Interviewed by Brian Monteiro
Date: September 18th, 2005
First of all, I would just like to thank you for the opportunity for this interview.
Well it's part of the gig I suppose, so... no problem.
How did the whole idea of FRAMESHIFT come about?
After Progrock records signed the first CHAIN album I did, they proposed that I work with James LaBrie. I never thought that would happen, but I took a chance and wrote two tracks to show him what it would be like and he loved them. Out of that came the first FRAMESHIFT album and because we had an amazing response, it was pretty clear that we'd do another one sooner or later. I was all supposed to be about featuring the vocals and having the music be very interesting but never losing focus of the fact that the vocalist is centerpiece.
How was it working with James LaBrie on "Unweaving The Rainbow" and Sebastian Bach on "An Absence Of Empathy"?
James is a very calm and professional guy. We had to track 18 songs, over 90 minutes of music, in two weeks and we worked ourselves sick, but he never lost it and we remain friends to this day. Sebastian is a very emotional person and his status in the metal world has shown its mark. He just can't get over his rock star attitude and that threw many obstacles in the way during the recording sessions. I felt that there was no respect from him for me and I can't work with someone if there isn't mutual respect. In short, it was not very pleasant and I wouldn't want to do it again.
Would you ever like to tour with any of these singers?
Touring wouldn't make a lot of sense financially for this project. The production is big and we would need amazing musicians to pull it off… not that I am that amazing, but in the studio you can cheat a lot and live that is not possible. So in order to do this stuff live we would need great people... and not just two or three... it would just be too much of a hassle. James' schedule with DREAM THEATER is way too busy and I frankly would never go on a stage with Sebastian Bach.
I personally would love to see it.
I think it could be a lot of fun... seriously... I mean, blasting "Just One More" and songs like that on stage would be awesome, but first of all... how big of a crowd could we draw... I would dare to say that not a lot of people would pay for that...
I don't want to bash Bach’s here, but he has an amazing band... I mean... seriously killer musicians... and they play "Blade" now, at least they are trying to. I saw a short clip from their performance at the "Rock the Park" concert in New York and it was suboptimal to say the least... I am afraid that if even they can't pull it off, if would be rather hard for anyone else...
I've read the whole debacle concerning the credits on "An Absence Of Empathy" with Sebastian Bach. Our readers want to know if you guys have cleared everything up or if you’re just not on speaking terms?
We are not on speaking terms and won't be in the near future. I have gone through a lot to shed light on the situation and set the things straight that Sebastian claimed we did wrong, but no matter what I say the fact that he is a big rock star seems to count for more than reasoning and common sense. He was hired and paid to perform a finished album. He was supposed to come in and put his spin on the songs that were already written, not change them against my will and then demand credit for changes so minor that no other musician would have ever brought it up. I have worked with LaBrie, Michael Sadler from SAGA, Jody Ashworth from TSO and many more and we are all still good friends... I don't know what Bach’s problem is, but it's not me.
I have taken some of the frustration and worked it into a new album with a phenomenal singer, Juan Roos. The album is called "Credit Where Credit is Due " and will come out by the end of September.
Are there any ideas for “FRAMESHIFT 3?” If so who would you like to work with?
If there is going to be a “Frameshift 3” it would be a very different kind of album, maybe more of a singer / songwriter kind of thing.
Can you explain how your older band, CHAIN came about?
It was a band I played in around 1995 and we never had a vocalist, never played live... all we had was a simple recording we did during a rehearsal. I found that and decided to make the album we never made. That was "Reconstruct" and after the first FRAMESHIFT album, I set out to do another CHAIN album. It really isn't a band, although we make it look that way. Just like on FRAMESHIFT I play all the instruments and someone else sings. On “Chain.exe” it was Matt Cash, Chain’s vocalist, and also Michael Sadler (SAGA).
How did you manage to make your 13 DAYS album in, well, 13 days?
Simple... you play a riff and don't question it... don't look for anything better, just go with what came out and make it work... It was fun and I think it's a bunch of fun songs for the car. Nothing mind-blowing and not an album of the year, but a solid rock CD. It was fun NOT to have a lot of options, just go with guitar, bass and drums, and not use any keys, loops and other gimmicks.
Wasn't it hard to get all of those singers so fast or did you ask them to be on the album before the recording started?
No, I called them while I was working on the music. They are all friends of mine and we had a blast recording those songs.
Do you enjoy working on different projects with other artists, or would you rather just put together your own touring band and make studio albums with them instead?
I don't think a BAND would work for me. I know what I want out of my songs and I am not sure compromising in a band situation would work for me. Touring could be fun, but I am a pretty simple guy... I love to be at home with my girlfriend and our three dogs, play video games and watch DVDs. I don't go out and party... I don't like crowds... I don't think this would be right for me... I just like to produce new music, not ride around on stuff I have already written. I just finished mixing the new album last week and I am ready to go back in the studio and work on another album...
What are you currently working on as we speak?
That's tough to say. I might go back to commercial music writing for a bit... jingles and stuff like that, it pays the bills much better then the albums. I'd also like to get into producing other bands for other labels if I could find someone who is interested. I have my double CD rock opera "Babysteps" started already and there are some huge names on there, but at the moment, I lack the funding to finish it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Older... making music... hopefully not stuck in the kind of music I make today but rather a fusion of that with whatever has evolved in music up to that point.
Rockeyez would like to thank you Henning for this wonderful opportunity for an interview. I hope you continue to make awesome progressive metal forever!
Thanks... any time dude...