Die Amerikaner FORESEEN schenkten uns im Jahre 1997 den melodisch-filigranen Meilenstein ´Prophet's Dream´. Vier Jahre später erschien noch ´Soulless Age´, doch bereits kurze Zeit danach war das Feuer erloschen. Nun ist die Band nach vielen Jahren der Stille mit einem neuen Album am Start (Review siehe hier).
Wie es zum Comeback der Band und dem Einstieg eines neuen Sängers kam, erfahrt Ihr aus unserem im originalen Wortlaut gehaltenen Interview, das wir mit der gesamten Band - Gavin Meagher (Gesang), Gary Humphrey (Gitarre), Joe Hammond (Bass) und Michael Lukers (Drums) - hielten.
Hi guys, I am really happy that FORESEEN is back! But your comeback offers some surprises. First, you have a new singer - how did that come?
Michael Lukers: Gavin was actually the singer we wanted in the beginning in 1993. We actually did one or two song demos with him for auditions back then. But he found himself having to move back to New Jersey until 2005. I found out he was living in Pensacola again and invited him over to the studio to lay down a couple of vocal tracks and it was incredible! Not only was he still a perfect fit, but he was an even better singer. Fate really.
Gary Humphrey: Yeah, he was the second singer we tried out, and he would have had he gig. His life was a little too full at that point, so he was forced to declined. Mike wanted back behind the kit. Gavin was the first person we thought of.
When did you find new motivation for FORESEEN?
Gary: Mike and I have played and performed in a few projects after we went on a sabbatical with Foreseen. With groups, things are constantly changing. Our bass player for Orphan Wells joined the Navy and put us at a cross roads. It just felt right to do this again. There were unwritten progressive ideas that we felt needed to be recorded, as well as a handful of songs that never made it on our previous albums that we feel needed to be released.
Gavin Meagher: The four of us playing music together in 2011 revealed a drive, quite fresh and promising, as if we'd started anew.
Joe Hammond: The motivation has always been there. Gary and Mike were in another band for a few years and asked me to fill in. After a few gigs, we were rehearsing and just started grooving. About a minute into it the other guitar player dropped out and within 4 minutes we had ´Thorns´ written. Changes, melodies, start to finish, minus lyrics. The other guitar player asked how the hell we did that, since we really hadn't written together for awhile and that's when it became obvious. Within a couple of weeks we had 8 of the 12 songs written.
Why does Michael no longer sing? Has his voice changed too much?
ML: I'm sure my voice has changed somewhat over the years, but I still do a lion's share of the backing vocals. I guess that's why we continue to have a similar vocal sound on the album. Gavin and I blend very well together. When Gary, Joe and I began talking about writing new Foreseen material, I just did not want to be the frontman anymore. I enjoyed what we had done previously and the shows we've played over the years, but my love and passion for everything drums is what excites me. Gary and Joe told me, the only way they would agree to this, is if I could find a singer that fit perfectly to replace me. Of course I already had Gavin in mind for this.
GH: Yeah, Mike finally hit puberty. His singing days were over. (LOL) Mike simply decided he wanted to play drums. That is all there is to that.
JH: Mike on drums was how Foreseen started. When he said he wanted to be back behind the kit, I was 100% on board! Of course, I have my bass player influences, but the bulk of my playing has been shaped around playing with Mike. About the only time Mike and I look at each other on stage is in reaction to something bad ass that just came from nowhere between us. He knows me and I know him. Mike did a great job as our singer, but now he is where his heart is and we have one of the best harmony singers anyone could ask for.
The new singer has given you a new sound. Did it influence your songwriting?
GH: Our process is a little different. We actually start the process, primarily, by coming up with riffs. When I write lyrics and melodies, I never have concerned myself with 'could Gavin or Mike pull this off.' They both can sing anything. They are vastly talented. As the group adds ideas to these riffs, it always turns into another creature from where it began. Gavin certainly creates a distinct flavor to the music that is uniquely his own.
JH: Gavin definitely has a darker voice. At this point it's hard to imagine a different voice with our stuff. This album is lot more dry & raw sounding. We tried to keep it very live in sound and feel.
Were you not afraid to lose some old fans?
ML: I don't think that question ever comes to mind when we write music. If you listen to the first two albums, you can hear how we constantly experiment and grow when creating. I think anyone who listens to Foreseen gets excited about the subtle differences in our songs. No matter what we release, it always sounds like ´Foreseen´.
