URIAH HEEP Vocalist Praises 'Really Focused' Producer JAY RUSTON, Thinks Group's New Album 'Sounds Very Current'

URIAH HEEP Vocalist Praises 'Really Focused' Producer JAY RUSTON, Thinks Group's New Album 'Sounds Very Current'

URIAH HEEP singer Bernie Shaw recently spoke with Australia's Heavy magazine. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On new album "Living The Dream":

Bernie: "It's getting a lot better reviews so quickly than anything we've done in a long time. We were very, very pleased with it. America, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic — it's charted in every country. Even unbeknownst to me, we're charting where I didn't know, so it's really, really good so early to get such a great reaction."

On the album's recording process:

Bernie: "[We were] in and out that door in 19 days. I can mention some heavy metal bands from America that take longer than that just to tune their guitars. We had a couple weeks of pre-production just to put the ideas together, but once we were in the studio with Jay Ruston, he had such a good, strong work ethic. He knew exactly how he wanted to put the sessions together, and it was very different from what we were used to, except for the idea of all five of us like to be in the same room at the same time, playing, and you record everything. In the '80s and '90s for a while, a lot of people were doing this, 'Record the hi-hat, and then record the bass drum, and then record the rhythm guitar.' It's like a stack of pancakes. It all sounds so sterile and put together, where if you've got five guys all cranking it out at once, it captures that live feel, which is what music is all about. Jay also introduced a new way of doing it — instead of doing all the backing tracks just to a guide vocal, we did one full song a day. That was backing track, vocals, harmonies, solos, put it to bed. That's not usually how people do it. Usually, you go in, you record all the backing tracks over four or five days, and then do all your solos, and the last thing that usually happens is the lead vocals and all the harmonies. To do one track a day meant that I had to be singing every single day, but it worked. Within the first two or three days, we went, 'Oh, yeah. Look what we're doing — we're actually finishing something to such a high standard, and we're having a laugh doing it. Let's stick to this formula.' It really, really did work well for us. It's a way that we would like to keep on for future albums. Jay was such an easy guy to work with – really focused. He brought kind of a new sound mix-wise to the band, [and] I think the band sounds very current. We had such a blast recording it. You can't falsify that — when you're having a good time, it's going to show."

On whether the band plans to commemorate their 50th anniversary in 2019:

Bernie: "The 50th anniversary for URIAH HEEP is actually from 1970. There was the band in 1969, but it really just SPICE, not URIAH HEEP. We're actually planning all the big hoo-hah to happen in 2020. Our managers have got some really cool ideas up their sleeve. We're sworn to silence, except it's going to be fun. Not many people have that accolade to last fifty years and still be playing, and still be writing, and still be current. We're going to milk it as much as we can. [Laughs]"

On his favorite song URIAH HEEP recorded prior to his joining:

Bernie: "It's got to be 'July Morning'. It is a gorgeous song, and I am a sucker for a power ballad. Post me, there have been some really beautiful songs — 'Come Away Melinda', 'Rain'. There are some really lovely songs, but 'July Morning', I think, has a nice... From my time, probably 'What Kind Of God' — a song that tells a story, and it's very, very touching when you actually know the story behind it and the lyrics that Mick [Box] wrote. Really a gorgeous song, and so dynamic to sing."

"Living The Dream" was released on September 14 via Frontiers Music Srl.


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