This interview is a few weeks late but I’m ok with that. It’s Arjen Lucassen we’re talking about so just like his projects he can take as much time as needed for little things like answering my questions. I was limited to 7 questions which turned out to be a challenge, mainly due to being such a big fan and Arjen’s expansive work I could have easily thrown a good 20 or more questions out there. But it turned out well and if you haven’t checked out his latest solo effort ‘Lost in the New Real’ do so. Also check out Harleys review of it here. In the meantime here is my discussion with Arjen Anthony Lucassen and at the end is the just released video of Pink Beetles in a Purple Zeppelin from ‘Lost in the New Real’. Enjoy.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Arjen, and congratulations on yet another fine release.
== You’re welcome, thanks for the compliment!
1. Lost in the New Real is such a fun album to listen to, how much fun was it to create?
== Good to hear, Rob! I’m glad the fun I had while creating this album comes across. In fact, I haven’t had so much fun in years, honestly! Making an album purely for myself without expectations of the fans was an excellent decision. And people even like it 🙂
2. Famed actor Rutger Hauer does the narration for the concept piece of Lost in the New Real. How did that collaboration come about and how was it working with him?
== It was truly a dream come true. I’ve been a fan of Rutger ever since I was 10 years old. And Blade Runner is my fave sci-fi movie of all time. I just wrote an email to his website and he was interested. Eventually Rutger wrote about 80% of his own narration. We’ve been skyping for weeks! This makes it really special for me and very real– he’s not just reading other people’s words. He really dived into the story and music to make the narration his own.
3. This is the second album in a row with just a single vocalist versus an ensemble that people are used too. Do you find it easier to create music with a minimal cast or is it pretty subjective based on the project?
== It’s actually easier to keep an album interesting with multiple singers, so singing all the lead vocals myself was a big challenge for me this time. But of course it’s more complicated to write for multiple singers, and to divide all the different voices over the album.
4. The second disc features some covers from the biggest bands of the 70’s. What kind of difficulties if any did you have in getting permission to cover Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin tracks?
== The record company told me that as long as you don’t make big changes in the lyrics, it’s mostly okay. They handled the copyright situation for me, so I’m not sure what they did exactly. I think that often it’s just better to let sleeping dogs lie. And in the end they get their copyright royalties for it, so not much reason to complain 🙂
5. Your love for science fiction is pretty well documented based on your body of work the past couple of decades. What is it about science fiction that is so enthralling and who are some of your favorite authors?
== I don’t like this world much and I don’t feel a part of it, so for me sci-fi is pure escapism. It’s also easier to get away with some pretty controversial topics if you place them in a sci-fi setting in the future and inject a healthy dose of humor. And oh…I’m afraid I’ve never read a book in my life, I’m ashamed to say…
6. I read the bio and you stated that Lost in the New Real was created more for you to showcase your influences but what would you like the fans to get from this album?
== Again, pure escapism. And if they want they can read between the lines and discover some interesting food for thought. But mostly I want to offer entertainment. I’m happy if people can dream away for an hour or so and forget about the world around them. It’s also a great feeling when fans tell me that my music inspires them creatively, or that it helps them to get through a difficult time in their life.
7. Conceptual rock shows are a rarity these days. Would you ever consider taking a show on the road to highlight your various projects in the future?
== No, sorry. I really hate playing live, it’s my biggest nightmare. I see myself as a composer / producer, that’s what I prefer doing and that’s what I do best. I am a total recluse. I don’t like to socialize. I don’t like to travel and I hate waiting. Touring is 90% waiting, it’s not productive or creative at all. I’d rather be creative and work on new stuff instead of playing the same songs night after night. It’s just not my passion anymore. Sorry, folks!
Thank you again for speaking with us and look forward to more amazing music from you Mr. Lucassen.
== You’re very welcome, I can’t wait to start working on my next project!