Douglas Docker is the musical mastermind behind Docker’s Guild who have just released their debut album ‘The Mystic Technocracy’ through Lion Music. It features a host of guest musicians including Tony Mills (TNT/Shy), John Payne (Asia), Tony Franklin and more.
1. What are you currently up to?
Hi and thanks for having me! Well, right now I am very busy promoting the first Docker’s Guild album, recording the second one, and managing all the visual aspects of the project, particularly all the videos that are being published on YouTube www.youtube.com/dockersguild
While waiting for the release of the 9-min epic short film “Darwin’s Tears”, which is due anytime now.
2. Could you take us through the new album ‘The Mystic Technocracy’?
The story called “The Mystic Technocracy” is the result of a simple observation: for the last 4000 years men have been committing the most unspeakable atrocities in the name of God. It is not at all an album against religion, or spirituality, on the contrary, it is an album about the stupidity of humans when they lose their ability of independent thought, and turn into mindless murdering machines in the name of religion. I then plugged this premise into a dark science fiction background. I am currently releasing a series of featurettes on YouTube that get real deep inside the album music, plot and structure, as well as the future installments of the saga. Basically, what happens is that a race of aliens creates religions as a way for humanity to self-destruct. A team of scientists tries to prevent this from happening.
In Season 1, the first part of the album covers an immense period of time, from the beginnings of life on earth to the present. We get to see the arrival of the Technocrat on earth, his role in the extinction of dinosaurs, the creation of religions, all the way to the modern-day terrorism, wars, prejudice and hate. The second part is more action oriented and we follow the team of scientists in their discoveries about how and why religions were invented and how human DNA was manipulated to make it easy for humans to get brainwashed. At the end, a mysterious second race of aliens comes to the scientists with a vision to show them how to save humanity from self-destruction. Season 2 will pick up from there and get deep into how that is supposed to happen.
3. When writing songs for the album did you have a vocalist in mind so that you may have written the music to fit their style of singing? I am thinking of ‘Loving The Alien’ as an example which features John Payne and sounds like a classic Asia song.
Not at all. Most of the songs on the album were originally written for my voice, and it is much later that I decided to use other singers. However, each singer got to choose on which songs they preferred to sing. John immediately chose ‘Loving the Alien’, a Bowie cover, and he did a fantastic job. It really does sound like an Asia track, and I am very happy about how it turned out. It is not easy to cover Bowie, and I think this one turned out quite nicely.
4. How did you get the vocalists like Tony Mills and John Payne and musicians like Tony Franklin involved? Did they record their parts then send them onto you to piece and mix together?
Most of the musicians and singers came on board because they loved the demos. I basically didn’t know any of them personally. I did know Tony Franklin from my days in LA and he recommended Gregg Bissonette. And Simon Hanhart, who mixed the album, recommended Guthrie Govan, whom I knew well from his amazing work with Asia. Regarding the recording process, I had complete preproduction demos entirely played and sung by me here at home, and through the Internet we exchangedfiles until all the demo parts were played by the real guests. Then all the files were sent to Simon in England where he mixed the album. Finally, it all went to Sweden to be mastered by Mike Lind at Masterplant. They all did an absolutely spectacular job, and I am deeply honored to have them all on the album.
5. 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 has been essential in producing the album. That’s why I waited so many years to create this project. It would have been impossible a few years back. The technology is now available to do large scale projects at an affordable cost, and I’m taking full advantage of it. That said, I am not sure at all about the benefits of the Social Media for promotion. I just don’t see the results and the numbers yet. The illegal download situation is a nasty affair, I don’t have the figures yet, we are selling both CDs and digital music, but it is obvious that things are moving slow due to this problem. I personally would be in favor of eliminating CDs entirely, a lousy format anyway, and go back to vinyl and branch off into multimedia avenues that are difficult or impossible to duplicate.
6. How do you think the live music scene may look in five to ten years’ time given the fact that a lot of the 70’s and 80’s bands will have stopped touring by then?
It’s the Andy Warhol nightmare come true. The system is just not sustainable anymore. Too much offer, not enough demand, and we have traded quality for quantity. There has never been so much music in human history, most of it bad. Anyone with a Mac can now fake having talent and release a decent product. That doesn’t mean they should though…
7. Any plans to perform the music live, perhaps as a one-off show with a follow-on live DVD release?
Regular touring will be very difficult, since the guests are spread out all over the world. However, there are plans to do an album release party, press conference and video presentation for the upcoming Darwin’s Tears short film, and this could include some form of live performance. I’m not sure yet, but it could also be unusual, for example and acoustic set without keyboards.
8. How did you hook-up with Lion Music? Will they be releasing the subsequent parts of Docker’s Guild?
My A&R agent Alessandro Del Vecchio shopped for the record deal, and Lion Music simply had the best offer. Now that I have worked with them for some time, I have to say that I am very happy about being on their roster, they have done their best to promote the album in these difficult times. I am already working on the second album, which surprisingly will not be Season 2 by the way, but whether it comes out on Lion Music or not depends largely on how well the first one does, so if you like the project, buy the CD!
9. What made you want to start making music and who have been your musical influences?
I started classical piano when I was 7, but I discovered rock ’n’ roll with the ‘50s revival of the late ‘70s. Grease, Happy Days, etc… It changed my life and rock became my passion and main musical focus. As far as influences, there are so many I couldn’t possibly name them all, but here are the main ones. Of course classical music has always been a big part of my life and I think it shows in the way I write music and structure arrangements. Then there is classic hard rock and heavy metal (Iron Maiden, Ozzy) and especially AOR (Journey, Asia). Later in life I discovered prog rock and then prog metal (Yes, ELP, Dream Theater, Threshold). I also love David Bowie, the ultimate master in all things, JM Jarre, Duran Duran and The Rockets, an obscure French space rock band that went platinum in Italy in the late ‘70s. The song Prophecy on the album is theirs, and there will be one on each subsequent album.
10. What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music?
Reading. I devour anything, from comics to complex non-fiction works about history, religion, science and more. I also enjoy trekking, swimming and biking, and I practice iaido when I can. I love movies as well and I have a huge collection, particularly science fiction, horror and historical movies.
Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Thanks again for having me and thanks to all fans for supporting the project!
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