:: Interview with Power Quest
Interview with Power Quest
Power Quest are just about to embark on their headlining UK tour and Steve Williams the founding keyboard player took his afternoon to chat to me about the new Power Quest line up, album and what we can be expecting from the UK tour. One thing for sure is that it is gonna be freaking awesome!
Metalship : Can you tell us a bit about yourself, like what hobbies you have as well as playing your music?
Hey! My name is Steve Williams and I'm 39 years old and am the founder of Power Quest, who have been in existence now for 10 years. To be honest between Power Quest and my day job (I'm an IT consultant specialising in Citrix solutions) I have very little time for hobbies. I guess watching and following cricket, rugby and football are my biggest passions outside of music.
Metalship : Tell us what you do in the band and who the other guys are?
I'm the keyboard player and main song writer. Also in the band are guitarist Andy Midgley, bassist Paul Finnie, drummer Rich Smith (all of whom joined the band in 2009), guitarist Gav Owen and vocalist Chity Somapala (who both joined the band in 2010)
Metalship : As a child what music did you grow up listening to?
I was fortunate enough to have a classical music training from the age of 7 until 18 thanks to my parents so obviously had a lot of exposure to the music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and other such greats. The first band I remember hearing was The Police in 1979 when I persuaded my parents to buy me the "Regatta de Blanc" album which contained the hits "Message in a bottle" and "Walking on the Moon".
Metalship : What was your first experience of Metal?
The first metal album I owned was "Overkill" by Motorhead and from there progressed to Iron Maiden
. When I was at school there were three of us at the age of 10 or 11 getting into bands like Maiden, Saxon
and then Metallica
in 1983 before progressing to bands like Megadeth
. I was also a huge fan of Van Halen
as well back then......a bit later I discovered 3 of my all time favourite bands Marillion, Dream Theater
Metalship : How did you and the other guys in Power Quest meet up?
Well all the current members of the band were recruited after the previous line of the band came to an end in 2009. Paul Finnie I have known for pretty much half of my life and previously he was the PQ stage and tour manager. Rich Smith I got to know when he was playing in Metalloid and I remembered him
when it came to looking for a new drummer. Andy Midgley I was aware of from Liquid Sky and Chity I knew as we had worked together with David Shankle (ex Manowar
) back in 2008. Gav Owen blew us away when he auditioned for the band in 2010! I think the amazing thing for me is that all these guys were PQ fans before they joined the band!
Metalship : Power Quest has had so many Line-up changes. How hard is it to adjust to having new Line-ups?
Yeah, we have had a number of changes over the years but you have to remember that we don't make a living from doing this and we all have day jobs so sometimes people have to leave for completely unrelated reasons. For example, Adam Bickers was a medical student and I couldn't expect him
to give up a career in the medical profession. Alessio left the band as he wanted to "retire" from metal and pursue a more alternative rock path in the future and Steve Scott departed as he was moving back home to New Zealand. We always say in PQ though that we will always support each others decisions to the max, and I think it is significant that Alessio, Steve, Andrea, Francesco, Adam, Sam, Oliver and myself are still the very best of friends.
Metalship : You have worked with members of: Dragonforce, Arthemis and Liquid Sky. What is your opinion on how these bands are doing now?
Well, I was one of the founding members of Dragonheart (which became Dragonforce
) and of course Sam Totman was a member of PQ initially as well as DF. Alessio and Andrea were both members of Arthemis whilst also being members of PQ too but I haven't really worked with any members of Liquid Sky, I guess my only connection there is that Andy Midgley used to play with them and was playing with them when I approached him
about joining PQ. I'm very happy to see DF doing so well on the international stage and I'm often asked if I have any regrets about leaving them, but I honestly don't. I'd much rather be doing what I'm doing with PQ even if that doesn't make me as rich or famous. I'll always keep an eye on what my brother Andrea is doing with Arthemis as well, as we worked together for so many years.
Metalship : Blood Alliance has just come out in the UK and I would say it is a lot heavier in terms of guitar and Bass than your other albums. Was there any intention that you wanted it to be heavier?
Absolutely, when you have 2 phenomenal guitarists in the band I felt the album needed to be a little more guitar orientated than when we had a single guitarist. Of course, this meant I had to take a step back a little with the keyboards and the orchestration but I believe we have produced the best PQ record to date. The combination of the heavier guitar and vocals, combined with the catchy melodies and chorus which is quintessentially PQ has worked really well in my opinion.
