Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
Thank you. We’ve gotten a lot of favorable response so far so we’re excited about the initial reviews so far. We took a step outside the box again compared to anything we’ve done to date, so it was very interesting putting together this new concept album.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
We definitely listen to our fans’ feedback on all the albums. We read the press angles and opinions as well and just try to keep everything in perspective. We’re always out to apply good feedback and we’ve done that before making each album. But the main thing we’re trying to do nowadays is make sure each guy in the band likes the music and the songs because the challenge is to make sure we’re satisfied with everything before the product goes to the label.
Was there a moment in your career when you realized that Circle II Circle would become something special and that successful?
All along the way with CIIC it’s really been a lot of hard work to stay out there year to year and compete and try to forge our own sound within the vast sea of music that is out there. All you can do is stay the course and keep something fresh out there with each album. So here we are at album number five and things are headed in the right direction.
Let's talk about your new CD. What are the differences between "Consequence Of Power" and "Delusions Of Grandeur" in your opinion?
I think there are some differences and some similarities as well. The difference is the overall darker feel of C.O.P. because of the concept story involved on the album. It leads to a more serious feel for C.O.P because of the subject matter. “Delusions” was not intended to be a “concept” album in the traditional sense, so that’s a major difference as well. The two albums do have a similar feel to a few of the songs given the Southern rock/metal sound on select songs that we started developing on “Delusions of Grandeur”.
What are the reasons for these differences?
I think the main reason for the differences is that we’re actively trying to bring something different in a musical sense to each album. With this philosophy intact, it’s naturally going to result in some differences in the aura of the songs from album to album. However we still have to maintain the signature CIIC sound in the final product, so this is something we remain cognizant of in the overall process as well.
Is there a message in your new album?
It’s really not as much a message, but rather a fictional story that looks in detail at a very real problem of “Border Wars” in our modern day era. The setting of the story is along the US/Mexico border in California and Arizona. There are three main characters; Aaron, a 20-year old kid. Jessica, an FBI agent who has met Aaron in a cover mission as part of a renegade arm of the FBI in the story, and Angel, the cartel boss who is dealing w/ the FBI on matters of money exchange and smuggling across the Mexican border into the United States. In the story there are two sides of the FBI, the antagonist renegade segement and the protagonist „normal“ operations of the FBI. Unfortunately Aaron is discovered by the cartel as he accidentally overhears a clandestine meeting where a deal goes down with renegade FBI unit (as depicted on the album cover). But Aaron saves his life by telling the cartel bosses that he wants to join them and help them with their cause. And so the story begins...
My favourite song is "Out Of Nowhere". Can you tell us something about this song and its history?
“Out of Nowhere” is a product of the Southern rock/metal combination sound/edge we first started experimenting with on the “Delusions of Grandeur” album. It’s the first single on the album for North America and possibly for Europe as well. In this song, the character Jessica, the FBI agent, is selling Aaron on the benefits of a new renegade FBI/cartel cooperation and urging Aaron to believe in himself and fight along with her in their mission to realize wealth and fortune doing business with the cartel.
And what about "Take Back Yesterday"?
The music developed much the same way as all the other songs, as demos of complete songs with no vocal tracks, then I add the vocals and the lyrics, etc. In the story this song represents the main character Aaron thinking back to words spoken by the leaders of the cartel. Here he is reflecting on everything that brought him to where he is “now”...This song represents Aaron remembering the motivational words of the cartel Boss The cartel Boss is speaking in this song and he is motivating his troops to wage gang battles of his design. And he is of course attempting to keep morale high among all his street soldiers.
Is there a favorite song of yours from the album? If so: Which one and why?
My favorite songs tend to change as time goes on but right now my favorite song on the album is “Anathema”. It has a really interesting verse that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with an “epic” type song. Then it has that section of music underlying two different lead guitar sections that makes soar and makes it really appropriate for setting up the ending of the story.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
I think “Blood of an Angel” has some lyrics that come from a place I’ve really never been but from a place I tried to take myself to within the story. This song represents Aaron speaking and reflecting on his relationship with Jessica, and trying to bring her death to closure. He is finding that to be very difficult....These are Aaron’s thoughts as he continues to see her ghost around him. But she always disappears so quickly he can’t get a good look but he knows it is her checking in on him almost as a guardian angel. So that’s the basic meaning and that’s what made the lyrics writing angle really cool for this song.
What was your aim when you started making music? And have you achieved it?
I can’t say that I had one particular aim, but that’s what the journey of music is all about. You never know which song or album will end up defining you, so the element of chance is always there. Making albums is like rolling dice in the record business. But you have to keep putting them out there for something to “hit”. Since this musical journey continues to take on a life of its own, I would say that I’ve achieved a lot of what I set out to do.
Is there anything you would do in a different way if you could start it all over again?
Not really. Maybe change a song here or there on a album or two...But overall my career had a very defined path beginning with Savatage, so I think it would have ended up where I am now no matter what small variations in path I would have chosen to take.
At the end of your career: Which statement would you like to read about your band in the great history book of Heavy Metal?
That CIIC made good, memorable, meaningful songs that sounded even more powerful in the live setting.
Which country do you like most for going on tour?
I really like touring in Europe because every time we go there it’s a gift of travel and memories that you really can’t put a value on. And I’ve had the gift of being able to come to Europe on tour for 18 years now. So I’m definitely lucky in that regard.
What can we expect from the next Circle II Circle live shows?
We’re going to perform songs from all five of our albums on most shows. We’re going to feature the new album as heavily as possible as well. We also have a few Savatage songs up our sleeves as usual for encore purposes, etc. Other than that it’s basic rock/metal done right every night.
We are looking forward to seeing you in Germany. Best wishes to you all. Are there any finishing words?
We just want to thank all our friends in Germany for all of the years of great times and great music. We can’t wait to see everyone again in October on the CIIC 2010 C.O.P European Tour! See you soon...