and what exactly has he done on the
That's Gary's doing. Arjen has a style all his own - his note choices always
seem very thought out, considered and perfect. His contribution to
“Seven Years” was absolutely perfect - everything about it.
Gary Wehrkamp: I
first met Arjen back in 1998 and have been emailing with him ever
since. Mike and I have both performed on past Ayreon albums, and
it was time to give Arjen to opportunity to return the favour. (special thanks to Gjalt).
Most of you are also active on your own mailing list - Gallery
of Shadows - why is that and how important is it for you keep a
close contact to your fans?
The fans are one of the main reasons we do this... I mean,
we make music because we have a NEED to make music and that need
to make music is greatly fuelled by the passion of our fans.
They're just amazing. I mean, we take forever to make records, yet
they're always there, showing interest and keeping the flame alive,
inspiring us to reach higher and farther each time.
It’s strange for me even to call someone a fan, I just see it is
another person, who we are happy to meet, who has the same or
similar taste in music. We are as pleased for them to hear our
music, as they are to come across it.
I simply adore “Christmas Day” and “Hope For Love”, but
which song do you consider to the best song you have ever written?
“Christmas Day” and “Hope For Us” are two of my
favorite songs as well. I think my most favorite song from Shadow
Gallery is “Vow”, which Gary
wrote the music to. I had very little to do with that song, other
than co-writing a lot of back up vocal melodies and harmonies.
Maybe I love that one so much because I can listen to it
completely objectively. It's hard for me to pick a favorite that I
mostly wrote, because I hear a lot of things I'd do differently
now. “The Queen Of The City Of Ice” holds a special place in
my heart though.
I love almost everything from the first album... "New World
Order" was a nice challenge to write and I am pleased with
the results... For the new record, I am proud of anything where
Brendt and I wrote the music together in the same room at the same
Any famous last words?
- Stop letting your freedoms be stolen from you in the name of
false security and safety!!! Join or create your local
Tyranny Response Team :) Oh yeah, and thanks so very much to every
one who still remembers and listens to our music - we give
everything we have to it and you make it worth every minute spent.
Remain Positive and put your faith in God and yourself and
anything is possible, but don't live for the possibility, Move
forward based on your potentials to do something great!
And thanks to everyone for giving Shadow Gallery some time in your
busy CD players....