Interview mit SOTO zur neuen CD ‚DIVAK‘

Im März bekamen wir von metal-heads.de die großartige Möglichkeit, ein Interview mit SOTO zum Erscheinen ihrer neuen CD ‚DIVAK‘ zu führen. Das Review dazu könnt ihr hier nochmals nachlesen.

Meiner Meinung nach ist ihnen mit dem neuen Longplayer ein großer Wurf gelungen. Das führte mich dazu die Band danach zu befragen, wobei es nicht nur um die Songs ging…

SOTO stand uns Rede und Antwort

JEFF SCOTT SOTO (JSS), EDU COMINATU (EC), DAVID Z (DZ), BJ (BJ) und JORGE SALAN (JS), gaben bereitwillig Auskunft. Doch lest selbst…

MH: Zuerst einmal ein Kompliment für die neue CD “DIVAK”, sie ist ein konsequenter Nachfolger eures Debüts.

JSS: Vielen Dank, wir denken genauso und es war SEHR wichtig für uns, etwas zu schaffen, das uns einen Schritt nach vorne bringt und wir haben das Gefühl, wir hätten genau das erreicht!

MH: Was bedeutet eigentlich ‚Divak‘?

JSS: Meine Frau und ihre 2 Kinder verweilen jedes Jahr im Sommer in Bulgarien, denn da kommt sie her. Und letztes Jahr, als sie den Abfall rausbrachten und 2 streunende Katzen fütterten, weil es dort so etwas wie eine große Epidemie von streunenden Katzen gibt, kamen sie mit einem winzig kleinen schwarzen Kätzchen zurück, das sie an den Abfalleimern gefunden hatten. Es war nicht wie die anderen, die von Geburt an wussten, dass sie den Menschen nicht vertrauen können, denn dieses Kätzchen war glücklich bei uns zu sein und wir wollten uns um ihn kümmern, da er sehr klein und unterernährt war. Wir waren uns sicher, wir könnten ein Zuhause für ihn finden, da er erst 4 Monate alt war und vielleicht wollte ja jemand das Kätzchen eines Rockstars, hahaha. Als die Zeit verging und unsere Heimreise nach L.A. näher rückte, wollte NIEMAND die Katze und wir konnten es nicht über uns bringen, sie wieder auf die Straße zu setzen und ein Tierheim, das sie aufnehmen konnte, gab es nicht, da sie dort nicht die Mittel haben wie wir in den USA. Also haben wir ihm alle Impfungen verpasst, besorgten ihm einen Tierausweis und flogen mit ihm nach L.A.!

Jetzt spulen wir mal ein Jahr vor und dieser kleine Engel kann manchmal ein kleiner Teufel sein und wenn er Mist macht, verflucht meine Frau ihn auf Bulgarisch und sagt oft das Wort ‚Divak‘. Ich habe sie gefragt, was das heißen soll und sie meinte, dass es für wild und verrückt steht…all die Dinge, die auch unsere Musik beschreiben! Für mich war es der perfekte Name und nun weißt du auch, wieso auf dem Cover ein schwarzer Panther abgebildet ist, denn er steht sozusagen für eine größere Version unseres ‚Divaks‘ zu Hause!!!

Jeff Scott Soto hat ein Herz für Tiere

MH: Ihr habt jetzt zwei Alben raus. Was erwartet ihr von der aktuellen Tour? Werdet ihr, beispielsweise, auch Tracks von Talisman spielen?

BJ: Ja! Wir wählen einige von ihnen aus, die etwas “heavier” klingen und etwas näher an unseren neuen Songs dran sind. Wir lieben Talisman, und Jeffs Fans fragen immer danach, also ist es unvermeidlich, haha. Aber wir versuchen fast alle SOTO-Songs von beiden Alben zu spielen, denn die Leute müssen mit diesen Liedern vertraut werden, wir sind jetzt eine Band, deshalb ist es wichtig, jetzt als Einheit gesehen zu werden.

DZ: Hauptsächlich werden wir Tracks von den beiden SOTO-Alben spielen. Wie auch ein paar von den Hits, für die Jeff bekannt ist.

