How are you?
I'm great. How are you?
I'm fantastic. How's the tour been so far?
It's been really nice. We've had some great gigs. The band's sounding really good. Playing London is always one of our best gigs of the tours. We do some more shows in the UK and then we go back to Europe and do some more shows there.
Do you get on well with the other bands Beardfish and Sound of Contact?
We're all on the same bus and there could be all kinds of things that could go wrong. It's a double decker with eighteen bunks on the top. One bad apple could spoil the whole thing but there isn't any. Everyone's really cool. It's a great line up today. It's a great trio of bands, very complimentary.
How have fans and critics reacted to your new album 'Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep'?
They're responding surprisingly well, not that we expected them to hate it. It's usually kind of a mix. Usually there are always some people who just aren't into it but I haven't heard anything negative yet. It's scary. It's like "What's going on here? How can everybody like it?" If everyone likes it then where's our damn money [laughs]?! It's really well received and it's going over really well live too. So we'll see what the future holds.
How does it compare to previous Spock's Beard albums?
It's different but they've all been different. I've been asked this question before and I really struggle to answer it. After the interview, I thought about it for a while and I kind of came up with this album is more of what I would consider musical theatre. Our previous material has been a little more symphonic, a little more maybe more positive-sounding.
What does the title actually mean?
It's a random phrase from a book that Al [Alan Morse] read. He was reading a book. I think it was a pretty dry book on the history of civilisation and the tribal effects of that and how tribes have devolved through history, and he got that phrase out of one sentence from that book. He read it and thought that might be good for something someday. He suggested it and we actually wanted to have a nice sounding title. Our last one was 'X'. I mean, how creative. Before that, we had 'Spock's Beard'. We can't even think of a real title. So we liked the sound of that but it doesn't have anything to do with anything. It just sounds nice.
Obviously this is the first recorded album with Ted Leonard and Jimmy Keegan. Did they contribute a lot to the writing of it?
Yeah, Ted contributed a lot. He wrote two songs on his own and wrote lyrics to a third one. He wrote 'Hiding Out' and 'Submerged' and he wrote the lyrics to 'Afterthoughts'. He was one of the major writers on the record. Jimmy contributed a lot as well. He wrote the drums and also he was very involved in the background vocals. He had some really cool ideas for background harmonies.
Of course, Neal Morse co-wrote a couple of tracks again. Is this something that's going to be permanent?
We never planned [this]. It would be really cool if he did. The reason he was involved was that Al had a couple of ideas and it turned out really good. We just happened to do it. It's still open totally. They're great songs and they're received well. It would be great if we could do that again.
Was it strange having two new guys in the writing process or did they fit right in?
They fit in well with what we normally do. We've been playing with Jimmy for ten years now and so he knows us, we know him. He just got to do an extra thing. He did just a great job and it was seamless. There was no adjustment period. We didn't think there would be because we know each other pretty well. We used to be in a cover band together. We're in a band called Rolling Heads in northern California. We do weddings and stuff.
What do you cover?
My favourite is Kesha [laughs]. And Usher and Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and we do some classic rock, country, whatever they want. In that band is where I really got to see what a guitar player he is. Enchant don't really let him play guitar much in that band. In a cover band, he plays all these different styles and if he can do that, fitting into Spock's Beard would be a piece of cake.
This is album number eleven now. I was wondering if having two new guys injected some inspiration into the band.
Yeah, the writing obviously. They've got a different style and sound but still cohesive with what we did anyway. It's a really good sounding version of the band. The record company is really behind us way more than ever. The first time in my life I kind of felt this much support from a label in anything I've ever done. They're excited about it and that's what you want.
This album was funded by the fans like 'X'.
We resigned with Inside Out and we'd taken a whole break from them. We resigned with Inside Out because they have a really good partnership now with a couple other labels, especially in the States. We're looking to expand in the States. Basically, the days of a large recording advance are over. We spent quite a bit of money recording out CDs. We won't get enough to cover that in a recording advance. We get about a little bit more than a third of what we need so we had to go on crowd funding in order to raise the money. When we did it for the first time, we had just finished our contract with Inside Out. We were recording album nine and we had so much red tape with waiting and things like that. We decided to just let that go. We recorded the next album independently and signed with Mascot Records.
What happened to your partnership with Mascot Records?
They were great. Everything was perfect but Inside Out was kind of like going home. Tom is the president of that company and he's a really good friend of mine. They've partnered with EMI and Century Media and it seemed like a good thing to do. When we were leaving Mascot, they asked why and we said: "No reason, really." They [Inside Out] are doing what we were hoping them to do, which was get behind it and we shot a music video. They're doing a lot of social media in a different way to record label promotion.
You said earlier that you wanted to expand more in America so hopefully you'll make an impact on the scene there.
There is progressive rock in the States but it's all distributed out so widely. The whole thing is kind of there but we can't really tap into it much. We need to get our album sales up and when the album sales go up, the tours go wider. To do shows [in the States] is really expensive. You've got to fly between shows so we make money from shows but we have to spend more than that. We're really good at that, experts at spending more! Nothing but the best for our fans.
What does the future hold after this tour for Spock's Beard?
Go home and recover then probably start working on another CD. We don't want to go three years like we did this time. Maybe next year. It depends; we might be tired of ideas. It might be three years again. We're going to see what this tour does. We've never really had a plan.
That's the end of my interview. Do you have any final words?
Come to the shows, come out and see us. We appreciate all the support.
Thanks for the interview.