Patrick Prince of Goldmine magazine recently conducted an interview with founder/guitarist Jim Matheos of American progressive metal veterans FATES WARNING. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Goldmine: [FATES WARNING singer] Ray [Alder] sounds as strong and melodic [on the band's new album, "Theories Of Flight"] as he did on "No Exit".
Matheos: Yeah, I think he did a great job on this. For some reason he's been hitting the real sweet spots. He always sounds good — he had a rough patch in maybe the early 2000s — but I know him really well and he's not doing anything different. He hasn't like started taking care of himself. Ray is Ray. He hasn't changed in a long time. He's just hit a sweet spot. These songs really resonated with him and to me this is one of his best performances ever. He sounds great on this record.
Goldmine: It's his energy, too. It's not just hitting the high notes.
Matheos: I agree with that. Performance, and I think a lot of that has to do with him writing a lot more of the lyrics, writing more melody lines, so he has that conviction behind it as well. It's always hard for a singer. I think he does really good job but I think it's hard for a singer to sing other people's lyrics and melody lines. A lot of times that conviction does't come across. Him doing it this time, most of the stuff was his. That comes across a little more.
Goldmine: Did you and him sit down together and write for this album?
Matheos: We do a lot of back and forth. We never — almost never — sit together in the same room and write. He'll send me his ideas and I'll talk to him and give him some feedback. There's a lot of back and forth. We can do the same thing by email and phone as we could in person. Probably even better because I like to sit with things for awhile.
Goldmine: You think some fans have finally let go of the "John Arch coming back" thing?
Matheos: Well, there's still that element. I always found it odd. People are so divided. Either you're a John Arch fan and you can't like Ray or vice versa. I just don't get that mentality. There are so many bands that I hold dear that have those kind of changes. One that really rings true is MARILLION. Two distinct periods. Two very different singers. And I love both of them. I would never dream about mouthing off about one era or another to anybody. It is what it is. If you don't like it, move on and listen to something else.
Goldmine: I think what appeased many is you getting back together with John for the ARCH/MATHEOS project (2011).
Matheos: John's thing is he's really into writing and singing in the studio but it's tough to get him out on the road for any long period of time. So let's take it when we get it.
Read the entire interview at Goldmine.