Artist:  Power Quest  

Date: 8 April 2012   

We catch up with long time favourites Power Quest after their storming performance at this years PPM Fest 2012, Mons, to find out how they felt today's set went and what's next for the band. 

MM -  How are you feeling after today's performance?
Colin -
Really great actually, right now I'm on a high.  I've never played a show this massive before.  I know the guys have, but this was my first time, so I'm kind of still coming down from the high.  The audience was awesome and we got a really good response from them.  I think they really got what Power Quest are all about straight away.  We just went out there and gave it everything and they responded by giving us such a great response.  

Steve - I'm going to reverse your question, because I know you guys have seen us perform many times before over the years, I'm interested in hearing what you guys thought of the show. 
MM - I thought it was brilliant, to be honest I thought it was Power Quest's finest hour, well 45 minutes at least. (laughs).

Rich - Wow that's great to hear.  This is such a nice venue, it's a great place and they have really great staff too.  The whole thing is just amazing.  People need to come out and keep supporting this festival every year.  You can travel from the UK for minimum pounds and this is one of the best festivals going, so let's keep it alive.  

Steve - What we don't want to see with festivals like this is what happened with Prog Power UK.  It ran for two to three years then the money just wasn't there any more to support it.  It's very interesting talking to the crew and the stage managers here, because they all work for nothing.  Nobody's getting paid.  Everybody's heart's really into making this something special and to be honest, it's already something special, but I think they can really lift that up and take it to the next level.  

Rich - I've seen a totally different side to things with this festival to that of the UK scene, because over in the UK the promoters and festivals don't really know how to treat people properly.  Over here they really look after you.  They feed you, they put you up in hotels, they even pick you up from the hotel and bring you here.  There's none of that in the UK.  In the UK they think they are doing you a favour by letting you play at their festival.  In the UK you wouldn't even get a glass of beer off them, you get nothing.

MM - Well when you think of the cost of the tickets and for that you're getting 32 bands spread over 3 days, you can't complain can you.
Steve - I can't ram home just how impressed we've been by all this.  Obviously I've performed in Europe many times before, but Rich has really hit the nail on the head.  When we come over here, we don't expect to be treated like kings, not at all, but these people have treat us like kings and that makes us want to come back and play again and again.  A similar thing happened a few weeks ago when we were on tour with Freedom Call.  We were looked after from the first minute we arrived till the minute we got in the van to drive home.  

Colin - I got a bit of a shock when we went backstage and saw all the food laid out.  I was afraid to touch it as I couldn't believe it was for us.  I thought it must have been for the headline act, but they said to us, to eat whatever we wanted.  I couldn't believe it, not only that but you got a dinner on top of it! (laughs).  We were all pretty amazed by that.  It was like that everywhere we went, even in the smaller places where they obviously didn't have very much money, but they still made a big effort to give us plenty to eat and to make us feel welcome.

MM - I think that has a lot to do with the promoters this side of the water, with a lot of English promoters it seems to be all about the money.  The bands come second and the money always seems to come first.  A lot of promoters don't seem to promote the shows properly in the UK either.  When we first arrived in Mons and went for a walk around the town, you simply couldn't move around the town without seeing posters promoting the festival.  Everywhere had a poster up, even the little newsagents.  Quite often when you go to a gig in the UK you can't find a poster up anywhere, including quite often the venue itself! 
Rich -
Yes a lot of promoters in the UK only advertise on Facebook, which 9 times out of 10 people just ignore.  You're right though, we saw posters up everywhere and it was great to see so many happy people in the crowd.  

Colin - Yes it was great to see all the happy smiley faces out there looking back at us.  

Steve - Well we're not about ... "GGRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr" ... that kind of metal, we're about giving people a good time while having a good time ourselves.  We want everybody, band and audience, to have a great time at our shows. We want to see lots of happy smiley faces when we play.  We don't want to be anything else.  

I had a conversation with Chris Bay from Freedom Call a couple of weeks back, about this very thing.  He said we're like two peas in the same pod as I've got exactly the same impressions and ideas and thoughts about these things.  

People say we're happy metal and all that, but we do have our moments when we're not happy.  I think we get across the point sometimes when we're not happy, but there's no reason why you can't have an up-beat vibe while you're doing that.  

At the end of the day no matter what else, it's entertainment.  It should be something that people walk away from afterwards and say they got a real kick out of that.  Hopefully that's what we did today.

Rich - It was great to finally meet some of our overseas fans in person for the first time today.  The guy with the Power Quest tattoo (Kristoffer Thorsheim), that was amazing.  How many people people do you see walking around with Power Quest tattooed down their arm?

Steve - Not only that but it had a really intricate design all around it and then underneath it had ... "Be aware, don't be scared, we will survive" ... It was a really intricate and beautiful design.

Rich - Yeh, total respect to Kris for having that done.  

Steve - Well I can't wait to see his next tattoo.  Unbelievably, his next tattoo is going to be me!  

MM - Wow!  With or without the beard?
Steve -
I don't know! I'd imagine it would be less painful if it's without the beard so go for that! (laughs).

MM - Following on from the Freedom Call tour, do you think you might go out on tour with the band again?
Steve -
I thought it was the perfect package to be honest in a lot of ways.  I've been friends with the guy who put this all together for a number of years and as always with these things, I dropped him a courtesy email afterwards saying thank you very much.  He came back and said the Freedom Call guys thought we were awesome and just the right band to open for them.  I would definitely like to think at some point in the future we'd go back out on tour with those guys.  If they offered us the opportunity again, we'd definitely be up for it. 

Rich - Those last five shows were absolutely amazing.  It's really brought a spark back into us as well.  A previous UK thing did not necessarily work out how we'd hoped ... a certain show at the beginning of the year. (Rich is referring to the now infamous Artic Festival in London which was badly promoted and poorly attended).  

MM - Going back slightly before that festival we had the show at the Snooty Fox in Wakefield.  Colin, I know that was your very first show with the band, the response to the band that night was absolutely phenomenal.  There was so much energy from everyone.
Steve -
We all had such a great time at that show and got severely trollied after the show.  We were a mess by the time we got back to Derby at 6 am the next morning! (laughs)  

Colin - I don't drink so I was the one propping them all up! (laughs)It was a long night but it was a great night and it was really great just hanging out at the Snooty Fox and talking to everyone after the show.  It was great to talk to the other bands there and to the guy who owns the place.  We really like the vibe there.  

It was my first show with the band and I was really blown away by the audience.  They were singing as loud as me and it was going through my mind that I mustn't forget the words, especially to songs like 'Neverworld', because the crowd were going absolutely crazy for it.  I knew the crowd knew all the words and I knew that if I missed a word everyone would know straight away.  I had to make sure I was completely on the ball.  

MM - You have a video of that night, have you decided what you're going to do with it yet?
Steve -
Yes, nothing.  The footage we got from Germany paled that into the ground.  As we said before it was a great gig and we really enjoyed the night, but the venue was just too small for us to consider using the video for anything professional.  For me and the rest of the guys it was a useful tool to analyze the show, but beyond that, I won't be releasing it.  It's one for the archives.

MM - So you videoed a concert / concerts while you were on tour with Freedom Call then?
Steve -
No, what happened was a guy that was at the Bochem show, which was the last show we did, videoed three or four songs and they came out brilliantly.  You could tell that these guys knew what they were doing.  The typical problem for me is that most people don't know how to deal with keyboards, and if you don't know how to deal with keyboards then you don't know how to deal with the band.  But we'd been watching some of these clips and everything was crystal clear.  We'd been putting tons of work into our backing vocals and you could hear that.  My voice also seems to have a bit of an affinity with yours (Rich's).  

Rich - The light show and everything was just captured perfectly.  It was all just really, really good. 

Steve - In a way I wish that last show had been the only show that had been filmed, but as I say to these guys and to anyone who will listen really, you're only ever as good as your last show.  The intention being that your next show will be even better.  That's what we came here to try and do.  We wanted to top what we'd done three or four weeks ago.  The response to today's show was really good, so now I think we'll sit back and have a drink and reflect on how we felt it went.  

MM - Do you think you might use that footage as bonus material on an album?
Steve -
Possibly.  At the minute I'm not actually thinking beyond writing some new material, which is pretty much what we're doing at the moment.  Colin's got some ideas he wants to run by me in the not too distant future and me, Rich and Andy need to sit down and put some flesh on the bones of a few bits and pieces I have kicking around.  Generally we need to decide where we're going to go in a lot of different ways.  

When you look at the PQ back catalogue you have 'Wings', 'Neverworld' and 'Magic', which all kind of fit together as a unit in a lot of ways.  Then you have 'Master of Illusions' which was quite a curve-ball for a lot of people.  It had a more modern production.  Then 'Blood Alliance' was a slight tangent again, with a different vocal style and the twin guitar thing.  It was a completely different line-up and a completely different sound.  We now have to decide do we come back to where we were before and continue with a more updated version of that, or do we just continue on from where we left off with 'Blood Alliance'.  At the moment we're just writing songs and seeing what comes out, what feels natural to us.  

Colin - There's a lot of different personalities in the band now as well.  I think when 'Blood Alliance' was written, there was still a bit of flux with the line-up, so maybe everyone didn't have that much of an input on the songs.  

Steve - Yes I think most of that album was written before most of the guys were in the band properly.  Although they were in for the pre-production process.  We have developed a slightly different way of working in the last couple of years.  It's much more organic and natural.  The emphasis is there to give everybody more ownership of things.  I encourage everyone to put forward their ideas and if I don't like it, I'll tell them, but if the other guys like it then we'll discuss it.  It's not a dictatorship and I fully encourage everyone to come up with ideas, even if it's just a line or a lyric here and a melody line there.  

MM - You recently asked the fans if there were any of the older songs they'd like you to re-record with Colin singing the vocals on.  What was the thought behind that? 
Steve -
Well we were considering recording a couple of tracks from the last album 'Blood Alliance' with Colin singing on them.  That got a lot of response and a lot of interest from the fans and as you'd expect, pretty much every song on that album got a mention! (laughs)  There's a couple that we've discussed that we're keen on doing and we've also been talking about recording a brand new song at some point as a way of testing the water.  A bit like a demo to see how people react to it.  

