Keyboards player Adam Wakeman is a busy man with the debut Headspace album due in May and then on the road with Black Sabbath and Ozzy & Friends.
1. What are you currently up to?
I have just arrived back in the UK from Ozzy and Friends rehearsals in Los Angeles, and about to start Black Sabbath rehearsals for Download show on the 10th June. Ozzy & Friends tour starts on 23rd May in Helsinki. Im also finishing my first full film score for a British indi film called Nothing Man along with press for the upcoming I Am Anonymous release.
2. Could you take us through the new Headspace album ‘I Am Anonymous’?
The title of the album has the finger pointed directly at the listener. This is about you and your relationship with humanity, ultimately the battles fought within the mind from child to man. Through Kubler Ross’ model of impending death, with reference to war, the turmoil leads us to peace and acceptance… only then to swing straight back round to chaos. There are strong references to how this translates in current times. References to War and religion and how this effects us all differently on a day to day basis.
3. How did the band come together and why so long between the first EP released in 2007 and the release of the debut album now?
We’ve all known each other a long time – I have known Damian the longest, I had a band called Jeronimo Road with him back in 1995/6. Lee and Richard I have known for 14 or 15 years and Pete about 8 years. We have all played together in different session bands as professional musicians and always wanted to be able to start something together. Headspace began with that very principle. Friends who love music, get together to make music they love, and want to make. We each individually spend most of the year playing for other people. Don’t get me wrong – we love our jobs but it’s important to have something of your own going on too, however long it takes…
There are several reasons why it took so long to come out with I Am Anonymous. Firstly, I have been really busy with Ozzy – the 2007/8 Black Rain tour and then writing the Scream album with him and then the 100 date 2010/11 Scream tour so already thats a good chunk of time gone. That meant that getting all 5 of us together was quite a difficult task when you look at everyone elses schedules too.
We got together when we could and sent MP3s to each other to develop ideas and for Damian to work on lyrics and melodies. It may sound fragmented, but it actually worked really well. It also gave us enough time to live with sections of songs and decide whether they were good enough which was useful. We demo’d the whole album continuously until we were happy it all made sense lyrically and musically before we recorded the album you hear now. We had no label time restrictions and actually turned label deals down for that very reason. This is our baby, and we wanted it to be done honestly, and the way we wanted. Once it was finished, then we spoke to labels.
4. Given yours and other band members commitments outside of Headspace will it be a mainly studio based band or is the plan to get out more on the road?
The plan has and always will be to take this band on the road and continue recording albums. Our commitments outside of Headspace obviously have to continue for various reason, but ultimately this band belongs to all of us and we want to be working it and playing shows.
5. Will you be involved in the upcoming Black Sabbath reunion shows? A strange question perhaps but given that a lot of Black Sabbath songs don,t feature keyboards how do you keep busy on a live show?
I am involved and I just make cups of tea and watch youtube clips……no, not really. I double the guitar parts on keyboard sounds I have programmed to compliment Tony’s guitar sound and trigger a few samples and play string lines. It’s a small part of the show but you’d notice it if it wasn’t there. I play rhythm guitar on a load of songs too where there were no keyboards as I do with Ozzy’s band when there’s no Keys.
6. What have been the live highlights so far and why?
First would be Live 8 in Hyde park. I played keyboards with a band called Travis for 4 years and loved it. Great guys and fun times. That was the biggest gig ever. I was actually on tour with Sabbath at the time and flew from Sweden on a day off to play that show. Ozzy was watching on his hotel TV in Stockhom and said “What the fucks Adam doing there?” when Travis were on! Second to that was the first time I played Madison Square Garden with ozzy. in 3rd place is probably a close place between all the other gigs I’ve ever done! I love playing, wherever it is.
7. How do you think your keyboard playing has developed through the years? Have you any interest/plans to perhaps write and stage a rock opera like your dad has?
I would say the development of my career has led me to one conclusion. Play what’s required, not what you want. That may seem obvious but as an 18 year old you just want to play as much and as fast as you can. My classical piano training meant I could keep up with my dad’s speed when we worked together but as a 38 year old now , you want to play what’s fitting and complimentary to the other (hopefully) complimentary players. Headspace is so ideal for that way of thinking. There are screaming solos and technical sections where I’m playing in 5/4, pete in 7/8 and rich in 4/4. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time. Remember that there are people going to listen to it too…
8. Has the internet helped you get your music out there or has it in some ways hindered it by websites offering free downloads? Do you still rely heavily on CD sales as opposed to download?
The internet is a double edged sword. It gives like minded people a fantastic network of people to chat to and discuss music. Yet some people will happily download 1,000 albums without a thought about the hours and money the artists have spent recording it. As for CD sales, Progressive music is still a very honest genre of music buying people I believe so that is one of the reasons we spent so much time, and money on the fantastic artwork. You have to give people something special if they are prepared to buy a proper copy of an album.
9. Is progressive music in a better state than say five years ago given that magazines like ‘Prog’, are available in the High Street and the plethora of dedicated websites and specialist radio shows?
Again, a plus point for the internet – the hundreds of radio stations dedicated to classic types of music. If you want to listen to prog 24 hours a day, you can. That certainly wasn’t the case 10 years ago. PROG mag is an example of how there is a mainstream market for something that is ‘supposed’ to be niche. They are the modern day media pioneers of progressive music in my opinion.
10. What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music?
Spending time with my family, I am married to Terri with our 3 children; 7 year old girl Skyla, and 3 year old boy / girl twins Taja & Kai. Pretty much anything that involved being outdoors with them & walking our dog HooDoo.
Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Just a thank you really to everyone that buys and supports our music. Without people supporting music that isn’t the norm, it wouldn’t be created.
If you do buy the album and find the QR scan code in the booklet, scan it using the smartphone app (free QR Scanner) and see video’s of what we thought about the recording process and what we were thinking as we were writing it.
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