Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Power Quest! Thanks so much for accepting this interview. Welcome back Steve… long time since the last time we spoke and for the other guys, welcome to THE GATES OF METAL!
Steve: Hi Hanna! Great to be talking with you again. It has been a while hasn’t it? I hope life has been treating you well since we last spoke.
Hanna Tsepesh: Yes it is! I am fine, thanks! First of all: how are you guys and how is the response been to the live concerts with the new members?
Steve: We’re doing well thank you. Of course it’s been quite a traumatic year for me with so many line-up changes in the band but I’m very happy to say that I’m delighted with the new members of the band. they’ve all been working extremely hard to get things on the road so quickly.
The overall response to the first 3 shows with the new line-up has been fantastic and we look forward to the 5 UK shows we have in December, 4 of those are supporting MSG so that should be awesome.
Ben: We’re doing great! The response to the recent live shows has been very positive, and people seem to really support the new line-up. The new line-up came together in a very short space of time (about 2 months prior to the shows), so it took a lot of hard work to prepare, but made the reaction all the more gratifying!
Paul: Hey there, I’m very well thank you. Response to our first live shows was great. Having worked with the band on the road for a number of years now I knew the kind of reactions that Steve and the guys would always get. I could always see how passionate the fans were about not just the music, but also the members of the band. That made these first outings a scary experience; there were very big shoes to fill on those stages. The reactions we received were very positive and it’s pleasing to feel like us new guys are continuing the great legacy that is Power Quest. It already feels like home on stage with Pete, Ben, Andy, Steve and Rich.
Andy: I'm great thanks, it's been a very hectic few months but I wouldn't have it any other way! Obviously with such a radical line-up change the response from the fans could of gone either way but we've heard nothing but positive reviews from our first shows we did in October, which is fantastic. All the guys in the band were on top form and it was just a case of getting out there and showing what we've got.
Rich: Hey! I'm doing very well thank you, I’m so pleased to be part of the new POWER QUEST line-up.
The response from the live shows so far has been fantastic we spent a lot of time after the shows talking to the fans some old some new and everyone had great things to say. We are all very happy so far with the way we have all connected.
Hanna Tsepesh: Steve, I know that this question must have become very boring, but I have to ask it for our readers can understand once and for all. What happened to the other members of the band? Why they left?
Steve: No that’s fine Hanna! Of course I’ve been asked the question a thousand times already but I’m happy to explain everything.
Alessio decided that he wanted to go back to college and is currently living in London and studying sound technology there. To use his own words he has “retired” from metal now and is currently starting his own rock band in London as well.
Andrea came to the conclusion that with his extra work teaching guitar in Italy plus the commitments with his other band Arthemis, he no longer had the time to do Power Quest as well.
Francesco felt, once he knew about Alessio and Andrea that it would be crazy for PQ to have a drummer based in Italy when the rest of the band was based in the UK. By the way congratulations to Francesco and Maria who are getting married in October 2010.
I have to say that the split was perfectly amicable and to this day I regard these guys as my best friends in the world! Having worked together for 7 or 8 years we have become as close as brothers, a friendship that goes way beyond being in a band together. Alessio was actually in the crowd for our London show with Tarja and Andrea called me before we went on stage to wish everyone the best of luck. Those three guys are absolute diamonds and I’m so proud to have worked with them and to call them my friends.
Hanna Tsepesh: Cool! Where you find these new guys? It was a long journey to find right musicians? I was searching about them and they are very talent and 2 of them very young!
Steve: Yeah we have a mixture of youth and experience I think. To be honest I was very lucky to find everyone so quickly as well. I already knew Paul as we have been friends for about 15 years I think now and previously he was the PQ stage manager for the last 4 or 5 years. Pete I knew from sharing a stage with many times in the past and Rich I had seen when he and Pete played a show opening for PQ with their former band Metalloid last year. I was delighted to be able to recruit 2 talented guitarists in Ben and Andy, 18 and 21 respectively. I’m a firm believer in the theory that if you are good enough you are old enough.
Hanna Tsepesh: So, let’s start to get more know about the new member of Power Quest. What are your favorite bands? You have any musician that you admire the most?
Ben: Some of my favorite bands are Dream Theater, Arch Enemy, Megadeth, Scar Symmetry, Killswitch Engage, Danger Danger and Europe.
