interview for DPRP by Martien Koolen
Richard Andersson (Time Requiem): “Bach Is God”
Richard created the band Majestic in 1998 and this neo-classical, progressive metal band has surprised the music scene almost like no other band in this genre. With brilliant arrangements and melodies based upon almost spectacular musicianship Majestic have released two albums, namely: Abstract Symphony (1999) and Trinity Overture (2000). Majestic went to Japan to do some live shows and they also toured with bands like Symphony X and Pretty Maids. In 2001 Richard formed a new band called Time Requiem and with that band he already made two studio albums and one live CD. His latest CD is called The Inner Circle Of Reality and I have a talk with Richard about that CD and other musical stuff. When I hear Richard’s voice on the phone I immediately hear that he is not feeling well…..
RICHARD: This hay fever is killing me, I have taken all kinds of medication, but nothing really works, so sorry if I sound a bit nasal….
MARTIEN: Could you first of all tell me about the split-up of Majestic?
RICHARD: That is a long story actually, well in short, the guitar player left and lots of other things went wrong. We had made two CDs and we also did an amazing tour with Symphony X; that was really awesome!! When we got home the record label said that we had to make a new record while we in fact wanted to do a European tour. So I decided to put Majestic on ice for a while and eventually Majestic ceased to exist.
MARTIEN: You already made three albums with Time Requiem in three years time, is that not a bit of overkill for the fans?
RICHARD: No, I do not think so. I am a real workaholic, I compose songs very fast. The material on the new album is already 6 months old, so… It is no problem for me to create new stuff, I am very creative, but it is of course also my living. I have to earn money to stay alive, I am a professional musician.
MARTIEN: Two band members left, why?
RICHARD: The leaving of drummer Peter Wildoer really is a loss, but he became too busy with his own death metal band Darkane, so I had to let him go. The bass player was almost ten years younger than me and we really had some musical differences. But there are no hard feelings about that, business is business, right?
MARTIEN: How did the two new guys (Zoltan and Jonas) do?
RICHARD: Well, in the end, all worked out fine. This new rhythm section really grooves and swings. Jonas Reingold is an old friend who lives nearby and his bass work is great, especially his timing is marvellous.
MARTIEN: Have you already got reactions on the new album?
RICHARD: Actually no, although it has already been released in Japan. In Europe it will be out in the streets on 26 April. Feedback is always important and interesting. I am always eager to find out what people like or dislike about my music.
What is your opinion about the album, by the way…..
MARTIEN: I really like this kind of music; prog neo-classical metal like Symphony X, Kamelot and VandenPlas is right up my alley. There are some awesome tracks on your new album.
RICHARD: Thank you, I am glad that you like it.
MARTIEN: You’re welcome. Let’s talk about the new songs then.
RICHARD: The first Reflections is actually the last track that I wrote for this album; it is a real killer opener. I wanted to open this album with the title track, but that was perhaps a bit too much for the listener, it is really massive and bombastic and perhaps too long to start an album with. However it is my favourite song on the album and it has some Dream Theater and Symphony X influences.
MARTIEN: There are two ballads (Dreams of Tomorrow and Quest of a Million Souls) on the album, why?
RICHARD: Maybe that is a bit strange, because I rather like fast songs with lots of energy. But you need some resting points on a fast album like this one, so…. I have not yet written the perfect ballad, which is really hard to work on, but you never know if it is going to happen and when. Dreams of Tomorrow has some really powerful lyrics about my personal life, about reaching my musical dream.
MARTIEN: So, what is your ultimate musical dream?
RICHARD: You know, I really love classical music, Bach, Mozart. Those guys were truly unbelievable, I can never reach that level, but if I had the money and the time I would write a musical or maybe even an opera!!
MARTIEN: Attar of Roses is a real neo-classical song, or not?
RICHARD: Yeah, you are absolutely right there. That one actually is a flashback to the Majestic days, inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen. In fact this is real baroque music.
MARTIEN: Definition of Insanity and Hidden Memories remind me of the early Dream Theater sound, is that a coincidence?
RICHARD: It all flows in without intent really. I have NO Dream Theater CDs or even Symphony X CDs at home, really.. I like the old Dream Theater stuff, but I also like Rainbow, Deep Purple and Malmsteen. It is really difficult being original nowadays, but I do not steal from other bands, but if my music is compared to great bands like DT or Symphony X than I take that as a compliment. Knowing that you are Dutch I would like to add that I also admire Arjen Lucassen and his Ayreon albums. They are also a true inspiration to me.
MARTIEN: Bach Prelude variations is of course a tribute to your classical idol Bach.
RICHARD: Yes, of course. My idea was to let Magnus play this song on guitar, but he was too lazy to learn it, so I asked Jonas to do it on bass guitar. In the end it even sounds better on bass, it sounds like a cello by the way. Sure, Bach is the greatest, he is God.
MARTIEN: On the Japanese version there is a bonus track Voulez-Vous? , which is of course an ABBA cover. Why is it not on the European release and why an ABBA cover?
RICHARD: I am a huge ABBA fan, their melodies are awesome and sometimes brilliant and all music is about melody, so I recorded a metal version of Voulez-Vous?. The record label reminded me of the fact that I had to record an extra song for the Japanese album.
MARTIEN: By the way, you play your keyboard like Malmsteen plays his guitar, really fast.
RICHARD: Yes, I know, it does sound like a guitar, doesn’t it? Maybe that is due to the fact that I use the same vibratos. Actually I read a review of our first album some time ago and the writer praised the fantastic guitar solos on that album, but in fact that was me of course. Yes, I like to play fast, I always played that way, it comes out naturally but I also practice 8 hours a day.
MARTIEN: And practice makes perfect, right?
MARTIEN: Any tour plans already?
RICHARD: I do not know yet, we have not had any response from Japan. But if the album sells well, we will certainly do a tour over there and probably also in Europe. I would also love to do another tour with Symphony X, as a support band of course; or maybe with Stratovarius, who knows? I really would like to show the European audience that this band can play and sound the same as on our CDs.
MARTIEN: Have you got plans for more side projects, besides Space Odyssey?
RICHARD: No, no more, ha ha ha, it is too much already in fact, there is only 24 hours in a day. But I have done some guest appearances tough, among others with Evil Masquerade (a Danish band); I did a keyboard duel with Andre Andersen (Royal Hunt) there. I also did something for a Finnish band called Cellesty and of course I worked with Jonas Reingold on the next Karmakanics album.
MARTIEN: Last question, who is your favourite keyboard player?
RICHARD: Well, you certainly ask the most difficult question at the end of the interview…When I grew up there were not many players who touched me. In fact I used to listen to guitar players like Satriani and Vai most of the time, I really loved them, and still do. But I think that nowadays Jens Johansson of Stratovarius is the best one around, he is really way ahead of me. I truly think, and this is not meant in an arrogant way, that lots of modern keyboard players sound the same. Do you remember Jan Hammer?
MARTIEN: Yes, I do. He played the soundtrack of the cult police series Miami Vice!
RICHARD: Yeah, that’s the one, he was extremely cool and he had his own style, which is very important. Of course I also still like Jon Lord, the true master of the Hammond organ.
MARTIEN: Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions and good luck with your new album.
RICHARD: Thank you and warm greetings to prog rock lovers all over the world!!
Richard Andersson Website
Read our Review of Time Requiem's The Inner Circle of Reality" !