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The Ball-Breaker Column Steve Hackett Under A Mediterranean Sky interview, Also, News on Theresa Carmoney

 

In my latest interview with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, he talks about his new album and touring plans.

Stephen Richard Hackett is an English musician, songwriter, singer, and producer who gained prominence as the lead guitarist of the progressive rock band Genesis from 1971 to 1977.

Angel Alamo:   How did the idea for the album come together?

Steve Hackett:  Well, it was my wife, Jo, who suggested doing a concept based on the idea of various countries around the Mediterranean, which when we were talking about doing an acoustical Kestrel type album, she felt that that would give it a wider comfort musically. So, because Yara hopped from country to country, I was trying to describe places in a different style that might be appropriate for each area. So, there’s a Spanish style track, Andalusian Heart, the French one, the Joie de Vivre. Arabic stuff when we were describing Sirocco, Turkish stuff for the album, Greek stuff for the Memory of Myth, and so on and so forth. I said I wanted to do an acoustic album which turned into an orchestral album. And she was the one who suggested that I try and broaden it in the way that I’ve done with rock albums in recent years, having people on it from all over the world. And which gives it a kind of a broader canvas.

Angel Alamo:   One of the things that I kind of love is just the title of the album. When I first saw the title, I’m like, wow, what a great title, and then listening to the album, it’s very refreshing because it kind of feels like you’re on a journey, especially now with the whole thing with COVID.  Just wondering if you can talk a little bit just about the title of the album.

Steve Hackett:  Well, it’s even better if you have an album sleeve as well with the actual picture on the front, because overlooking the balustrades to see the Mediterranean Sea and the idea of being able to make that journey, or an invitation to it, because it has to be a virtual journey at this point. Less and less people, fewer people can travel. So we’ve got this thing at the moment, the people’s prison, and we can’t really get out of it, but whilst we’re in lockdown does not make us say that imaginations have to be similarly curtailed. So that’s part of it.

I think it was really a title that was suggested by my wife, Jo, who suggested many other on the album as well. So I’m part writer on it, and player of course, but the orchestrations come from Roger King, and some of them are things from my wife, Jo, wanted me to do a broader kind of acoustic album. When I’ve done acoustic albums in the past, which isn’t what I do most of the time, because most of the time I do rock albums, but every few years or so I do something that is acoustic. Either nearly acoustic, which the last one was. The last one was tribute, and I had six pieces of Bach on it and various other composers who were being celebrated, like Argentinian Barrios, and English William Bird from the 1500s, that was much more of a classical album.

It tended to so center on the rock music of a certain area of the Bach stuff. But she was the one who suggested that I do something a little bit like I’d been doing on rock albums. Last couple of rock albums, I’ve done speeches about 20 people on each album from all over the world, and their instruments scattered all over the world. We took some of that idea to expand on what you can do with an acoustic album, which I’d like to think comes in blasting with the orchestral stuff. So it comes in with the power of a rock album, whereas most people think “Oh, acoustic album, yes, that’s going to be quiet. It’s going to be a side show.” I didn’t think of it as a side show. And I also don’t think of it as an introverted album. Just because it doesn’t have rock instruments, it doesn’t mean that it’s not expansive. So I had a great time doing the album. It took me a couple of months to record and it came together very quickly.

Angel Alamo:  Is there any possibility that we could see either a tour or a few shows in support of the album?

Steve Hackett:   Well, at the moment, I’m booked to do shows where I do seconds out Genesis album from 1977. I am billed to do that in its entirety. So I committed to that in the same way that last year I committed to doing Selling England by the Pound and Spectrum Mornings together. Of course we were hoping for an American tour when everywhere closed down in the world and the week of the last flight back from Philadelphia. So I started working on this pretty much instantly once I was back. And I felt that it was the right kind of thing for the limitations that are imposed on people. I had done concerts at this type of thing before I did with a trio or quartet or even solo sometimes, a duo, but to be honest I was trying to make a perfect album. There are some albums I do without any regard whatsoever to how it’s going to be performed live. And this is one of those examples.

I think the lushness of the arrangements makes certain things possible. I can do certain tracks live, and I have done, I have played one or two of these things live before, but to do a whole evening of it, I don’t know. I just feel it makes a better album than it does a concert unless you love orchestral concertos and guitar recitals. But for a rock audience, just to retain their attention that long without getting shouted down, there is the aspect of the audience that wants to boogie, so you have to be very careful with this kind of stuff.

Angel Alamo:  I know that during COVID you was kind of working on material besides this album. Can we expect to see in the future, maybe in the next year or so, any other albums from you?

Steve Hackett:  Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I’m always working on a number of things in tandem. So I’m working on rock material because I always do. I have a live album out, put the Selling England by the Pound live thing out, everything was out in very short space of time. That autobiography book was out. This will shortly be released. And once I can get back to work with a team, when it’s safe, then I’ll be getting back to rock stuff. I can’t say exactly when that will come out. I don’t hang around. I do produce albums very quickly these days.

Angel Alamo:   Yeah. It just seems to, like I said, with some of your peers is almost, they’re kind of reluctant to do albums, but with you, it’s almost like you don’t slow down at all and that’s amazing. And what, as a songwriter, what keeps you that motivated?

Steve Hackett:   Well, I think all music has to start with a doodle or a risk and no matter what kind of music it is, whatever genre you’re working in, first of all, you’ve got to have that initial idea. Something has got to spark from one idea to another until things catch fire. And it’s the same with material like this. Once I start to understand harmonies and chord relationships, I let myself experiment and allow things to happen. Let the imagination run free. It’s the same process for this that it is with rock stuff. But I tend to work with a bigger team with rock these days.

I know that I’ll be working with several virtuoso drummers and at least one virtuoso bass player. So when you know you’ve got guys that can play the balls off their instruments, proficiency isn’t a problem, if you know what I mean. Even if I never played another set, sat back and let these guys take it, there would still be something extraordinarily dynamic. But, you know, I’m the guitarist. I was originally drawn to electric guitar, but then I found I got seduced by acoustic guitar, basically from the mid-1960s onwards when I was in my mid-teens, seeing and listening to Segovia playing, I suddenly realized miracles were possible on one instrument in one go, if you were good enough. And I never thought I would be good enough to do anything like this sort of stuff. But despite my young misgivings, I found that brick by brick something got built and I found myself doing more and more complicated moves.

I used to get frustrated with rock and roll, that rock seemed to be stuck in the groove. Whereas this other stuff seemed to be limitless. So when I do rock and roll, I try and get these other aspects into it, to try and broaden rock and roll’s shoulders with the use of world instruments and other styles. Whether that’s Arabian jazz or even Braga stuff with Indian musicians and instruments of all over the world; the charango from Peru, the duduk from Armenia, the tar from Azerbaijan.

So it’s a big adventure and a big step into the unknown and music is always a big shot in the dark. And I think you have to be prepared to indulge yourself and trust yourself. In order to get stuff ready that other people will like. So it’s this inward journey, I think.


 

Theresa Carmoney to release three songs from first full length album on Valentine’s Day

Theresa Carmoney has been busy preparing to release her first full length album. On Valentine’s Day fans will be treated to not one not two but a triple release of songs from her first full length album Matters of the heart. Fans can go on any of the following sites listed below to purchase the songs. Nothing Less, I’m Back
and Work It Out will be released on Valentine’s Day.
For more information please go to
https://www.facebook.com/theresacarmoney

1. CD Baby

2. Pandora

3. Spotify

4. Apple Music

5. ITunes

6. YouTube Music

7. Amazon