Rich - Potentially we could have three albums out in the near future because there's so much material we've got ideas on. 

MM - Last time we spoke you mentioned you were investigating the different avenues available to the band, to release the next album through.  How are these progressing? 
Steve -
I don't think we've come to a definitive result as yet.  We've certainly investigated a lot of the different avenues that are available.  One of the things Rich was eluding to before is whether we go down the route where we put something out that's a limited edition and target the fans rather than try to bring in newcomers.  It would be a case of asking the fans if this was something they would be interested in and if it was, we'd ask them to pre-order it.  For example, if it was a "Best of" release, featuring songs taken from the first three albums but with Colin singing, we'd put it out and ask the fans what songs they wanted including.  We'd name all the songs from each record and then put up a poll and let the fans decide which ones they wanted, so people could see we weren't cheating and just doing the songs we wanted to do.  We'd put it out there and offer them the best of that era, with Colin singing them.  

It would be a limited edition release for the fans and then we'd also offer some additional incentive such as producer credits or a ticket for life to the shows.  I think it's a great idea.  I'm not saying if you have a thousand investors you give away a thousand tickets for life, as you'd never sell any tickets to any shows again.  But if you perhaps offered something like the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and offered maybe five of these tickets for life, that would work.  These are all ideas we're considering at the moment.  We're just looking for something unique to offer the fans.

The reason we're considering doing the "best of" from the first three albums is that we own the rights to those, as well as it being quite a long time ago since they were released.  Not only that, but it would be bringing in what Colin and all the rest of the guys have to offer to those songs. 

Rich - I've been a Power Quest fan for years and just the thought of being able to do something like that with the old songs really excites me.

MM - Even now when you hear the band perform the older songs in the shows, the songs sound different.  Each member of the band has put their own stamp on the songs and in particular when you hear the twin guitars of Andy and Gav, it's just amazing.  I really don't think those two guys realise just how good they are and on stage seeing the way they interact with each other is a real joy to watch. 
Rich -
I think we've got two of the best guitarists in the country, without a doubt.  Both have different styles but they really work well together.  

Steve - I also think that one of the most amazing things is that both on and off stage they are inseparable.  They go everywhere together, they do everything together, it's really great to see.

Colin - When we were out touring in Europe someone actually described Gav as "Sunshine Boy" because he's always smiling.  People definitely responded well to seeing him coming on stage each night and smiling the whole time he was playing.  They liked that individual's character they saw before them.  

MM - I thought it was great to hear so many people chanting "Power Quest!, Power Quest!" at the end of your set today and wanting to hear you play more.  You're the first non-headliner we've heard people do that to this weekend. 
Steve -
I think that there seems to be this thing these days where bands simply say "thank you very much" when they're finished their set and they just walk off stage.  I prefer to get everyone involved, like we did today, getting everyone involved in the photo.  I prefer to really pay attention to the people in the crowd, not just the ones at the front but also the ones right at the back and point them out.  It's always a real thrill to hear the band's name being chanted after we've done a set though.  

Rich - This has definitely been the best festival we've done to date.  

MM - I thoroughly enjoyed your set today and have always thought that up on a big stage is always where Power Quest belong.  I think Colin quite enjoyed it as well!  (laughs).
Colin - Yeh I really did.  Did you see that guy crowd surfing!?! 
MM - Yes
, there were quite a few people crowd surfing during your set.  I have to say, I think that's the first time we've ever seen people crowd-surfing at one of your gigs. 
Steve -
Yes, I think we even had a very small circle pit at the beginning of the set at one of our other European shows.  

MM - Merchandise, have you decided which direction you'll go with that in future?
Steve -
We're looking at doing it a different way in future.  We're going to do a licensing deal with a merchandising company, as they'll be the ones that have to manufacture it all.  We'll come up with the designs and there will be no limit as to how many of each item we have to offer.  We're going to go through someone who already covers all the main festivals as it will help us to get our shirts in the shop window at these festivals, even if we're not actually playing them.  We also need to come up with different designs, really cool but simple and cheap things people can afford.  People are talking about the old school things coming back, things like patches for instance.  

MM - What's next for Power Quest?
Steve -
Really it's writing the new songs and perhaps a little tour in the Autumn.  Don't expect to see us out too much after this weekend until maybe around September time.  Obviously if something really exciting comes up before then we'd do it, but at the moment we haven't got much penciled into the calendar and want to get stuck into the writing.  That's really the next few months for us as far as we're concerned.  Hopefully our appearance at this festival may open other doors for us, who knows.  

MM - Well thanks again guys for taking the time out to chat with us today and we look forward to seeing you all again in the Autumn.
PQ -
Thanks, it's been great talking to you again and seeing you at the festival.  

With that we let the guys go back to meeting and greeting the fans, both old and newly acquired after their fantastic set at the festival today.  We'd like to thank Steve, Rich and Colin for taking the time out to chat with us and can't wait to hear the new material when it's ready.        

 

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