Hi Bobby and congrats on “Rebel Mind”… it is nice that we have the chance to talk about your new band, Eumeria. Please tell me some things that are not included in your site about the band… it all started with a solo album of yours that you had in mind a couple of years ago, right?
B: Yes, the first two songs were already written, but then when I heard Reece and Jonny lay down some demo tracks on one song things changed from being a project into a real band.
So, after the band’s line-up became steady, you began the recordings of some demo songs). How hard is it to cope with this distance between the band members… and how did you come up with this unknown but impressive line up?
B: With the powerful tool, the internet, we had no problems writing and demoing songs. We each recorded our parts in our respective local towns, then gathered them all together on my PC. We also programmed drums in midi, and were able to trade those ideas back and forth between computers before we settled on the right beats. As far as coming up with that impressive lineup, I’m still not sure how I was able to do that, but it seems I’ve never had a problem finding great guitarists and vocalists. I basically became friends with Reece and Jonny over Myspace a few years back. Our drummer was the last one to join the band, and Reece can take credit for finding him… he’s a perfect fit!
And then you decided to release “Rebel Mind” as a video clip… why? I mean did you have in mind to release the album right after the release of the video… ‘cause it took several months after it… (the song on the video is slightly different from the one on the album am I right?).
B: Yes, the video was released with our demo audio on it, and was out there for over a year before our album came out. We wanted to have something out there for people to hear and see, sort of as a promotional item to build interest in our band as we were still working on the album.
And you finally decided to release the album “independently”. Why? Weren’t you happy with the labels’ offers? Did you talk with some “big” and some “independent” labels but you weren’t really happy with the things they offered?
B: We had a few offers, but nothing we couldn’t resist. We quite liked the idea of going through the motions of releasing and managing a release ourselves first for the experience. Don’t get me wrong, if we had a great offer we would have taken it, but there was nothing great to turn down. However, I think we’ve done quite well with sales, so we’ll show this to the record labels when we are ready to show our 2nd album and negotiate deals.
I mean there will be some problems due to the local distributors but many people use the Internet nowadays to buy CDs etc., and as far as I know you have a great internet distribution… your CD is everywhere.
B: We had no problems with distribution. We did a little research, got some good contacts, showed the album to them and it all clicked. The online vendors these days are great in many ways and the online mechanisms can help perpetuate more sales than in the past.
How hard is for a band to take care of all those things that a label offers… is it better after all? Would you recommend such a thing to other bands as well?
B: We hope we find a great deal for the 2nd album. Self releasing has a lot of benefits that we would surely miss, but the biggest benefit of having someone else with more experience release your album means more time to write songs and develop the band musically. Keeping up with accounting, distribution/shipping, invoicing, promotion, contacts, etc… it’s a lot of work. I’d quite like to get back to just being a musician. However, I’ve enjoyed the experience, and would love to continue it but not sure I can do both a band and a label simultaneously much longer. Each band has its own creative model that they use, so I can’t recommend whether or not they should try to get signed or go for it on their own. If a band doesn’t plan on touring, then I would suggest releasing it themselves, because labels tend to put bands on the backburner if they don’t show interest in touring. (i.n.: That’s so true!)
What are those things a label offers that a self-release could not have? Lots of ads? Press supporting? Tours? Good press scores and many interviews? (if we leave out the recordings and the famous producers)
B: As I mentioned above, the time factor is the biggest benefit, but other benefits are the opportunities a label can provide as well as the band’s name becoming more well known than you can probably do on your own. The only issue with the labels is that you have to trust that they practice ethical bookkeeping.
Are all those things obligatory now that the Internet can bypass some if not all of those problems? Does the Internet help independent bands to succeed or not in the end? Is it a curse or a blessing?!
B: It’s both a curse and a blessing… but we have to learn how to embrace it, there is no choice. I’m not sure the internet has provided the ultimate way to self-release an album just yet, but it’s getting there. Bands tend to run out of money really fast if they plan on having a really good production of the album, so there is no money left to tour, which is the biggest promotional tool to have. Labels usually have a bigger bank to pull funds from, to help promote the band. However, their funds seem to be drying up more and more these days.