JSS: Wir sind eine Band, dies ist nicht ein weiteres Soloalbum oder Projekt mit meinem Namen drauf. Ich möchte irgendwann nur noch SOTO-Songs spielen, mit gelegentlich einem oder zwei Liedern aus meiner Vergangenheit. Genauso wie Talisman nie mit anderen Bands, die mit mir in Verbindung gebracht werden, spielen würde oder wie WET, die nach zwei Alben nur WET-Songs live gespielt haben, ist es das Ziel als Band gesehen oder akzeptiert zu werden.

 

SOTO

MH: Ich vermute, Du hast diese Frage schon oft gehört, aber ich muss trotzdem nachfragen. Jeff, wie schaffst Du es, Deine Stimme über die ganzen Jahre auf diesem Niveau zu halten? Übst Du mehrmals pro Woche?

JSS: Nun ja, ich brauche nicht zu üben, weil ich so viel zu tun habe, dass ich sie regelmäßig benutze. Aber ich will ehrlich sein, sie hat sich verändert, wie könnte es auch anders sein? Abgesehen davon, dass ich jedes Jahr immer so viel gesungen habe, ist sie sicherlich nicht mehr der leicht hohe Tenor, den ich mit Yngwie (Malmsteen) oder Talisman hatte.

Aber im Laufe der Jahre habe ich diese Veränderungen an das angepasst, was ich singe. SOTO ist ein Paradebeispiel, ich singe nicht mehr hoch in den Wolken, es ist aggressiver und innerhalb meines Stimmumfangs, so dass ich das bringen kann, was man von mir Nacht für Nacht erwartet. Aber danke, ich tue was ich kann, um auf mich aufzupassen, ich bin ziemlich langweilig, wenn wir auf Tour sind, es gibt kein Saufen mehr und dafür so viel Schlaf wie möglich zwischen den Shows… eben ein Rock Star aus dem Bilderbuch 🙂

Kein Saufen mehr und möglichst viel Schlaf

MH: David, in meiner Review habe ich Dein Bassspiel mit Geddy Lee von Rush verglichen. Ist es möglich, dass er einer Deiner Favoriten ist? “Misfired” von ‚DIVAK‘ hört sich danach an.

DZ: Das ist eine tolle Beobachtung. Geddy war in der Tat einer meiner liebsten Bassspieler als ich aufgewachsen bin und das ist er bis heute. Ich werde nie vergessen, als ich als Junge zum ersten Mal ‚YYZ‘ gehört und gedacht habe, sowas können Bassspieler machen?

 

Soweit ein paar Eindrücke vom Interview. Das gesamte Gespräch könnt ihr nachfolgend in englischer Sprache nachlesen. Vorher jedoch noch für alle Interessierten der Link zum aktuellen Video ‚Weight Of The World‘:

 

Hier nun das komplette Interview in Englisch:

MH : First off, compliments for your new CD, “DIVAK”. In my opinion, it’s a consistent follow-up to your debut.

JSS: Thank you so much, we all feel the same, it was VERY important we come up with something that brought us up a level and I very much so feel we accomplished that!

The Truth about the word ‚DIVAK‘

MH: What does “DIVAK” mean? I could only find the word in Turkish.

JSS: My wife and her 2 kids spend our summers in Bulgaria every year as that is where she is from, last year while they were taking the trash out and feeding local stray cats as there is a BIG epidemic of street cats there, they came back with this little dot of a black kitten they picked up by the bins. It wasn’t like the others who know from birth to not trust people, this one was so happy to be with us and we thought to care for it as it was very skinny and under nourished. We thought for sure we could find a home for him as he was only about 4 months old and maybe someone would want a rock stars kitten hahaha.

As we got closer to coming back home to L.A., NO ONE wanted the cat but we couldn’t put it in the streets again, there was no shelter to take it to as they don’t have the resources we do in the US…so we got all the shots, got him a passport and flew him to L.A.!! Now fast forward almost a year later, this little angel can sometimes be a little devil and when he acts up, my wife curses at him in Bulgarian often saying this word ‘Divak’. I asked what does that mean and she said it stands for wild, savage, crazy…all the things that describe our music! To me it was a perfect name and fit…and now you know why there is a black panther on the cover, it signifies a larger version of our ‘Divak’ at home!!!

 

MH: Jeff, handmade music got extremely popular over the last years again. However, it’s really tough for metal bands to find a position in the upper ranks. Do you want to acquire one of these spots with your new band, or are you rather trying to just live out everything you ever wanted musically?