Metalship : Unfortunately Blood Alliance was leaked by someone in another country. What do you have to say to people who leak albums?
It's a problem we are constantly fighting against and we need a new business model really. The reality is that there is a generation growing up who view music as a free commodity. I'd like to sit down with people and explain to them exactly how much it costs to produce an album like Blood Alliance. Recording costs, mixing, mastering, artwork etc etc. For bands like us, the record company don't cover all these costs. We get a budget, but it is never enough to produce an album of sufficient quality so the reality is that people who download illegally are "stealing" my work. You have to remember as well that tour support from a record company is calculated on album sales not illegal downloads, so the people who say "Yeah I downloaded for free but I will come and see a show" are missing the point. We can't afford to do shows further afield than the UK and Europe for this very reason. Even UK tours are funded directly by myself!
Metalship : Why did you decide to call the album Blood Alliance and what are the lyrical themes related to the album?
Blood Alliance symbolises the new "alliance" in PQ with the new members and there are a number of lyrical themes running through the album. Contrary to what some people think, PQ is not about dungeons and dragons. There are songs about the environment (Time to Burn and Survive), songs about the band coming back after many had written us, and especially me, off (Rising Anew) and even a song about the economic situation in the world (Crunching the Numbers). There are also songs like "Better Days" which are basically about living the life that you want to live!
Metalship : Power Quest started back in 2001 and you are now 6 albums in. Did you ever think that Power Quest would last this long?
Well, Blood Alliance is actually our 5th album but no I never expected to still be here 10 years later. I think that is entirely down to the fans of the band and the tenacity of the band to meet any challenges head on and refuse to give up or compromise what we believe PQ to be. I really don't care about trends and fashion in music, I just believe wholeheartedly in what I do and it's a privilege really to be able to do this at all.
Metalship : You have just finished touring with Symphony X, what was your highlight on these few dates and do you think this tour has boosted your fan base?
Yeah, the 3 shows with Symphony X
were awesome and it was a great introduction for the new lineup. These tours are always an opportunity to attract new fans but you can never guarantee that. I have to say that the Symphony X
fans and the band themselves treated us really well and it was a real pleasure to play these shows and be on the road with SX for a few days. The only shame was that it was only 3 shows, haha!
Metalship : Next month you embark on your headlining tour across the UK playing 4 dates and Bloodstock festival. Did you have a say in were you got to play?
Yeah, I specifically picked the locations for the 4 shows on part 1 of the Blood Alliance tour. Very simple logic actually. Paul lives in Glasgow, Andy lives in Manchester and Rich lives in Derby so these are hometown shows for these guys. We always try and include a London show as well. It's been 5 years since PQ played in Glasgow with Helloween
so I'm really looking forward to getting back there. Derby and Manchester always treat PQ well and it's always fun to play in London. We will be back for part 2 of this tour in November where we will be playing some entirely different places and perhaps some places that not every band visits. For example, the first confirmed show will be in Bedford on November 25th .
Metalship : Who are your opening bands on this tour and what are your opinions on these bands?
We didn't choose any of the opening bands on this leg of the UK tour, this was left entirely in the hands of the promoters. In Glasgow we have Farseer and Defiance
. In Derby it is Evil Scarecrow and Airstyke, in Manchester Neonfly and one other who I'm not aware of at the time of writing and in London it is Neonfly and Primitai. We have played with Neonfly before and they are great guys and a cool band. I've seen Evil Scarecrow once before and throroughly enjoyed their show in Derby and Airstryke rehearse at the same studio we do and are very cool guys too.
Metalship : Ok guys, thanks for your time. Can you give our readers a brief summary of what to expect at a Power Quest show and your new album?
No problem, thanks for the opportunity to this interview with you. A PQ show is all about high energy, entertaining and catchy power metal. We will be playing songs from every album in the back catalogue as well as a healthy dose of Blood Alliance. As for the new album, if you are a fan of super fast shredding, catchy melodies, a hint of hard rock and progessive metal and killer vocals.....then this is the album for you!
added by The Dark Lord, on April 26, 2011 for Metalship