With the UK being a very poor soil for growing power metal bands, Power Quest's disappearance from the scene wasn't particularly good news for this genre's fans. But it only took Steve Williams a few years to start missing his creation and he soon ended the hiatus with the release of a new EP, followed by a very strong come-back album "Sixth Dimension". Getting very positive feedback from both fans and the press, regrouped and stronger than ever, the band joined Freedom Call on their UK tour, which was a good occasion for us to discuss all things Power Quest.
You did a UK tour with Freedom Call a few months back, saw you in Glasgow, great show! How did the rest of the tour go?
Thank you mate! Glad you enjoyed it. It's always fun being out on the road with the Freedom Call guys and the rest of the shows went really well, ending with a great night at the Underworld in London. It's always fun to visit Glasgow as well. It never matters whether the crowd is big or small, they always make a ton of noise in Glasgow.
Power Quest was on hiatus for a few years. Why did you call it quits back in 2013?
This is a very simple question. The hiatus was purely down to money, or rather a lack of it. I'd built up considerable personal debt as the sole financer of the band and there was a distinct possibility that I would lose my house at the time, so I had no option but to stop while I worked a hell of a lot of extra hours in my day job for a couple of years to get things back on an even keel. I think sometimes people don't appreciate the fact that nowadays just because you make albums and go on tour it doesn't mean you are living the life of a rock star and rolling in money.
So why did you decide to bring the band back to live?
I think the hiatus made me realise that I need to be doing this band and that I wasn't quite the same person without it. I guess you could say PQ is in my blood ha-ha! Where I work a pretty intense day job, the band is almost a therapeutic counterpoint to that.
During the break you were playing keyboard with Eden's Curse for a few years. When you re-activated Power Quest, did you consider playing in both bands?
No, it was never a possibility to play in both bands simultaneously. My day job doesn't allow enough time for two bands unfortunately and sometimes it can be quite difficult to get the balance right between one band and work, never mind two. Having said that, it was fun to work with the EC guys and make a cool studio album, a live album and play some great shows together. As you know, me and Paul Logue have been friends for many years now and that has continued since my departure from EC.
Your current drummer Rich has played with PQ before, but other than him, the line-up is all new. Did you try to get some of the other previous band members back into the ranks?
When we came back in 2016 in addition to Rich we also had Paul Finnie from the previous line-up on bass guitar. Paul left the band last month as he has a young family now and wanted to make sure he didn't miss out on things as his daughter is growing up. I've been friends with Paul for almost 25 years, so I totally understood, respected and supported his decision. We did also bring back one of the guitar players from that era as well but sadly that didn't work out at all.
Your first release after the come-back was an EP. Looks like you didn't want the fans to wait for the full album and give them something new asap?
Yeah, exactly that. We wanted to be able to have a couple of new tunes for the fans, particularly as we had a couple of come back shows. The London show in September 2016 saw fans travel from as far away as USA and Japan to see us and there were also representatives from Sweden, Poland, Germany, Italy, Ireland and more besides. It was truly a humbling experience and a hell of a party afterwards.
Let's talk about the last album. Power Quest has always been your baby, so were the other band members involved in the song-writing in any way?
Yes, Ashley and Glyn were involved in a couple of the songs but to be fair to Glyn and Andy they joined the band so close to the album being recorded that it didn't leave a lot of time. Now we have Brad in the band that also brings another songwriter on board as well which is great.
I think you've always written songs on keyboard before, but this time the guitar was your main song-writing tool. So how different was it?
Yeah, I wrote three songs on guitar for that album and they were "Face the Raven", "Revolution Fighters" and "Starlight City". It was quite interesting to take this approach and I think it turned out pretty well. Something I will definitely take forward to the next album as well. Of course, I'm not much of a player but I think I know a good riff when I hear one, ha-ha...
You co-wrote the title tune with Richard from Threshold. How did this collaboration come about?
I've known Richard for probably 15 years, ever since we recorded at Thin Ice studios where Karl Groom from Threshold works. Richard called me one day and asked if I'd be interested in collaborating on a song for the new record and I thought it was a wonderful idea. So, I went down to his studio and took what I had so far for the song and after three weekends working together we ended up with the final arrangement of "The Sixth Dimension" which I really think has turned out brilliantly. I hope to work again in this manner with Richard in the future.
How did you get Anette Olzon to sing in that song?
When we were putting the demo together I mentioned to Richard that I thought a female voice would be great. He asked me who came to mind, and I immediately thought of Anette. I think Richard thought I was being a bit ambitious, but I went away and approached Anette and she loved the song and was keen to be involved. Simple as that really.
The album's title seems to have been inspired by Stratovarius and their "Fourth Dimension", but I'm sure you had other reasons for naming the album "Sixth Dimension"?
I hadn't even thought of the Stratovarius comparison ha-ha! But fairly simple reasoning for the title. It was our 6th album, 6 years after the previous one and, of course, there are 6 members in the band? 666 ha-ha!
And why did you decide to release the album on Friday 13th? Or was it the label's idea?
As we were on tour with Dragonforce during that period in October and we have known about the tour for quite a few months, I talked with label and we thought it would be a cool idea to release the album on the day of the biggest show of the tour which was at the Electric Ballroom in London on, as you say, Friday 13th October.
Talking about labels, why did you end your collaboration with Napalm?
After the hiatus, I felt it made sense to go with a clean slate approach. In the interim Napalm had continued to grow and had signed some pretty big and famous bands so I figured we would be further down the pecking order there. I made the decision to work with a label who loved the band first and foremost and could dedicate enough time for us. Emil and the team at Inner Wound have been awesome from day one to be honest.
The main motto of the album seems to be "be who you want to be" ...
Yeah, that's the idea in a nutshell. Too many times in life people and especially young people are told they will never amount to anything or they are a waste of space and so on. It's important to have a dream and keep following that dream. Look at me? I dreamt of going to play in Japan when I was a teenager back in the ?80s and it took 30 years for that dream to become reality. Good things come to those who wait maybe? Ha-ha! But like most things in life, if you have to wait and really work for something it means so much more than if it is just handed to you on a plate with no real effort and sacrifice involved.
Your first ever proper video-clip, for "Lords of Tomorrow" has over 300k views on YouTube. Not bad I must say?
Not bad for a first attempt eh? I was very pleased with how that turned out. We should have made a music video years ago but there's no point harking back and looking at the why's and wherefores? The important thing is to look forward and consider the next move.
OK, we're drawing to an end here. Tell me, why did you actually decide to play power metal in a country that is not very power metal friendly at all?
I've always written and played the music I want to hear. I'm not doing it for success, fame or money. I'm doing it because I feel I have something to say and I need to do it for myself and the band firstly. If other people like it? then that's the cherry on the cake. I guess PQ as band touches on quite a few different genres as well but even that isn't a conscious thing. I listen to a lot of progressive rock and metal so it's inevitable that comes into things a little bit and the fact that I was a teenager in the 1980s means I was also fan of hard rock stuff like Van Hagar and also synth pop like Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Howard Jones. Must be a keyboard player thing ha-ha!
What are the band's plans for the remainder of 2018?
We are currently in the writing phase for the next album. In July we play at Amplified Festival here in the UK and then we have a string of UK dates in November/December before we think about hitting the studio again, probably in February 2019.