«We just play what we feel and what feels right to us»
Interview by Butch
Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Ichabod Krane’s George Neal. The US metal band is set to release their highly anticipated BEYOND ETERNITY this October, at www.ichabodkrane.com Thank you for this time with DIOSES DEL METAL.
First off, congrats. It seems you have upped the ante here. The powerful sound you achieve here seems perfect for a massive fest summer audience. How long did it take you guys to do the writing and composing process before hitting the record studio?
Rick was writing stuff for the new album before the first album was released, he is always writing. I am pretty sure he never puts his guitar down, I would bet he sleeps with it, most of the writing was finished right after the first release.
What was on your mind around 2013 to decide and form ICHABOD KRANE?
For me it was a side project because Rick had written a bunch of songs and asked me if I would record some bass tracks for him.
Did you consider you had a distinctive voice within the metal scene?
I knew when Rick sent me some demo tracks they were great songs there was a oldschool metal feel about them, we hoped people would like them we really didn’t consider more than that.
How did you guys meet up?
I have worked with Rick, he was the guitar player for Halloween for the first two albums, Don’t Metal With Evil and Victims of the Night. He was working with Drummer Tom Wassman from Sleepy Hollow, they were putting something together looking for a Bass player and Singer, that is when I got the call, I knew of a great singer here in Detroit Jeff Schlinz from Wulfhook, a great band from Michigan. I contacted Jeff and asked if he would have time to record a few tracks and he came to my house and recorded a demo to send to Rick and Tom they loved his voice and we started recording Day of Reckoning.
Despite de obvious influences by JUDAS PRIEST, others can be seen here, I dare say ARMORED SAINT, RIOT, FIFTH ANGEL, DIO, QUEENSRYCHE and even CRIMSON GLORY (in the amazing voice of Jeff). Tell us more bands who you look up to, as well as bands we could perceive in this BEYOND ETERNITY?
All of the bands you mentioned are influences but we are more influenced by Oldschool metal we just play what we feel and what feels right to us. In Jeff’s vocals I see a little od Midnight from Crimson Glory,Geoff Tate Rob Helford & Dio.
Rick´s guitar playing in PANDORA´S BOX excels. Kindly let us know your take on solos. Some bands decided to stop using them, you seem to go old school here.
Rick’s solos have always been a big part of every song it has never been about riffing and throwing notes together for him he always makes his solos tell a story, it is almost like singing.
You guys talk about your music as “pure American metal”. Could you tell us in your opinion what makes it different to European bands or styles, say RHAPSODY, GAMMA RAY, RAMMSTEIN, IRON MAIDEN, PARADISE LOST, ANGELUS APATRIDA, etc.. all from different countries and styles?
The term » pure American metal» is something the media used we never considered ourself to be that, we only thought of ourself as just A metal band there are many bands from all over the world and each one is different, there are too many labels for mrtal it is hard to keep up with.
I see you have a new drummer Rob Brug can you tell us a little about him and how this came about?
After the first album Day of Reckoning we were getting ready to record Beyond Eternity when Tom Wassman our drummer had some health issues and had just started a new job and things were up in the ai,r he was not able to play for a little while, it was really hard for everyone..Tom was more than just our drummer he is family and an amazing drummer, we had a timeline to get the new album recorded we didn’t want to do a follow up album more than two years apart.
This is when I contacted Rob Brug to lay down some drum tracks, I have worked with Rob on three Halloween albums and have toured with him the guy is a powerhouse drummer and a great addition to the band. he is one of those drummers who adds so much to the songs that you forget there is other people in the band when you see him play live.
Lisa is new to ICHABOD KRANE. Could you tell us how it came about?
In 2015 Lisa sent me a video of herself playing a song from the album Don’t Metal With Evil. She was playing What A Nice Place, she had been A Halloween fan for many years and wanted to pay tribute to the band, her take on that song blew me & Brian Thomas away so we asked her if she would come do that song at one of our shows. She came to the show and played two songs and it was amazing, you can find the video she sent me on Youtube just type in the search Lisa Hurt What A Nice Place.
When it came time to record the new Ichabod Krane album I had planned on write and record the keyboard parts and I knew Lisa could do a much better job I talked to Rick and Jeff about Lisa and they agreed she would be a perfact fit for the band, she added so much to the songs we asked to be a part of the band.
she started recording her tracks and everything she came up with added so much to the songs it was something that the first album was missing we were very lucky to find her.
What was the goal?
The goal was to add another layer to the band not only for the album but for the live shows by adding Lisa it just opened more doors in the songs she helped to make the songs come to life.