GH: It never crossed my mind until now. Haha!!! As long as we write from the heart, we can always say, 'That is right where we were at that point in time.' Be honest with your music, and you will never regret your decisions. You will never have to second guess yourself. We always hope the fans will love it, and I think metal fans are truly intelligent. All they have to do is listen to it to know this is the next evolution of Foreseen.
How would you describe the differences compared to the old songs?
GH: The new album seems to have more edge and cut to it. It has a lot of attitude. It is a very driving album. It hits you in the face.
GM: For me it's a rather new experience, though from the outside it's still Foreseen - with perhaps a fresh musical message.
JH: I feel that we still have the same style for the most part. Maturity, experience and Gavin has bought a lot of new elements to our style. I do think the songs are focused on the driving sound. Changes are more seamless, a little less layering, etc. Alot has to do with growing as musicians and also I believe the recording process had lot to do with it. We really took our time and studied everything. If a tempo felt better two beats different, we changed it. We were extremely hypercritical of every element.
ML: Yeah, I really focused on the [production] as a change this time around. I wanted it to sound like Foreseen with a modern, driving, in-your-face type of mix compared to bands like Trivium, Gojira, etc. I want it to sound like you're in the room with us when you CRANK IT UP!
The production is set in stone - when can the fans expect a release?
ML: We are currently shopping for a label to release the album. We have completed the recordings, the album artwork and layout. We have been sending our package to a few labels and are waiting to hear the most productive choice with the goal of increasing our reach to as many fans of our music as possible all over the world. As well as opening up opportunities for Foreseen to perform at Festivals, especially in Europe where we believe people seem to understand and appreciate our music a bit more enthusiastically at the moment.
GH: Very, very soon. We are working on a new deal right now.
Did you have other projects in all the years?
ML: While on hiatus from Foreseen, Gary, myself and original Foreseen drummer Cary Derdevanis created another band called Orphan Wells. Our writing was more influenced by bands such as Korn and Papa Roach. We wrote and recorded approximately 30 songs and performed 300-400 shows until we resumed Foreseen. That band is currently on hold.
GH: We never stopped rocking. Mike, Cary, and I had a great time playing in Orphan Wells. It was more groove oriented music. Very heavy. I loved everything we did in that group. I am not going to lie, I missed the technical aspect of Foreseen. I am glad we are playing some real tasty licks again.
But music was always just the most wonderful thing in the world, right?
ML: Oh let me assure you, music is and will always be my passion and I will always continue creating.
GH: It largely defines who I am. It covers every range of emotion and universally connects with all of us in its own way.
GM: I'll go as far as saying music has saved my life.
JH: Is obsessed to strong of a word!?
What did happen after the second FORESEEN-album?
ML: We performed quite a lot after the release of ´Soulless Age´ and were included on a few compilations. We also recorded one of our favourite bands, Queensryche's ´Last Time In Paris´ for a tribute album. You can find that free download on our reverbnation site. We recently had the pleasure of supporting them live!
GH: Joe left to go to Nebraska. Cary, Mike, and I looked for a new bassist for Foreseen. We found Justin Williams, and our songwriting was taking a much different path than what we had done to date. It needed to be it's own thing, and Orphan Wells was formed.
When and why did the band dissolve?
ML: We never dissolved. We just decided to pause and do some other side projects for a little while, around 2003. We have always been and continue to be Foreseen.
GH: We went on hiatus for a few years, that's all. Foreseen was always in us, and we never said Foreseen was over, but to be continued at a later date.
JH: We just felt the need to do a few other things, but I can promise we won't let little things like that get in the way again.
Do you consider it a mistake now?
ML: We decided the best decision at the time was to try something else and get members to complete those side projects. They were also musically fulfilling, but Foreseen is our first love and I am very proud of it.
GH: Not at all. You can 'What if?' yourself to death. I loved playing in Orphan Wells and made memories I will have my whole life. The most important thing to realize is that our decisions have brought us to where we are now. This album is special.
JH: It was all part of our story that brought us here.
In the last decades you could see many bands becoming popular. Would you prefer to swap with some of them retrospectively?
