It’s always a pleasure chatting with Dennis Ward (vocals, bass). This time we talked mostly about the new Khymera album, the songs, the recordings and stuff like that, but also about his personal music plans and his studio work. Read more below and have fun…
Khymera pic
Hi Dennis… I’m glad we’re given the chance to talk with you again. Congrats on “Master of Illusions” – it’s a splendid melodic rock/AOR album on the whole!
D: Thank you very much, especially for the kind words.
Well, let me ask you… why did it take you 5 years to come up with a new Khymera album?
D: For a few reasons: 1) it’s not a priority for my. It’s fun to do but my obligations lie all over the place. 2) I was actually having trouble writing the material I was looking for.
Did you have in mind to release a new Khymera album at some point, or not? I know that time flies but did it ever cross your mind to put Khymera on ice?
D: Khymera is a product of Frontiers records. Even if I would have “put it on ice” Frontiers would have the right to continue it with whoever they felt appropriate.
And you kept the same musicians you had on “The Grand Design” on the new album, apart from the new drummer Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse, AOR, China Blue, Midnite City etc.). How’s that?
D: Well, for a start I’ve known Pete for many years and Felix was busy with Geoff Tate and Avantasia last year. Pete is also great for this kind of genre.
How did you approach the songwriting this time? Did you have songs from the past that you re-worked and wrote some new as well?
D: I wrote everything new. 5 songs I wrote completely, 5 songs were collaborations and 1 song was written by an outside writer. I just start writing in my studio and hope for the best. I don’t have any “rituals” or definite ways of working. I just work.
Since you’re a producer and songwriter you should have many demo tracks on hold right? And how do you tell which track is for which band?
D: No, I don’t have any. I write songs for the project at hand, I don’t not write for leisure. I’m just not that kind of songwriter.
What does the album title “Master of Illusions” declare? Who’s the “Master of Illusions”?
D: It’s just the name of one song. This song is about a woman that can deceive her partner “right before his eyes”. Therefore she is a “master of illusions”.
Do give us a hint about each track…
D: “Walk Away”: I’ve had enough
“The First Time”: I’m finally leaving
“Master of Illusions”: haha, tricked me
“The Sun Goes Down”: Want to hide in the shadows
“Paradise”: Not is all as it seems
“The Rhythm of My Life”: How things are, have been and hopefully will always be
“Follow the Sun”: Go with the flow…
“Father to Son”: Death is a part of life
“After All This Time”: Uhhmmm… I guess “i miss you sooo much, babe”?
“Victim of Your Love”: hahahaha! Tricked me again!
“Let It Happen”: Just let things happen
Did you take care of the recordings, the mixing, the production and the mastering of the album? I do fancy the contemporary and clear sound of the album in general.
D: Yes, I did everything except for the few parts recorded at the musicians’ private studios. The main guitars were all recorded at Michael Klein’s place, Pete recorded at his and Eric at his.
Have you ever thought of giving any gigs with this line-up? Let’s say on a Festival or a special show, not a full tour or so.
D: I would never prepare a live band for just one show. Way too much work. I’ve been considering doing a tour but realistically I don’t believe that Khymera could pull a large enough crowd. Doing a “support tour” is out of the question because you need capital to make this kind of thing work. I would never do a tour where I couldn’t pay musicians or financially keep my head above water. I’m not 19 years old anymore.
What are your expectations from “Master of Illusions”? Will there be a new Khymera album now and again no matter how much time will pass or what?
D: I never have expectations. I do Khymera because I enjoy it. I’m an AOR fan and always will be. Regarding another records, I don’t know really. We’ll see.
So, what about your other projects and bands, Place Vendome, Pink Cream 69 etc.? Will there be a new Unisonic album or that project is over? It’s been almost 6 years since the previous studio album. The fans would love to see Kiske, Kai, Mandy, Kosta and you on the studio again.
D: No, there will be no further Unisonic albums.
Please give us some info about how one can come to your studio, record, and have their album produced, mixed and mastered by you? Do you accept all kind of bands, pros and amateurs (newcomers)… and what’s the one rule that none should break if they’re gonna work with you?
D: Sure, I’ll work with anyone if it feels right. I can be contacted either via Facebook or at my homepage (here). My studio email is also an option: dennis[@] I have no rules. Either I want to work with someone or I do not.
What do you think about this corona-virus thing? How will it affect the music business and people’s lives in general?
D: I think everyone is thinking about it way too much. Just relax, stay at home and wait. Making yourself crazy about it is pointless and the ridiculous “I have a theory” discussion only show ignorance. Regarding the music business, well it’s already taken its toll. Small companies are going out of business, musicians can’t pay rent and will soon be social cases for their governments. But this is a “worst case” situation.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Khymera initially?
D: I didn’t, Frontiers records did. As I said, it’s their product.
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
D: The fact that everyone earns better than the musicians, it’s really not fair. Also that music has no value for most young people. The live market is one of the only ways to earn an income with a rock band these days. And only the live market can’t be enjoyed “virtually” but therefore the live market is also saturated with too much junk. No offence…
What do you think about the “downloading & streaming issue” of our time? Do you prefer the streaming services better or not?
D: Streaming is good for someone. Some people are getting rich from it, but not the songwriters. I just got a Statement for streaming, 2019. I had 240+ pages of information and earned 300 Euros. I’m sure Spotify got more than I did. So, I understand and accept that this technology exists and that people embrace it because it’s so easy, but it’s making the business part for musicians almost impossible.
Which music kind can’t you bear to listen to at all?
D: Bad music performed badly.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
D: Rockstar: Fan concept!
Sci-fi: Shouldn’t be fiction!
Eurovision: Who?!
Music Realities: Not getting better any time soon!
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
D: I can’t answer that really. I like much too much and I would have to meet them in person first.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
D: Male: Steve Perry. Female: Janis Joplin!
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock music the most?
D: The Beatles, all of them.
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
D: Neil Peart, because he’s Neil Peart.
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
D: I would be the first amoeba that would begin life on the planet.
Finally, we’ve come to the end Dennis. Thx for talking to Grande Rock. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care, dude!
D: Thanks so much for the interview and I hope to see all of you somewhere, sometime and someplace soon!