The musician that I admire the most is John Norum (guitarist of Europe). He is a fairly underrated guitarist, but he has fantastic tone/phrasing and his playing conveys real emotion – all elements which I try to incorporate in to my own playing!
Paul: When you take influence from many bands it’s always hard to narrow down your favorites. Sometimes I’d have to say that it depends on what CD I happen to be listening to at the time. At the moment I’m mostly listening to a lot of Megadeth, Dream Theater, Firewind, Children of Bodom. If there was to be a stand out band though…Van Halen. I’m a sucker for catchy hard rock, the melodies just grab me every time. I’ve yet to see a live act that excites me like watching Van Halen did.
Andy: There's so many musicians I admire but I suppose the most influential figure would be Yngwie Malmsteen. I can remember hearing the album Trilogy back when I was 14 and being absolutely blown away by the sheer virtuosity and skill this guy had. One thing that particularly stood out for me though was his extraordinary vibrato and feel amongst the blurry of notes which is something that I tried to incorporate into my own playing from an early age. Some of my favorite bands are Stratovarius, Dream Theater, Genesis, Whitesnake and Spock's Beard.
Rich: My all time favorite band has to be skid row i have been a fan since the age of 11 years old, other favs are Dragonforce, Edguy, Steel panther,Helloween, dimmu borgir, emperor, metallica the list go's on.
Hanna Tsepesh: Rich, you play in Aphemia and Thunderforce. How are the things doing to the both bands? Can you tell to us when you start to play drums? Also, you are recording and live sound engineer and you have your own company called muzic maker productions, right? In your opinion what you can bring to Power Quest?
Rich: I have been playing drums for around 18 years.
I have played for Aphemia for 7-8 years or more now, it was just for fun then it got more serious we are just having our album re mixed by Karl Groom from thin ice studio surrey,
things are going good really.
and i also play for Thunderforce previously known as Metalloid, we are having a break from that right now as im having to spend alot of time rehearsing with Power Quest,
i also play for some of the local bands from derby which keeps me busy bands such as Punisher derbys best thrash band, Arkayon a new glam rock band from derby and lets not forget one of my first bands Cruel humanity which i spent 11 years but now i have parted company with.
i have my own recording and live sound company which is good fun as it allows me to just be around music all the time, i record many local bands demos for myspace and do live sound and teach drums too.
What I offer to Power Quest is full commitment 18 years of drumming and 10 years of recording and live sound xp. all the guys with in the new line up all have something great to offer, we cant wait to record new album and tour
Hanna Tsepesh: Andy, you also have other band called Liquid Sky. How are the things doing with the band? You are a very young musician, in your opinion you think that you will bring something new and fresh for Power Quest?
Andy: Things are going good with Liquid Sky, we're currently in the writing process for our next record. I'm very excited with the direction things are going in, the new material will be heavier and more technical than ever without losing the signature sound people have come to know us for.
In terms of what I will bring to Power Quest, I think my approach to guitar will add a new slightly more progressive dimension to the PQ sound along with teaming up with my partner in crime Ben for some tasty duel harmonies akin to the good old days of the 80's!
Hanna Tsepesh: Ben, You have other band or any project? You made to the final of International Guitar Idol in 2008 where you were voted for: "most promising young guitarist" from over 750 contenders. Congratulations very cool nomination for a young musician! How was your reaction back that day?
Ben: Thank you for the congratulations! Being in the Guitar Idol 2008 competition and winning the ‘Most Promising Young Guitarist’ award was a fantastic experience for me! I met some great players - all sharing the same love for the guitar! It helped to raise my profile (videos of the performance have received over 170,000 hits on YouTube to date!), and inspired me to take my playing to the next level.
The live finals were held at the London Guitar Show - I can remember walking to the main stage, and being amazed by the sheer scale of it! I was the second to last person to perform, so I was quite nervous waiting for my turn – it was also my first time playing live, so I’m sure that had something to do with it! I can remember vividly the moment when I went back on stage to collect the ‘Most Promising Young Guitarist’ award and £1000 from Rockschool – I couldn’t believe it!
