ARJEN LUCASSEN Quits STREAM OF PASSION, Begins Work On New AYREON Album

AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen's official web site has posted a brand new interview with Arjen in which he speaks candidly about the difficult past few months, the future of STREAM OF PASSION and his plans for the new AYREON album. A couple of excerpts follow:

Q: First off, a lot has happened in the past few months, we all are curious to know how you are doing.

Arjen: I'm sad to say that I've been through a personal hell the last couple of months. I worked non-stop for many years and due to living on my own after the divorce with Jolanda, I have had a new (at first completely different) lifestyle. It has taken its toll, I guess. On top of everything else, I lost my sense of taste and smell (Anosmia) two months ago and sunk into a deep depression. With medical help and, most of all, the help of my closest friends (including Jolanda) I'm slowly climbing out of the black hole now. Last week I kicked my own butt back into the studio and fortunately the inspiration is slowly beginning to flow again.

Q: What are your plans concerning STREAM OF PASSION at this moment?

Arjen: Because I will be fully concentrating on the new AYREON for at least the next year, I have no more time for STREAM OF PASSION, so I quit the band. It would be unfair to have them wait until I'm ready, especially now things are going so well for STREAM OF PASSION.

Q: Does this mean the end of STREAM OF PASSION?

Arjen: Fortunately not, the band will continue without me. They will write their own songs and I'm sure there's enough talent in the band to make a great new album and undertake successful tours without me pulling the strings.

Q: Now onto the new AYREON. When did you actually start recording?

Arjen: Basically I started recording a few months ago but due to my depression and the STREAM OF PASSION tour I hadn't been in the studio until a week ago.

Q: Can you give us a tiny hint of what we can expect musically?

Arjen: Because of my frame of mind the material so far is quite dark. There are some pretty heavy passages and the soft parts are quite mysterious. Though, to even it out, I will probably record some folky and happier stuff in the coming months when I feel better. I do think I will succeed in having it sound different from my previous albums again. I'm also thinking of releasing a single album this time, and using the remaining tracks as bonustracks for those who are interested. As some know, I hate to repeat myself and do the expected! Don't know if I will succeed though, things often turned out differently than the way I planned them...

Q: Have you decided on any musical guests yet?

Arjen: I do have a wish list of singers. But I will only decide on the guest musicians once the music is finished so I have a better view on what kind of voices I will need. Of course Ed (Warby) will drum and as usual I will play most instruments myself.

Q: In the past you've auditioned unknown vocalists; do you still need recordings from new singers?

Arjen: No. As I said, I already have a big list of possible vocalists. Singers are of course welcome to send me stuff, but I get so many recordings that I can't guarantee a reply.

Read the entire interview at ArjenLucassen.com.

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