Interviews anglais

THE ANSWER (10/09/13)

Version française

The Answer is currently on tour and while we’re waiting for their gig at Le Trabendo, in Paris, let’s have some informations about their new album “New Horizon”, with guitarist Paul Mahon !

Hello Paul, how are you?

Paul Mahon (guitar) : Good, good to be back in France, doing some press, it’s been a while; happy to come back with the new record.

So your new album will be out this month. Proud of it?

P : Yeah. It’s good to finally get it out; it’s complete since last Christmas. Yeah proud of it, it was, even though it was the quickest album we ever made from start to finish, still a lot of hard work put into and it appears as a high tempo one, so excited to see people listening to it.

“New Horizon” is your fourth album. Is it, as the title says, a new adventure for the band? Were there any new ways into the writing process or the lyrics?

P : The previous record “Revival” (2011), we’re very proud of it too, but the campaign around that one didn’t get that much interest or as much worth that it deserved. So we kind of had to go back to the drill board in some ways and think about things again rather than just make a fourth record. What can we do different? What’s still good and still bad about the band that the people really like? We kind of seized on that, just the live aspect, heavier aspects and we just focused a little bit more direct on that, punchier in music and lyrics, recording and everything. The first time we all sat down and discussed it, I kind of thought we wanted to make a very, you know, new thrilled simple rock album and that influenced the writing, bit more focused. Because we used to write thirty songs, in divers styles, very good songs but stylistically couldn’t make it together. But rather than pick five or six really good songs and then five or six others that are kind of different, and make the continuity better, maybe on “Revival” that’s what went wrong, it was too many twists and turns. These days people have short-attached response, you don’t have much opportunity to hit the demand, so this time the whole thing had to be together. There’re many goods songs, maybe not as good as or maybe better in some way, but some stylistically didn’t work. I mean, as a football analogy, you know when Didier Deschamps was playing midfield, he wasn’t Zidane or anything or Platini, but he didn’t needed two Zidane but that guy to work as well. So for that, it’s a better album.

What’s the guideline or concept of it?

P : I guess when the producer came aboard; he had very clear ideas of what was good about the band, what he likes, captured him as a fan and where we were losing people. Some bands like AC/DC they do one thing, they do it so well and the world seems to like that rather than those who do something more diverse. Another thing he had was imagine hearing it in rock clubs and what’s going to keep people moving on the dance floor. Lyrically simpler, more direct so everyone can understand it.


Why did you choose “Spectacular” as your first single? Is it the best track that represents the record?

P : I think it’s one of the key tracks on there and it’s obviously probably one of the most commercial tracks on there too. Unfortunately these days you attend one chance so we put our power behind that one. I think as well it’s got a little bit of old elements but also new elements that we were trying to bring in. It’s a very hopeful and optimistic song; it reminds me when I was fourteen and I was listening to music, like a drug no thought about selling copies, playing it at the radio, just for the love of it.

We’re disappointed because any track relates to alcohol, any explanation?

P : Let me see… No there’s no. (laugh) It seems we’ve left drinking behind for the subject matter this time. I guess we kind of try to redress the balance with the viral campaign, the drinking sessions, but yes no mess with water. (laugh)

About those “drinking sessions” who got the idea?

P : I guess Cormac was the driving force there, being a big drinker, being an expert, he got a large knowledge of beverages and beyond, he visited that on those videos. We already did stuff like that as studio reports so it was time to do something different and put the record company’s money in good use.

What is your favorite beverage? Be specific. (laugh)

P : I’ll say, probably my favorite drink at the moment, I’d become a real red wine man, St-Emilion, that probably my favorite. For more casual drinking, Guinness of course; it’s cold, it’s fresh, you can’t have too much of it but enjoy it well.


You must have tested many drinks in many countries. What’s the most surprising one that you’ve ever tasted?