I have recently been collaborating with a prog rock band called 25 Yard Screamer who helped me out in preparation for the Guitar Idol final. We’ve worked on some prog/metal tracks, one of which has appeared on the Classic Rock ‘Prog’ magazine cover disc in October. We’re hoping to release an EP in 2010. You can check out my own MySpace page (www.myspace.com/benrandallguitar) for further information. I am also working on tracks for a solo project.
Hanna Tsepesh: Paul, You have any band or project? In your opinion what you can bring to Power Quest?
Paul: At the moment I want to be dedicated to 1 band, and that is Power Quest. I’ve known Steve for many years and know the work ethic that is expected when you’re a member of the PQ family. I Know myself and all the new guys will be given the freedom to express ourselves and bring our own personalities and sounds to Power Quest. I probably bring a heavier, more direct approach in terms of the bass playing. Watch this space though, playing with these guys has me itching to release more creativity when we hit the studio.
Hanna Tsepesh: What was the highest and lowest point of your career as a musician?
Steve: Well that’s a tricky question looking back over the past 10 years. I always say that signing the first record deal and recording the first album were pretty special moments to me. It was my dream from being a young metal fan in the 80’s to record an album of my own and although it took until 2002 for that to happen I was immensely proud to have done it.
Since then each album has been a highlight but also touring Europe with Angra and touring the UK with Helloween were very special moments for me. Particularly Helloween as I have been a fan of that band since 1985.
Ben: I haven’t been a musician all that long (only for about 4 years!), which makes this question a little difficult to answer, but I would say the highest point would either be the Guitar Idol competition, or supporting Tarja Turunen in London on our recent tour – that was a great experience! In terms of a lowest point, I don’t think I’ve had one yet!
Paul: High point has to be getting the opportunity to be on stage playing the music I have watched my friends playing for so many years. Joining Power Quest as a playing member has been like a dream come true for me and I’m grabbing it with both hands. Lowest point? That’s a question I hope I never have an answer to!
Andy: The highest point for me so far in my musical career without a doubt has been joining Power Quest. I've been a fan of the band since the Neverworld album back in 2003 so it was an honor when I received the phone call from Steve saying I got the gig. As for low points, none spring to mind at the moment so I guess you could say I'm pretty fortunate (touch wood!).
Rich: lowest points are going out playing in some cool bands and only having 20 people there in a big room, it sometimes can be a bit annoying even when we always work hard to promote, people don't realise there are so many awesome bands out there and should get out more to support them.
Highest points, well being asked to join Power Quest is prob the biggest thing (laughs). I am just so happy, though there have been many great gigs played with all the bands iv played for gigs that i really remember Bloodstock 2003 Bloodstock 2008 Power Quest with Tarja October 2009 the list just go's on.
Hanna Tsepesh: Who will be the guy that will create the lyrics? And what process the band will use to create the riffs, solos, melody to comply with the lyrics in the future?
Rich: The writing of the songs has been done by Steve, though full input from the band is required on this for structure and music, we will all have input of our own on the new album in one way or another.
we hope to bring you a killer album in 2010 Everyone is really excited
Paul: I think Steve has led the way for many years in this respect by bringing the lyrics and melodies to the table. Then it just becomes a melting pot for ideas and creativity. I see no reason to change that immediately, if something works then go with it. We will all get to add our own ideas and style to the bare bones. Then the swapping of ideas will build up what I can already see will be some of PQ’s best music to date. As for the future, I think we’ll all get to put lyrics, melodies and riffs into the mix. In the long run though it will come down to what we agree sounds best and fits the Power Quest mold.
Ben: Steve writes the lyrics and the song structures first, so when we are working on new material next year, we will create riffs, melodies, solos etc which fit within these structures.
Andy: The main structures of the songs, melodies and lyrics are written by Steve. The songs tend to form from basic keyboard tracks, usually with a rough vocal guide so from a guitar perspective we have the freedom to create all the riffs, solos and harmony lines to compliment that.
Steve: I guess I’ve always been the primary writer in PQ and have a process for writing that seems to work very well, at least up until now. I’d already written the majority of the next album before the other guys joined the band but as some of them have already mentioned I always allow other musicians the opportunity to express themselves within the songs. We’ll probably stick with this process for the next record but in the future who knows where we might go with this.
Hanna Tsepesh: The band is recording a new album? What fans can expect from a new Power Quest album? The band will change the style a little bit? Can you guys talk little bit about that?
