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Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

damian wilson

Prog supergroup Headspace are about to release their second album 'All That You Fear Is Gone'. Singer Damian Wilson took a little time out if his busy schedule to chat about the album with Metaltalk's Ian Sutherland.

'All That You Fear Is Gone' is the second album from Headspace. Three years on what are your thoughts about the debut 'I Am Anonymous' and the plan to follow it up?

It's all part of a concept, a trilogy so I almost feel like it's the same album. I don't really like to listen back to the albums I make as you just seem to focus on the mistakes or things you should have done better. I simply feel that this album compliments the first one.

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Who has written what on the album? Do you just stick to writing lyrics?

The lyrics and the vocal melodies are what I do and I pretty much get left alone to do those. I have a lot of ideas as to how the music should go but overall Pete does the guitars and Adam does the keyboards and so on.

I think that while we are a band we all individually felt that 'I Am Anonymous' was our album, we all thought if it as being our own. We all were allowed to express ourselves.

So how does that all get put together? Is everyone given the concept idea and has to come up with stuff?

Pete and Adam working together were giving me completed ideas to work with. An example is 'Polluted Alcohol' where I had this Hell's Angels type idea and I wanted a big American influenced anthemic kind of song. Then Pete sent me his tracks and he'd done this really southern sounding thing and I said 'That's not what I was asking for' and he replied 'Yes it was' and when I thought about it he was right! It just wasn't what I visualised but it's what he had and it was presented as a complete track for me to stick my vocals on. We try to satisfy ourselves rather than each other which I think is a good thing and we have to hope that it's accepted by the other guys.

When I talk about alcohol in 'Polluted Alcohol' it's symbolic of suppression, it's about the fact that some things can be completely acceptable in some groups and environments and completely unacceptable in that same group as time passes and things change.

That's part of the concept that you have for the album, part of the trilogy of albums you are going to use to illustrate it with?

It is. I almost feel like apologising for doing a trilogy. We sat down in a pub before doing the first album and I thought that as we had lots of stuff written from rehearsals and ready to go we should get all that down. Then Pete the guitarist suggested we do a concept and I said that would take a long time and delay the album but they all wanted to do a concept so the pressure was on me to come up with that concept!

Was organising the album in a pub the best idea then?

The pub is the best place to do that as the reason the band got together is that we all want to spend more time hanging out with each other. As a result the pub is our main meeting place. Of course it can be lethal! So far as the concept went I was quite playful with the idea at the beginning but the other guys wanted something to work around so I came up with this obscure concept and told them to go ahead and get their teeth into that. I expected them to come back at me and say it's ridiculous but they all agreed to go with it.

The structure of the first album was a bit crazy with all the different aspects, all those different frames within it. It works on so many different levels, about the individual not coping, not fitting in with the group. With this album it's about the group not being able to contain or control the individual.

In many ways that's challenging stuff.

Well, I don't see it that way, its not to me. I just let my brain go and and I find it entertains me so writing it all felt great. I had the freedom to do what I wanted with the concept. I wanted it to work on different levels so for example if you listen to this album once you can get one perspective but if you listen again from another perspective it also makes perfect sense. That's how all the albums are going to be, once you listen to it and understand it, you need to go back and listen to it again. It's meant to make you think. A lot of the stuff is obviously very personal but it fits into the bigger picture here.

That's saying that the album needs to be listened to in a very focused kind of way?

It does. We initially made an album which was completely unlistenable! When I heard the rough mixes for the first time I thought 'Who the hell is going to want to listen to that?'. It was madness, just chaotic madness. Then Jens got his hands on it [Jens Bogren mixed the album] and made sense of it.

The reason it was so mad was that we let ourselves go. As musicians we are there to be free but with all these people shouting at the same time there has to be some order and that comes through I feel in the mixing of it. Before mixing it was pretty intense listening but after Jens got hold of it that changed.

I see that you guys are down to play a couple of festivals this year, Rambling Man and Cropready. Are there more extensive touring plans ahead?

I think once the band is up and running it will be hard not to do more touring. A lot of it depends on Sabbath and Ozzy and that kind of thing, I can usually juggle things around myself ok but Adam may not find it so easy as I suspect that side of things brings a fair amount of money his way is my guess.

You are a very busy man in your own right. What else do you have happening in 2016 as well as Headspace?

Well I feel terrible about doing self promotion but I have another solo album coming out which is at the mixing stage. I also have lots of summer dates with Threshold and some shows with Maiden United.

On a sad note you recently sang at the funeral of Geoff Banks, a journalist and enthusiast well known to MetalTalk. Do you have any memories of Geoff you'd like to share?

I loved old Geoff, he was a beautiful fella. I remember I was stuck for somewhere to stay and he offered to let me stay at his. He was already sleeping on the couch as he'd already given his bed to someone else but he insisted I sleep on the couch while he slept on the floor. He was a very generous guy and I was touched by that gesture. I liked him, I liked his spirit and I also liked that he had a bit of fight in him as well.

Damian Wilson, thanks very much for your time and good luck with the album. MetalTalk's review of 'All That You Fear Is Gone' can be seen here.



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