REDEMPTION – Nick Van Dyk (Interview)

Redemption

REDEMPTION is a brand respected in the community. They do not spoil their fans with frequent releases, but the group’s recent activity, change of line-up, recording of a great studio album, and recently a concert release, pleased the fans of prog power sounds. We asked the guitarist and the brain of the band – Nick Van Dyk about a few current topics.


You released live album 2 years after recording it. Why did you wait so long?

I know it seems like a long time!  These things, though, do take a long time.  We don’t just leave the venue with the files ready to go.  🙂    It takes a few weeks to get the material, then you need to mix them which takes maybe only two weeks if you have somebody focused 100% on it but in our case we wanted Simo to do the mix and he is in demand, so that took a bit.  Then, as we’ll get to nelow, we changed record labels.  That process took several months.  There’s artwork, the menu-ing and authoring process, deciding on formats, and then going into production where you need 3-4 months before release to start manufacturing and promotion.  Add COVID to this, which delayed supply lines and shipping and that sort of thing, and pretty soon two years have gone by.  🙂

Was it hard for you to wait?

I think I’ve gotten used to it by now.  I will say that we had fans who pre-ordered it 18 months ago and I felt an obligation to get it into their hands as soon as was possible, but thankfully they also wanted to wait until it was the best that we could make it.

Have you watched/listen any of the live albums of different bands recorded at progpower, before?

I have watched Pagan’s Mind, and I think Threshold was recorded there, and it’s possible I have missed another.  Of course I’ve been going to the show for a long time so it’s likely that I caught the original performance.

I have to say, I’m Redemption’s diehard fan 😉 And got your previous live albums of course…

Thank you very much!

So, was it hard for you to pick up tracks for this set?

Yes, because we had to take into account our catalog but also the fact that we have had Tom join us.  Of course Tom was more familiar with the songs that he rehearsed and recorded with us for our last studio effort (Long Night’s Journey into Day, his first with us) so he favored doing as many of those as possible and I don’t blame him for wanting to make his own mark with us.  I remember going back to the Heaven & Hell tour where Dio took over from Ozzy and I noted that half their setlist was from Heaven & Hell and half of it was Ozzy material, so that was our guideline.  It wasn’t really that hard once we worked out the overall approach – there are some songs that we know we have to include (or at least that we definitely want to), and we didn’t have a chance to play out on Art of Loss because we had to part ways with Ray shortly after its release so I wanted to at least do one track from that.

It was just after you releasing studio album… So, was it the intention to promote new album, or introduction of the new lineup?

Both, I think, as I described.  I don’t want to give you too short an answer but I don’t want to bore you with the same response, either.  🙂

When I heard Chris Poland at the records, I thought it’s gonna be only studio adventure for you… and here we go, he is at your Live album, and you also decide to play Megadeth’s cover. Was it intended from the very beginning?

I knew that we wanted to pull out all the stops for this, including Simone joining us and Ray making a surprise visit as you point out below.  Chris is such a unique and talented player and he has been so gracious and complimentary about our music that I knew I wanted to at least see if he would be open to coming to Atlanta for the show.  He’s a bit of a homebody and doesn’t travel all that many but he said he’d be up for it, and I figured I *had* to at least *ask* if he would consider playing Peace Sells because I knew the crowd would go nuts, and because frankly how many times am I going to get the chance to play Peace Sells on stage with Chris Poland?  🙂

So I asked, and he said he was up for it.  It was the first time he’d played that song on stage since his tour when he was in Damn the Machine back in like 1994 or something, so the first time in almost 25 years.  It was so fun and really a surreal moment for me.

You also invited Ray Alder to sing at “Threads” – and I guess all the fans love it (I do!).

Who pick the song for Ray, was it you suggestion, or Ray’s.

It was actually Tom’s idea to invite Ray, which I thought was a very classy move on his part.  It was a little weird when Ray left so it felt very good to harmonize everything and bring him back to show there were no hard feelings and we all remain friends.  It was a really special moment.  I flew Ray in two days early to rehearse but I wouldn’t let him leave his hotel room because I wanted it to be a surprise.  We basically snuck him in the venue – the only people that knew he was doing this other than him and the band was Glenn Harveston, the mastermind behind Progpower, and the stage manager who we informed the afternoon of the show.  When Ray comes out, it’s a surprise to just about everybody and it’s a great moment, for sure.
 

