Chitral "Chity" Somapala - Vocalist (2010-)
Andy Midgley - Guitars - backing vocals (2009-)
Gavin Owen - Guitars (2010-)
Paul Finnie - Bass (2009-)
Rich Smith - Drums (2009-)
Power Quest Demo (2001)
1. Tonight we are speaking with Steve Williams the founder and keyboardist for the U.K based Melodic Metal band Power Quest. Steve thanks for your time. The new album "Blood Alliance" is out now, and it marks a new direction musically for the band. What can we expect from the new material?
Hey! Great to be here talking with you. Hope you are doing well.
Yeah "Blood Alliance" is out there now and the reaction has been fantastic really. I'm not sure it really represents a new direction as such as I believe the classic PQ ingredients are still there musically but I guess the different vocal style is the most significant change in many ways. I personally feel it is our most consistent record to date and I fully expect every song from this record to make an appearance in the live arena, which is probably the first time I've honestly been able to say that.
In a nutshell, "Blood Alliance" is all about speedy guitars, catchy melodies and the mixture of power metal, hard rock and prog that the band have been known for now for a number of years.
2. Steve you have been doing this for a long time now, and the process of making great melodic Metal is nothing new to you. So how did the line up changes work as far as writing new material?
Indeed, 2011 is actually the 10th anniversary of the band but of course I'm the last man standing from 2001 now.
I had written about half the album before we had completed the current line up but I co-wrote 3 songs with guitarist Andy Midgley. These were "Crunching the Numbers", "Blood Alliance" and "City of Lies" and I can already see the genesis of a cool writing partnership there for the future. Bassist Paul Finnie also contributed some lyrics to "City of Lies" as well.
I was very fortunate really that Rich, Paul, Gav and Andy were all PQ fans before they joined the band, so they really understand the ethos of PQ and what I'm about musically. Paul actually worked for me as a stage manager for a number of years before finally stepping out of the shadows and onto the stage itself.
3. Would you say this is the most powerful record you have made so far in your career?
I think I would agree with you completely on this. I think a key element of this is the guitar and drum sound we achieved for this record. We decided to use a different studio this time around and went to Foel Studio in to work with producer Chris Fielding. It's a residential studio so we were able to work 14 or 15 hours each day which really helped us get into the zone, particularly as this was the first pro recording that some of the guys had been involved in.
Chris normally works with bands like Primordial and Napalm Death, so he immediately brought a heavier edge to the production side of things without losing the PQ melodic sentiment as well. He's a great guy full of cool ideas and I found it a real pleasure to work closely with him on this record.
The album was mixed by Nick Savio at Remaster Studio in . Nick also mixed the "Master of Illusion" album and we recorded a lot of that album with him as well. Again I worked very closely with Nick on the mix and I'm very pleased with the outcome.
4. Is there any certain sound, musical instrument, or writing style you would like to incorporate into the music of Power Quest that you have yet to try?
I try not to pre-plan these things too much. I've always felt that song writing should be a very natural process. The minute you start trying to bolt things on to the sound, that's when it starts to sound forced and contrived in my experience.
I have a method these days when it comes to new material. I don't demo ideas straight away, I always sleep on it so to speak. If I remember the idea clearly the following day then, chances are it is a good idea and worth pursuing. If I can't remember the idea, then it probably wasn't a good idea in the first place lol!
5. Not all of our readers may know but you were part of Dragonforce, formerly Dragonheart at the beginning. I dare say that the Dragonforce sound has run it's course. I mean you can only play like that on so many records. Did you see that sort of musical wall coming, and is that why you started Power Quest when you did?
Well, I started PQ very early on in the Dragonforce story so it wasn't really a case of seeing the musical wall coming to be fair. The guys have had a very successful 10 year career so far and I'm very pleased for them as well. Sam and Herman are great guys and good friends and I often bump into them at shows in . I think the last time was at a PQ show in London in May this year.
My reasons for leaving were quite simple really. I wanted to play material with more variety and to be able incorporate influences from AOR, Hard Rock, as well as metal and prog. I guess it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if I had stayed in the band :-) Having said that I've had 10 amazing years with PQ. OK, we haven't broken out of the underground and are still pretty unknown but I feel that we have paid our dues the old fashioned way. We have not had the luxury of big promotional campaigns and serious financial backing but as we all know....being popular doesn't make you good! lol!
6. Are you currently working with any other bands or musical projects?
To be honest, I just don't have the time. Everyone in PQ still works regular day jobs in some shape or form. I'm an IT consultant 9-5 Monday to Friday so it's very difficult to find the time for anything other than PQ. I've had a number of offers over the years but the trouble is I have to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. If I was 21 years old with no responsibilities then it would be a different story but at 39 I can't afford to go and do musical projects that would in effect put me in a risky financial position.
7. The summer is coming, can we expect to see Power Quest on tour?
We've already been quite active on the touring front this year. We played and a tour with Symphony X in March, then 4 UK headline shows in May and 4 European headline shows in June. Next week we have a show with Crimson Glory in London and then an appearance at the Bloodstock Open Air festival in August. 3 more UK shows are booked for November and we already have plans to return to in early 2012.
Again, the restrictions of our jobs mean we can probably only tour for 3 or 4 weeks in total every year. You have to consider that we don't get tour support so I finance everything. If we are opening for a bigger band then not only do we have to pay travel, accomodation and food but there will often be a buy on which could be anything from £200 to £700 per show. If I didn't have a good day job then there is no way we would be able to take up some of the opportunities.
8. Now with another great album under your belt, what is the next big goal for Power Quest?
I think from here, the aim for 2012 is to play more shows in Europe and hopefully some European festivals. We will also be writing the next record and hoping to top the "Blood Alliance" record which I think will be a challenge in itself :-) I am as passionate and dedicated to this band as I was back in 2001 and to be honest I never really expected to be here 10 years later with 5 albums under my belt. We may not have found fame and fortune but I have certainly exceeded what I thought we could achieve.
To have fans all over the world loving what you do is a very humbling thing and it makes me very proud. I hope that some day we can come to , , , etc to play for the people who have supported us so loyally over the years.
9. In closing, please leave our readers with any final thoughts or comments.
Firstly, thanks again for the chance to do this interview. It is very much appreciated!
I'd like to thank all you readers for taking the time to check this out. Hopefully you guys will check out PQ and you can do that at www.power-quest.co.uk or www.myspace.com/powerquest or look up Power Quest on Facebook as well. There are also lots of music and live clips on You Tube.
Thanks for all your support and remember........the Quest must go on!