Steve: I think the new record will be a continuation of some of the developments on the last album while maintaining a catchy, melodic approach to power metal. Of course all the fans will be curious to see how the new line up compares to the previous line ups. I was the same when I was younger and bands I liked changed members and sometimes changed sound as well. I think at this stage we are not 100% sure exactly how the album will turn out but I suspect it may be a little heavier than in the past.
Ben: We will start working on a new album early next year. We haven’t started working on new material as a band yet, so it’s hard to say what direction we will go in at this stage – it is clear that all of the new members have varied musical influences/perspectives so that will probably result in there being a change in style to a certain extent.
Paul: I think Steve is the man to answer that question at this moment in time. We’ve heard some of the new songs and I know that PQ fans are going to love them. I can’t wait to put my mark on those songs too. As a band, we’re all excited about what we can bring to Steve’s music and his lyrics.
Andy: Of course with new members the overall sound is going to be altered but all the trademark features of a Power Quest record shall remain. Since Steve is still the primary song writer it's very much a case of me and the rest of the guys adding out own twist to the PQ formula. The new record shall be slightly more heavy and riff orientated to say some of the older material which I think is a natural progression from Master Of Illusion.
Rich: I am not sure where its being recorded yet, the new stuff will be a mix of classic Power Quest, fast Power Quest with a new sound and something a bit different.
LOOK OUT FOR THE NEW POWER QUEST ALBUM 2010!
Hanna Tsepesh: What is your big advice for a young musician?
Steve: Follow your dreams! People will always tell you that you shouldn’t waste your time playing in bands and that kind of thing. These days it’s very hard to make a full time career out of music, particularly metal so I would advise anyone to have something to fall back on as well. I’m still working a full time day job in the IT industry now so I know exactly how hard it is to keep on believing, while realizing that I still have to eat and pay rent.
Ben: My advice for a young musician would be to start composing your own music as soon as possible. I feel that his applies to all young musicians, but I will address young guitar players specifically here. There are so many players that focus on building technique and spend hours practicing without any kind of objective – I think this is why there are so many ‘shred’ guitar players that just can’t seem to write anything!
You can have all the technique in the world, but at the end of the day it’s how you use it to compose music that’s the important thing. I started writing music very early on – at about 1 year into playing guitar. It really helped me to put the techniques/theory I had been learning into perspective, and helped me to learn how to apply this knowledge in a musical context, which is a skill in itself. I would also advise young players to record their playing/compositions - this is a great way of working on technique as it really puts your playing under the microscope, and once you have finished recording a song, you have something to show for your efforts! It’s also a great way to monitor/record your progress.
Paul: Keep working hard, never doubt yourself, and never give up.
Andy: Always remain true to yourself, stay inspired and motivated. Most importantly... have fun!
Rich: I can’t wait to get on with the new album and tour and meet all the old fans and hope to make some new ones too thanks for reading.
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you want to send any message for the people who going to read this interview?
Rich: See you on the road 2009-2010!
Ben: I would like to say a big thank you to all of the Power Quest fans, especially those who came and supported us at the recent shows, and we will see you on the road in December when Power Quest support Michael Schenker Group!
Steve: As always I would like to thank everyone for all the support over the years and for taking the time to read this interview with the all new PQ line up. We really appreciate all the support, emails, myspace comments and everything. Without you guys we wouldn’t be able to do what we love, so thanks once again!
Paul: Thanks for reading, hope to see you when we’re on tour in the future. Live is where it’s at and I hope to see you there. Rock on!
Andy: Greetings to our fans in Portugal and all over the world, Stay metal my friends!
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks o much for the opportunity to interview the entire band. I wish the band a big success for the future and for the new members wish all the best luck and I hope to talk with you guys very soon about the new album …
Steve: Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you once again Hanna. I hope someday soon we can meet on the road and have a conversation in person and maybe share a beer too. Take care and see you soon!
Ben: Thank you for the interview, it’s been a pleasure!
Andy: Pleasures all mine Hanna, now where's that pint...
Hanna Tsepesh: (laughs) Thanks so much for the words! Yeah is a cool idea Steve, I hope that too! But, you buy the beers and I drink! (laughs)! All the best...
By: Hanna Tsepesh
To listen to some POWER QUEST music’s and for future information’s go at: