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Saviour Machine

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"I will show you what must take place". With these words Saviour Machine introduced the first chapter to their unofficial soundtrack to the end of the world, in 1997. In the course of events it became clear that the third and last chapter would come in two parts. Legend III:I is the first part of the final chapter. Evidently not everything is predictable, though the fans will rejoice the extra disc yet to come from this American gothic metal band. Time to hook up with singer Eric Clayton about the things that have taken place.

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Discography: Saviour Machine (1993), Saviour Machine II (1995), Saviour Machine Live (1995), Legend I (1997), Legend II (1998), Legend III:I (2001). Available through: Massacre Records. Official website:  Saviour Machine. Interview by: mpo. Date: 11 november 2001

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Legend III:I album cover

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Legend III:I was released by Massacre Records recently. How do you feel about the outcome?

Legend III:I was produced to be a much more intimate and at times, aggressive album than any before it.... I think that it IS the 'heaviest' Saviour Machine album to date. As where Legend II was produced to be chaotic and confusing, Legend III:I was intended to bring the listener out of the chaos and into the element of resolution. Many of the aspects of this story are beginning to come together in Legend III:I. It was important that the music reflect a certain amount of clarity and intimacy within the bombast! I think that Saviour Machine has become known for making very diverse albums. Each album is approached completely different than the others. I really try not to fall into artistic patterns. This happens with many artists and I think that their work suffers because of it. I get bored when artists do not challenge themselves in an attempt to explore new ground. All of my favorite artists/bands, NEVER made the same album twice. I have always appreciated this. It shows integrity and growth! I feel like we have evolved very naturally over the past ten years. I am pleased with what we have done so far, but as an artist who is always pushing ahead and exploring new ground, I am never completely content. Maybe I never will be? :)

You've labored a long time on this new disc. The previous two albums were entirely self produced which might make it difficult to listen to the material with objectiveness. Surprisingly, the new album was co produced with Michael Wagener. What led to this decision and do you think it contributed to how Legend III:I is like it is?

Legend III:I is entirely self produced as well. ALL Saviour Machine albums are!
I have always strived for the best that I am capable of. In producing The Legend Trilogy, the biggest challenge has been to create a massive 'Apocalyptic Opera' with limited resources, independent recording budgets and time restraints. All these things considered, I believe that this project is some kind of modern miracle! :) In composing, arranging and producing The Trilogy, it is always a matter of finding the proper balance for each individual movement (song). My role is to interpret the content of each chapter and bring it to life through sound. To create a musical landscape, an emotional representation. I have always trusted my instincts and my ability to remain objective!
Michael was ONLY involved at the very end of the production. He was responsible for the final mastering of this album. Meeting him was a pure accident. Simply a 'twist of fate' in all respects. I met him through a friend of a friend when I arrived in Nashville to record the drums, mix and master the album. Michael helped us in getting a great drum sound then he offered to master the album when the mixes were complete. Working with Michael was a great pleasure. He is an extremely nice guy, very humble and down to earth. Michael is a complete gentleman!

Years ago I read an interview in which you were unfolding the plans for the Legend Trilogy. There were supposed to be three albums. You could tell exactly how many songs each album would count and it seemed it was all neatly planned. Now the band brought out Legend III:I and all previously conceived plans seem to have faded. What happened in the process of working out the ideas for the Trilogy that you found it necessary to include a fourth, yet to be released, album?

I began composing Legend Part III in December 1998. This final part of the project was ALWAYS intended to be a double album so I knew that it could take twice as long to complete as any other single album. I spent the entire year of 1999 and half of 2000 composing and arranging the music for both albums, I wrote the lyrics for both albums in the fall of 2000. In late 2000, I was approached by my management and Massacre Records with an idea to split the double album into two separate releases. Although I was very reluctant at first, they convinced me that it would be the best thing to do for a number of reasons. All these reasons aside, the convincing factor for me, was that the fans had waited long enough. If I were to continue with the original plan to produce the double album, I would still be in the middle of the production at this time and the double album would not be released until sometime next year. I began producing disc 1 in January. The album was completed at the end of June. I am taking a short break between the two productions at the moment for promotional reasons. I will begin recording disc 2 (Legend Part III:II) in a few months. If all proceeds as planned, it should be completed sometime late next year.

Initially it was planned to release Legend III in 1999. Around that time the band had some personnel changes. Your brother Jeff left the band. There was some controversy around drummer Jayson Heart who's been replaced by Victor Deaton. Legend III:I shows the return of Jeff and the band now has another guitarist. Has that affected
the band, its music or its musical vision?

The 1999 release date was a promotional rumor. I NEVER thought that it would be possible to complete it by then. Jeff only retired from performing live. He has always been involved during recording. Jayson Heart was replaced for a number of reasons. None that I regret at all :). Saviour Machine's musical vision has ALWAYS remained in focus. I have always considered Saviour Machine as more of a project, rather than a 'band'. Through the years, the project and the people involved in it, have always evolved. The 'project' known as 'Saviour Machine' was formed in 1990. My goal from the beginning was to compose a group of talented artists who could collaborate in a massive vision. A vision of enigmatic sound and experimental theater. An artistic endeavor that would push the boundaries of the spiritual and emotional impact of music.

The new guitarist is Carljohann Grimmark from the Swedish metal band Narnia.
His band is another band supported by MCM Music, just like Saviour Machine. What is his role in the band? Does he contribute to the writing of the songs, giving his ideas on the production?

When developing a song, I start at the piano, work out the melodies and harmonies, then move to the computer for the sequencing. After composing all the orchestral arrangements and finalizing tempos/meter/ key etc, I will pass on the arrangements to the musicians who will perform it. After each musician has had time to rehearse and develop his part, it is ready to be recorded. Production of a Legend album is very time consuming. CJ Grimmark and I met at CRN (Germany) in December of 1998. At the festival, I saw him perform for the first time and likewise. We had the opportunity to speak for some time afterwards and realized that it could be very interesting to work together. Our relationship developed over the next few years and when the time came to record the additional guitars, he came to California for two weeks! CJ is an absolute professional. It was and is a pleasure to work with him. I look forward to working with him again soon!

He's from Sweden and the rest of the band from the US. Until 1999 the band toured regularly but now it seems to be harder, except for some occasional shows perhaps. So, how is this situation worked out if you want to do touring? In how far is Saviour Machine still a touring band?

We have never really been that much of a touring band. Maybe it seems like we have because we have been around so long, but not compared to many bands who perform over 100 concerts a year. Since 1991, Saviour Machine has only performed an average of twelve concerts a year.1991 approximately 20 shows/ 1992 approximately 5 shows/1993 approximately 12 shows/ 1994  approximately 10 shows/ 1995 approximately 1996 approximately 20 shows/1997 approximately 20 shows/ 1998 approximately 30 shows/ 1999 0 shows/ 2000 0 shows/ 2001 2 shows. That's it. A Saviour Machine performance is a rare thing!

Eric Clayton

Talking about touring. There's only one show scheduled for Europe right now, at the Christmas Rock Night. Can we expect some serious touring in Europe next year? Can you tell about the ideas and plans? And also about the stage show you hope to do on such a tour?

There are no actual tour plans at the moment. Saviour Machine will perform in Germany on December 9th and again in March of 2002. There are really no other dates available due to the production schedule of Legend Part III:II which will begin in a few months. Upon the completion of III:II, we may consider a full blown tour! There has been a vision for many years, that Saviour Machine will someday perform the entire Trilogy as an opera. This vision will require a great deal of time, money and resources to bring it to life. Until this time, any performances will showcase a collection of songs from throughout the ten year career of Saviour Machine.

Next year you'll release the final part of the Trilogy: Legend III:II. What can be expected?

Legend Part III:II will start production in a few months. It is the final album of The Trilogy. This production will be the most difficult of Saviour Machine's entire career. I expect that it may take close to a year to complete. If all goes as planned, it could be released in late 2002! Legend Part III:II will cover the final hours of history, The Battle of Armageddon, The Return of Christ, The Millennial Kingdom, The New Jerusalem, etc. The final chapters of The Book of Revelation will unfold over 80 minutes of the most challenging, powerful and Glorious music I've ever written. It will be Saviour Machine's finest hour!

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