Loudtrax.com recently conducted an interview with CIRCLE II CIRCLE/ex-SAVATAGE vocalist Zak Stevens. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loudtrax.com: CIRCLE II CIRCLE is currently recording their fifth album, "Consequence of Power". It is a concept album and due out in the of fall 2010. The first four albums each kind of have their own sound. What can we expect from this new album in terms of sound and general vibe?
Zak Stevens: It will be different. Much like the other albums offer their own differences in sound. In my view, some of the new stuff is revisiting the "traditional" rock guitar sounds and song arrangements that will take us back a chapter or two in time while others are more basic in scheme. My role, as with all our records, is to make the overall picture appeal to today's rock listener from a vocal standpoint with the best effort I can and what will hopefully result in hook after hook coming at you full blast.
Loudtrax.com: There were some lineup changes on this record. Tell us about them.
Zak Stevens: Only one of the original four was added and that is John "Oz" Osborn on drums and old friend of our who has toured with us before our former drummer Tom Drennan, who did a great job for us through the stretch, but it just didn't work out in the end more due to geographic concerns,. Now CIRCLE II CIRCLE is basically the "core" band; myself on vocals, bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist Mitch Stewart, drums with Oz, guitars and lead guitars by Andy Lee. All we really need now in a four-piece for the CIRCLE II CIRCLE sound with one of the best guitarists out there playing the type of music he does, which [is] basically every style.
Loudtrax.com: What is the "concept" and main theme behind this new album?
Zak Stevens: It's a complicated and very deep concept about things happening that we don't really have much control of, and about a character who is centrally involved, against his will, into this cycle of madness, power, and a lot of crazy things. More on the story later on as things come more together with the music.
Loudtrax.com: "Consequence of Power" is a concept album. Do you have your own favorite concept album or any concept albums that inspired you on this one?
Zak Stevens: Well, the nature of the concept on "Consequence of Power" talks more from a street level then from some giant conglomerate force, so the wealth and power we see are from the mass of money coming from private firms into the hands of let's say the blue collar man. It's harder to track from a law-enforcement standpoint. I mean I have to admit I'm from a time where QUEENSRŸCHE's "Operation Mindcrime" was a huge influence on me. I was learning big time about how the be successful in music and that album was just sort of overwhelming at the time. I think that's gotten a hold on me but it's hard to say how it will affect this album, if any. But I guess we will see.
Loudtrax.com: You performed back-up vocals with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA on their last album "Night Castle" and have the MACHINES OF GRACE album out, and are currently recording the new CIRCLE II CIRCLE album. Do you find you have to wear different "hats" for each project to maintain the uniqueness of each?
Zak Stevens: No, not really. They're all different styles but when you know how to sing you just have to make the adjustment from style to style. The MACHINES OF GRACE is the most comfortable for me because it was the stuff I've been working on the longest. The other stuff like SAVATAGE and CIRCLE II CIRCLE and TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA is more of an "applied" concept of learning to adjust vocally, that works well but that’s what that is. The MACHINES OF GRACE stuff is the first I had to write completely alone, from the heart, etc. so it's the most comfortable 'cause it's been around the longest. See the trend here? Ha Ha...
Loudtrax.com: If you take a look at the projects that are currently based on the SAVATAGE foundation — TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, CHRIS CAFFERY, JON OLIVA'S PAIN, CIRCLE II CIRCLE, MACHINES OF GRACE, etc… Each one is obtaining its own successes, and many fans hope for a SAVATAGE reunion tour and new album. How important is it to you guys to do a reunion, especially now, when the interest level would be at an all-time high?
Zak Stevens: Well, my hope is just that the interest and momentum over a SAVATAGE reunion would overcome speculation and decision making within the organization and just react to the reality of the capital and monetary demand for such a thing and let's get out there and do it. That's always been my take on the subject, period.