Honestly I have a hard time understanding all these supergroups that constantly seem to pop up. EMPIRES OF EDEN is another one. To find out more why I had to interview the mind behind it, Stu Marshall. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
Today it seems that every month we get a new super group collaboration. What was it that made Empires Of Eden become a reality? How did you get somebody to agree releasing it?
-Empires of Eden started in the summer 2007, I had collected some material from the writing sessions in my last band “Dungeon” that never made those CD’s but I thought were strong. From there we are into album #3 now and things are going great. Getting a deal for this new album was very easy as the guest list is very large and the project is unique to other “supergroups”. All singers write their own lyrics and melodies unlike most other situation. Japan was the first country interested and we have a great deal for Japan.
I guess the logistics of a project like this are insurmountable. How long and how hard was it to get it all done?
-We were lucky to embrace the technology of today, now skype is excellent and it can be like writing in the same room with people. So I personally found it very easy to handle this aspect. We have 11 singers on this album who recorded at all different studios for vocals, again, this is fine because most studios have excellent “cutting edge” gear and that made the process much easier. Much of the work is for me with composing and recording all the music. I play all the guitars and bass. My studio in Sydney “Frontier Studio” is perfect for the larger scale productions now, I think this total process took 18 months.
When you have a project like this in mind how do you go about choosing the right people and more importantly how do you get them to agree doing it?
-In the choosing, it’s a process of me literally, going through my vinyl collection, asking “who I want to dream to write for?”. You know as metalhead could you ever think to work with UDO? It’s SO cool. So this desire is the same for me, I am a metal fan. This is how I find the names I wish to work with. Also Rob Rock I was a fan from Driver and Impelliteri, Steve Grimmett from his work in Onslaught, Mike Dimeo from his work in Riot and Masterplan was excellent. Getting them to agree is the business angle. Yes, there are fee’s and budgets but it’s important to me they really connect to the material and really feel an ownership of the songs. For some singers, they will not agree to do these projects unless they like the songs, lucky for me I am able to connect to their singing and create something, I as a fan, would want to hear.
How much of a factor has your past played in getting the people to agree doing this? UDO is like a German metal god. Did you know all the people before?
-I have never known UDO before this album and yes he is a metal god! My past perhaps has little involvement for these guys as I compose specially for each singer, so they are hearing something that was built especially for them, I think this plays the biggest role in their involvement. Some of the local singers here in Australia I have been friends with before and Steve Grimmett, Sean peck, Carlos Zema all sang on my last album.
When you have so many different voices do you have to write with them in mind or do they add their personalities to the finished songs?
-Definitely. It’s the exact way I write songs. I will think.. “Ok.. Zak Stevens” – I’m a huge fan, I love the Savatage material, so I will start to think about my own musical vision for him and start writing. It’s the same with Udo on the track “Hammer Down” as I was very influenced by Accept but I write with my own musical voice as well, so you can see a style developing here.
How rewarding is it to be able to get so many different persons contribute to an album? Do you sit in your studio assembling the album with a big grin on your face?
-Always. You know the success for me is when the album is finished. It’s an amazing feeling to know everyone has had a great time making the music, put their own emotion into the songs and that I am proud of the final product. The sales and things like that have no bearing on the music I make. I try to keep the art pure.
When you have so many different voices and so many different singing styles to consider how do you go about getting a cohesive album out of it?
-It’s not easy, and for some people who live in a “fast food music world” it possibly will confuse them. Metal fans want the experience, the journey not a 2 minute Madonna puke song. All of the songs are my writing, so you have a total composition from my style and feel. Sure, they variances are there in tones and style but that is what makes the product unique. Each singer does their own thing which is very unusual for this style of thing, especially when some people are hired for large money, the artist wants control.. I want to harness what makes each singer brilliant.
Where did the band name Empires Of Eden come from? What kind of concept is there behind it?
-The concept was built around the fact that mankind needs to wake up. I think most people walk around in a dream state of ignorance, fed by new media lies and government smoke and shadow. Metal people are generally highly intelligent, do not conform and will ask questions.
Now that the album is done what future do you see for Empires Of Eden? How do you take it from here?
-I am in talks now with my German management company for touring Empires of Eden for Europe. It could be so great and yes, similar to Avantasia in style live. Nine singers screaming onstage.. Sounds good? All of the singers have agreed to tour so now we just need a good promoter to make it all happen.
But next for me is back to the studio as I mix and master many bands.
Do you see another Empires Of Eden album in the future and what would that one be like?
-Yes, I can guarantee there will be. I have a larger guest list I would like to compose for so hopefully that can happen. To say what it would be like is very hard with no material composed yet, but I can assure you it will be continuing the spirit of art in the first instance. Please come and visit http://www.empiresofeden.com – we have limited presale signed UDO packs available and these are VERY limited.