Interview: CHRIS PICTON (August 2014)

Multi-instrumentalist Chris Picton first came to the attention of GRTR! as a member of prog rock band Quecia. Now Chris has a new digital album out called ‘Journey of Broken Dreams‘ and we caught up with him for an update plus a little football related chat…

1.What made you want to record the new album ‘Journey of Broken Dreams?’ and how has the reaction been so far, reviews and sales wise?

Chris Picton -Journey Of Broken Dreams

It wasn’t a conscious decision to record a new album but I bought a Roland Guitar Synth and a couple of years ago and found myself playing guitar much more, especially the acoustic sounds which are quite authentic and before I knew it I was half way through the first track ‘Awakening’ with 3 or 4 decent ideas on top of that.

In fact I wrote the quiet middle section to that track first as an Intro and ended up using it as a middle 8 or 16 or whatever it is lol! I also commandeered my son’s iPad and downloaded a Mellotron and Mini-Moog app which I just loved and that was it, I was hooked and away in my own little home studio world.

The reaction from everyone that’s heard it has been great and yes I’ve made a few bob from downloads so far and people paying extra on my bandcamp site, which I find amazing! I’m just trying to get the artwork finished so I can send out a number of physical CD’s.

The best comment I’ve had so far was on the Progarchives website which read – “An ultimate crossover prog masterpiece with predominately instrumentals that have soaring guitars, wonderful use of synthesizers, but also with great parts of these beautiful and passionate female vocals. This album has all the makings of contemporary prog, and certainly it is one of the best crossover prog albums released in 2014″. I was gobsmacked to say the least…

2. When you composed these pieces of music did you always envisage them solely as instrumentals, or sometimes in the course of writing do you add lyrics and take the song on a different direction?

I tend to write everything as instrumentals these days. If I’m in a band, say like Quecia was, I would try and write a song to fit the type of band we were, but I’m more interested these days in creating good melodies and harmonies and I like to experiment with different sounds and instruments, if I can get my hands on them.

Plus the technology these days is awesome. You can buy a brilliant synth on your ipad for 5 or 10 quid and it sounds fabulous. I’ve always loved trying to keep up with technology but there’s nothing like real live music, played well, which I miss at the moment not being in a band.  I do occasionally play in cover bands, cranking my bass upto 11 when I get the chance lol!

Having said all that, if I find the right band for me in the future I’d love to write some new songs or even lyrics for these tunes, now there’s an idea.  Thanks Jason!!

3. Will you be able to play any live dates on the back of the album’s release? Do you find that there is an increase in interest over instrumental bands/ artists, especially in the progressive music genre?

I don’t see myself gigging with this music at the moment as it’s not financially viable in this current music scene (Don’t get me started on that one ha ha). I would need maybe a 6 piece band with a couple of keyboard players to do it justice and there just isn’t the demand for this kind of new instrumental music.

Having said that I love the fact that Matt Stevens and The Fierce and the Dead are paving a way for  instrumental Prog Rock here in the UK. Instrumental music seems much more widely accepted in other countries and I’d love it to be that way in this country too.

I also know Rob Reed of Magenta has just released a new album which I think is instrumental but I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m sure it will be great.

I do have 3 of my songs on this album from my Quecia days, 2 of which I remixed from the 2nd album and a song that would have been on the 3rd album if we’d have ever got round to finishing it, but that’s another story…

4. What else have you got planned music wise for the next few months?

Well I planned on doing nothing musically for a while as it takes me ages to get things done as I have a family with 3 boys, working full time, helping coach a lads football team, watching Wigan Athletic… but the reaction I’ve had up to now makes me want to write and do some more.

And when something gets finished I’m always itching to move on and get a new project started. Maybe I won’t take as long with the next one. I’m hoping I can learn a couple more instruments too. I used to play a bit of sax and owned a mandolin once, so it would be nice to get into those again and record something with a different feel.

I think it will always be Proggy though, would be good to throw in some odd time changes too. I’ll be wearing Bat Wings and a Cape next! Indeed I think it was Steve Hackett who once said – once you turn on the ‘creative’ tap, it’s hard to turn it off again, or words to that effect and I find that true for myself.

5. How do you think Wigan will fare this season as the Championship has some big money teams like Fulham and promoted teams with a decent backing like Brentford.

Great question and probably the hardest to answer lol! I think we’ve been spoiled over the past few years at Wigan Athletic. I know we got relegated from the Premier League but some of the football we played under Roberto Martinez was sublime. Beating all the big boys like Man U, Liverpool and Chelsea. It was truly unbelievable from when I used to watch them at the old Springfield Park stadium.

I think last season may have been the time to get back up but it was such a bad start under Owen Coyle and too many games with Europe etc that did us.

I don’t think we will be able to compete as well but I am always optimistic and under Uwe Rosler I think we have a potentially great manager. If we can spend a little more money before the transfer window shuts I think we should make the play offs – then who knows, Wembley again. By the way did I mention Wigan Athletic won the FA Cup in 2013!!!

Message for you fans…

Thanks to everyone who’s listened to and bought my music and for all your kind comments, it means a lot and you make an old man very happy. Cheers me dears…

www.chrispicton.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/chrispicton

https://twitter.com/Chrisp321


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