Interview with Clay Barton (vocals) - Suspyre (October 2nd 2008)

The American band Suspyre surprised us with the excellent prog-metal album 'When Time Fades...'. Their last album was already one of the better ones in the genre, this one topped it easily. Time for the Powers of to dig a bit deeper in the bands goals and what we can expect from them in the future. And of course we wanted to now some things about their newest 'baby'.

‘When Time Fades’ is your third album (for lots of bands the key album), did it turn out the way the band wanted?

Clay: Absolutely. Our plan is never to make the same album twice, an we're really happy with the way this one turned out. It's a little bit more edgy and a bit more crunchy and all around just a little bit more fun.

On ‘A Great Divide’ Greg Rossetti already played the Saxophone on some tracks, also on the new one we hear saxophone once in a while, who decides to put in the jazz parts? Is Greg a multi-instrumentalist?

Clay: Gregg knows many instruments, which he plays on the albums. He usually plays Chapman Stick on one or two tracks on the album too, not just guitar and saxophone. Gregg & Rich have a heavy jazz influence and it just tends to spill over in what they write.

On the new record we hear also more Hammond kind of keys, can we expect more of this in the future?

Clay: There is nothing definite about what we will do on the new album, but being that we have a full-time keyboardist part of the band line-up, the new songs will probably be more keyboard heavy than before, rather than small bits here and there.

The band switched from Nightmare Records to Sensory Records, why did the band leave Nightmare?

Clay: We felt that we may be able to reach a larger audience and grow a bit more on the Sensory Records label, and when they offered us a deal it was a good fit for this new album. We still work very closely with Nightmare Records for "A Great Divide". 

Can you tell us something about the musicians, for example, why did Sam Paulicelli (drums) leave the band?

Clay: Out of respect, I don't want to go too far into it. He wanted to go a different way with this music. He didn't want to go down the progressive metal track, but the more tradition metal way, and we wish him the best.

In the inlay of the ‘A Great Divide’ there is a picture of Noah Martin (bass) and also of Andrew Distabile (bass). Why? Noah has never been a member, has he?

Clay: Noah was never a member but he recorded the bass on "A Great Divide", mainly because Andrew was just joining the band at that time and we needed to get the bass parts done and already hired Noah to do it. Se we had everyone in the photo because it was one of those weird overlapping things.

Can you tell us something about the new member April Sese (keyboard)?

Clay: First of all, the song "April in the Fall" is not about her, I promise. I think she majored in archaeology in college, and has a big keyboard and even bigger case that is really heavy. That is all I know.

The music the band plays is very diverse and has many different styles in it, has it grown that way, or has it always been a goal from the beginning?

Clay: It has always been a goal from the beginning, granted it's grown over time, since songs on "The Silvery Image" were written when Gregg was about 16 years old, so after a ten year period it tends to grow a bit and writing gets more intricate. The point of the band has been to have no boundaries. it's just more fun that way.

Has Gregg again written most of the songs and is he a control freak not letting the other members write songs?

Clay:  Gregg is a genius when it comes writing music, and he is not a control freak and encourages others to help him, but no one else can write close to what he comes up with. Every now and then Rich will throw in a riff or two that he made up when they were jamming, but Gregg has written everything you hear on the albums, and we don't have any complaints about it.

Is there a lyrical theme, or are all the songs separate stories?

Clay: They are all separate stories. Some deal with similar topics, but there is not a conceptual theme throughout the album.

How wrong am I to say that the band is a mix of : Symphony X, Royal Hunt, Dream Theater, Cynic, Deep Purple, Queen, Wicked Marya and some jazz-fusion bands?

Clay: Ummm.....sure. That's enough bands that would be about right. It's a genre where most bands try not to sound like someone else, but end up sounding like another band anyways, so at least we sound like more than just one and I have no problems with that list.

You are a more than average singer, did you take singing lessons, or are you self made?

Clay: A little bit of both. I sang in a lot of choirs and did have some formal vocal classes but those don't really gear you towards singing metal. The rest of what I learned was just singing in the car and figuring out how those sounds are made.

Is the band going on tour, and if so, can we expect you in Europe?

Clay: You can expect us in Europe in 3 days at ProgPower Europe, and a possibility for a tour right now is to get on a tour with a much bigger band to help us along, and to find someone to financially sponsor us.

You have one minute to pack before going on a year-long journey, which 3 records are going with you? Which one definitely not?

Clay: First one would be Symphony X - V, I can listen to that album frontward and backwards and never get tired of it. My next one would be Alison Krause & Union Station: Live, because when I need to mellow out that's the best I can put on. And finally I'd probably grab some Opeth - Ghost Reverie because every now and then you need some cookie monster vocals and there are so many good things in it. I would never take a Blink 182 album, because they make me vomit just a little bit.

Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Suspyre - When Time Fades...

Album available on Sensory Records.