2010.11.09 – STAR ONE – Arjen Lucassen (interview)

You are an extremely hard working person. There hasn’t been a year in which you have not released an album either as Ayreon, Ambeon, Stream of Passion, Guilt Machine or Star One. And these are very often 2-CD packs. It may be said that you have a musical ADHD syndrome. In your private life are you also so hyper-active or you are more of an introvert?

Oh no, I’m not hyper-active at all and indeed very introvert. I guess I just have more time left than others because I don’t play live, because I don’t have a family and kids and no day-time job!

How much time do you have for matters not related to music? What, apart from playing and making music, do you like doing best?

In the evening I watch my favourite TV series during dinner and I listen to music for about an hour before I go to bed. I also spend a couple of hours every day behind the computer answering (fan)mails etc.

In 2002 you have released a first CD of Star One – „Space Metal”. Now, after eight years, the second project of Star One – “Victims of the Modern Age” has been released. Congratulations, this is so much interesting and worth recommending,


the same as in case of an album released last year as Guilt Machine – “On This Perfect Day”. Can we expect to have a continuation of this project? If yes, please say whether the line-up will be the same or maybe it will evolve?

I never plan ahead that far, I usually just wait and see where where my inspiration takes me. I’m really proud of the Guilt Machine album so I’d love to do another one, but unfortunately it didn’t sell as well as my Ayreon and Star One projects. If I do it, it would surely be with the same singer again.

Your musical projects show that your imagination is immense. Can you now envisage yourself playing just in one band with a fixed line-up?

Oh no, never again! I did that for 15 years, ever since the 70’s, but I’m glad that’s over. I hate having to compromise with other people, I’m a horrible control freak and reclusive ego-maniac 🙂

Thanks to the projects you have created, many a time you had an opportunity to play with a wide variety of musicians and vocalists. Is there anybody you haven’t played with so far and you would like to have him/her play on your next musical project?

Oh yes, the list is endless. Preferably all my 70’s heroes that I grew up listening to and that inspired me so much, like David Gilmour, Robert Plant, Alice Cooper, etc.

The cover artwork of a new Star One has something in common with a cover artwork of an album I’m much into listening to right now belonging to a Canadian group Mystery – „One Among the Living”. They have a marvelous vocalist – Benoît David. Have you heard of him? His vocal lines could come in handy considering Ayreon’s new releases?;)

Yes, he’s the new singer in Yes, right? Excellent singer indeed, so who knows?

The previous album of Star One Project takes us on a space trip, this time we are on the earth and see the picture of the future world. Could you tell us about film inspirations to that album?

Because the music on Victims of the Modern Age is darker and more down-to-earth than the first album, I decided to base the songs on dystopian and post-apocalyptic movies that are set here on Earth. Like Blade Runners, the Matrix and Planet of the Apes.

How did you get the idea for the title „Victims of the modern age”, do you feel that way?

It’s a quote from the movie A Clockwork Orange. And yes, I definitely feel like a victim of the modern age. I’m completely hooked on today’s technology and I can’t do without it anymore, there is no way back. Things used to be slower and more difficult in the old days, but so much more rewarding!

You have mentioned once that lyrics are composed at the very end. In case of the latest Star One where the tracks are inspired by films, did you have a set list of films or maybe the ideas came to your mind gradually throughout the entire process of recording “The Victims of Modern Age”?

After I finished the songs instrumentally I decided on the topic of the movies. Then I watched about 40 movies in that style, and chose 13 of my favourites. Finally I decided on which movie fit which song best.

What kind of music does Arjen Anthony Lucassen listen to between recording sessions? Do you know any Polish artists you admire?

I listen to many kinds of music. For relaxation mostly to 70’s music. From Poland I really like Riverside, excellent band. And I think there are more good bands surfacing in Poland lately!

You have already processed tracks of other artists for example on the first extended version of Star One we can hear medley of Hawkwind. Are you thinking of recording an album with covers? Let’s say that you decide to do so, what would be the setlist?

I already did that once, it was called Strange Hobby. I had just discovered 60’s music, so all the tracks are covers of 60’s bands like the Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Kinks. I guess the older the music is, the more different one can make the cover versions.

Perhaps it’s too early to ask this question since you have just finished working on Star One, but do you have any ideas concerning a new Ayeron’s album?

No, not yet. But I’m sure that one day I’ll feel the urge to do another Ayreon album again. Right now I really feel like finally doing the solo album I’ve been promising myself for 10 years now. And I will!

Considering your height you are a perfect type to do sports (basketball or volleyball). What’s your attitude towards sport? Have you ever had any plans to go into sport rather than into music? What about being a sport fan? Do you have your favorite sports event, perhaps football team?

I used to be quite a good football player, but they always put me in the goal as a keeper because I was so tall! Nowadays I stay fit by jogging about 8 km every other day.

At the end we have prepared a kind of a game for you. Please finish the sentences so we could learn sth more about Arjen Lucassen. 🙂

I couldn’t do without……. music obviously.

I have a weak spot for……. sci-fi movies and TV series

I would like to…… create music till the day I die

Three albums I would take on a space trip.. Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour, Pink Floyd – Wish you were Here, Rainbow – Rising

First concert I went to with my friends was… Blue Oyster Cult

If I could travel in time I would go to … the future and see what mess we’ll make of it.

I would never, ever, even with a shotgun against my head eat…. animals that spent their whole miserable life locked up in a little cage

You don’t have to ask me twice to eat … horribly smelly cheeses

I relax best in… front of the TV

Every morning I turn the key to start my….. Mercedes

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
On behalf of Rock Area and all fans of your talent we would like to wish you all the best, lots of ideas and enthusiasm in making new projects.

Thanks Marek and Katarzyna, you’re welcome!


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