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Interview mit Steve Hackett

Just before the band took the stage in Aschaffenburg, GER, on November 03, 2009, we had the opportunity to talk with Steve about his current album, upcoming musical projects and his private worries.

it: Your new album Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth is finally available now. What was the reason for the postponed release?

Steve: The reason was that there was an application to the court to injunct it. I was not able to release that record or to play on anybody else’s record either and although I had funded the album there was a contest for its rights. But I'm very pleased to say that a court decision has now enabled me to be back in the record business and my initial release on Wolfwork Records is Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. So, although some fans may think that Camino Records is my label, in reality of course it isn't. I do not have the rights currently to my past recording catalogue. Future court dates I hope will eventually make it easier for fans to buy those records. We have to wait and see. I’ve been fighting for my right to have a career which is independent from my ex-wife Kim Poor and my ex-manager Billy Budis. Now that I've won the court case regarding my current album release it makes things easier but there are still other issues to resolve. Apart from dealing with legal issues, I'm pleased to be doing what I love, which is playing live and recording. We've done this one record and I hope there will be more in the pipeline. I'm very pleased with Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. I'm pleased that we managed to get it done. It's been a very hard fight to make it work ... recording at home instead of the studio because of the difficulties with my ex-partners. As far as I'm concerned autonomy in the work place is everything. Music is the most important thing for me.

it: Coming back to the the new album ... your voice sounds slightly more natural on the new record. Did this happen by chance or was it a decision you made?

Steve: I think every time you make a record you make a choice about what kind of effect you use for the voice. I think every record you hear with anybody there's some kind of effect on the voice, usually some kind of compression and equalization. Everybody does that. On the opening track Fire On the Moon the sound is made deliberately small in a way so that the chorus sounds big. The sound on the chorus has a number of voices singing although the chorus has no words. I use a lot of reverb on the voice - some people think I use too much. And I use a lot of harmonies. But I like the way the voice sounds on this record. I have to listen to it as if it's someone else. I can't listen to my own voice and distance myself from it. I have a limited vocal range ... it has its limitations, but unlimited imagination with how to use it. So, I think you have to develop character at the expense of technique unless you are Pavarotti or somebody who is blessed and gifted with a certain tremendous voice like Richie Havens. I think my career would have developed differently if I have been that kind of singer. I probably would have relied on the guitar and arrangements less. But for me it's about the whole.

it: There are rumours about a special edition version of Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth. What about that?

Steve: Yes, originally we are going to do a deal, but then there was the problem. Now we have to re-negotiate. I’m hoping there will be something released via the shops in 2010.

it: What will be on this special edition?

Steve: There will probably be some live tracks and an extra recording or two.

it: So, you recorded more than eight tracks for this album?

Steve: Well, actually no. We recorded eight tracks for the album. I recorded other stuff for an album which was not finished and is awaiting a legal resolution because of the situation with my ex-partners. I also have some work with Chris Squire, but that is for a separate project. I stopped working in the studio because I didn't want interference there. Now I'm working with a new team where everybody works cooperatively together and there's mutual respect. It makes a big difference. There has to be respect between people for me. I am re-building my life, I’m more productive now and I like playing live ... home is on the road.

it: What are your plans for the near future?

Steve: I'm trying to finish something with Chris but I want to tour America as well. So, my plan is to do as much touring as possible, continue recording, win a few court cases ... and then take a holiday perhaps.

Interview, photos and transcription by Helmut Janisch