HYDROGYN Frontwoman Says CRAIG GOLDY's Songwriting Ideas Were 'Very '80s'

BigMusicGeek.com recently conducted an interview with HYDROGYN frontwoman Julie Westlake. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

BigMusicGeek.com: Musically, what do you feel are the main differences between (2006's) "Bombshell" and (2008's) "Deadly Passions"?

Julie: "Our last album, 'Bombshell', hadn't turned out as heavy as we wanted, so we went into the writing process wanting 'Deadly Passions' to be a lot heavier. We actually took quite a bit of time. The last album was written rather quickly. We had actually been writing for 'Deadly Passions' ever since we finished 'Bombshell', so we had a lot of time to focus on the songs and get them where we wanted them to be. So in the end of January (2008), we went into a local studio. Michael Wagener (KING'S X, OZZY OSBOURNE and SKID ROW, to name only a few) actually wasn't available to produce the album, so (HYDROGYN guitarist) Jeff Westlake produced it and we did it locally near our homes."

BigMusicGeek.com: As a group, was it disappointing to not be able to work with Michael Wagener after having worked with him so closely on "Bombshell"?

Julie: "Michael's a great producer… but with 'Bombshell', he had a lot of ideas on how he wanted to do things…things that I don't know that we would have necessarily done if we had been on our own. When we did 'Deadly Passions', we basically had all the say. Basically, anything that we wanted to do, we had the say in it. For this album, we really got what the band truly wanted, so it better represents our style of music. This will probably come back to bite me in the butt one of these days, but at the same time, it's the truth. When we we're going into the studio with a producer like Michael Wagener, who's absolutely phenomenal at getting a great sound, I don't think we were intimidated, but we were in absolute awe of who we were working with. Any time he made a suggestion, we we're like 'Okay, this guy has sold millions and millions of records, so let's listen to him.' Whenever we worked out an acoustic part for every song, Jeff would just be cringin' because he didn't want an acoustic guitar on every song on the album. I think Michael had an idea of what he wanted HYDROGYN to be, but it wasn't necessarily what HYDROGYN wanted to be. I can remember goin' into the studio (for 'Deadly Passions') and I was like, 'Jeff, are you bringin' your acoustic?' and he'd be like 'Oh, no. It's not gonna happen. Not on this album.' (laughs). I think some of the songs on 'Bombshell' could have been a lot heavier, but maybe it was mixed out a certain way or maybe some of the instrumentation used on it made it a little less heavier than we wanted it to be."

BigMusicGeek.com: What was the main motivation behind the group's split with Chavis Records? Am I correct in understanding the severing of your collective ties was less than amicable?

Julie: "When we released 'Bombshell', we started our own label called DA Records. We teamed up with Chavis Records because we thought they had distribution and the means to get the record out into stores. It ended up being more of a mail order and Internet thing. They weren't able to get it out into stores, so that's why we ended up deciding that there no reason to give up a piece of the pie when we can do that on our own (laughs). So we ended up splitting from Chavis and actually ended up getting worldwide distribution through BPV Music Group out of Texas. So we've been able to get the CD into places like FYE and Sam Goody and places like that. We were doing it on our own, we had this label and we had this distribution, but if people don't know that you have an album out, who's going to buy it, ya know? That's really important and that's why we're now signed to Demolition Records. We really honestly needed a label with the funds to be able to promote the album the way it needed to be promoted. We did what we could, trying to do it on our own with our own dollars, but now with Demolition and us having management, booking and PR just make it all ten times better. We were handling everything, ya know? So it's really nice to be able to totally focus on the music. We were trying to write an album, taking care of the bookings, taking care of the marketing… It's kinda overwhelming and it takes some of the fun out of what you love to do."

BigMusicGeek.com: At what point did you realize (DIO/GIUFFRIA/ROUGH CUTT axeman) Craig Goldy wasn't going to become a member of the group?

Julie: "We had been in talks with Craig and he had requested a copy of 'Bombshell'. At that time, we were looking for a new guitarist for the band, so…we were like 'Hey, let's ask Craig and see if he'd be interested,' because at the time, he didn't really have anything goin' on. He accepted, which was kind of a shock because he'd kinda already been there and done that, ya know? So we actually brought him to Kentucky for about two weeks. We sat down, worked out some new tunes and some stuff that we had already written, but to be honest, I don't think we were ready to go in the direction that he wanted to take the band. He has been there and done that, so his demands were a little above and beyond what we were willing to give and do. It was obvious that it just wasn't going to click and that we were on two different levels."

BigMusicGeek.com: Did any of the material that the group collaborated on with Craig end up appearing on "Deadly Passions"?

Julie: "No (laughs). We actually had one song that he worked with us on the album called 'Over U'. We actually already had the song written and Craig had added some stuff to the song. After it all didn't work out, since we honestly preferred the way we originally had it written, we decided to go with what we had (laughs). Craig's a really nice guy, ya know? It was nice to be able to have the time to meet with him, but sometimes, when you get with people that have already been there and done that, they have some issues that you just don't want to end up dealing with. I just wasn't quite ready to deal, to be honest. I know he had been there and done that, but his ideas were just very '80s. We've already had enough comments about our stuff sounding like it's from the '80s, so we wanted to sound modern and that just wasn't something he was brining to the table. It could have been the greatest thing…but we're very simple. The band is like a family, ya know? We room together; we ride in a van or bus together… We don't need our own rooms and our own tour bus. With Craig, those were some of the kinds of things he expected because that's what he's used to having. It just wasn't something that he was going to be getting and it was kinda obvious from the beginning that is just wasn't gonna work."

Read the entire interview at BigMusicGeek.com.


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