Aug 19, 2012
Hello, Mr. English
You are often called ‘The Piano Man From Seattle’. Do you feel yourself musically related to that pianoman from New York, Billy Joel?
There aren't many famous male piano players out there. Billy Joel, Elton John, Chris Martin...that's about it. Chances are I will be compared to one of the three!
You are also sometimes compared to Anthony And The Johnsons. Do you agree?
Wow, really? Antony Hegarty is excellent, and he's very highly respected in the music industry. Perhaps the comparison is made because we were both mentioned in the same episode of the TV show "Bones". Or because he's another piano player!
How did you get involved in music?
I started taking piano lessons when I was seven, and it never occurred to me to stop. Then, when I was twelve, I noticed that all the fourteen-year-old girls had crushes on pop stars. That's when I got started singing and writing songs.
How would you describe your music? Is it plain pop or rock’n’roll or singer-songwriter?
‘American (fever) Dream’ is a fine album and the more I listen to it, the more I like it.
I especially love the single ‘Believe’ and ‘Doves’, with the sound of a grand piano. What do you like the most, electric keyboards or accoustic piano?
I go through different phases. I grew up playing old analog synthesizers from the '80s. My first two albums were mostly grand piano. The current album features a lot of electric keyboards from the '60s - Wurlitzer piano and Hammond and Lowrey organs - plugged into guitar amplifiers and guitar effects pedals.
Both songs come in a more accoustic single edit at the end of the album. What is the reason for that?
We planned on releasing those songs as singles to radio stations in the U.S., and it was suggested that we include shorter "radio edit" versions to encourage airplay.
There has been taken very well care of the background vocals on tracks like ‘Pale Saints’ and ‘Sleight Of Heart’. Were they live recorded together with your singing?
That would've been great! But, no. Xiren and Leah Seigel are based in Huntington Beach, California and Brooklyn, New York, respecitvely, so they recorded their vocals and sent them to us electronically.
Are you yourself satisfied with your latest (I believe your third) album?
Very satisfied, yes. Very proud.
I think there is a fifty-fifty combination between accoustic instruments and electronic effects in your music. Is this a trend and do you go further in that direction?
I think this is a trend in modern music right now: pulling all sorts of influences together to try to create something new. It's fun and challenging to find creative ways to combine familiar instruments, and it keeps the music feeling and sounding fresh.
In my opinion ‘Believe’ hast hit potential and so does ‘God Bless You And Your Man’. Did it get the airplay it rightly deserves in the States?
'Believe' has done very well on American radio. I'd love to release 'God Bless You and Your Man' and 'Doves', as well, when the timing is right.
I heard the news that you had a severe bus accident on a midwestern highway. Can you tell our readers what exactly happened?
I was on my U.S. tour with The Aaron English Band. The brakes failed; our tour bus was totaled. We lost most of our musical equipment, as well.
Is it true that devoted fans collected money to finance the making of ‘Amercan (fever) Dream’?
I lost a lot of capital in the bus crash and subsequent tour cancellation. Fans helped me keep moving forward with making music and getting that music heard.
The recording of your new cd also took place in unusual circumstances. Can you tell our readers about that?
We recorded in Seattle during a record-breaking heatwave! Fortunately the studio was in a cavernous old boiler room in an hundred-year-old warehouse on Capitol Hill in Seattle. One day it hit 103 degrees Fahrenheit, but in the studio it was nice and cool - I even put a sweatshirt on.
Do you have already upcoming projects in mind?
I'm working on two EPs right now: one "loud" one featuring The Aaron English Band and one "quiet" one featuring my vocals and keyboards.
One last question. Is there a possibility that we see you on a European stage or in Belgium in the near future?
I'd love to tour Europe, or even just Belgium. I'm hoping american [fever] dream will make enough noise to get me over there. Playing support to an established band or doing the festival circuit would be a great way to be introduced. I have a UK-based representative who would love to hear from anyone interested.
Thank you so much for this interview.