ML: You know, when we discuss things like this, I always find myself thinking of how Thomas started Kamelot around the same time we started Foreseen and what he has accomplished. He never compromised and has really worked hard making contacts that benefit his band and has never settled for anything less than what he needed to continue his dream. I do wish circumstances for Foreseen had gone in a similar fashion, but we are working diligently to accomplish great things with Foreseen and our newest self-titled album.
The business has changed massively in recent years. How do you perceive the upheaval?
ML: It's a very do-it-yourself kind of business now, in some ways because of the internet making the world seem alot smaller. Bringing fans of Metal closer!
GH: Metal is back. Bands are playing their instruments again. I am pretty excited. I greatly look forward to the possibilities. This band is ready to make a statement.
GM: Like trying to explain a new color not yet seen.
How do you deal with it as a musician?
GH: Music is a living thing. It constantly changes. I also feel that you can never stop learning. There are so many cool elements to things that are not even in your genre. You can stay true to yourself and still evolve. How many albums have you purchased and said, 'That sounds like the last one'? As a musician and song writer, I try to avoid being stagnant. Always be open to that different brush stroke that you can offer your sound. Having said that, do not hold yourself back for the sake of holding yourself back. Always let it rip. How do I deal with the upheaval? Keep writing metal, but always have an open ear.
GM: Being 'myself' musically, a positive attitude and nothing counterfeit or dishonest.
How have the times changed you personally?
ML: I continue to strive to be a musically technical and visually entertaining drummer and I find myself overly driven to accomplish recognition and success for Foreseen.
GH: I feel like I really understand more fully who I am as a guitarist and what I would like to achieve. Experience is a wonderful teacher. I have been so fortunate to move into projects that have had their own success but still come back and write a special album with the band and format that started it all for me. We are very focused. I know what I am and am embracing it fully. I am an aggressive, metal guitarist.
GM: I've simply 'lived a little' and can appreciate what life expects of me compared to when I was 22-23 years old.
JH: Time for growth and a lot of re-evaluating. I did a lot of work on extending my bass style. One thing about growing as a bass player after two albums is that you become more self evolving. I switched from 4 string to 6 string and it really changed my whole approach. I truly see my instrument from a different vantage point. Not just physically, but also writing.
What were your musical idols and which have remained idols to this day?
ML: My vocal inspirations have always been: Michael Sweet, Midnight, Mark Boals, Ville Valo, etc. My drum inspirations have been: Robert Sweet, Tommy Lee, Mikkey Dee, Morgan Rose, Johan Langell, Snowy Shaw, Shannon Larkin, Mark Zonder, Mika Karppinen. These have all remained to this day.
GH: I have always loved Steve Vai and Jake E. Lee as guitarists. They did it for me. I still love them. As far as bending a note, Neal Schon is an icon. Not many people realize his early work was mainly instrumental. He is an extreme talent.
GM: In the beginning, Robert Plant and Ian Gillan were (and still are) vocal influences for me reflecting powerful blues from the heart. Later the stylings and emotional depth of Bruce Dickinson, Layne Staley, and Messiah Marcolin proved vocal expressions could be taken farther.
JH: Influences are easy. Steve Harris, Geezer Butler, John Entwistle, and Rudy Sarzo. I was fortunate enough to see Maiden in '83 with Quiet Riot opening. Talk about getting blown away and star struck. Two bands with the most incredible front men (and I'm not talking about the singers). I've always been influenced by those bass players ability to use melody and the high register while keeping the foundation of the song intact. And where would I be with out Gary, Mike and Gavin, my biggest influences?
What are your goals for 2016?
ML: To expand Foreseen's reach globally!
GH: This is our year. We have a lot of interest in the new album and are ready to back it up. It is a very exciting time for us. We have played some great shows and would even like to get over to Europe. It goes with out saying, I am ready to start writing the next Foreseen album as well. I play hockey, and there is a saying all coaches have, 'Keep your feet moving'. This is my main goal this year. I want to keep pushing us in he right and positive direction. I want to be heard.
JH: For people to be expecting yet another new release from Foreseen in 2017!
ML: Yeah, what Joe said, we already have plans for the next album!
Some last words?
ML: METAL...Turn it up 'til it feeds back!
JH: ...and then turn it up louder!
GH: Always keep writing. Do not be afraid to be yourself as a musician. This will make you unique. Oh yeah, and always put a searing guitar solo in every song. After all, this is metal!! Ha!! Tear it up!!
Von: Michael Haifl