Artizan : A Power Supernova Part I

Wednesday, 29th April 2015

Dead Rhetoric: Pure Steel Records continues to be your record label – and they make an impact in mainland Europe, but it seems like you as a band have to take on more of the promotional workload in North America. Where do you see the progression of the band at this point – are you happy where you stand and where would you like to see Artizan following the cycle of this record?

Tammeus: I don’t think you are ever really satisfied with where you are. I think we all know that the real problem is the landscape changing so much in the record industry. The illegal downloading has crushed the business side of it. The bands have to tour to try to make any money- if they are making any money. I like where we are, we have built a real foundation and Pure Steel Records have been very supportive. Of course they are a smaller independent label- but keeping all things in mind they have done a very good job. The label owner loved our music, and that meant a lot to us. Andreas was really enthusiastic about our music, the contract that we have is really good. We are not tied into multiple albums, a lot of bands are signing their lives away with 5-6 albums and that’s just crazy. They do have very good distribution now, but we have really tried to use social media. The internet thing is a double edged sword- it’s great to get exposure now hopefully, at the same time it’s somewhere where people can get music for free and it’s made a huge impact. I’ve been doing this since 1990 and done about 6 albums now. It’s ironic that Lars Ulrich was right- the illegal downloading has destroyed this business. We are doing the best that we can- it’s about making the music and that’s what we enjoy. You just hope you can make a few bucks and sustain it. We will be with Pure Steel for a while.

Dead Rhetoric: The limited edition bonus track is a cover of Styx’s “Come Sail Away” – who suggested this within the Artizan camp, as there’s nothing wrong with a little 70’s pomp rock history lesson in my eyes…

Tammeus: (laughs). What we tried to do with the middle of that song is try to write a piece that incorporates the theme of our album to it, to tie things together. We didn’t want to do the huge, elongated keyboard piece that Styx did on the original. This was my idea, one of my favorite songs of all time. The dynamics, the way the song evolves, it’s memorable. To do that with Tom, I can’t imagine a better voice in power metal than with Tom’s to do that song. I was fortunate to coerce the other guys into doing the song, and so far the response has been great.

Dead Rhetoric: Upon reflection, how do you look at the Artizan discography in terms of personal satisfaction with the songwriting, production and performances?

Tammeus: That is something that kind of evolves and changes. When you go back… always when you make something you really feel that it is the best it can be, your best work. Of course it’s very hard to be completely objective about that. I’ve done that recently, listening to Curse of the Artizan and Ancestral Energy and compared… they are all a little bit different production-wise which I’m happy with, as I wouldn’t want them all to sound the same. I wouldn’t change anything… we’ve evolved as songwriters for sure, which is normal because of the maturation process. We’ve gelled together and know how we all work. I would say things are a little more progressive and heavier as we’ve moved forward. Some of that is intentional, maybe not. When you have shows to prepare for you go back and listen to the older stuff. We aren’t a technical Fates Warning band but our newer stuff is a little more intricate and involved than the older material. It is fun and what you want to happen, I’m interested to hear what the next stuff is going to be like.

Dead Rhetoric: Will it be a challenge to pull off some of this new material live, with so many layers going on?

Tammeus: Yeah, the most challenging thing will be all the vocal harmonies. We will do 1-2 tracks at the Keep it True festival in Germany, we’ve rehearsed them and they sound great. Bill Staley, our new guitarist who did the phenomenal solos on the album, he has a pretty good voice too so we think the harmonies are going to work out.

Dead Rhetoric: How did you feel your late 2013 US tour run with Fates Warning went – and can we expect other jaunts after your Keep it True festival appearance in Germany next month to support the new album?

Tammeus: That was a blast, we had such a great time. Of course they are a legendary band, they can hold their own individually as musicians. Joey Vera is my favorite bassist that I could see playing live, his energy and skills are one of a kind. We got to witness firsthand how they do things so it’s a real treat to see, very accommodating. The fans loved it, I think it was a great style match up to go out with them. As far as stuff in the future, we are working on a couple of other things in the States. Hopefully in about six weeks or so we will have some really good news.

Part II of Matt Coe’s interview with Ty Tammeus will post tomorrow night, April 30th.

Artizan official website

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