JSS: No fucking way am I done with being creative or trying to reach for that brass ring…sure, its usually a young man/woman’s game in the music business but I don’t feel as old as I have been doing this and I certainly am not satisfied with the level I want to take my career. All my life I wanted to be as big as Freddie Mercury or Ozzy Osbourne so yea, I will die trying. And its NOT about money or fame, its about sharing my music with a HUGE amount of people who I think would love it if I can finally get them to listen!

 

MH: I remarked that the production of your new album comes along better than on your debut. Did you write the songs together as a band this time, or did you have guest writers again?

DZ: All but a couple of the songs on DIVAK were written by the band members.

JSS: This was very important aside of the songs being very good and strong but that the guys in the band contributed heavily this time. I was not satisfied with the level of where ‚Inside The Vertigo‘ got us so I told the guys lets dive back in ASAP and get the ideas flowing, not waiting for others, not relying on others. It was great to write to so much great stuff coming in, I am so proud of the guys!

6-String or 5-String Bass!?

MH: David, I saw one of your live clips on YouTube. You were playing on a six-string bass, which is really rare in other bands. Is this bass your main instrument, or do you play different types live or in studio? On “Cyber Masquerade” you have a solo part, in which you can really jam with Edu and Jorge.

DZ: I use the 6-String specifically for SOTO because the music requires the low B-string. I could have used a 5-string but I used to use a 6-string bass many years ago in a progressive band that I played in and it is nice to be able to use it again in this band.

 

MH: In my review I compared your bass playing to Geddy Lee from Rush. Is it possible that he’s one of your favorites? “Misfired” sounds so.

DZ: That is a great observation. Geddy was in fact one of my favorite bass players growing up. He still is to this day. I’ll never forget when I first heard YYZ as a kid and thought ‘bass players can actually do that’?

 

MH: I bet you hear this question a lot, yet still I have to ask. Jeff, how do you manage to keep your voice on such a great niveau after all these years? Do you practice several times a week?

JSS: Well I don’t have to practice because I am busy enough that I use it regularly. But I will be honest, it has changed, how can it not? Between singing so much every year to age, it certainly isn’t that easy high tenor I had with Yngwie (Malmsteen) or Talisman. But through the years I have adapted those changes accordingly to what I am singing. SOTO is a prime example, I am not singing up in the heavens anymore, its more aggressive and within my range so I can deliver what’s expected night after night. But thank you, I do my best to take care of myself, I am quite boring now on tour, its more no drinking and getting as much sleep as possible between shows…rock star indeed!

Inspirations from ‚Kashmir‘ through ‚Sgt. Pepper‘

MH: The ballad “In My Darkest Hour” is one of my favorites in the album. It is so different from the other songs, but that’s exactly what attracts me to it. Who had the idea to write this song, which reminds me of “Closer To Home” by Grand Funk Railroad, and what inspirations were responsible for it in the end?

EC: Thank you very much. I always wanted to write something like that, it was in the back of my head the whole time and when we started the whole writing process I felt that it was time to bring this idea back to the game. The whole idea was to create something emotional but not a power ballad, something unique and different, that’s why I decided to do all in acoustic but with a heavy approach. I’m very proud of this track.

JSS: Edu is primarily responsible for all the music including the idea of orchestrally exploding it at the end, sort of like ‚Kashmir‘ meets something from ‚Sgt Pepper‘! One of my friends and co-writers on both SOTO albums, Connor Engstrom, is a master of soundtrack creating so we asked him to take it to that extra level, he wrote and arranged all of the orchestral stuff. For the lyrics, I wanted something emotionally as vital…

I was watching a report on the news about a dog who was intentionally burned all over his back with battery acid and survived. The vets who saved him showed the results after his recovery and this animal was wagging his tail, showing trust and love to people after a ‘person’ did this to him! I wrote the lyrics as a tribute to him and many other abused animals who can be abused and left for dead yet come back to life trusting and loving again. The lyrics are as powerful as the song I feel… even the way I sang it, I could have done it more passionately as I normally sing but I wanted the sadness, the emotion, the compassion to be heard as my voice is supposed to be the voice of the animal itself.

 

MH: Now you have two albums out. What can we expect from the current tour? Do you still play tracks from Talisman for example?

BJ: Yes! We choose some of them that sounds heavier and closer of our new stuff…We love Talisman, and Jeff’s fans always ask for it, so, this is inevitable haha. But we’re trying to put most of SOTO songs from both albums, people need to get familiar with those songs, we are a band now so its important to be seen as a unit now.