I picked the song; it’s one of those that I think will always be in our set, and it’s high energy, which we like to emphasize when we play live.

Have you guys missed It, I mean your collaboration? Was it any melancholic experience for both sides?  Have you spoke about it after the show?

We have remained friends throughout and speak regularly.  Yes, I think it’s fair to say that we both miss working together.  We have moved on, though.  Tom is an incredible musician and an amazing vocalist who fits our music well, and he’s also been a friend for twenty years.  We’re very lucky to have Tom in the band and I think we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do together.

I have to say, Tom’s version of “Noonday Devil” placed at the studio album was a blast!

Since that moment I couldn’t wait to hear your Live album… and I guess It was the same in case all the fans. So, was it some kind of long term promotion of “Alive i Colors”? 😉

That’s an extremely insightful question!  I wish I had actually thought of that as it’s pretty brilliant!   But no, I didn’t have that in mind at the time, although I should have.  I was really just thinking that I would like to re-record a few songs from This Mortal Coil, because the production on that record leaves a lot to be desired, unfortunately.  So we started with that track because I think it’s an ass-kicking tune that Tom would sink his teeth into, and it would be one that we’d play live so it would be one more song that Tom would feel he had under his belt.

You changed label in the meantime, why did you decide to do it?

First, we had a great experience with Metal Blade and they management there are friends, and very good at what they do, and very professional.  So it definitely had nothing to do with their performance.

It came down to the fact that I was committed to releasing this live package, and they didn’t want to do it.  They would have allowed me to release just the live package, but AFM (who was interest in the live package) also wanted the next release, and I don’t blame them.  Tom has had a great experience with AFM and when I met their management, I felt right away that they were good people who were passionate and very good at what they do.  So I asked my friends at Metal Blade if they would be okay releasing us so that we could get the live package out, and they agreed to do so.  Everybody has been very cool about it.   And I think we are off to a great start with AFM!

Is the European market your main goal?

It’s funny…in my “day job” I would think about stuff like that with strategic intent.  With my “music” hat on, I don’t really think about it systematically like that – I just want to make music and have it find its audience.  But I think that while the US underground market is still vibrant, this music is definitely more accepted in Europe than in the US.  Having a label that is very good at both is important.

So any chance to see you guys on the stage somewhere in Europe next year?

I would love to do that!  Obviously we have COVID to worry about, and given my history with chemotherapy, my immune system is compromised so I have to be very careful about traveling.  I’m also not going to be the first person to take a vaccine for a previously unknown pathogen that has been rushed through a process that normally takes years lol.   So we will have to see how that all shakes out.

We were supposed to play in Europe in October of 2019, but there was so much going on at the time including a pretty grave family illness (miraculously resolved) and other stressors on the other guy sin the band that we unfortunately weren’t able to play.  Certainly we had a great time the last time we toured Europe which has been ten years ago now – I’d love to get back!  I’ve never been to Poland and we have a few big fans there, I think, and I’d love to perform for you!

Have you started to write new material?

Yes.  I’ve involved Vik a bit more in the writing process this time, and between us we have had a very productive quarantine!

Can we expect recording it with the same lineup? Did you invite any guests this time? Any in plans?

I think we will record with the same lineup, yes.  And I hope that both Simone and Chris Poland will be back as guests.

Redemption isn’t regular band playing dozens of shows… but whether the pandemic has affected your job (I mean also Your regular job)?

I left my prior job before COVID hit; it wasn’t the best timing to say the least.  I’m keeping myself busy with a number of clients but it’s a very uncertain time in the media industry globally so there are fewer opportunities for senior executive positions than I would like.  Still, I am happy to be working and earning money!

I hope you and your relatives are in a good health.

Thank you so much, Piotr – we are all good here.  I hope that you and yours are likewise in good health, and keeping safe and also keeping your sanity during these crazy times

Thank, you for your time, I wish all the best with the new album, and hope to see you on tour somewhere in the future.

Thanks so much, Piotr, for your thoughtful questions and for your support of, and interest in, the band.  We really appreciate it!!


Questions: Piotr Spyra

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