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Interview

Verden Allen interview 

Somewhere in rural Wales

added: 17 Feb 2013
interviewed by: Claudia A

Verden Allen interview - Somewhere in rural Wales - Printable version
Since 2009, ex-Mott The Hoople Verden Allen has been working with his band SOFT GROUND on the live circuit. After several solo albums, Verden has just released his new album ‘Love You & Leave You’ which he recorded with his band.

To celebrate the release, Music-News’ pixie Claudia A. felt some questions are in order.

Music-News
Verden, your new album is titled ‘Love You & Leave You’ – sounds like a very personal project/concept?

Verden Allen:
Yes it is indeed Claudia, but then we all experience similar emotions at some stage of our lives do we not? So I am sure that there are a lot of people out there who can relate to at least a couple of the songs on the album, if not more.

MN:
Most of the tracks on the new album are actually ‘old’ songs, compiled from some of your previous albums...

VA:
Well we perform these songs live as part of our stage set, and the people come and ask us after the show if we have a current CD of the band as it is now, so it made sense to record the album as the songs are still good at this point of time.

MN:
Having used a full band sound for the new album, the makeover versions of the songs sound more glossy and fleshed out, but it also gives them quite a different feel even though the lyrics are the same… Which versions do you prefer?

VA:
Only ' Long Time No See ' was on the last album, ' On The Rebound 'was on my second CD, I do think that these new recordings are by far superior, especially ' On The Rebound '.

MN:
How and when did the idea of doing an album with a full band sound come together in the first place?

VA:
I always wanted to record with other people again, it is nice to do it on you're own as then total control is possible, but it only seems real to me when I record with a group, so as we were already rehearsed up and itching to go plus the gigs were going well, I thought, lets go for it.

MN:
Together with the trademark Verden Allen organ and general 70’s vibe, your music can be described as a classic and timeless rock sound. But how do you feel the new album will fare amidst a music industry that is becoming increasingly bland and safe?

VA:
A good question, the only thing that I can say is that there is a call for the 70's vib at the moment, but just how far it can be taken well I really don't know, at least it is real, I could have added different sounds and lots of harmonies to the recordings, but then why? So I thought best to play safe and go with what we have at hand, lets see how it goes.

MN:
By what criteria did you decide which songs should be on the new album?

VA:
Well we have a bit of a theme going on here, Love you & Leave you, On The Rebound, Find Yourself, etc, I thought, better break it up a little in the middle with Soft Ground & Wise Ones, then take it up to finish off, the songs were all there, I just had to sort out the running order.

MN:
How was working in the studio with the other band members?

VA:
Great, but it took the best part of a day to mic up the gear and get a sound, then we laid the 13 tracks down the following day.

MN:
How much creative input, if any, did they have regarding the ‘full band sound’ of the tracks?

VA:
Well when the initial tracks were recorded, not a lot changed, some vocals and the odd guitar, organ and some piano here and there was all that was required, the engineer spent most of the time working on drum sounds, more could have been done, but that's how it was, its basically a live studio album.

MN:
So can we expect a ‘Verden Allen’s Soft Ground’ London gig any time soon?

VA:
We would very much like to play in London. We are now looking for a suitable venue. You can check us out on our website: (http://www.softground.net/) to stay informed.

(Please read my review of ‘Love You & Leave You’ in the ‘Album reviews’ section)

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