Ok, back to the band now. Eumeria… I know that the name comes out of Europe and America due to the band members… is there a story or something behind the name?
B: That’s the story, since half of us are from Europe and half from America, we took the “Eu” from Europe, and “meria” from America, but drop the “c”. We think of Eumeria as a kind of place that exists away from the rest of the world!
Why did you name the album “Rebel Mind”? Are there any connections with the artwork of the album? Perhaps going independently was a “rebellious” thing to do, right?
B: Self releasing the album sort of played into the “Rebel Mindset”, so to speak. However, the concept Rebel Mind took on a wider meaning for Jonny as he wrote the lyrics. We like to allow the listener to develop their own ideas as to what a rebelling mind is… to each person they have their own story, their own angst, their own experiences and internal thoughts as to what that songs means to them. But we think there is a bit of a rebel in each of us.
First of all, the final recordings took place at Origin Sound studios with producer Craig Douglas and then you’ve chosen Jacob Hansen for the mixing and mastering of the album. Did you have in mind to do it all yourselves at some point? I’m sure that the whole thing cost a lot but after all, it is a good value for money, right?
B: We tracked some at Origin Sound Studios, then tracked some at Smash Studios, then decided Jacob Hansen was a perfect fit for what we were looking for in a mix. We never intended to do this ourselves, and knew that we could never do as good a job as the professionals. Our music is worth more to us than to have the sound quality depend on our production skills.
Are you planning to release any other video clips? And if yes, which song will it be and when will it be released?
B: We wanted to do a video for “Delusions”, but funds ran out. We look forward to doing another video on album number 2! (i.n.: That’s bad… I would love to see a video for “Secret Places”)
How would you characterize the music style of your band? If I was to call it heavy prog power metal… would you agree with me or not?
B: Your assessment is surely a fit, but we prefer to be called “Metal”.
What are the expectations from this album? What should we wait for from Eumeria in the future? Do you intend to continue this thing that you have just started… no matter what?
B: We have every intention to continue. You can expect the same Eumeria, with a fresher twist for the sophomore release. (i.n.: That would be great!)
Is Eumeria the best band that you have participated in till now?
B: Yes, I’m more proud of the music in Eumeria, than any band I’ve been in. One of the factors is that I took a huge role in writing the material for the album, so it’s just natural to be biased to Eumeria. However, I’m proud of every band I’ve been a part of.
Now, allow me to ask some questions about your previous bands. What went so wrong and Outworld disbanded in the end they had all the potential, the lineup was terrific and the debut album was excellent… what happened? Many fans are wondering what the hell happened with this band.
B: Outworld worked hard to succeed, but nothing ever seemed to get us above the same level we’d been at for years. I could have kept going, but my ears were ringing and I wasn’t getting much sleep due to the rehearsal schedule. It just wasn’t worth jeopardizing my health over anymore if we weren’t progressing.
Is there gonna be a new Thought Chamber album? Have you spoken to Michael Harris lately?
B: I heard there was going to be a second Thought Chamber album. I was asked to be a part of it, but then heard they wanted to find someone else after I had told them I only wanted to be involved to the same degree as the debut… which was limited. I really want to focus on Eumeria.
What inspires you in general in order to write music? Are there any boundaries on your musical horizon?
B: When I hear other music that moves me, it inspires me to write. There are no boundaries or rules to follow. Eumeria likes to write what comes natural, and that happens to be progressive music.
How hard is it to write music and to deal with the social side of music business… if you have to make it on your own..? I think musicians should only care about the music and nothing else.
B: It’s not hard dealing with the social side of music, in fact I quite like it. I’ve made so many friends so far, and hope to make many more. If you are speaking of “social” in a political sense, then yes we try to stay out of that and focus on music.
I believe that quality is what our music is missing during this time period. Everything is so similar and so easy-going that most of the fans are truly confused. Which is this “force” that will bring back things to what they used to be… to a time period that music was art?
B: I think the force is already there, and growing… which is the underground movement. I see more and more people becoming fans of bands like Circus Maximus, Symphony X, etc. This day and age with the internet, the mainstream radio now has competition and I don’t think they like that very much Perhaps one day a radio station will take a chance and help the underground movement surface. The satellite stations are a great start!
