Interview with Steve Hackett

As some of you may have been aware, during the completion of ‘Phases’ I was busy studying for my degree and decided to dedicate my final work and dissertation to a very prominent feature in progressive rock, the ten minute structure. It is something that has fascinated throughout my childhood and it is interesting to see how artists have utilised the opportunities of extended structure in a number of ways. During the course of my research, I was very fortunate to arrange an interview with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and I thought it may be of interest to you.

I shall be in touch with more Eden Shadow news soon.

Ryan

hackett1

1.)What are the opportunities in writing a song with an extended structure? Would you say that writing a song over 10 minutes allows certain things that a conventional form structure does not?

A song with an extended structure can work well. “Supper’s Ready” at more than twenty minutes in length is one of early Genesis’ most popular pieces of music. It works because it takes the listener on an exotic journey through many moods and places. At the end you feel you’ve gone full circle but ended up in a deeper and more enlivened place. It gives a feeling of catharsis. You can’t quite get that feeling with a short song, although if a piece morphs enough through different moods and modes, the song can deliver a sense of adventure and range of emotional experience in as little as eight minutes. It doesn’t have to be at least ten minutes to produce that effect. Also, if there are links between songs without an obvious break the same effect can be achieved. But for sure, you can’t achieve that particular sense of exploration within an isolated song of five minutes or less.

2.)The emergence of progressive rock has been said to be partly a result of the influence of classical music. Are there any elements or composers of classical music that has inspired you in both your solo work and with Genesis?

Yes, I have been influenced by several classical composers and pieces of music. We all liked Bach in Genesis and you can hear his influence for instance in both the acoustic piece I play, “Horizons” and and in the keyboard parts of “Firth of Fifth”. I’ve been influenced in my solo work by many classical composers, from the precision of Bach to the romance of Tchaikovsky, the power of Ravel’s “Bolero” and the atmosphere of Respighi’s “Pines of Rome”. I love classical guitar and I incorporate it into my rock music as well as my classical albums. I feel that classical music can inform and expand rock in many different ways.

3.)What would you regard to be the key things that have inspired you to structure songs that run beyond the ten-minute mark?

Most of my songs are less than ten minutes because I feel I can deliver the epic feel I search for in an eight minute song. But in those tracks that are more than ten minutes, such as “This Island Earth” on my last solo album “Beyond the Shrouded Horizon”, I wanted to give a feeling of expanse, a sense of an adventure through space and time around the universe and back, which needed the extra time for full effect. Likewise, the track “Shadow of the Hierophant” on my first solo album which is at least ten minutes needed the length to facilitate the contrast between the delicate song and the instrumental and also to enable the instrumental part to gradually build to powerful effect.

4.)In past interviews, you’ve mentioned that a lot of early Genesis material deals with rather obscure themes and includes ambiguous lyrics. How did you approach organising and writing music with such concepts in mind so that initial ideas could eventually turn into a complete song?

Sometimes we just followed our feelings as we began writing, not always knowing where the song was going to lead. Going of the beaten track of consciousness can be a good way to find new paths and become inspired with new musical and lyrical ideas.

5.) What would you advise for young musicians who aspire to write music of a conceptual nature and are considering achieving this by writing songs that run beyond a conventional structure?

Follow your heart, your inner inspiration and your influences, but don’t complicate anything just for the sake of it. There is a danger of making something impenetrable. The secret is to create a world of music which excites you and one that you believe in.

Thanks Ryan, I’ve enjoyed answering your questions. I wish you luck with your dissertation.

Eden Shadow to start working on Album 2.

After an intense summer of studying, we are pleased to announce that we are beginning to work on our follow up album to ‘Phases’.

The second album has been an ever exciting and looming prospect over the last year, and it shows many signs of us developing and evolving as a band. Whereas ‘Phases’ in it’s writing in many ways can be regarded as a solo effort, our second album for the first time displays moments where the band has developed material that is collaborative, and certainly more ambitious.

Throughout the fall of this year, we will be recording and producing the album with the aim to release it at some point next year. As we make progress, we will keep you informed.

Onwards with the next chapter.

Ryan Elliott

Eden Shadow

Ryan Elliott Eden Shadow

Interview with Empire Magazine

Eden Shadow have been featured in the recent addition of German Prog Magazine, Empire.
Here is an English Translation of the interview held up with Ryan about how ES formed, Phases and future plans.

How was the band formed?

Eden Shadow was formed in late 2011. Alex, Tom and myself met at the Academy of Contemporary Music, Guildford, UK. Alex and me crossed paths quite early on and decided to jam together, playing lots of Rush and Dream Theater. As we set out to look for a drummer, Tom emailed me and it only took a cup of coffee for us to realize how identical our music taste is! From there we have an EP and album to our name.

