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Monday, April 30, 2007

10 Q's with THRESHOLD's Karl Groom



1. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY UP TO? (E.G. TOURING/STUDIO, ETC.)

Since I finished up on Dead Reckoning it has been mixing projects all the way. Two DVD soundtracks for Neo and Pendragon and an album mix for a pop/rock band called the Dreaming tree from the Midlands. Right now I am mixing new hardcore band NATO, from Cornwall.

For Threshold our tour agency is working hard on sorting out live dates. I know we have already made quite a few plans for summer festivals and also ProgPower USA in October. Some of those days already appear on the band’s website www.thresh.net . There also will most likely be a European Tour in September

2. COULD YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE TRACKS ON THE SUPERB NEW ALBUM 'DEAD RECKONING' PLEASE (EG IDEAS BEHIND THE SONGS ETC)...

The songs are about various difficulties people sometimes face during their life, for example Slipstream is about getting scared of life and not wanting to go outside, Elusive is about losing the will to achieve things and One Degree Down is about losing hope when dreams take too long to come true. Musically the album is slightly darker and heavier than our previous work, although there are still plenty of progressive moments especially in songs like Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams and Fighting For Breath. There’s no traditional Threshold power ballad this time but Safe To Fly comes close.

3. HOW DID YOU HOOK UP WITH YOUR NEW LABEL NUCLEAR BLAST AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE THEY WILL DO THAT POSSIBLY INSIDE OUT COULDN'T?

Threshold had to negotiate a new contract after completing three CDs for Inside Out and had a number of options. I’m sure it would have been very comfortable to stay with Inside Out, but I think it is important for a band to move on once in a while and to reinvigorate things. It is too easy to get into a pattern in terms of the way you write and promote the band. I find it good to need to prove to a new label how good you can be.

We did not actively look for a new label, but Nuclear Blast came to us after finding out we were up for contract renewal. They put up with us negotiating the contract for about six months and are still positive and looking for ways to get the most out of the new album!

I am not negative about Inside Out and would like to thank Thomas for the work he put in for Threshold, but unless a band like Threshold continues to evolve I can’t see it surviving. I want to continue to make music while I feel passionate about it, so we thought NB would offer us a step up and a lot better distribution, whilst still maintaining full artistic control.

4. ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO RE-RELEASE/RE-PACKAGE YOUR EARLY ALBUMS (PRE-INSIDE OUT)?

The albums Wounded Land, Psychedelicatessen and Extinct Instinct were all released as special editions during our deal with Inside Out. Each re-release included bonus material which consisted of bonus tracks or multimedia and an extended booklet. The re-issue of Psychedelicatessen included a remix and a bonus disk of the now deleted Livedelica taken from the bands 1995 tour.

5. WHAT SORT OF LIVE SET CAN FANS EXPECT AND WHICH COUNTRIES/VENUES DO YOU PARTICULARY LIKE APPEARING AT?

We are currently planning the live set for the Dead Reckoning tour as our first dates will be during the summer. There will of course be a lot of material from the new album to promote, but also some old favourites and maybe some things not heard for a long time. We are taking something from nearly every album I think.

6. YOU ARE VERY MUCH IN DEMAND PRODUCTION WISE. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THIS WITH THRESHOLD'S DEMANDS AND WHAT HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP PRODUCTION WISE?

The production work on other bands work is something I enjoy doing. It is just a case of separating it clearly from Threshold. We will typically spend 3 months writing and arranging for a new album and then maybe 3 months recording. On Dead Reckoning that time was split into a couple of sessions because of previous commitments. In the case of Threshold production I have Richard to work with, so that makes it much easier not to miss anything when you are so close to the music.

7. HOW DO YOU SEE THE METAL SCENE PROGRESSING AND WHY DO YOU THINK THRESHOLD STILL SEEM TO BE LAGGING BEHIND PRESS RECOGNITION/FANBASE WISE HERE IN THE UK COMPARED TO EUROPE?

The advent of the ProgPower UK festival has brought our style music forward again a little bit over here. However, metal as a genre has not been that popular since the 80s as far as I can see. The UK is generally attracted to manufactured pop music and reality shows, which means we and the other bands I work with play 99% of our shows abroad. That’s fine for the bands, but I see some frustration from rock fans who don’t get the same chance to see the music they love as other countries. We have gradually had better attendances at our shows in England, but we are looking to take a step forward with this album. That is one of the main reasons we were keen to sign with Nuclear Blast. Their distribution and promotion is much wider reaching than previous record companies we have been with.

8. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST BREAK INTO THE MUSIC BUSINESS? WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU PASS ONTO BUDDING MUSICIANS?

I gave up my local government job as a building projects manager when a small Dutch label signed one of the projects I was working on. We used the advance to buy equipment and record the CD and have continued to build the studio side ever since. About the time Clone came out I started getting a lot of power metal bands asking about production and it has gone on from there.

As a band we have always tried to be true to the style of music we are good at. It might be tempting to follow some trends at times, but there are plenty of there bands doing that and I think it pays to be original if you looking to be around for more than a year or so. One of the secrets as far as I am concerned is to never go back to old songs that were not used for a previous album. If they were not good enough then, why would they suit now? I try to write all my material in the few months just before we record so that it is of a given period of time. That will also help with the consistency of a CD.

9. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?

Watching football, cycling and struggling on home gym equipment!! I think Rich has just joined this crazy activity.

10. MESSAGE TO YOUR FANS...

I hope they enjoy the new Threshold album, Dead Reckoning and I look forward to seeing them somewhere on tour this year!

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