Looking at your video clips, some would say one or more of you is a History freak, Am I right?
Well that would be more of Jeff Schlinz he is the one who writes all of the lyrics I am not sure if it is history or if it is fantasy, but whatever it is it seems to be working.
Besides members, what else do you have in common with Michigan cult band HALLOWEEN?
You would think that was an easy answer because I am a part of both bands but it is not easy to say.. I think the thing both bands have in common is there has never been a goal to write music to fit into a certain slot or a flavor both bands write what we feel inside with no motive.
Rob´s signature doublebass brings extra spice to the mix. What can it offer to listeners instead of a traditional take on the instrument?
Rob’s playing is something special when I think of a drummer I think there should be more than just keeping time, Rob writes more than just keeping time he accents and comes up with stuff for the songs that makes him stand out if he didn’t record on this album it would be a completely different album. His parts are so important to this record that not one of the songs would have the impact that they do…for me personally Rob has been a measuring stick for all Drummers. We are very lucky to have him as our drummer.
George what bass guitar brand, model, do you use and why?
I use a Fender P.Bass the reason is I have played them when I first started playing, back in the 80’s I was endorsed by another company. They were great basses, they played really good and sounded great but there was something missing. I have never been a bass player that uses effects on my amps I just like to use a bass and an amp. with a Fender I can plug in and play. 90% of the sound don’t come from the bass or amp, it is how you play.
Pure Steel Records relies on you, and you on them it seems. Is there a friendship connection here?
Halloween has been working with Pure Steel Records for many years they have been a big part of everything I have done with both bands, they never let us down, they are more than just a record company, many of the bands on pure Steel are like family to each other, here in the USA a lot of the bands work together and bring other Pure Steel bands together to do live shows together and support each other. I have done shows here in Detroit and other bands would drive halfway around the country to come play with us and I have went to their hometown to see them play as well, this is how the Pure Steel Brotherhood came to life, we hope that the Pure Steel Brotherhood inspires all bands, all bands should do this even if your not on Pure Steel you should support all musicians, none of this would have happened without Pure Steel.
The record shows some kind of sorcerer with a cristal ball and fire. What´s your take on this cover art?
Well this really has more to do with something else. The Sorcerer is not a Sorcerer, it is the Witch from Wizard of OZ, Rick has been A fan of the Wizard of Oz for many many years.
Any plans to play in Europe touring for BEYOND ETERNITY or you will concentrate in American soil?
We would love to come to Europe, it is hard because we are still a new band even after two albums, It is hard to find a promoter to bring us over but that is our goal to come to Europe and play.
What band would you ideally love to play with considering style similarities?
This is hard to answer because there are so many bands we like. Everyone in the band has so many bands that inspire us, we all agree on many inspirations, this is the reason we work well together.
In your Facebook you describe your music as offering a “new approach to old school metal”. Kindly let us what we can expect from ICHABOD KRANE in 2017?
2017 will focus on getting the word out the band and try to also focus on going to Europe, we hope enough people like what we are doing and tell their friends about our music. maybe start recording another album.
What did it take you guys to have the album recorded?
It was pretty easy we did 90% of the recording over the internet sending tracks to eachother and recording them in our homes or in studios where each of us live without being in the studio together.
What was the environment in the studio?
For the Beyond Eternity recording we spent only a short time together in the studio to cut some vocal tracks with Jeff and Lisa, Jeff did most of his Vocal tracks at his home and only had a few to finish while we were in the studio Lisa cut all of her backing vocals, it was a great session watching Jeff and Lisa record together they seemed like they have been working together for a lifetime.
Are you composing new songs for a brand new album or just concentrate on getting the word around this one?
Right now we are going to focus on getting the word out about this one, but we are always writing, the next album is something we are all looking forward to because everyone in the band writes and it will be interesting to see what we come up with with all five of us putting our heads together.
Any dreams to fight for in the future music wise?
Only to keep recording new music and make our way to Europe also to spread the word about the band, This is something we really like doing and hope to keep doing it and the only way we can do it is if people know who we are and get a chance to hear what we have to offer.
This will be all from our side, guys, but before we go, let us know if you wish your opinion on the current electoral situation in the US. Are you Trump or Hillary followers? Maybe Bernie? Or none of them? Let us know your view in this stuff as described to Europeans who many times seem to not have a clue on American affairs.
All I can say is many people here in America only have one hope for in this country. If it is Trump, Hillary or anyone, that there is peace around the world. All of us hope that who is elected will do the right thing.