Keyboards player/producer Richard West is a busy man, firstly as a member of Threshold whose new album ‘March Of Progress’ has just been released on Nuclear Blast. Then he has the League Of Lights project and he has produced other bands including Intense and Power Quest.
1. What are you currently up to?
We’re getting our tour plans together at the moment. We should be doing a headline tour of Europe sometime in March next year, followed by a handful of festivals over the summer.
2. Could you take us through the new album ‘March Of Progress’? (e.g. ideas behind the songs etc)
Well it’s our ninth album and the third with our original vocalist Damian Wilson. But we were very conscious we didn’t want to just take our sound back to the 90′s when he was last with us, so “March Of Progress” is very much an album in the modern Threshold vein, but with a few modifications here and there to make the most of Damian’s vocal sound.
3. Your keyboards, along with Karl Groom’s riffs, are an integral part of the band’s sound. How do you manage to keep coming up with new sounds on the keyboards and how do you get that distinctive keyboard riff that is on many classic Threshold songs?
With every album I always try to use new keyboards and sound sources, nowadays I use a lot of software synths which open up more possibilities too. The lead sound I use is from a much older synth though, I used it on “Critical Mass” in 2002 and since then I’ve been trying to recreate that sound on more modern synths. But for “March Of Progress” I just got online and bought the old synth again, there was something about that sound that just worked perfectly for Threshold solos.
4. What has it been like having Damian Wilson back in the band?
Just like old times! While he was away he did a lot of touring with other projects so he’s come back with more experience and that’s certainly helped our stage shows. After he came back we were enjoying doing live shows so much we ended up doing about 60 shows which is a lot more than we normally do for one album.
5. You have done a lot of mixing and production work with Threshold and other artists like Intense, Power Quest, The Morning After et al. When mixing/producing another artist do you have much input in their sound/songwriting at all?
It’s different with every project, but most bands have a strong idea of what they’re doing and your job is more in terms of quality control, getting the best from the musicians, sorting out wrong notes, vocal harmonies, doing session keyboards when you’re asked, that sort of thing. Occasionally the odd lyric or melody might have to get worked on but that’s just all part of the process.
6. What have been the live highlights so far and why?
We’ve done some amazing festivals like Wacken, ProgPower, Night Of The Prog and Rock Hard. But I also love the club shows, places like Z7 in Switzerland and the Boerderij in the Netherlands, wonderful venues with such a good atmosphere.
7. You have your own studios Eightspace. How did you start this studio and will it be purely for bands or is it for other projects e.g. spoken word?
It’s a small private space where I write and work. It’s a good place for recording, editing and mixing and I spend most of my time there. It’s mostly for producing bands and doing my own projects.
8. Have you been pleased with the reaction to the League Of lights debut album and what is next for the band?
The reaction to the album was very good and it was a pleasure to work with such great musicians as Ruud Jolie from Within Temptation and Mark Zonder from Fates Warning. I don’t know what’s next though. We released a single called “Forever” over the summer featuring Threshold’s old vocalist Glynn Morgan, but a new album’s unlikely without a record deal of some sort.
9. 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?
That’s an interesting question, but I’m sure the scene will continue to thrive even when the original stars have stopped touring. There are always great bands coming through and the metal scene in particular seems to be doing well across Europe.
10. What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music?
I don’t really have any time away from music!
Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Thanks for supporting Threshold and I hope we’ll see you on tour next year!
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Power Plays w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
LIBERTY LIES A Thousand People (indie)
DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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