Can you first
introduce The Awakening? What kind of musical entity is it and what's the history?
I would probably describe The
Awakening as a "Dark Alternative" band with styles and forms including goth,
rock, electronica and anything else that I have the urge to include on the work in
question. It has existed since 1995 and currently has seven CD releases to it's name.
Your music can be
described as gothic. It's quite dark, emotional music. How did you get involved with this
kind of music?
It seemed to be an
obvious choice as my voice is naturally suited to more sombre tones. I have always
gravitated towards more serious and poetically inspiring subject matter, the
romance of what goth music can be, has always been a strong attraction to the genre for
The Awakening once
started as a band consisting of three members. Nowadays the albums are done by only one
person: You. What are the reasons for staying the only member of The Awakening while you
do have a live band?
I have always been the sole
composer and but for a couple of exceptions on Risen, the sole studio performer for The
Awakening, originally due to the hunger with which I move through my work and
the variations in live band line-up. Up until recently I have thoroughly enjoyed
the challenge and reward of taking a recording from demo to complete album status in every
sense of the process, which is probably why I produce the albums as well - control freak
personality syndrome. On my current project, my second "solo" effort I have
finally included the live drum capabilities of my drummer of the last 3 years, who
performs in both The Awakening and my solo shows. The live musicians performing
with me now have been a unit long enough to develop an energy that has in a
sense become the "new" Awakening and will more than likely be performing on the
next Awakening album as such.
Speaking of the
live band, who are currently in the line-up?
Mark Sprawson (guitar), Kate
Towsey (bass), Glenn Welman (drums), Matthew Fink (keyboards), Marcus Kuschke (guitar),
Ashton Nyte (vocals & guitar).
Awakening you've done a solo album called The Slender Nudes and you're currently working
on a second solo effort called Dirt Sense. Why are you doing solo albums while The
Awakening is already a one man expression?
The "solo" work has no
stylistic or genre allegiance, whilst The Awakening has always been
dark-rock-goth-orientated outfit. I maintain that just as humans have many sides to their
personality, artists have numerous variations of how they wish to express themselves, some
ways tend to be darker, heavier or just plain different to others.
The albums from
The Awakening are distributed in America in the Christian market. As far as I know The
Slender Nudes isn't. Seeing the cover with the naked girl I guess most conservative people
will raise their eyebrows. What is the idea behind that cover?
The model is representative
of an artwork to be appreciated in the bare essence of itself - which is one of
the statements I was making with the album. Some people perceive that, among other
things, I am a one dimensional artist obsessed with a "gothic/sinister"
facade. The iconography used in the album was intentionally theatrical in an
intentionally very non-goth way. Every body enjoys a bit of escapism and the
album is loaded with characters like The Glam Vamp, The Naked Poet, The Electric Man etc.
On your website I
read that you're doing another project called Cut The Rope. Are you overflowing with
Absolutely! I have a pathological
hatred for the non-productive nature of eating and sleeping.
What's Cut The
Rope compared to your solo outings and The Awakening?
Very heavy, very aggressive, very
Right now you're
working on the second solo album Dirt Sense. What can be expected?
Absolutely no genre allegiance yet
again. Where Slender Nudes dabbled with glam rock and new romantic, Dirt Sense strips the
music to it's primal form. Rock, trip hop, the blues, jazz, folk and the avant-garde all
get nods of respect. It's a form that I believe to be very unique whilst keeping the
lyrics quirky and far more weighted than the frivolous escapism of The Slender Nudes. It's
actually a relatively serious album, off-set by the fact that I get to wear a cowboy hat
and leather jacket at last.
The Awakening will
do another album as well, tentatively titled Beyond The Realm. As the band has a second
guitar player now, will you head into a more guitar oriented direction? Can you tell about
the musical realm you're heading to?
I probably write an average of 4
or 5 songs every week of my life and find it difficult to remain engrossed in any one
music form, but currently I feel the songs that are tentatively being selected for the new
Awakening album are decidedly more guitar-driven and aggressive than anything we've
released before. I really would like to capture the energy of the live band, as I
mentioned earlier. Lyrically, there's an air of angst and urgency to what I'm saying and
how I'm saying it. The objective is always to keep the work fresh, challenging and
relevant, not just re-hashing some trite formula.