Interview by Woody
Hey Stevie, Woody here from Midlands Rocks, hope all is well in sunny Northern Ireland!
You are the vocalist in a new UK AOR band – Escape. How did you become involved with the band and start writing with Vince O’Regan?
Well Facebook and the www are a strange old thing. I posted up a few tunes on the net, and Mark Alger from Z-Records checked one or two out without me knowing anything, then he spoke to Vince. Then I got a phone call “ Hey Matey “ the last time I spoke to you was about 14years ago, remember – Contagious (I was going to sing for them back then but it didn’t work out at that time) – well I’d like to send you some tunes for you to try out for me to see if it suits you. Certainly I said – and that’s how I started collaborating with Vince and Z-Records.
You have just released the debut Escape album ‘Unbreakable’, which is a really impressive slice of melodic rock, did the album turn out as you hoped or is there anything you may have changed in your performance on it?
As you know Vince works really fast with Mark at the helm – so I was given about three months I think in total to choose 12 tracks out of 15 or so – write all the lyrics (as well as be quickly inspired), find a lot of hooks and melodies, record and produce the main vocal dry and then do a series of backing vocals and finally send it all to Vince to choose what he wanted for him to produce it in his own way. The only things I would change were the timescale (more final checking and listening time on my part) and maybe more involvement in the final production, but at that stage it just wasn’t possible to work that into both our busy schedules. Therefore I rate it as quite a raw 1st album.
Have you received much feedback on the album yet from the media and fans? How do you feel the reactions so far to the album have been?
Friends and fans seem to like it so far, as they all feel the Melodic Rock scene is still very much and always will be around. A lot of good interest everywhere – so far so good.
What was it like writing with Vince? He’s well known for keeping himself busy and is in a continuous state of song writing, was it demanding working with him? How do you view your song writing partnership?
Yes, quite fast and demanding work.
Vince’s songwriting structures are excellent as he has a great grasp on where and when the vocals should be within the structures, and he always allows that creative space throughout. Overall there’s excellent musicianship and plenty of hooks and riffs.
He’s a very talented guy (but give me more time – *laughs*)
I think my favourite songs on the album are ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Night To Remember’ they have a real inspiring feel to them. What are your favourite songs from the album and can you tell us why?
‘Unbreakable’ was the first one I attempted and had more time to give it more attention and yes its one of my favourites also.
I like how ‘Best of Me’ turned out as most people never see the true side of the musicians after they finish the shows and all the hard work. We’re very human after all and get tired and disheartened sometimes… “they’ve never seen the rest of me” as the lyric goes.
Another favourite of mine is ‘New Horizon’ – sweet piano and excellent solo in that one. The production really breathes well and is for all of us who have lost someone close to us.
You have two live dates coming up, the bands live debut on December 2nd at the Engine Rooms in Skelmersdale and also you have recently been announced as part of the HRH AOR Festival’s line-up which is happening next April? Are you looking forward to these shows, what can we expect and is there any songs we can definitely expect to hear?
It’s great to get back over to the UK Mainland and play a few shows there. The Engine Rooms should be a great night as were gonna play the album and also a song not included on the album, which will be a surprise.
HRH AOR – I think we joked before that I would even go over anyway to brush up and clean the stage before the show, as it is a great privilege to be included in that show. I’m delighted. There should be a few more songs in the pipeline for that also.
Do you have any other dates lined up or any more plans to tour or play live especially here in the Midlands?
I will certainly consider playing wherever is relevant to our Escape style, with Z-records advising thereof. I’m easy as one Sat afternoon I flew out to France, played that night and flew home next day, just for a one off gig, so no probs. I can be in the UK in 45min flight duration so if you want us, contact Z-Records.
I’ve heard there will be a new Escape album to coincide with your appearance at HRH AOR, is there anything you can tell us about the new album?
Well I’ve just received a couple of ideas and we’re looking into how the new album will unfold, so can’t say much more, but it should be hooky and memorable. There will be news songs by then I’m sure.
I have to admit that Escape is my introduction to you as a musician, for myself and others are there any albums or projects you’ve been involved in you would recommend to us?
SKB (The StevieK Band) – Black and White EP
StevieK – Struggle album
NativeSun – Things Change EP
…are just a few of the past projects over the last few years.
Other than Escape are you working on any other projects or solo material?
Always open to projects in a similar style, so just call or email. Ha!
I maybe recording “Music in my Veins” SK Solo EP due 2013 – if I get time, ha ha.
What bands are you listening to and enjoying right now?
Always listen too W.E.T / FM / Heat / Whitesnake / and numerous others, there’s stacks of great stuff out there.
Thanks for taking time to do this interview, is there anything else you would like to say to the Midlands Rocks readers?
Thanks for this Woody, as I really appreciate every bit of support I get, and to all the Readers and Rockers out there. Without you, the great fans there would be no great bands, giving back great shows!
Love and blessings to you all, and thanks again.