Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Steve Williams! Thanks so much for accepting this interview! For people out there that don’t know your band yet, can you tell us a little bit about POWER QUEST history? It was you that formed the band in 2001, right?
Steve: Hi Hanna! Great to be here talking with you, thanks for the opportunity! Yes, I started the band in 2001 with bassist Steve Scott a few months after we both left Dragonheart, which of course everyone now knows as DragonForce. We recorded a demo in December 2001 which led to us signing with Underground Symphony for our debut album “Wings of Forever” which came out in 2002. Signing with an Italian label also led to the recruitment of Alessio Garavello and Andrea Martongelli to the band, both of whom are still with us today. In 2004 we released the Neverworld album via Frontiers records and played some shows with Threshold, Dream Evil and Labyrinth. In 2005 we released Magic Never Dies and recruited a new drummer Francesco Tresca (another Italian) who has become a vital part of the lineup since then. In 2006 we played some shows with Helloween and Pagan’s Mind and in early 2007 we did our first European tour with Angra and Firewind which lasted for 3 weeks. After this we signed with Napalm records for our 4th album “Master of Illusion” which was released in April 2008. Since then we have added a second guitarist to the lineup. He is Bill Hudson, formally of Cellador and currently also playing with Circle II Circle. We recently completed a UK headlining tour with the new lineup and I can honestly say that Andrea and Bill are THE twin shred partnership for 2009!
Hanna Tsepesh: Let’s talk a little bit about you. What are your favorite bands at the moment?
Steve: In many ways my favourite bands have been the same for a few years now. I grew up listening to Iron Maiden, Kiss, Van Halen, Sabbath in the early 1980’s and then followed bands like Helloween and Megadeth. In the early 1990’s I discovered Dream Theater who have become one of favorite bands of all time. I’m also a big fan of Edguy, Sonata Arctica, In Flames and Soilwork to name a few and even more extreme stuff like Death.
Hanna Tsepesh: When did you start to play keyboards and why do you chose this instrument, any special reason?
Steve: To be honest I have my parents to thank for that. They started me with piano lessons when I was 7 years old and I took lessons up until the age of 18. It was from this base that I moved to keyboards. I am very grateful to my parents for making me study and practice for so many hours when I was a child, although I didn’t like it at the time! (laughs).
Hanna Tsepesh: It is true that you also play violin? It must be a very difficult instrument to play…
Steve: My parents also encouraged me to learn violin, which I studied for 8 years. Strangely, I actually found violin easier than piano but there came a point where I had to decide to focus on one instrument and I chose piano.
Hanna Tsepesh: When you go to compose the melody’s for POWER QUEST what is your inspiration?
Steve: I’m not sure that there is any particular inspiration on the melody side of things. It just seems to happen naturally for some reason. I tend to jam with chord progressions until I hear a melody in my head that I think will be suitably catchy for Power Quest. Sometimes melodic ideas can come at the strangest times too. For example, I can be sat in the office at my day job and suddenly an idea will come into my mind. I usually find if it is a strong idea it will stay in my mind too.
Hanna Tsepesh: In what do you inspire to create the lyrics for the band? Is the same inspirations that you use to create the melody’s?
Steve: Lyrics are slightly different. As I have got older I have found that I am inspired by real life events as much as anything else. Some examples would be the lyrics to “Civilised” and “Master of Illusion” from the new album. Personal experience also plays a part in lyrics as well. Another example would be 2I don’t believe in friends forever” from the new album.
Hanna Tsepesh: Besides music, what you like to do in your free times?
Steve: To be truthful, I don’t get an awful lot of free time between music and my day job. I’m a big sports fan though, particularly rugby, football and cricket so I like to watch games whenever I can. I rarely get a chance to take a holiday either but I would love to have more time to travel and see the world at some point too.
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you have any musician that you admire? If you have can you tell to us who and why?
Steve: There are a number of musicians who I admire greatly but I will mention a couple here. Firstly Steve Harris from Iron Maiden, not just as musician but also what he has created with Maiden from a business point of view. The guy is so dedicated to what he believes. Secondly I would have to mention Kevin Moore who used to be the keyboardist in Dream Theater. You only have to listen to “Images and Words” to see that this guy has an incredible sense of melody and he proves that you don’t have to play a million notes all the time to create the most emotional melodic lines.
Hanna Tsepesh: About your new album “Master Of Illusion”, i already listen to the new song at POWER QUEST myspace called “Cemetery Gates” i like it a lot! In the music i liked a lot the riffs they are super cool, the melodies are fantastic and Alessio have a great powerful voice, i can’t wait to listen more songs! Can you talk a little bit about the new album and what is the theme of it? I take this opportunity to send you my congratulations for your work in everything you make in the music! You really make an excellent work!
Steve: I’m glad you like the record! We are all immensely proud of “Master of Illusion” as a band and individuals. I think some of the main differences between this record and our previous albums are that lyrically things are focused much more on real life and personal experience. In fact I think there are only 2 songs on the album that do not fall into these categories. Also, I think it is a heavier record as we tuned down to D for the first time and we also recorded in different studios for this record to what we used for previous records. The overall theme of the title track is basically saying that world leaders and their motives are not always what they appear to be. Politicians do not always tell the whole story, and it is interesting to me that the major nations in the world are happy to get involved in situations where there are natural resources at stake ie oil but they are less willing to help if there is nothing to be gained.
Hanna Tsepesh: How was the studio recording? When did the band started to recording, did you guys have everything ready?
Steve: Recordings went really well. Everything apart from keyboards and some guest parts were recorded in Vicenza, Italy which is also where we mixed the album. Keyboards, arrangements and vocal edits took place at Western Drive Studios in London. We were very prepared before we entered the studio but of course a few things changed during the recording process.
Hanna Tsepesh: I have 2 questions made by one big fan of your work, and he ask me to ask you this: Between all the songs that you made so far, what is the one that for you is the most appealing and if this new album beats the previous album “Magic Never Dies”?
Steve: For me personally I think the new record is the best Power Quest record so far as I feel the band has developed into a really tight unit. Having said that I love all our albums and on the recent UK tour we played at least 2 or 3 songs from each album. I think from what the fans tell me the new album and “Neverworld” seem to be the 2 fan favorites.
Hanna Tsepesh: The cover album is also great and fantastic! I must say that for me is the best cover album that POWER QUEST have so far! I simply loved the details! Who was the person behind this fantastic work? I think this cover transmit a lot what the album is...do you agree with that?
Steve: Yeah, it’s a great piece of work! We have Felipe Machado to thank for the awesome cover and inlay design. I really think he did an incredible job in getting my ideas across into art. He has previously worked with Iced Earth and Silent Force to name just a couple. I really hope we can work with him again in the future and he also came up with the design for our new t-shirts as well.
Hanna Tsepesh: Last year (27-2-07), POWER QUEST came to Portugal at Lisboa in Cine-Teatro Corroios. I don´t know if you remember that particular concert but did you enjoy the public from here and the country as well? Do you like to come back again?
Steve: Yes, I remember the show well. It was a great night. I also remember it because it was there that I went to the hairdresser to get some of my hair dyed red and I also remember that we had to walk across a football pitch to get to the venue from the bus. It was a shame that we only had one show in Portugal and I truly hope that we can come back again some day as the people were so friendly and made us feel very welcome.
Hanna Tsepesh: So cool! We hope that too! Next year POWER QUEST will be on tour! Can you talk about that? Where are you going to perform?
Steve: Yeah, we will be out on the road in 2009. We are performing at the Progpower USA festival in Atlanta in September and hope to add some more US dates at the same time. We then have a UK festival to play at the end of September and before all that a UK tour again in April. We also need to find the time to record the next record, hopefully in the summer.
Hanna Tsepesh: Great news!! The band signed by NAPALM RECORDS, before arriving at this great label it was hard the POWER QUEST journey at this moment?
Steve: It has been very difficult for us before signing with Napalm. We had a lot of money problems with previous labels and things never seemed to quite work out for us. I have to say that Napalm have done an excellent job for us though and I’m really excited about the next record with them.
Hanna Tsepesh: For power metal bands out there that are starting their own bands, with all your experience so far do you have some good advises for them?
Steve: Firstly, don’t get into power metal if you want to make a lot of money (laughs)! Really my advice would be to play what you believe in because you love playing. It was to be fun and enjoyable and if you are lucky enough to have band members like I have then you won’t go too far wrong. The music business is changing very quickly these days and will continue to do so but so long as there are people wanting to be in a metal band, record and play live shows I think we will be ok!
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you want to send any message for POWER QUEST fans out there and for people that are going to read this interview?
Steve: I’d like to say a big “hey” to all the readers of Hell on Fire and to all the PQ fans out there who might be reading this. We can’t do it without your support and belief and we really, really appreciate it! I look forward to seeing you on the road somewhere soon!
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks so much for your answers and for the opportunity! THE GATES OF METAL wish you and all the band a big success with the new album “ Master Of Illusion” and good luck with your tour! Hope to see you guys again in Portugal very soon…
Steve: Thanks again Hanna for the chance to do this interview with you. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thanks for all your support and I truly hope we can return to Portugal sometime in the not too distant future! Cheers!
Hanna Tsepesh: thanks so much for the great opportunity to interview you and be able to show too ours readers more about POWER QUEST!
By: Hanna Tsepesh