by Nikiforos Skoumas
– Columnist –
Danger Angel have just put out their second album Revolutia. Coached by Jeff Scott Soto, Danger Angel delivered a record that stands toe-to-toe with JSS, Eclipse and WET. We contacted founding guitarist Ethan Snow and front-man M.T. to find out how it all became possible as well as other developments within the Danger Angel camp.
Hardrock Haven: Having played the album a good number of times one has to agree that Revolutia was well worth the wait; but really why did it take almost four years for Danger Angel to release a second album?
Ethan Snow: Thank you for your kind words and for anticipating our new release! In fact, this comes out a bit over 3 years after the debut album, which came out in January 2010. We had to take our time to make this exactly what we meant to. It’s a whole new sound for us and we had to create this new sound from scratch.
It took us a year or so after the debut release to actually sit down and start writing for the new album. We had several things that we put aside every now and then and a new singer that the whole new sound and music had to be built on. Then there was the production period. From demos to final versions it took time to form the songs to our satisfaction and then Jeff came in as the producer and did his thing with the songs too. We then had to wait for Jeff’s schedule to clear up so that he would be able to come over to Greece and oversee some of the recordings on the spot, especially the vocal parts.
When the songs were passed over to John Ellis for mixing and mastering it was a situation we never faced before, with the songs coming and going via email, altering bits and pieces, amending parts, changing sounds, it took more than one week for each song to bring them to the shape we wanted and then Jeff had to go through them again to have them sound exactly as he wished. This took time and since we didn’t need to rush anything, it took more than what we anticipated. However, since we didn’t have any deadlines, we decided to have it run its course and have exactly what we wanted instead of rushing it.
Hardrock Haven: How did you come in contact with the iconic Jeff Scott Soto in the first place and how did you manage to get him even more involved on this second album?
Ethan Snow: That was something that was set up through our management. Our manager and Jeff are very good friends and he had the idea of bringing him in for a song for the first album, that was “Never Let You Go.” We thought it would be a good idea because we were all Jeff’s fans for years and since the band was new, we could really use the boost Jeff’s name would give us. We did that and then we also did a “combo” gig with Jeff, following the album’s release, presenting the album and performing as the JSS band for Jeff’s set. That brought us close to Jeff and we spent some days with him, had a great time and a great show together. This built a relationship that made it easier for both of us to move on to the next level and have Jeff produce the new album. We proposed that to him as soon as we had some new songs to show (4-5 demos were prepared when we decided to ask him). We sent him those songs, he loved them and said he’d love to do it so we agreed to do this as we did.
Hardrock Haven: To those who got the first Danger Angel album, how would you describe Revolutia in comparison to the debut?
Ethan Snow: Revolutia is a totally different thing compared to the first album. For starters, these are all new songs, while in the debut we had some songs that dated way back. Moreover there is the new singer, absolutely different to the old one. The new songs were written with him in mind and they were styled after his voice, image and attitude. Furthermore, the structure of the band is different since there is only one guitarist in the lineup now, and the keyboards have a very different role in the mix since we wanted them to cover the second guitar spot in addition to their standard role. The most important factor, though, is that Danger Angel are moving to a new sound form, a more contemporary approach in our music, putting some distance between our current music and our ‘80s approach of the first album. With the optimized band lineup we were able to filter all influences to what we require to move towards, musically. That makes all the difference in the world for us and while we were concerned about alienating some of the fans we attracted with our first album, we now see that Revolutia is welcomed by all existing fans (at least the ones we are in touch with) and is bringing in loads of new ones, which is what we hoped it would do.
Revolutia a thematic album with most songs evolving around a particular topic?
M.T.: It is thematic, indeed. It raises social awareness and it couldn’t be any other way. When the music came out and when the lyrics came out we were already deeply affected by what was going on in our country and in our extended region.
This whole financial crisis as it is today, had already affected our lives and the lives of people we care about and people we saw in the street and in our concerts. People all around us were struck by this situation, people close to us actually took their own lives because of these conditions, the suicide rates sky-rocketed in our country, people in our families and our social circle lost their jobs as well as a lifestyle they struggled for years to accomplish, even to a bare minimum. We had to say something about all of this. We are a rock band no matter the bells and whistles and rock bands are traditionally socially aware. That’s what rock music is all about and that’s why we called the album “Revolutia.”
Our album is a revolution for us and a message for a revolution to whomever wants to listen. It’s a love revolution, a suggestion to go through your everyday problems through love and understanding and caring for other people’s feelings and troubles but also, of course, a suggestion that people should rise up and speak their minds. Of course there are other things in the album, there are one or two love songs and a couple of random stories, but if you’re asking if there is a concept, yes there is and it’s a sad one.
Hardrock Haven: While playing the album one can easily make out that Revolutia draws musically from JSS, Eclipse and WET. Was there any label/management pressure for Danger Angel to endorse a similar musical style to the bands mentioned above?
M.T.:There was no pressure, suggestion or demand by our label or anyone else. What you have as a result is an advancement in our style, the first step to where we want to take our music. It’s the combination of our influences and what we like to play. Jeff’s input is evident, of course, but that’s also something we welcomed when we decided to have him do the production. The main thing is, though, that this is the first step towards creating a trademark sound- if we ever make it that far- something that will make us identifiable to pretty much everybody. To achieve that end we will have to go through steps. This is the first one.
Hardrock Haven: Revolutia also marks your second release under US-based record label Perris Records which specializes in the genres of melodic hard rock, AOR and glam/sleaze, what is your relationship like with the company?
Ethan Snow: We are very happy to be still working with Perris Records. We enjoy dealing with them, they are doing what needs to be done and they give us absolute freedom and support to do what we need to do. We couldn’t ask for more at this point and we hope Revolutia brings as much success to them as it might bring to us.
Hardrock Haven: By the time your debut album was released, Danger Angel was one of the few ‘00s Greek bands that played old-school melodic hard rock. In the following years more ‘80s-oriented rock bands would emerge. What are your thoughts on the current Greek melodic rock/AOR/Glam/Sleaze scene?
Ethan Snow: That was true for some time. In the years that followed, more bands with similar orientation to ours popped up, some of them really special. Even though we are not that old school anymore and we don’t exactly fit under the same description, bands like Wild Rose, we believe, set a global standard for A.O.R. and Redrum are an excellent melodic hard rock band while 4Bitten really shine as a pure hard rock band. Of course there’s always Firewind (partially Greek) and Innerwish or even Rotting Christ and Suicidal Angels to the more extreme, but there are so many more bands here that deserve the spotlight. What’s interesting is that while the Greek scene is an underground one, especially compared to more developed scenes around the world, we believe that it is one of the most underrated and overlooked. Currently we have so many bands that are of the highest standards that’s simply amazing. That applies to entire rock spectrum, from A.O.R. or Pop-Rock to extreme heavy metal. This spring we’ll have 4-5 hard/heavy bands either touring Europe or wrapping up their European tours and this is unprecedented for the Greek hard/heavy scene, or any other Greek scene for that matter. This region has some amazing musicians and some extraordinary bands that only need to be discovered by labels and media abroad. It’s just a look away and people should really take that look.
Hardrock Haven: You are also embarking on your first full length European tour next month (April) supporting JSS. How hard is it for a melodic hard rock band these days to find a fitting touring package?
Ethan Snow: We really can’t tell. This came pretty easy for us because we worked thing out since the beginning of Revolutia. We also had Jeff as our aid claiming it would be a good idea to tour with him so we jumped to the idea and it’s now going to happen. It’s probably harder for the majority of bands than what’s been for us, yet one could say that if you are serious on what you’re doing and you have a solid plan, anything becomes possible. We don’t see ourselves as being better or worse or different in any way to all those other bands out there. We do the best we can and if that works out, it’s pretty certain that we will be able to draw the attention we deserve. We have been patient and committed and this should make all the difference in the world. It doesn’t come over night, it never did for anyone. It takes work and sacrifice and expense, trial and error and it goes through a lot of disappointment, but it should work out in the end.
Hardrock Haven: Are there any plans for Danger Angel to secure any live dates in the United States anytime soon?
M.T.: We are actually working into that, it’s something that we’d really love to do, you know, but it’s not entirely up to us. Maybe it’s closer than we think, maybe it will never happen, but we are working on that and hopefully it will happen sooner than later. In general, though, we’d play wherever they’d want us and we’d be grateful to have the chance.
Hardrock Haven: Please feel free to fill in anything that we missed that you would want fans to know.
M.T. Well, we are anxious to meet them out there and play our music for them. And we want them to let us know if they enjoy it and would be glad to share it with other people and film our concerts and show their friends, on Youtube, what have you. We want people to have a good time when they come to our shows. We are very anxious to play in front of all those new people and meet us after the shows. It’s a good chance for everybody to get acquainted with Danger Angel, the package in this tour is awesome with Jeff Scott Soto giving the tone along with us and the Jorge Salan trio following suit. This should be an amazing experience for the group and for those who attend, so, please, come to the shows and come early, whether it’s in your town or close enough, it’s going to be lots of fun!
Read Hardrock Haven’s review of Revolutia here.
Visit the band online: http://dangerangelband.com/