POWER QUEST (English Version - 2017) - Steve Williams (Keyboard)

Hello Steve. I’m glad to get the opportunity to make this interview with yourself. The fourth one together. Time’s flying and I’m happy that the band made its come back.

Hey Lionel! Great to be talking with you once again my friend. It is certainly good to be back mate :-)

There are a lot of things to talk about. So here we go.
Earlier this year, the band official’s come back was made with the ‘Face The Raven’ EP, where we were able to discover (well almost) the new line-up, with Ashley Edison on vocals.
The feedbacks were great. Did you expect that?

Yeah we actually released the EP in September last year. I wanted to have some new songs to play for the return of the band but didn’t want to rush a whole album, you know? So an EP made sense. 2 new songs and a reworking of the title track of the last album so the fans could hear Ash singing an old song too.

I wanted to have some new stuff ready for the comeback shows in London and it was great to see that the new songs went over so well with the fans. It was quite an incredible night in London last September. We had fans travel from Japan, USA and all over Europe to be there with us.
I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. When you have been away for a few years it is difficult to tell what the reaction might be but it has honestly been amazing.

On and on, you made a crowdfunding to release the new and sixth album of the band. Then you signed with Inner Wound Recordings. Can you tell us about this choice ?

Well, the crowdfunding was to help with the costs of the project. Inner Wound have been amazing with this album as well. I would go as far as to say it has been the perfect working relationship.
I started talking with Emil at Inner Wound late last year and he was very excited about working with PQ. I had also touched base with a few other labels too but the most important thing for me was finding someone who was really keen and enthusiastic. I actually flew to Gothenburg in January to meet Emil in person before signing the agreement. Turns out we are very similar people as well which just sealed the deal really.

Since then, the band is playing live a lot, touring Japan etc. Not to speak about the two big shows you made at Sabaton Open Air, celebrating « Wings Of Forever » 15th anniversary… and you also made a special show with heaps of guests at the Progpower USA earlier this month. Seems that 2017 sounds to be THE year for Power Quest !

It’s amazing really. After working so hard for so many years and not really getting many opportunities or chances, suddenly this year…BOOM! Everything comes at once. Sabaton Open Air was an incredible experience and especially as we played the Wings of Forever album from start to finish. A one/off show never to be repeated! It was awesome to play for such a great crowd and to be part of such a well organised festival. At one point when we were playing I had Bill Hudson and Tommy Johannson stood quite near me.

Japan was a dream come true for me. I’ve wanted to play there for as long as I can remember so to finally get the opportunity to go there with Freedom Call and Twilight Force was so cool. The fans were so nice and friendly. I’ve never been mobbed quite so much before for photos and signatures but I loved every moment. We even got to ride on the Bullet Train from Tokyo to Osaka as well. Yama and all the guys at ACK did an amazing job.
PPUSA in Atlanta was memorable as well. We opened the whole festival and it went great. Just as in Japan, merchandise sold out really quickly and people were so kind with their words after the show. Some even said that we ruined the festival because we were too good hahaha! We had Alessio Garavello (original PQ singer) and Matt Smith (Theocracy) guesting on vocals during the set.

Talking about touring, you’re going to share the stage in the U.K with your old fellas from Dragonforce. That’s sounds so good ! Will you made some special appearances during both sets ? Spoiling alert ahah.

Of course, the DF tour is next up for us. Some old friends there, although only Sam and Herman remain from my time with those guys almost 20 years ago now. I think the fans have wanted to see this tour for a long time so hopefully we will make some people happy. I’m not sure if there will be any special appearances or anything like that. Let’s see what happens :-) 11 shows should be good fun though
After that we have 4 headline UK shows at the end of October which will be our last shows for 2017.

Alrite, now it’s time to talk about your new album « Sixth Dimension ».
Its a kinda back to the roots. The artwork, the production (made by Alessio Garavello) and even the writings. How long did you work on that album ?

Yeah there was a slight intention of returning to the roots to a certain extent and capturing the Neverworld/Magic Never Dies vibe a little bit. Song writing I probably spent 6 months on that side of things if I remember right and this time actually composed 3 songs on guitar rather than keys. These being Face the Raven, Starlight City and Revolution Fighters.
In the studio we spent 4 weeks tracking and then 10 days for mixing and a week for mastering. It was really cool working with Alessio in a different way. He is an amazing engineer and producer. What producer would know the PQ sound better than him? I think we already know where we will record the next album hahaha!

Art was done once again by my friend Felipe Machado Franco and is based on a concept or idea that I had developed. Felipe really helped to bring that to life :-)

You choose « Kings And Glory » as the first single. Really in the vein of what you already made, but with that happy side added. Feels like you found the fountain of youth.

I wanted a positive, uplifting track to be the first single so that people would really recognise that it’s Power Quest and could not get confused with any other band. That song would have worked well on Magic Never Dies or Neverworld I believe. We played it live in Japan for the first time and were amazed to see that people already knew the words after only a few days of listening to the song.

Fountain of youth? Well if I have I should jump in at as I’ll be 46 very soon lol! I just felt so inspired during the writing and recording sessions and I genuinely feel that it’s the most consistent PQ record that we have ever done

In an other hand we can find guests on the album too, like Andrea Martongelli who’s an old band mate, and on the title track we have Anette Olzon singing briefly. So, we can imagine the reason why you choose Andrea, but why Anette, and not an other Lady ?

When I was writing the title track with Richard West (Threshold) we got to the point where we knew we needed a female voice and Richard asked me if I had any ideas. First person I thought of was Anette as I’m a big fan of her voice and she has quite an emotional side to her vocals and a slight pop sensibility as well. So I contacted her and she was up for it as soon as she heard our demo.

Always a pleasure to work with Andrea and I was delighted that he could find the time to lay down a solo for Revolution Fighters. He’s a monster player and an incredible person that I’m proud to call my friend.

I should also mention Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call) who plays a solo on “Coming Home”. He’s another great guy who i’ve met many times on the road and we have become great friends. I love his contribution to this song as well.

Talking about it, there’s this song, starting slowly and nicely with suddenly explodes: « Revolution Fighters », where Ashley sounds a little bit like Timo Kotipelto in the beginning. One of my favorite song of the album.

It was a thrill for me to play acoustic guitar on this song. First time for me playing guitar on a PQ record since Wings of Forever. Really pleased how this song turned out as it was one of the ones I composed on guitar. I think Ash is outstanding on this track. One of the best performances I’ve heard from any singer in a long time. I think this may become a live favourite in the future as well.

So, time for the last question: during your crowdfunding, some we able to appear as choirs on the album. How was the experience so far ?

It was cool to have some guys come down to the studio and be a part of the record. We also had a couple of people record at their home studios and then sent us the stuff afterwards. It was something different and another way in which our amazing fans have helped us in making this new record and also making it something special for those who helped to fund it.

Here we are, thank you for your time, and I do hope to see the band playing in France soon. Feel free to leave some words for our readers. Best

Thanks as always for the support Lionel. It is very much appreciated. It has been 10 years now since PQ played in France and I think it is about time we came back for some shows. I’d like to thank all our fans in France for keeping the flame burning and keeping the faith with us even in the darkest times. Out of the darkness and into the light, right?
Critique : Lionel
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