Describe the creative process behind ‘Phases’

‘Phases’ like “Hail” was initially a solo endeavor. I started writing it in 2009 around the age of 16. At that time, I was obsessed with records and became very fixated on the idea of making one. I started demoing it at high school and gained some attention from local press. I was lucky enough for Will Mackie of White Knight Records to stumble across my work and he and Rob Reed have been on board supporting me since. I then found Eden Shadow in 2011, finished writing the songs in 2012 and continued to record and produce the album until it’s release in 2014.

What impact has your signing with White Knight Records had on Eden Shadow?

Having White knight records has been a spectacular blessing. Will and Rob have help me transform my childhood dream of making records into something real. Similarly to being around industry professionals in college, we have had a broad range of advise in many different ways. We also have had the opportunity to connect with people worldwide, beforehand I wouldn’t have known where to start with finding people who would be interested in our music so I am very thankful to have had the right people helping us.

What would you say are Eden Shadow’s main influences?

There are some typically obvious influences. All three of us grew up to Dream Theater, Rush and Porcupine Tree. We also love the really early progressive stuff, Close To the Edge, In the court of the Crimson King and Selling England by the Pound are all records we hold in extremely high regard. However, we listen to anything and everything, Jazz, Metal, Electronica, Trip hop, Classical. Having such an eclectic taste is healthy I would say and it is an ever exciting voyage for us to discover and be inspired by different music.

Is Phases a concept album?

In some ways it is, but I would only go so far to say partially. It is about phases that people go through in their lives during the whole process of finding out about whom they are, especially when their young. Be it depression, desires or relationships, they all ultimately shape you in one-way or another. I wrote the album in a way that hopefully becomes more optimistic track by track.
One of the ways in which I love to write music is with a sense of narrative and visual to which the mood of a song develops or transforms. It’s a quality that makes this genre so appealing to me!

And Nik Turner features as a guest for one of the tracks…

Indeed, we are truly lucky to have him feature, Tom supported Hawklords with another band and at the time, I was looking to get someone to do a flute solo for ‘Imagination’. He recorded it for us within two weeks and I was blown away. It truly is mesmerizing and I am ever thankful to Nik.

What is your future plans?

At the moment, Tom and me have university degrees to finish, and Alex is also pursuing his own career, which leaves us all quite busy. However, we have rehearsed as much as possible and there are plans to perform live more prolifically next year. Additionally, we are looking into releasing a special Vinyl edition of ‘Phases’. Being a younger band that holds a belief in music as an artistic experience, we want to make that statement from the start. There is so much writing happening too so plenty of new material to come in time! We want to be an active band on all fronts. Push the metal to the floor and give our fans plenty to enjoy. Standing still isn’t in the Eden Shadow dictionary!

Empire magazine is now available from Progressive Promotion Records in Germany.

Eden Shadow Empire Alan Parsons

Eden Shadow May Newsletter

It has been nearly four months since we released our debut album, ‘Phases’ and over that time, we have been truly humbled by the response we have had. It has been and still is a great pleasure emailing and getting in touch with everyone to talk about the album and see that so many people from all over the world are enjoying our music so much…thank you!

Over recent weeks, things have gone a little quiet, mainly due to mine and Tom’s commitment as students and Alex’s work commitments. For those who are interested, I have been locked away writing about the role of concept and extended song structure in progressive rock (with particularly in-depth study of classic masterpieces such as Close to the Edge by Yes and Starless by King Crimson to newer pieces such as Tool’s The Grudge and Steven Wilson’s The Holy Drinker). Besides Eduard Macan’s ‘Rocking the classics’ and few other books, there is little literature on the subject of progressive music. Especially that which covers newer albums at a time where progressive music seems to be growing in terms of its fan base and following; consisting of both the generation that grew up in the 70’s and the younger fans including ourselves! (Or Eden ‘Babies’ to quote a reviewer!) This leaves me with the desire to publish it on my blog, I will let you know of its arrival!

Tom on the other hand has been busy in his synth lab, mistaking patch cables for strawberry laces and finding space in his studio amongst his drum kit, desktop computer and modular synths to build a cassette Mellotron! It will be very likely that this Mellotron will appear on the new record.

Speaking of the NEW record, we are working on the follow-up to ‘Phases’ and have been for a while.

‘Phases’ as an album is in some ways a solo effort from myself, it is cerebral and the music of someone young and naive…for that I am very proud of it; but in contrast the new album shows a much more collective effort from the band. We can’t give away too much just yet, but we will tell you that is certainly going to be much more arcane, raw and ambitious. We are looking forward to continuing this journey of improving as musicians, and seeing where this new record takes us!

Touring isn’t entirely practical for many bands today, and as much as we love playing live, it is quite a challenge for us at the moment. We will be playing live occasionally but for now, the focus is going to be on the new record.

In other news, we are preparing to release a range of T-shirts as Eden Shadow merchandise designed by Katy Burgess and will be announcing them in the coming weeks and where they are available to order.

And finally, throughout the year, whilst we work on the new album, we will be collecting a series of bootleg recordings as we play live to release them for your listening pleasure on Soundcloud.

We look forward to updating you as we make progress.

Prog on,

Ryan

ES