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Monday, April 30, 2007

10 Q's with Sean Hetherington (INTENSE)



1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Currently doing promotion for our new album, and then next on the list is to start sorting out some show. We’re hoping to sign up to a new booking agency soon.

2. Could you take us through the tracks on the new album 'As Our Army Grows' please (eg ideas behind the songs etc)...

Okay, Anger of the Ancients is the opener (and you can hear an edit on our myspace page www.myspace.com/intense ) and is basically tells the story of tomb raiders getting their just desserts, Mirror Shroud was an idea I got from a book I’d read, it’s a cape that is addictive to wear and renders the wearer invisible, it gradually takes you over and makes you into a demon… Our Last Hope is the 3rd song in my tribute to the Prophecy Films (Dark Season and War of Angels were the first two) . It’s influenced greatly by Prophecy 3 the Ascent, it’s the story of war in Heaven between Angels and also man. You Die Today is just an observation that when your time comes, you can’t escape. Insanity’s Call comes to as all at some point in our lives, maybe even more than once… when you’re pushed and pushed and you’re very close to the edge. Temptress is a light hearted moment although I retained the darkness to some degree, this is about the type of women most men will come across at some point, they know what they want and will do whatever they have to to take it. Kara does a great job on vocals on the bridge. Fear Is Not Enough is about the supernatural and is seen from a psychics eyes, it’s also a case in point as to perception, we shot a video for this and the Director came up with a totally different narration (check it out on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oEYsxh_h1U ) We end with the Chronicles of the New Flesh, a Trilogy Written by Nick in dedication to David Cronenberg’s film, Videodrome. This starts with Trojan Transmission into Strange New World and finally Long Live the New Flesh. It helps if you’ve seen the film but even if you haven‘t I think you can enjoy the songs, they basically take you through the metamorphosis of the films main character and his battle with the videodrome.

3. How did you hook up with your new label Napalm Records? Will they be re-releasing your earlier work as well at some point?

This time I’d made a rule only to send to labels that showed an interest rather than send out promos that wouldn’t be listened to. Napalm were recommended to me by Karl who’d worked with someone who had recently been signed by them. They came back to me saying they were interested and after some negotiations the deal was done. We haven’t talked about our old stuff yet, if it were to happen we’d need to be better established on the world scene I think, Napalm are working at that right now. It was a great shout from Karl as thus far the label has been ultra supportive of the band, after hearing the label boss tell me of his commitment to our cause I was confident we were on the right label for us. The promotion up to now has been superb and we have some good guys in Austria, the States and the UK doing their bit for us.

4. What sort of live set can fans expect and which countries/venues do you particulary like appearing at?

Well we aired some of the new stuff last year both over here and in Europe. Germany is great for us to play and we played only a few shows in Holland and 1 in Belgium and got a great response so would like to go back doing bigger venues as a support in those countries, we’d also like to get to some bigger venues over here on a decent support slot, the UK fans have always been supportive of us which is great! Venue wise we played the Batcave in Tilburg at the 013 club.. which is probably the best venue we’ve played, they had 3 different stages there so I’d def like to go back there. I think as a band we enjoy the bigger stages such as Bloodstock, Thirteenth day etc as we thrive in such a situation. Set wise I think we’ll be playing mainly new stuff with a couple of SS tracks thrown in.

5. How did last year's first UK based Prog Power go? Have you seen interest in prog/power metal increasing over the past couple of years here in the UK?

PPUK last year was excellent, I think number wise we saw nearly 1200 people turn up to a totally new festival in Cheltenham. We had great reports and reviews and that’s why Jon and his wife Wendy have carried it on to do this year. I left the partnership after last year as I could see things were going to get busy with Intense and couldn’t commit the time unfortunately, I got to go as a guest this year which was nice. I think the profile of prog/power metal is growing and more people are turning to it or including it in their listening preferences. Of course having somewhere like PPUK is great as you can go along and get to see bands that rarely play the UK and also you get turned onto new bands you didn’t know before. A few bands have got new deals too, and Dragonforce are flying so it can only be good for metal I think.

6. How do you see the metal scene progressing and why do you think Intense still seem to be lagging behind press recognition/fanbase wise here in the UK compared to Europe?

The Metal scene is probably the best it’s been since the 80’s, I just hope it doesn’t crash and burn in the same way. I don’t think we’re lagging behind over here particularly, this is only our Second Album and only the first one that’s going to get decent distribution (HMV,Virgin, Play, Amazon etc) so maybe we have some catching up to do but I think it’s achievable. Our last label was very small and limited to what they could do, I did more self promotion for Second Sight than I did for Dark Season which I released myself, that tells a story I think, We’ve also not been on any decent support slots over here which we really need to address from now on to spread the INTENSE Word. Press wise we now have someone to handle press for us over here and thus far have received reviews in Metal Hammer, Powerplay, Fireworks etc plus all 3 had Anger on the cover mount, so I’m happy that things are changing for the better.

7. How easy/hard is it to get a decent run of tour dates together? Which bands that you appeared live with have you enjoyed appearing with most?

It’s pretty hard, that’s why I want to get a decent booking agency working for us rather than ME (ha ha) we also have to negotiate time off work etc.. all good fun. Despite everyone’s natural competitiveness we’ve made some good friends over here, Powerquest, Mercury Rain, Fourway Kill, Seasons End, Headless Cross, Conquest of Steel have all been good to play with and most of them are top guys/gals. It was nice playing with the likes of Sonata Arctica and Evergrey etc at the festivals too naturally.

8. How did you get your first break into the music business? What piece of advice would you pass onto budding musicians?

I don’t know if I’ve ever got a break in the music business ha ha.. All I’d say is that be prepared to work hard, take the good times with the bad and be driven.. persistence will get you a long way.

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my wife and 2 sons, watch Liverpool whenever I can and I like to escape by reading or playing strategy games on the PC.

10. Message to your fans...

I hope you like the new album and can see the progress since SS, and come and see us when we eventually hit the road… see you down the front!! Cheers!

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