Janison Edge: Interview mit Sue Element

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean


What about the decision to found your own label. Was there any contact with record companies such as Verglas, GEP, Cyclops but they were not interested or do you think it's better to manage all things yourself?

Verglas were interested in us. We thought long and hard about it, and decided to do it ourselves. We had spent a lot of time and commitment recording the album and it was difficult for us to hand it over to someone else. Also, it's something we were curious about - it's a challenge, running the business side ourselves. It is turning out to be a lot of hard work, but we think it is worth it, as no-one else can give the band the commitment that we can.

The prog scene is very male-dominated - the fans and the musicians. So why?

I've no idea why, and it doesn't worry me. I can only do what I do and hope that people enjoy it, whether they are male or female.

And what about you???? You are involved in the songwriting process, you do all the lyrics, you are managing things behind the music - normally you had to be a man!!!

I don't think that you really believe that. If you do then it is very disappointing.

What about your work for the theatre, film etc.

I enjoy acting and have played a variety of roles on the stage, particularly in comedy plays. Mike and I have also just finished filming in a sci-fi cult B-movie called "Foiled". The film is a full length feature film, filmed on a very low budget, about an invasion by aliens who are covered in foil! If you are touched by one you turn to foil. Mike and I play students whose house is taken over by these aliens and who have to battle to defeat them and save the planet!
It was a lot of fun to film (this was going on at the same time as recording the album). It is now being edited and we are writing some music for the soundtrack. If anyone wants to know more, the web address is ww.foiled.co.uk.
We are also talking to other Directors about doing some more short films soon, if we can fit it all in!

You are able to play keys, but on the record you "only" sing. Okay, something also the man had to do....

There you go again! But yes, I play the keyboard and use it when writing songs. But, Mike is the keyboard player, and a great deal better at it than me. I am sure that has more to do with his talent and experience than his genitalia!

What do you love more - making music or acting?

I love them both, but my first choice would be music. The fact is I just found the acting easier. I didn't grow up in a musical family, but my Dad is very theatrical! So it seemed more natural to go into that. The music is much more challenging because I want it to be very good and the output matters more because it is very much more personal. Janison Edge is just the most interesting thing I have done yet and I think that it combines both theatre and music. So I am very lucky!

Do you agree that there is a strong influence on Janison Edge by the typical neo prog bands, such as Landmarq, Shadowland and Pendragon? And what are the differences.

We write the music that we like, so there are bound to be similarities I suppose. However, we had never even heard any Landmarq or Pendragon when we first wrote the songs for this album. I tend to think Janison Edge is more intimate than some of the new prog stuff and more song-based, like the old Genesis stuff. We wanted to create something with a slightly different feel and I think we have achieved this, mainly because of the different backgrounds of the members of the band. Particularly, Mike is classically trained and likes to achieve a full-bodied orchestral sound; Ian's background includes Jazz, Funk and Blues and he brings all these styles brilliantly into the music; and I like to bring a lot of drama and emotion into it all. This is all supported by Dave and Paul who are just so solid and talented.
But it is really always up to the listeners to judge.....

Can you tell me something about the character of Mary Goode?

Not all the songs are about Mary Goode, but she provides a common thread through some of them. She is a fictional character. It is implied that she suffers as a child and as a result loses touch with reality in some way as an adult. She goes on to make her living in "unusual ways" and takes revenge on her parents and on the church in which she was brought up. She is led to some kind of acceptance of her fate through a dream in which she bargains for her future with a fantasy character.

There is one track sounding for me more like a song from Brecht/Weil? (Joker).

Do you think so. That's interesting. Joker started off as 3 weird chord changes on the piano with a quirky rhythm and it turned out in this strange surreal way. Lyrically, it's a bout this rather devious character who sets traps for people and takes pleasure in their misfortune, which fits in quite well with the music. We wondered what people would make of it, but it has actually turned out as a lot of people's favourite!

What do you think about the upcoming reactions of the progressive rock audience to your record? What do you expect?

We have been really pleased with the reaction. The reviews have been great. Because Mike and I run the record label, we get all the reactions and comments directly to us, which has been really good.
We are looking forward to getting the music heard by as many more people as possible. This will include gigging later in the year. Hopefully, the reaction will continue to be as good.

But maybe all the people would say no-one needs this record really (I am sure the people will love your music). What do you do? Don't care? Stopping playing your music? Changing your style?

Thankfully we don't have to do any of this because the reaction has been so good. People will always have different opinions. We might disagree with some of them, but we take notice of all of them and try to improve. But we could never stop playing music - whatever people thought about it.

Do you have a favourite song on the record?

All the members of the band have different opinions. For me it changes. But I think probably Julie Lies, because it means a lot to me and has turned out very nicely!

© Renald Mienert
DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean