"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where a recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
IAN PARRY's: "Consortium Project V Species"
IAN PARRY, the well known Metal/Prog vocalist has been recording and releasing many records with several different artists and bands over the past 30 years or so (Ayreon, Elegy, Vengeance, etc). The 'Consortium Project' is however his very own thang' and we're already at the 5th and final part of the metal saga. Find out more about the album released by Lion Music, here's Mr. Ian Parry...
Q: How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
So far the reactions for the 5th and final part of my concept Consortium Project V Species have been amazing. I have had some of the best reviews ever and the highest scores 9,5 being the best I received in my 25 year career.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
It took me from the time I started writing the fifth part of the concept to completion of the production including the album sleeve about 18 months.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
I based all my songs and the titles which I took from my concept story. First I recorded all the guide drum, bass, keyboards and guitar parts in an arranged form then added my vocals so my colleagues such as Casey Grillo in Tampa Florida who had to perform the music would have a good and solid basis to know what to play. I did the recording sessions with Stephan Lill from Vanden Plas at Bazement studios Germany, additional guitars with Niels Vejlyt in Denmark, the keyboards from Kalin Jechev in Bulgaria and all the vocals with Lene Petersen, Ani Lozanova and my own lead vocals were all recorded at my own studio at home near Amsterdam Holland. Then I mixed C V Species together with Marcus Teske who mixed Consortium 3 and my last solo album Visions in 2006 and has worked on many Vanden Plas productions as well as his own band Red Circuit at his Bazement studio in Germany
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
I have financed and produced all 5 Consortium Project albums myself. I did via my own label Non-Stop Productions, which I set up back in 1993 starting with my 1st solo album “Symphony of Dreams” up to the present day with C V “Species” which is my 21st music production. So I have a hands on input directing and arranging everything from my own song arrangement the recording and engineering of each performances the design and concept of the front cover and sleeve artwork to the final mastering. Consortium as you can imagine can be a logistical nightmare having so many musicians performing with me, so co-ordinating everything myself is the best way to stay focussed and ensure that everything is performed and recorded the way I envisaged.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Being the last part of my concept I wanted to make C V “Species” not only sound the best but also have the strongest songs I have ever written performed by the best musicians from the world of Gothic Prog rock-metal. So for me I am proud to end a chapter of my musical life with such a strong album.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
On C V “ Species” you can hear a number of special FX’s in the spoken intro Epilogue and in other songs. I like to experiment with voices and sounds to help create a picture in the minds eye, which can enhance the concept story. I do this in many different way by blending either voices or by laying sound using reversed techniques and mixing many difference sounds together to create a weird and unusual atmosphere.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
Being a project with musicians all over the world it is impossible to bring every one together and rehearse and jam ideas so I have to write arrange and record all the songs first in my studio at home, then send very clear and strong guide tracks to each of the musicians. Later I either recorded the rhythm guitars together with Niels Vejlyt in Denmark or together with Stephan Lill at the Bazement studios Germany. Each time working out the guitar riff or illustrating what kind of sound and approach for each song I had in mind and always trying to improve the parts stronger than on my demo guides. There was one exception this time on C V “Species”. I wasn’t able to travel to Tampa Florida and record together with Casey Grillo because of all the other recording I had to do in Europe, so I make drum guides for Casey who then went on to record all his drums in his studio in Tampa and send his drum files which I added to the songs and then we added the bass and guitars
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Actually the answer to this question about my favourite song on C V Species has to be answered in a few parts. On the metal side I can’t stop listening to Enemy Within (which is the new video clip on my Youtube site) On the prog side I’m more into track 2. Life on Earth & The worst has yet to come. But apart from 10 of my own songs I wrote I particularly like the music from the one song I didn’t write the music for called “An untold message”. The music was skilfully written by bassist and founder member of the German metal band Dawn of Destiny’s Jen Faber. When Jen’s played his idea to me I immediately had a vocal melody & lyrics in my head and told him even though the album was finish his music was so strong I have to add this to C V Species!
