Leger De Main: Sleight of Hand

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean

Interview


Sorry, but I don't know a lot of things about your band, so at first some "standard questions"! Please tell me something about the history of the band, something about the members!

Leger de Main formed in 1989 before the Rodler brothers put this studio project on hold to form the progressive rock band DRAMA. DRAMA has since disbanded and the Rodlers are once again devoting their full attention to Leger de Main. People who enjoy King Crimson, Dream Theater, Rush, and Yes should dig Leger de Main. The band released their first CD, "The Concept of Our Reality" in 1995 to critical praise and immediately gained respect within the prog scene. Positive reviews in national publications like Guitar Shop have sustained a demand for Leger's debut CD, now in its third pressing. Last October, Leger de Main released their sophmore album titled, "Second First Impression" . Musically similar yet compositionally quite different from "Concept", this CD features a darker, heavier and more dissonant side of Leger de Main. This stylistic evolution is most apparent in songs like "Silent Monster", "Some Shall Search", and "The Story". Punctuated with guest appearances from Mike Ohm, George Jordan and Kevin Hultberg, "Second" features top notch musicianship that many prog fans have come to expect from Leger de Main. Currently the members of Leger de Main are branching out a bit with Brett taking on several jobs as a studio drummer while Chris is busy recording with Anakin Tumnus, another local prog band as well as with the bands RH Factor and Klang.


Contact : Progressive Music Management / 6802 Helena Drive / Erie / PA / 16510
e-mail - lenrod@aol.com
web page - http://www.crocker.com/~elf/apex/leger


What does the name of the band mean?

Leger de Main means "Sleight of Hand" in French. We figured it to be a cool name for a progressive rock band. It may be a bit strange at first but with my last band DRAMA being a bit too common, it was often confused with several other bands with the same name. We didn't want that to ever happen again so we finally found something that is different and represents the kind of music we play, and sounds good as well. Melissa and Brett actually discovered the name.


Are there earlier releases? What about the label, the success?

Leger de Main has one other CD available called " The Concept of Our Reality ". It was released in 1995 and received mostly positive reviews worldwide. Right now we are exploring the possibility of doing licensing deals with labels worldwide for our first CD. It was available only as an import in Europe the first time around. In preparation for this we are planning on re-mixing and re-mastering the first CD plus adding a few unreleased tracks to the original track listing. Details are unclear right now however.
PMM, the label, is a small label dedicated to releasing progressive music. So far our roster of artists include, Leger de Main, RH Factor, Quest, & Ambitious Noise. Releases for 1998 - 99 include a new heavy instrumental project called Klang and a terrific new prog band called Anikan Tumnus. PMM is doing well for me so far and with more releases due this year I am hoping PMM's reputation for releasing quality music will expand further still.


How would you describe your music?

The music of Leger de Main is considered progressive rock by most I suppose. I don't mind that label really. All of our favorite bands can be also considered Progressive Rock as well so that is a good reference point I guess. Leger de Main tends to stress the more complex or technical aspects of prog rock with many odd times, poly-rhythms, tempo changes,etc. We often call what we do ensemble playing as opposed to soloing,...meaning that the parts are all very interdependent on each other and need each other to form the whole.


What about the influence of other artists to you?

Leger de Main's primary objective is to strive for an original sound, but of course we have been deeply influenced by a number of bands. I guess Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Fates Warning, Dream Theater, U.K., are a few of the more obvious influences on our sound.


Is there a mastermind inside of the band or are you more a "democratic" band?

Well, the decisions in regards to the mixing, mastering, artwork and packaging, etc. are all very democratic but the musical direction of the band is primarily my responsibility. I write all of the music and serve as the band's multi-instrumentalist often writing for Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards and Guitar Synthesizer. However, I depend on the other members, especially Brett for input regarding the arrangements and rhythmic structures.


How are the reactions of the people in your neighbourhood to your music?

Locally we don't have a large following. We don't perform at clubs and the only exposure we get is on local radio shows so we are not too well known here in Erie, PA. We rely on the European and Asian community for our fan base so far. Overseas sales of both Leger de Main CDs have been very strong and I can only assume that people in those areas tend to embrace the arts and music much more than in the USA. Music seems to be much more a part of the European lifestyle and I am very grateful for their support.


Tell me something about the lyrics!

The lyrics are all written by Melissa Blair, our vocalist, and tend to be mystical, melancholy and thought provoking. They are also very interpretive. They can seem to have several meanings depending on how the listener decides they relate to them.


Will you present the new material during a tour?

Unfortunately Leger de Main have never had the opportunity to perform a concert. I have been searching for players to help write and perfom for several years now but I simply can not find the players here in Erie, PA to fill the vacant spots. It is very difficult to find players that are interested in writing progressive music and that are proficient enough to pull it off well. Since I write on a few instruments I can not play the parts all at once. We have looked into sequencing but it is doubtful at this point that we will tour for Second First Impression.


How would you like to develop in the future? Do you think about changing your style?

The change in style seems to have already occured for the most part. I always intend to move forward as a composer and as I gain more knowledge and acquire more influences I suppose a natural progression is to be expected. On our first CD our style is a bit more accessible perhaps. There are probably more obviously melodic influences at work and the results are pleasant. On our new CD we tried to expand the concept of ensemble playing to the maximum as well as move our music into a more original direction. On our second CD we also made an effort to explore a darker musical sound and leave more time for the songs to develop. The arrangements are generally longer that those found on our first CD. The next CD will probably support yet another similar evolution.


© Renald Mienert
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