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Corvus Stone

Interviewed by Larry Toering

Interview with Colin Tench and Pasi Koivu of Corvus Stone from 2013

MSJ:
How long has the band been together and please tell us how you came together in the first place?
Colin Tench: In 2010, I was looking for a bandmate from my Odin/BunChakeze days. He was previously in Black Widow and Cressida, so I tried the Internet. I found Pasi, as he looks after the Black Widow archives. He put me back in touch with John Culley (who guests on this album) and a friendship formed between Pasi and I. Both of us love music of a huge variety but never thought about working together.

In late 2011, Pasi sent me “Iron Pillows” to add guitar to, just for fun really. Petri then heard this and asked if he could play bass on it. The result made us want to do more together. A lucky accident and that is the best way. It rarely comes out this well if you pre-plan a band. Towards the end of the recording, we were joined by drummer, Robert Wolff, previously of the band Micah, Raven and many others. This really had a big impact on the sound. We needed an exceptional drummer who can think outside the box and Robert hardly ever enters the box!

Blake Carpenter ( The Minstrel’s Ghost ), heard what we had done and suggested he sing on a track or two, as he loved the music and could understand it well. We needed a singer with imagination, or it would have stayed a purely instrumental album. He did such a wonderful job of “The Ice King,” that our own personal artist, Sonia Mota, crowned him King!

One major strength of this band lies in the differences between us. That is whole the point of a band to me!

I would say that we are solid six-piece now and unlike any other.

MSJ:
There are so many great influences in your music. But what actually compelled you to use a snippet of Deep Purple, as I'm coincidentally a major fan of this band?
Colin Tench: That was my fault. We are considered a "prog" band and that means very different things to different people. Prog by numbers is a modern ailment. Back in the 60s, modern pop music covered so many genres. No rules had been made and surprises kept coming on normal radio stations. Prog means progressive. The bands in those days were often progressing and doing things that confused, thrilled and angered people. Deep Purple were very progressive then. Some have forgotten that. So you will find a few hidden references in the Corvus Stone album, to influences we have. Everyone loves the Hammond and Deep Purple certainly got that sound into the heads of us all! I wonder how many could find all the little hidden things on the album. Nobody has spotted “The Godfather” yet. Look in to Pasi's eyes in the booklet. Our artist Sonia is in both!
MSJ: Who else in particular would you see as some of your influences?
Pasi Koivu: For me as a keyboard player my two big heroes have been Jon Lord and Keith Emerson. But the list of great keyboardists is endless.

Colin Tench: So many musicians and bands: Beatles, Focus, Uriah Heep, Yes, Floyd. Today we have Roine Stolt and Pain of Salvation, Spock's Beard and the whole Dream Theater family of bands. Porcupine Tree deserve a very special mention, too!

MSJ: What do you think of the currently changing landscape of the music industry and how do you meet its challenges?
Colin Tench: The changes are now very fast and have been very big. The corporate world only allowed a few to ever get heard. Now they have gone, there is so much new music that it is still easy to fail to get heard. The facts are that most people are attracted to simple sounds that they already know and to famous names and images. The corporate world has an easy job of keeping things that way, so we still have the same problem as before. How do we get more people to hear us? Another strange fact is that many prog "experts" and fans suffer from the same affliction as the world of pop music. They reject things that are new and/or that don't follow the Genesis/Yes/70s recipes, therefore, anything new and different. So it is possible to have a career in music now, which was almost impossible in the 80s but it is terribly difficult. One might say that the sheer amount of talent, imagination, abilities and output of the musicians and bands who have sprung up in the last few years, outweigh the number of people who will ever hear them. Independent radio may be the saviour of musicians and radio listeners. I hope this is true.
MSJ: In a related question, do you think illegal downloading has helped or hindered the industry in the long run?
Colin Tench: I always think that it doesn't do us much harm. 99% of the people who download it would never buy it whatever we did. Some will download it, discover the music in it and then buy a CD. Major record companies are hit much harder than independents I think. It is also possible that the spread of the band name is helped.
MSJ: If you were faced with the opportunity to put on a music festival, who would you have on the bill?
Pasi Koivu: A tough question - right now I'd just like to relive the great California Jam'74 festival! By just watching and hearing Black Sabbath, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Deep Purple performing there you'll learn so much about musicianship and showmanship!

Colin Tench: Focus (including Jan Akkerman), Pain of Salvation, The Rat Pack, G3, Pink Floyd, Alex Harvey, Ziggy Stardust, Liquid Tension Experiment, Corvus Stone,  Al Di Meola, The Minstrel's Ghost, Santana

MSJ: What lies ahead for Corvus Stone, touring, etc..?
Pasi Koivu: Unfortunately I don't see touring for Corvus Stone at the moment - that would be very difficult. At least I should be able to leave my day job then! But these are really stage songs so let's dream!

There'll be a second Corvus Stone album - my thoughts are on it already! We are recording.

 

Colin Tench: It would be amazing to get a real opportunity to tour this music. We certainly would if we could. We can't spend thousands of dollars and give up jobs to do it, of course. Just give us a real chance though!

MSJ: What would you see as a favorite Spinal Tap moment?
Pasi Koivu: A great movie! All of it is great! For us the greatest Spinal Tap moment was when Colin introduced our drummer on Facebook to the audiences: "Meet Robert Wolff, the drummer!" The music that followed included machine drums - not Robert!
MSJ: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Pasi Koivu: Lots of. I love everything from 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Also my friend Clive Jones sent me one of Showaddywaddy's "Greatest Hits" compilation albums and I was hooked!

Colin Tench: I love unfashionable bands. I have no time for popular fashions. (laughter) Yanni, Dream Theater, Winnifred Atwell.

MSJ: If you could be a super hero for one day, which one would it be, and why?
Pasi Koivu: A Finnish superhero called Peräsmies because he can fly by just farting.

Colin Tench: Petri is actually Super Lemony man. He is my hero!

MSJ: Any closing thoughts for upcoming artists who want to forge a career in music?
Pasi Koivu: You cannot do it because of the money - you have to love the music and appreciate the fellow musicians especially if you are in a band or music project.

Colin Tench: Never expect a career from the arts. Do it because you enjoy it. It is possible for it to become a career with a little Internet work and a lot of luck.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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