interview for DPRP by Martien Koolen
In a blink of an Alias Eye?
“Field Of Names” was the title of their debut album and the Germans really got great reviews from the international press. Their second album “A Different Point Of You” is even more “complicated” and I really had “trouble” with listening to it and enjoying it…. In volume 62 of last year DPRP did a Round Table Review of that album and there were really mixed opinions; Tom and Ed loved the album, however Andy was very sceptical and actually deemed it as a 'middle of the road album'.
So my first question for Vytas Lemke (keyboard player), as I was talking to him on the phone, was “What are the musical differences between the previous album and the new one, and why did you decide to “change” your musical directions/influences?”
VYTAS: Technically there are not that many changes, we spent more time recording the songs. Musically speaking we used more influences and we used lots of different moods; every song has its own mood, its unique mood, if you like.
MARTIEN: Is it okay if we “skim” through the songs then?
VYTAS: No problem lets go… “A Clown’s Tale” is a song that I really like; especially the Oriental influences are awesome. And of course the saxophone solo is unique. As you know it is essential to choose a great song as the opener of an album, and I really believe that this song is an excellent opening track. “Fake The Right” is a rather experimental song; it is a funky track and I think that as a listener you really have to get used to this one; it is not per definition a rock track. “Your Other Way” is also a controversial song, it is not rock, and it is not pop…. It is one of the songs with the most progressive parts and with many different moods. If you listen carefully you can hear influences from the French chanson and from the tango.
MARTIEN: My colleague Andy Read called the next song a middle of the road track, where the Yuk factor reaches an unbearable level. I also think that it is a dull, mediocre pop song, how do you feel about this song and how do you “cope” with that sort of criticism?
VYTAS: Lots of critics said that “Icarus Unworded” is a boring song, I really do not understand this. Sure, it is a controversial one, again, but we consider it as a sort of Pink Floyd track. Nothing wrong with that, is there? “The Usual Routine” and “Too Much Toulouse” were the two songs, which were the most unusual and the most difficult to record. This one has a clear jazz part and actually it was inspired by Dave Brubeck. “Drafting” was very difficult to be “fitted” into the album, but in the end it integrates with all the different moods on the album. It is a relaxing song, a sort of resting point. The next one “On The Fringe” was a lot of fun composing. However it was very difficult to arrange, but in the end we really made this one a killer track. I think that this is my favorite one.
MARTIEN: Who came up with the idea for that one?
VYTAS: Frank, our bass player, came up with the first chord and riff; then we started to change the rhythms and the chords and it worked out great. Listen to that Latin part in the second verse! “The Great Open” is again a long track and it really is the favorite track of our listeners. It definitely is (hard) rock, with a dynamic range and a great guitar solo by Matthias. We really enjoy playing this and I think that this will be a live killer. “Too Much Toulouse” is without any doubt the most controversial track we ever composed. Actually it was the first song we wrote for this album, we already played this one on our first tour. Most of the time it was our encore. Again this was a song which was very difficult to integrate into the album because it is really different from the rest. It is just piano and contrabass; it is jazz and nothing more.
MARTIEN: Was is not “risky” to put “Too Much Toulouse” on this album?
VYTAS: Yes, of course. But there were no musical limitations, so what the heck? We decided to take this album one step further than our previous one.
MARTIEN: Some critics called your new album a “middle of the road “ album; how do feel about that sort of criticism?
VYTAS: It is an opinion. I agree with the fact that this album is difficult to listen to and I can understand that it is not everyone’s taste. It is not hard rock and it is also not an album for metal lovers but funnily enough lost of metal magazines reviewed the album and they really liked it. Progressive magazines and e-zines considered the album as rather controversial and they appreciated our first album more.
MARTIEN: So, what will your third album be like?
VYTAS: I really would not know. Lots of critics already stated that we couldn’t top this one. But is obvious that we will not “use” more styles on our third one. I think that we will go back to the basics; no more orchestration, no more triple guitars, but it will still be typical Alias Eye.
MARTIEN: So you are saying that you used too many different musical styles on “A Different Point Of You”?
VYTAS: No, that is not what I am saying. I truly believe that we did a great job with this album, but I am also convinced of the fact that our third album has to be different.
MARTIEN: I agree, how is the progressive rock scene in Germany at the moment?
VYTAS: It is hard for progressive bands, there is no big audience for our music. Progressive music lovers do not go to concerts a lot; they would rather listen to their albums at home. So it is really difficult for us to go on tour and promote our music. The record company is doing a great job by the way, all the great magazines reviewed our new album and we did and are still doing many interviews for all kinds of magazines
MARTIEN: What are the main musical influences of the band?
VYTAS: Actually all band members have a long list of musical influences, mine range from pop music to main stream rock, from Eros Ramazotti to Bryan Adams. All these musical influences from every one of us create the unique sound of Alias Eye. We have lots of different opinions about music within the band and this makes our music more interesting.
MARTIEN: Any tour plans for the near future?
VYTAS: In fact we are going to be playing on a festival in the United States very soon. Further we hope to go to France and Italy, because we really got great reviews there.
MARTIEN: What about gigs in The Netherlands?
VYTAS: Of course we also would love to play in your country. We would like to do a headliner tour then or maybe team up with two other progressive bands. Actually I think that we will be playing in Verviers (Belgium) in The Spirit of 66 very soon. So maybe we can meet there and talk some more?
MARTIEN: Of course, why not. Thanks for your time for doing this interview and I hope to see you in Verviers then.
VYTAS: Thank you and greetings to all the fans of our music. Hope to see you all on tour.
Read our Round Table Review of "A Different Point Of You" !
Official Alias Eye Website