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
The main topics in my concept story are global warning, the depletion of the ozone resulting in an environmental disaster, high oil prices creating an economic crisis and a world going out of control all based on my concept story. In CV “Species” after discovering that our ancestors are of alien origin and not from this world the mankind goes on a journey into outer space to find our alien ancestors but this journey is met with dire consequence resulting in a battle to save our planet and a simply Fly virus is what saves mankind and the human species lives on to tell the tale.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Basically due to the logistical side of a large project like Consortium it is important to plan every detail. The most important part for me for Consortium V “Species” was to write a believable last part to my concept story, then once I have the concept I could then start writing the songs. Once the songs were completed I could then figure out who would be best suited to perform the songs having more than 30 musicians and singers during the past 12 years since I started the Consortium project back in 1999. So I choose in my opinion musicians who had been there from the 1st Consortium 1 “Criminals & Kings” album and added as I always do a number of newcomers to the Consortium family like the 2 female singers Lene Petersen (ex-Infinity Overture singer) and Bulgarian female vocalist Ani Lozanova.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
As I have done with many of my musical productions, I find it better to finish my album productions completely including the front cover artwork. I made an animation trailer using my spoken parts from track 1. Epilogue and then sent this to a number of labels including Lasse from Lion Music, who immediately appreciated the creativeness in the concept and within 2 weeks we had a license deal signed. It was my hope that by remastering the first 4 Consortium Quadilogy albums adding bonus tracks from my colleagues Thom Youngblood (Kamelot) Jack Frost (Seven Witches) Ivar de Graaf (ex-Within Temptation) this would inspired a label to re-release the Quadrilogy remasters, which is what Lion Music will do every 2 months after the release of the new Consortium V “Species” album.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
obviously it’s great fun always working with Stephan Lill (Vanden Plas) during the guitar recording especially because of his cool performance and amazing sound, it was also a blast recording in Bulgaria with Ani Lozanova and her keyboard player Kalin Jechev who lives on a huge mountain on the outskirts of Sofia, but I think the most fun this time around was during the video filming of Enemy Within. My colleagues and friend Chrisafis Tantanozis (drummer of Crystal tears) while talking about my plans to do a video for C V “Species” and explaining that the location had to illustrate the atmosphere from the concept and a planet survive full of destruction devastated by our alien ancestors who try to obliterate all traces of mankind, so we can not destroy them. Then Chrisafis said “hey my Mum suggested we film in the old disused factory close to my home in Thessalonica ” So off we went climbing on top of old crumbling building and filming on roof tops which was a little scary at times and the result was an amazing video clip together with the help of Greek guitarist George Karafotis who did the playbacks. So I guess the anecdote is anything is possible you just have to give it your best shot even if it means climbing on top of falling down old building, it is amazing what you can create if you only try!
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
I guess the old school of rock metal Whitesnake/ Dio/ Metallica, but I do love Evanescence that’s why I asked Lene Petersen to do lead vocals with me and drop some of my own vocals because Lene’s Angelic like voice illustrate perfectly the atmosphere in songs such as “Silence calling” and the closing song “Oracle”. For me it’s all about the total production when I am producing an album. As for singing I have been very much inspired since I started singing at 17 yrs old by Mr Paul Rodgers (formerly of Free & Bad Company then later as lead vocalist with Queen) The late great Ronnie James Dio during the early days with Rainbow. David Coverdale while in Deep Purple then later with Whitesnake and also Peter Gabriel during the “SO” solo album period. The unusual creative ways he manipulates his voice making it also like an atmospheric instrument rather than a voice is for me the ultimate achievement for any singer wishing to enhance a song in a magical way.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
It is in some ways sad that C V “Species” the final part of an amazing musical journey. I just want to say Thank you on behalf of my colleagues and me to you and your readers of RockUnited.com and our fans for supporting our music all these years. Who knows if C V “Species” does really well than like Ian Fleming the writer of James bond wrote “Never say never again"
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,