Everyone has one of those songs that instantly takes you back to your teenage days. One of those songs for me is Far Away by Power Quest. A charming and hard working power metal band who really didn’t get the success they deserved.
After parting ways for a few years, Power Quest are back with a fresh new line up and with new music to boot. DemonsZone had the opportunity to talk with band leader and mastermind Steve Williams in a lengthy but honest and fun interview. Enjoy!
Last we met in Glasgow after your support of Helloween at the QMU. How have things been? I hope all is well.
Hi guys! Hope you are doing well 🙂 Many thanks for the opportunity to have this conversation with you. Wow, yes just over 10 years ago if memory serves….February 2006. Still one of my favourite tours that one despite it only being 3 shows. I remember the Glasgow crowd being insane that night though.
Yeah all is good thank you. It’s certainly been an interesting decade since we last spoke what with line up changes and what looked like being the end of the band for good.
It was great to hear that Power Quest had reactivated. Power Quest initially split up (in 2013) due to financial reasons and no label support. How is the band’s situation now? It was only been three years, what encouraged you to get a new line up together?
Thank you. It feels great to be back if I’m honest. Back in 2013 I just couldn’t justify the ongoing expense of keeping the band going sadly. We never going to be a priority for the record company at the time so there was nothing more than the album being put out and that was that. I think what I’ve realised over the time that Power Quest was inactive is that the band is in my DNA and I don’t think anything will ever change that. I had a great few years playing in Eden’s Curse while Power Quest was away but ultimately the draw of the band that I formed back in 2001 was too strong to ignore.
I’m fortunate that I managed to get three of the previous line up back immediately, namely Gav Owen (guitar), Rich Smith (drums) and Paul Finnie (bass), all of whom had been with me between 2009/10 and 2013. Prior to being in the band Paul, a Glasgow native by the way, worked with the band in a crewing capacity and I’ve known him pretty much half my life. So we brought in two new guys…….
The new line-up features two new members, Ashley Edison and Dan Owen. What background do they have in music and how did they come to be in Power Quest?
New guitarist Dan Owen is actually Gav’s twin brother! Got to be the only twin guitar combo in metal that are actually twins :-). Dan and Gav have been playing since they were knee high to a grasshopper and had mastered Malmsteen tracks by the time they were 13! Insanely talented guys but each brother brings a slightly different feel and flavour to the table which is fantastic.
Ash you may well know from his other band Dendera, who had opened for Power Quest in the past and Ash had previously joined us on stage for a version of “Neverworld”. He was the only person I contacted when I realised a new front man was required and, for the first time since the Wings of Forever days I actually have a band member who actually lives in the same city as I do. As well as being an amazing vocal talent, Ash is also the consummate front man and also brings a lot of business knowledge to the table. This is of particular benefit for me as I run the business operation and manage the band.
Power Quest have a new EP coming out Face The Raven, tell us more about it.
Yeah, it will be released in digipack format and available for the first time at our shows in Derby and London on September 9th and 10th. Shortly after that we will be making it available online and there will also be a digital release.
The EP will feature two new songs “Face the Raven” and “Coming Home (Sacred Land II)” plus a remix of the title track of the 2011 album “Blood Alliance” which features new vocals from Ash. I decided to launch the album at the shows first because we have fans travelling from Japan, USA, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Germany and Italy to see the London show so I wanted to make it a special event for them as well. The first 500 copies of the EP are individually numbered and one of those numbers will win the lucky fan a “ticket for life” to any Power Quest show they want to attend 🙂
Face The Raven is a great song, very well produced. What was it like working with Alessio Garavello?
Glad to hear you like the tune. Unusually I wrote that song entirely on guitar, which is a first for me with Power Quest 🙂 It was great working with Alessio in his (Rogue Studios) studio in London. Who better to understand the Power Quest sound and what I wanted to achieve? The fact that he is now a top class engineer and producer was the icing on an already very appealing cake…haha! It’s awesome for me to see a guy who came to London to meet me before joining the band, who spoke very little English and was a mere 20 years old, now forging a career for himself and also doing well with his band A New Tomorrow. To be honest Alessio, Andrea, Steve Scott and Francesco I regard as some of best friends in the world still and we all regularly talk every week or so even now .
Did you face any unexpected challenges being back in the studio?
Not at all. It was like we had never been away. To be fair though we never hit the studio unless we 100% know what we are all doing and what the end game is.
The art work is quite lovely. Who designed it and is there any meaning behind the art?
My good friend Felipe Machado Franco provided us with the fantastic artwork. He’s worked with bands like Blind Guardian, Silent Force and Iron Saviour amongst others. I’ve known Felipe since 2008 and he has done all the Power Quest artwork since and including the Master of Illusion album. He has this amazing ability to take my ideas and grasp them very quickly and pretty much create what I saw in my minds eye.
The character is a further evolution of the character found on both the Master of Illusion and Blood Alliance covers. This time he is “Mr Retribution” a being made of ravens who he dispatches so that people are forced to “face the raven” when their time has come.
Will there be an album following this release (we hope so)?