P : A tough one! Probably a Scottish whiskey Laphroaig, it’s called. It’s kind of a cross between mouth wash, medicine and a good whiskey; and the first time you drink it somehow, it comes addictive even it’s terrible. (laugh) I was like “hmm, really?” (laughs)

Apart from “Spectacular”, which two songs could define the best “New Horizon”?

P : Probably the title track “New Horizon”, I think it’s a commercial potential as well and it’s probably one of those dance floor tracks that works live, it has enough vibe to hear it again. Lyrically, it kind of reflects where we are coming from with the album and also optimism such as “Spectacular”. I think all fans will like it and it’ll gain some new fans too. Other than that, I guess “Call Yourself A Friend” is a key track as well; it’s classic but also contemporary.

A word about the artwork, by Storm Thorgerson who passed away a few months ago…

P : It started when we signed with the new label Napalm Records, talking about the direction of the record, what we’re going to do and they said that Storm will do the cover, so we went “well that’s sounds good”. We sent him the record; he listened to it for a couple of weeks then conducted interviews with us like how we feel about the album, the future etc. He took that away and worked some sketches, came back with maybe ten ideas. So he took that one, reworking it with the photographic approach. But I think that’s not the final approach of it, I think he passed away about a week before it. I don’t think he got the see that. But we said “ok, this is it”.

We knew about The Answer when you were on tour with AC/DC. Did you ever imagine touring with those legends since you’re doing music? What was it like?

P : It’s something you always dream about when you’re a kid. That was one of the first things that really turned me on, when my brother played “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It”, I never heard something like that before so it started and then you always, as a kid, got in a band, grew up as a band and think “maybe that’s possible” I guess we built up to it, we already did shows with Deep Purple, couple shows with The Stones and we knew AC/DC could possibly aware of The Answer. And when we finished “Everyday Demons” got that to Malcolm, he liked it and picked up for the tour; lot of competition, lots of other bands way more established than us. So I mean you always have those aspirations, those dreams, as business perspective there were no chance so it was like a Christmas day.


You signed with Napalm Records. Many bands are signing with them those days, in which way did you feel that collaborating with them will be great for you?

P : It kind of came around a time where lot of change came into the band. “Revival” didn’t make it as we wanted and we felt that, no offense, they weren’t a 100 % behind us; so we saw pretty early in that campaign that something had to change so we sat down and parted ways, as well as our management. When you start changing things in your life, plenty of things happen and then Napalm came to the table and was interested by signing us, for five years already. We sat down and talked with them about what frustrated us before and about marketing The Answer with releasing our album in America where they’re aware of us because of AC/DC. They committed to support us on worldwide release and then, creatively, they pretty lay it up to ourselves, of course you have some visit; all those things, from the initial meetings sounded good and we got through the contract, all of that was written so let’s do it!

Were there also other companies who wanted to sign you?

P : Yes, some in the UK, independent labels, Universal, Mercury, Polydor but we’ve been around this long enough, you meet those guys and talk about it “we like the band” but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t see it on paper.

Do you already have in mind the set that you’ll play during the tour?

P : It is yeah. 70% new material and the old favorites as well; having a more dynamic live set.

Will we see you at Hellfest next summer maybe?

P : Yeah, we’re talking about that at the moment so I think it’ll just be a classic day like KISS and ZZ Top’s this year, must be Aerosmith. Fingers crossed!


Any message to your French fans?

P : Thanks for all this support over the years; it’s been since 2006, the audience is growing, the first place we played was La Maroquinerie, with many fans, very supportive to us, it’s a very passionate country and it reflects onto the fans. We’re having three shows on this tour, in France, Lyon, Strasbourg and Paris, Trabendo in November, really looking forward and hope to see the fans!

Finally, we are “RockUrLife”, so as a conclusion, what rocks your life?

P : What rocks my life? (laugh) I guess still having the opportunity to do what I love after all these years, I got to experience of few dreams and I’m in one still right now, that rocks my world.

Maybe drinking beers with the guys?

P : Sometimes it doesn’t, because the next morning “that doesn’t rocks me”. (laugh)


Website :