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Progressive Rock Interviews

Hourglass

Interviewed by Josh Turner
Interview with Brick Williams of Hourglass from 2005


MSJ:
This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.

You have an amazing new album. Do you plan to showcase this material in any upcoming tours or concerts?
No tours yet. We are an independent band so the funding for a tour would be a huge challenge. I hope we can do that someday though. We are looking into scheduling some shows for the western U.S. states. We usually set up a big show about every three months or so here in Utah.
MSJ: How did you come up with the name Hourglass for the band?
It was our first singer's wife. She came up with the name and it stuck.
MSJ: How did you decide upon the name Subconscious for the title of this new album?
I wanted to try and have a one word title this time around. I was out for a walk one night and I was trying to think of a single word that would catch people's attention. I thought of "Subconscious" and told it to the guys in the band. Everyone liked it so we stuck with it.
MSJ: Does this album follow a theme?
There is no theme to follow. Just big epic songs with their own individual themes. "The Hammer's Strike" is about the judicial system in America. "Mists of Darkness" is about depression and the struggles and emotional roller coaster that having this illness can bring. I've never had serious depression, but I have known a few people close to me that have had it, and it is a very devastating thing. "Exit Wounds" is about a man who dies in war, and the effect that his death has on his family. The song isn't about war; it is about losing a loved one.
MSJ: What's the significance of the black widow spider on the album cover?
Well, when we were trying to think of an album cover, my wife pointed out that black widow spiders have an hourglass on their stomach. That just kind of set the wheels in motion and we started talking about ideas. Since our logo is an hourglass we decided that we had to use a black widow somehow. We turned the idea over to our drummer's brother, and he came up with the artwork and layout. I must say it turned out pretty cool.
MSJ: The album is littered with complex compositions. Could you describe your songwriting process? How do you formulate these ideas and how do you put them together to form such brilliant music?
It is sometimes very easy, and sometimes it can take a long time. I'm always writing music. If I write a riff that I like or a good chord progression, I'll show it to the band. In past albums we would just jam on the idea, just improvise and let the music take us where it would. Many ideas for our last album "The Journey Into" came this way. For "Subconscious" though, it was just John and me for a long time. Then Cody our singer joined the band, and since he doesn't play an instrument his musical contributions are limited. His main job was to help John and me write the melodies, so his time was spent on this. By the time we had a full line-up, the music was almost complete. I had been writing for about a year and a half and I was trying to piece together some of the bigger songs and fill in some of the instrumental sections when we finally had the full band. The main thing that I did was take ideas that had the same type of feel or vibe, or ideas that were in the same keys and put them in an order that had a flow to it. I feel strongly that if you are going to write a 32 minute long song it better flow really well or you are in trouble. It was kind of like putting a puzzle together this time around. I actually prefer the improvising method and I prefer to write as a band. I just didn't have a choice on the new album, so I wrote most of it myself.
MSJ: I enjoyed all the music on the album, but overall, I thought the long epic at the end was best. It had a number of highlights. The individual pieces flow together very well and continue to introduce new melodies. What's your favorite part of the album?
I'm certainly most proud of the long epic "Exit Wounds" that you are talking about. My favorite part of the album is the second half of part 6 called "Widowed." The emotional vocals that Cody delivers there are unbelievable to me. He really nailed the feel I was hoping for when I wrote those lyrics.
MSJ: Do you have any plans for another album at this time?
We have started showing some ideas to each other and jamming on them. Very early stages still, but almost everything so far has been heavy.
MSJ: What should we expect from the upcoming album?
Even more complex music. We really enjoy pushing ourselves to get better, faster, and more creative.
MSJ: While the music is unique in its own way, I cannot help but hear a Dream Theater influence. Your style of playing is even similar to John Petrucci. Who would you say are your musical influences?
Petrucci is certainly one of my influences. We really love Dream Theater. They are truly incredible. My personal favorites are guys like Steve Lukather, John Petrucci, and Steve Morse. As far as bands go I love Rush, Kansas, Yes, Queensryche (when Degarmo was around,) and Toto.
MSJ: How did you decide you wanted to be a guitarist?
I got tired of faking it on a tennis racquet. I couldn't decide between drums or guitar, but I had a stronger pull towards guitar ultimately.
MSJ: When did your involvement in music begin?
I started playing when I was 14. I really started listening to music and loving it when I was 8. I got a tape of The Moody Blues and it changed everything for me.
MSJ: You're part of an extremely talented band. How did you meet your band mates?
I grew up in the same neighborhood as our keyboardist Eric. I met our drummer John through our last keyboardist. John had known Cody, so that was how I was introduced to Cody. Our bassist Clark was referred to me through a bass teacher here in Utah.
MSJ: Can you recall any Spinal Tap moments that occurred with this band?
The power going out five times at our CD release concert for "The Journey Into." I thought we were going to have to cancel the whole show. We started the same song over at least three times that night. John forgot to bring his cymbals to a show earlier this year.
MSJ: What's the last CD you purchased?
"Season's End" by Marillion. Steve Hogarth is incredible on this one. I had some of the songs on a "best of" release, but I'm not regretting this purchase.
MSJ: What is the last concert you attended?
Yes and Dream Theater in Denver at Red Rocks - very stormy night and an excellent show.
MSJ: What is your favorite album?
"Moving Pictures" by Rush
MSJ: What is your favorite band?
Toss up between Rush and Dream Theater. I usually lean towards Rush though.
MSJ: What is your favorite movie?
I love "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
MSJ: What is your favorite TV show?
The Simpsons
MSJ: What is your favorite book?
Not surprising - "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I read the books for the first time when I was really young and have been a big fan ever since.
MSJ: Do you have any pets?
I have a mutt dog and have always loved dogs. I also have quite a few fish.
MSJ: Before we wrap up, is there anything you would like to say to your fans at this time?
I'm glad you are with us on this journey. I am always thrilled when we get an e-mail from a new fan or when we play a show and someone comes up afterwards and is excited to tell us how much they love the band. It makes us want to keep doing what we do.
 
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