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Progressive Rock Interviews

The Void’s Last Stand

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Jonas Wingens of The Void's Last Stand From 2009
MSJ: Can you give our readers a look at the history of your group and your involvement in music?
Shortly after the end of The Void, our first band, Geoffrey and I decided to start a new progressive band with a befriended drummer: Ray Dratwa. Having had to change and substitute musicians in The Void innumerable times we thought we would never meet someone who is into our kind of music and also comes to grips with the way we work and create music. But after we had the chance to jam with Dratwa, we decided to have a shot at it for the last time. So The Void's last Stand was born. The following months were spent with songwriting, rehearsals, demo-recordings, and the apparently endless search for a proper bass player. The three of us had to wait until February 2009 to finally find Rachid Touzani who seems to be the right guy. The band's debut CD A Sun by Rising Set was recorded during the Summer of 2009 and eventually released in early September.
MSJ: Where does the name The Void's Last Stand come from? Is there some significance to it?
As I said, our first band was called “The Void”. So we wanted to give “The Void” one last chance as a progressive project. Thus we called ourselves “The Void's Last Stand“.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music, what do you think you'd be doing?
Actually we can't do a living of it yet. I think most prog musicians can't live from their music alone. So we have to do something else, too. We are still students. I am going to be a teacher for history and English in Germany.
MSJ: How would you describe the sound of The Void's Last Stand?
Well, that's kind of difficult for me. I see a lot of quotes and references to classic prog bands in our music. But most people don't see that. I mean, we are influenced by Van der Graaf Generator, Nektar, ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Marillion. But we do not sound like any of them actually. Instead we use their styles and create something entirely new. So if you are into Yes, for example, you might not at all enjoy our music. Because we do not sound like them, but we are influenced by them. We have a lot of influences. Not only in progressive music. We combine a lot of musical and artistical styles and open out into our own style. Our music is very diversified. We play blues, we play jazz, we play country, funk, metal, math-rock and prog. We think that it progressive to combine all these different musical styles and influences and thus create something new. That is what we do. The same applies to my vocal style. I try to change and alternate my style of singing a lot. I try to be experimental and to use different colours. A lot of people don't come to grips with that. But that's the way I understand progressive singing. Because not only the music must be progressive and changing etc. but the vocals as well. So sometimes my singing is influenced by Peter Hammill, sometimes by Meat Loaf, sometimes by Jim Morrison and sometimes by Lou Reed, Ian Astbury or Axl Rose. For me singing is like acting. I try to be this person when I use their style. And I always use the style that I consider most appropriate for that part of the song. But combining so many styles is also dangerous, because you always find some styles in our music that you personally do not like. Anyway, if you are into alternation and diversification, you'd probably like our music. However, usually our music makes a strange first impression, as will anything that truly is original. “By definition, people don't know how to react to something new and different“, to quote Roger Sweet.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
At the moment we are rehearsing a lot in order to play our songs live next year. So we are planning a lot of gigs for the first half of 2010. Then probably in summer we are going to record our second album. If you want to see us live, check out webpage www.tvls.de. Gigs will be announced there as soon as possible.
MSJ: Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?
We'd be happy if we play some of the big prog festivals in Germany and the Netherlands or Belgium. Apart from that, it would be great to play with Van der Graaf Generator, Nektar or the Mars Volta. But I also would like to meet Liam Gallagher and have a night on the tiles with him.
MSJ: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?
Well, yes I kind of agree. I think that's one of the reasons for the fact that it is nearly impossible for a band like us to find a label. Many labels just don't have the money anymore to give a young and exceptional prog band a chance. So in a way it is a hindrance to our career. Apart form that it's kind of strange that soon after we finished recording, it was possible to download our songs everywhere in the world wide web without our allowance. Mostly downloading our songs was for free. But there were as well some guys who wanted to cash in on offering our songs for downloading without our allowance. But you can't control that. If you are sending your CD to magazines and web pages so that they could review the CD, there are always guys who misuse this and try to profit from out music. So you can't control this.
MSJ: In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
You can't control that either.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?
Well, I guess Pete Doherty, Mando Diao as well as Franz Ferdinand and all bands related to this crap. Why? Well, I'd like to quote Liam Gallagher on this one: “Nobody wants to be f***ing great! Nobody wants to be Elvis or John Lennon. They all just want to be little indie sh***ers.. I have no time for that!“
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?
Peter Hammill would be the lead singer and one of the song writers. Roye Albrighton from Nektar would do backing vocals, rhythm guitar and be another song writer. Steve Vai would do lead guitar.  Drummer would be Terry Bozzio. Cliff Burton would be the bass player if he was alive. But since he's dead I'd chose the one and only T.M. Stevens. And Keith Emerson would do keyboards. Well and then maybe I'd add Ian Anderson as flute player. And if I had to chose some more backing vocals for a choir or something, I'd chose Ryan Adams, Eskobar's Daniel Bellqvist and maybe Björk and Diamanda Galas for doing some duets.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?
Well, I guess there would be playing: The Mars Volta, Van der Graaf Generator, Magma, Eloy, Nektar, Yes, Iron Maiden, Oasis, Diamanda Galas and The Void's Last Stand.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?
Today I bought: Puccini, Giacomo: Madama Butterfly from 1974 featuring the great Luciano Pavarotti. The last prog CD I bought was Eloy's new album Visionary. 
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
I saw The Mars Volta for the sixth time this summer in Germany. And I'm going to see Yes in December in Düsseldorf.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Well, all I can say to this is that our guitar player's alignments are always at eleven!
MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?
I'd like to conclude this interview by quoting Jim Morrison: “We have assembled inside this ancient and insane theatre / To propagate our lust for life and flee the swarming wisdom of the streets“.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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