Indeed. It won’t be hot on the heels though as I still have a little bit of writing to do before that aspect is complete so at this stage the absolute earliest I could see an album being released would be May 2017 but don’t quote me on that. It is still to be determined if we will sign with a label or whether I will set up my own label and we will keep further control of our own destiny, perhaps hand in hand with the fans if we opt for a “crowd funding” campaign for example.
The new disc will be available at your two shows in Derby and London. How do you feel about returning to the stage?
I really can’t wait. There’s nothing quite like playing live with this band that is for sure. We got some great bands with us over the two shows as well. Shrapnel and Primitai in London and Awake by Design and 28 Double in Derby.
In an age where everything, even performing, is dominated by bands miming to backing tracks, I’m extremely proud of the fact that everything you hear at a Power Quest show is being played there and then by the people on the stage. That’s rock n’roll…..that’s metal!
What can fans except to hear at these shows?
I think a set packed full of not only some fan favourites but also both new tracks from the EP. It;s been great to see how well “Face the Raven” but I’m very curious to see the reaction to “Coming Home”. This is part two of the song Sacred Land from the Neverworld album. This song was specifically written for the fans and you’ll see what I mean when you hear the lyrics.
Will there be any classics like Far Away, Edge of Time, Neverworld, Power Quest etc in the set list? How do you feel your new material will fit in with the older numbers?
There are some songs that we will always play that’s for sure and it would be strange not but rest assured there will be a healthy quota of what the fans perceive as “classics” in the set, I think the new songs will fit in seamlessly. They certainly seem to when we are rehearsing the live show 🙂
Obviously with a new vocalist in tow I wanted him to have a lot of input into what songs were chosen as these shows will be his first outings with Power Quest of course.
In terms of vocals, the band’s previous singers (respect!) were no slouches. How does Mr Edison feel about pulling off such powerful vocal melodies? It can’t be an easy task live.
We’ve been blessed with some amazing singers over the years, there’s no doubt about that but I’ve got to say that Ash is nailing the high and low, the fast and mid tempo and everything else with amazing ease. He was actually quite poorly when we were recording the EP but you would never know from what i regard as a stellar performance.
Any chance of a UK tour? It would be great to see Power Quest touring Scotland again.
Touring? Well of course we will be out on the road for sure but I’ll be keeping a very close eye on the financials. In the past we often played shows that weren’t really financially viable because we wanted to take the show to where people wanted. This also contributed to the financial situation that led to the break up of the band. So it will be a much more methodical approach this time around. I wouldn’t expect to see a UK tour before the new album is released though.
We will be announcing a further live date in stage at our show in London on September 10th and we are already confirmed for a main stage appearance at Hammerfest in 2017. There will be more news on further shows for 2017 coming along in the not too distance future as well. Of course, I would love to come back to Glasgow to play. Maybe my old EC mate Paul Logue will book us a show via his company Shock City Promotions.
The two of us at demonszone.com first heard Power Quest back in 2002 when Wings of Forever was released. It feels like a life time ago. How does it feel having people still talk highly of your music after 15 years (ish)?
It is does feel like a long time ago and I’ve certainly changed a lot as a person since then haha! Maybe I’ve finally grown up lol! I still find it very humbling that the band has made such an impact on people…..we seem to be one of those bands that if you like us, you really like us but if you don’t like us…well….hahaha! I’ve had a number of fans contact me over the years to tell me how a certain song has helped them through a dark time in their lives and to be honest, that’s the ultimate compliment for a song writer. It means way more to me than any amount of money ever could.
New EP and t-shirts will be available at this show! Chance to win a PQ "ticket for life", guest appearance from Andrea…
I recall Neverworld (2003) being one of our favourite albums of the year, how do you feel about the album now? or the back catalogue in general?
I’m immensely proud of everything we have achieved as a band both live and in the studio as I consider that we did things the honest way and i think the fans recognise that as well. Neverworld will always stand out as the album that introduced the synth driven songs a bit more directly and it was probably the most successful commercially as well, There’s never any danger of playing a show without something from this album being in the set list. It’s a dead cert lol!
My Neverworld long sleeve doesn’t fit anymore, any chance of a XXL upgrade?
I’m sorry to hear that. I lost my Neverworld long sleeve on tour somewhere sadly. We haven’t stocked Neverworld shirts but we do have new Face the Raven shirts available soon. They too will be first available at the September live shows and they will be short sleeve shirts available in (black) M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL sizes. There is also a very limited run in charcoal but limited to sizes L and XL.
* Damn! Going to have to lose weight. 🙁 *
Is there anything final you would like to add? Any shameless advertising? Now is your chance!
Again I’d like to take the chance to say thanks for the opportunity to have this chat with you guys. Very much appreciated. To the fans out there I can only say thanks so much for welcoming Power Quest back with open arms. It has been mind blowing to be honest and the fact that so many are travelling from so far away to see us in London in September leaves me almost speechless. I hope you all enjoy the Face the Raven EP and the new shirts (both of which will be available online directly from the band in mid September). Please contact us via Facebook or Twitter and let us know. Subscribe to our YouTube channel as well. You will find all the necessary contact details at the official Power Quest website http://www.power-quest.co.uk.