Former QUEENSRŸCHE vocalist Geoff Tate recently spoke with Sonically Disruptive. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the self-titled debut album by his new progressive metal project, SWEET OBLIVION:
Geoff: "I got contacted by a gentleman from my record company in Italy [Frontiers Music Srl], who said he knew a guy, Simone Mularoni, who was an excellent guitar player [and] who was a huge fan of my music. He thought that it would be kind of fun to put the two of us together to see if we could do something together. That happened, and we started trading musical ideas and trading things over the internet. In time, we came up with the album. The unique thing about this record, I think, is it was all recorded and mixed and written over the Internet without us having ever been in the same room, which is cool. It's a really neat way of doing it — very 21st Century. In fact, we still have not actually spoken a word to each other — we just communicated via text and email, which is even cooler and really unique. [It was] the first time I've ever worked like that, and I actually quite like it."
On why he enjoyed working in that manner:
Geoff: "It's [an] unbelievable waste of time — all that chit-chat that goes on. You're just sitting for hours and hours, kind of held hostage in a room. I would much prefer to be in my own scene doing the work and then conferring back and forth and making changes and you go along. It's a cool way to work, and I really like it."
On returning to progressive metal:
Geoff: "My roots of what I do have always been into heavy rock, heavy metal music. It's what I've always done. What I've done over time is sort of revamp some of those old ideas and modernize the delivery and bring in more late 20th Century/early 21st Century perspectives on the music. That's kind of where my head is, but now and then, I like of like to return to a more retro, old kind of delivery, which is where this [SWEET OBLIVION] album is. It's very retro, and very much what I've done already in my life and my career. In fact, that was our meeting point with Simone and I — he was a big fan of what I had done in my career, so he was giving me his ideas that were based upon my ideas. It was a comfortable place to meet. It was familiar."
On whether he plans to perform any SWEET OBLIVION material live:
Geoff: "Yeah. It's kind of a no-brainer, easy-[to]-play stuff. It doesn't require a lot of replanning or anything like that. It'd be easy to adapt. I'd like to do another record, though, before I start playing any of the stuff live. Maybe that's down the road."
On his philosophy:
Geoff: "Record sales have never been a real big motivator for me at all, mainly because I never know what it is that's going to sell. I don't do it for that reason. It's what motivates some people, but not me. I'm always confused as to what the market is or what people expect. I never know what that is. I always go through life with very little expectations, and that way, I'm always surprised."
On how he's changed over the years:
Geoff: "I'm much more comfortable with what I do. Working with QUEENSRŸCHE all the years I worked with them — 30 years dedicated to that musical project — was really quite an amazing journey looking back on it, and I'm very proud of the music that we made. I think we made some incredible, innovative albums. I think we made landmark records that will be around for generations. I think we influenced a lot of musicians, but at the same time, it really kind of put me in a box where I didn't know anybody else's music. I didn't sing anybody else's songs. I'd go out to the pub with friends and people would say, 'Geoff, sing a song!' I couldn't — I didn't know anybody's music but my own. Once QUEENSRŸCHE ended, I'd begun listening to other people's stuff and learning songs of other people and then getting up and performing them in public. Now, I'm really comfortable with that. I have a whole list of standards I can do, so I'm never on the spot — I can always perform something well, which may seem strange to some people, but to me, it was a huge deal. QUEENSRŸCHE started when I was very, very young. A 30-year career all focused on the same thing puts you in a different headspace. I'm happy to be in the head space I am now."
On his future musical plans:
Geoff: "I've got a lot of material waiting to find a home. It's just a real interesting time right now. What do you do with the music — do you go with the old dinosaur idea of putting out an album, or do you release song-by-song? Do you release special media? There's a number of different outlets you can go to now. I'm just sort of in research mode, really, trying to figure out what to do with it all. I'm pretty close to finishing up what I would call an album's worth of material right now. I hope to finish up on a lot of it when I'm in Europe this summer."
On what he's listening to nowadays:
Geoff: "My guitar player turned me onto this band a couple of years ago called BRING ME THE HORIZON. I quite like a lot of their new stuff that they're doing. They take kind of heavy guitars and mix it with really cool, modern drum sounds and keyboard sounds. It's well-written stuff with really catchy melodies, and kind of a real attitude. I really like what they're doing."
SWEET OBLIVION's self-titled debut album was released June 14 via Frontiers Music Srl.
Geoff recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of QUEENSRŸCHE's "Operation: Mindcrime" album by performing it in its entirety on European and U.S. tours.
Tate's post-QUEENSRŸCHE band OPERATION: MINDCRIME released three albums over three years as part of a trilogy: "The Key" (September 2015), "Resurrection" (September 2016) and "The New Reality" (December 2017).
Geoff will celebrate the 30th-anniversary of QUEENSRŸCHE's landmark "Empire" album on a special tour next year. Released in 1990, the set included the hit ballad "Silent Lucidity", which reached No. 9 on the Billboard singles chart, helped propel "Empire" to No. 7 on the album chart and earned two Grammy Award nominations.