DZ: We will predominantly be playing tracks from both SOTO albums. We will also play a few of the hits that Jeff is known for.

JSS: This is a band, this is not another solo album or project with my name on it…I eventually want to only play SOTO songs occasionally throwing in a song or 2 from my past. Just like Talisman would never play other bands I was associated with or WET after 2 albums only did WET songs live, the goal is to be seen and accepted as a band.

 

MH: Jorge, I know that you also play for Robin Beck. Surely, you can’t compare SOTO and Robin Beck. However, I’d like to know in how far you’re free to do what you want on stage and how this is with SOTO. Personally, I always like spontaneous improvisations.

JS: I have total freedom to be myself on stage and to express myself as a musician. Jeff always wanted for me to be comfortable. Now SOTO is a band but even when we were playing with him as his back up band for his solo career, we always had that freedom to be ourselves.

Influences from SOTO the Band

MH: Who influenced you the most?

EC: Wow, there’s so many, I’m just going to say that I’m influenced by something every day, every new band I listen to and I like they automatically enter on my influence box, so as you can see, it’s a lot.

BJ: I can say what I’m listening to at the moment and influenced me to play/compose songs for SOTO are bands like Shinedown, Sevendust, Muse, and even the stuff like Deep Purple, Metallica, etc…I’m loving what we’re doing and like what we’re sounding like on this new stuff…it’s powerful, it’s pure heavy energy with great melodies.

DZ: My three biggest influences were KISS, Rush and Michael Jackson.

Most know by now, my world would not be complete without Queen, Van Halen, Prince &  Sam Cooke. Of course I am missing an array of Metal bands and things that are secure in my blood musically but the ones mentioned are the ones that got me to be the artist, writer, producer and performer that I am today.

 

MH: “Awakened” is the fastest song on the album. After a bit more than three minutes, there is a break and an E-piano brings in all new accents before the fast part continues. This was the most surprising thing on the album to me. You arranged the instrumental parts of many songs rather progressive, so that the keys got more room as well. Is it important for you to act out your instrumental skills? Especially a band like SOTO can for sure do this.

JSS: Connor, who I mentioned earlier, is responsible for the ‘epic’ sound on this song. He wrote the music and is great with this style of music but yes, it is VERY crucial that the guys in the band are so versatile that we can jump from extremes musically. This was always a criteria to band members I surrounded myself with, I didn’t always succeed but SOTO was a chemistry of my solo band that led to the obvious, coming together as an entity I know I can count on musically on virtually anything I throw at them!

EC: We all come from a generation where all our favorite bands contain really good musicians. I grew up listening to Deep Purple, Dream Theater, Rush, etc… and all of these bands had great instrumentation. So it’s natural that we like to put a little extra in all we do, but it has to be tasty otherwise is boring.

DZ: One of my favorite things about this band is the level of musicianship. It’s great to be able to play more progressive songs and still keep the heaviness.

Animals and Family

MH: Now something private: I know you own one or more dogs,  Jeff. I own a Swiss White Shepherd myself . What’s that like on tour? Do you miss your dog or can you take him with you?

JSS: Sadly the tours are still too small, so that I rarely even get to see or bring my family, this is what I mentioned earlier about getting the bigger status, that massive success that makes it easier, affordable and comfortable to share my life on the road with my family and yes, animals. I do as much as I can with them all when I am off the road and we have a great quality of life with the time I can offer.

 

MH: Thank you guys for answering my questions and I wish all the best to you, your friends and families!

 

 

Vielen Dank noch an Marco Götz, für die freundliche Unterstützung und Hilfe!

NEWSLETTER. FREITAGS. KOSTENLOS.

Bildquellen

  • SOTO: (C) Bella Regenschein
  • SOTO: (C) Photo by Natalia Britt
Wolf

Wolf

Musikalisch aufgewachsen mit den Beatles und den Stones in der großen Ära der Rockmusik der 60/70er Jahre! Meine ersten gekauften Scheiben waren von Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, Frank Zappa, Black Sabbath usw. Bevorzugte musikalische Ecke ist der sogenannte Classic- und Progressiv Rock, jedoch höre ich auch in fast allen anderen Bereichen stets rein. Aktiv bei metal-heads bis Dezember 2018, jetzt Fördermitglied.

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