Is “downloading” the major problem in today’s music industry? Martin Orford from IQ told me some time ago: “I now completely 100% despise the Internet and the ‘free music culture’… The death of the music industry is not idle speculation on my part; it’s here now – It’s Arrived! Although I’m sure that getting out of the music business is the right thing to do, unfortunately I just didn’t do it quickly enough. Very soon all that will be left in music will be the big stadium acts and the hobby musicians making demo albums in their bedrooms. There will be a huge gaping void in between where the best music used to be made”. Do you agree with that perspective about music’s future?
B: I certainly understand his sentiment. However, I think fans of Metal and Progressive music will still yearn to have the “CD” in their hands, with the artwork and such… so they can feel the intention behind the music. To me the music industry is not dead, it’s just changed dramatically. These days bands make most of their money selling VIP tickets and merchandise at shows.
How do you see the future of metal music? What must change in order to gain its old glory? Why things have gone so wrong throughout the years?
B: I see the Metal market getting better and better. In recent years the guitar solos came back… thank goodness. And now I see people actually trying to “sing” again. It’s nowhere near the glory days of the 80’s, but it’s something to grasp onto. The reason the glory days are over is because mainstream radio chooses the winners and losers… they don’t play bands based on what fans yearn for, they force feed the fans what they feel should be heard. But again, satellite radio provides a place to find your favorite bands. (i.n.: Internet radios are a great catch, but they do not have the appropriate support from the fans to go bigger)
It’s time for our “Strange Questions” now!!! Which kind of music do you prefer the most?
B: I like classical mostly, but enjoy all kinds of music, except Rap… but that’s not all that musical. (i.n.: Hahaha that’s so true dude!)
How difficult is it to survive and succeed in a music industry that is ruled by irrelevant people that promote shit-wannabe-good pop music all the time… without caring about music quality?
B: It’s not easy, but the passion for the good stuff keeps me going!
Do you believe that it is easy for a band to differ in today’s music industry than it was in the past? And if yes, what shall they do in order to achieve it?
B: It’s easy to be “different”… but the question is can there be some appeal? That’s the hardest thing… to be different without making the listener turn away. (i.n.: Indeed!)
Do you prefer to get good scores from the press or to please yourself and the fans with every new album?
B: It’s always nice to get the good scores, but we won’t ever write to impress… we just write what comes natural and hope for the best. Writing music isn’t fun anymore if you have to write what certain groups of people want to hear.
What is wrong in today’s music industry, are most albums are missing that quality that they used to have back in the 70’s and 80’s? Are those eras overrated?
B: That’s my favorite era, the 70’s and 80’s – when bands were unique. It’s hard to find unique bands anymore… many sound exactly the same, especially on mainstream radio.
So, what’s your advice to the new people and bands that are dealing with music in general? Is it worth trying or not?
B: All I can say is that if you aren’t willing to lose money on your first two albums, then don’t bother… unless you just record on your own in your bedroom for fun. But it’s really up to each individual how much time and money they are willing to put into it.
What things can make you laugh and cry in your life?
B: A lot of things… I have a big sense of humor. I’ll cry at anything worth crying over, which could be any number of things… happy or sad.
If you could go back in time… in any time-period where would you go and why?
B: I’d like to go back to my late teens. I was in a car accident that messed up my neck, and caused me to leave music for years. I wish I could go and have those years back. (i.n.: So, sorry to hear that…)
What would you do if you were not afraid to fail?
B: Get married! (i.n.: Swell!)
Which is your favorite place in the world?
B: I like being in my bed, with my cat snuggled up close to me. (i.n.: Hmmm… that’s interesting!)
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
B: First, I would go into shock. Then, I would hope that I was looking for a good excuse to dump her, because I would have one now. I would tell her to take the ring and her twisted mind and remove it from my life. I wouldn’t be with such a person in the first place. (i.n.: The album collection is sacred!)
That’s all for now Bobby. Thx for the music… Thanks for the talk! Please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
B: This is the most extensive interview I have ever been a part of. Thanks for the questions and we’ll see you for the next album! (i.n.: I enjoyed it too dude… all the best for the future to come!)