Beyond the Labyrinth – released a new single “Ghost Melody” + Interview.
Last week, Beyond the Labyrinth released a new single “Ghost Melody” and the classic melodic sound of this song is, once again, quite okay. Time to ask some main man Geert Fieuw some questions. Geert, first of all we wish you success and congratulations with this nice and qualitative single “Ghost Melody”. It has taken some time since you’ve released something, what do we have to think about this ? It has been 2,5 years since the previous single “Shades Of Blue” came out and nearly 5 years since the release of the last full album “Chapter III-Stories”. October 2013 the last known live line up imploded after (then) singer Wim Nees pulled the plug, just before starting the preproduction for BTL’s 4th album. I went through a major dip and it took me quite some healing time to recover from that blow. I believe that quality goes before quantity. I don’t write a lot of songs and want each and every one of them to be good and strong.
There have been a lot of changes in the lineup – are you a perfectionist or someone that is that difficult to work with – please explain because this myth has to be banished from the world.
It would not be fair blaming people for the changes in line up. So I’ll make it easy: It’s not a myth. Beyond the Labyrinth has never been a true rock band as people see it, however much I tried. I started BTL in 1996 as a way of being able to release my own music, my own song writing – it is my baby and I’m overprotective of it. Where others would sit and hope for a record deal, I’d just do it myself and try and ignore criticism. So let’s just say, for the ease of conversation, that I’m a perfectionist with a unique vision that is difficult to work with. I love it when people want to walk the same path as I do and I always hope it lasts forever but in real life we have to take into account other commitments, family life and availability. There is no rock’n’roll dream. There is only hard work.
We see and hear the new song “Ghost Melody” and it looks like it is well received in the scene. What does that do with a person? Thank you. I’d like to tell you that you are correct. However, drawing the comparison between who in the media received a download link and/or a press release and who actually plaid the song, paid attention to it or wrote an article about it, it’s an eye opening experience : BTL is still much a musical project that exists within a sub-genre of a sub-genre of an underground scene in an era when music is taken for granted. It makes me sad to know that we only reach a limited number of people with this great music.
Will there be a special release of this song? Something in a nice velvet sleeve because I believe this deserves a special treatment, not? lol.
Great idea! Personally I have no budget for these kinds of special releases and I don’t know how many people would be interested. I invite any record company to take up the challenge..
“Ghost Melody” features no solo – is that a conscious choice or was there no place in this song for a beautiful solo on your Ibanez? Well, you answered the question yourself: It was a conscious choice because I believe that a guitar solo would not have an added value. I tried as much as possible of having a perfectly sounding orchestral arrangement and adding a guitar solo, let alone an electric one, would have diluted the strength of the song.
Will this bring change to the band Beyond the Labyrinth and can we expect concerts? Possibly with a full string section? Well, we can dream, can we? If we do so, will you come ? Beyond The Labyrinth will play quality concerts when and if we team up with the right singer. A string section would be a great addition and add up to the uniqueness of the experience. Will there be a new album with this line up or will it just be the string section for this single? Beyond The Labyrinth is working on the 4th album “The Art Of Resilience”, with a plethora of guest singers and soloists, it will be even more diverse than the previous ones. I am not ruling out any options because I believe a string section can add an extra dimension to the music.
Please explain who these band members are – will they be staying ? Sjoerd Bruyneel, Michel Lodder and Dominic Heynderickx form the core team members that will be recording the 4th BTL album with me, together with a stellar team of guest vocalists and guest musicians – the amazing Tara Lynch has provided us with some great guitar solos, the same singer (we call him “The Man In The Mask”) as on Ghost Melody will be singing two more songs on the album, but there are much more people participating wink-emoticon . Sjoerd Bruyneel – Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Song Writing
Sjoerd has been on board with BTL since the “Wings” single (Summer 2012). He used to play with prog band Neo Prophet and is also a member of (cover band) Heart Attack. Sjoerd has a broad taste in music and is a prolific keyboard player. Check out the “Shades Of Blue” single for a taste of his piano playing Dominic Heynderickx – Bass I know Dominic from Everglow (I produced their 2005 “Turn Back Time” release) , and when BTL reverted to a studio project end of 2013, I asked Dom to play some bass parts. Dominic not only has the necessary skills, both harmonically as rhythmically, but also brings a fresh look on things, as well as the necessary relativizing when I start to take things too seriously, and I quickly found that he is someone one can count on. When Dominic was looking for an additional band to join and said he was looking for something more progressive sounding, I offered him the position. Dominic as well has a broad taste and knowledge in music. Michel Lodder – Drums and Percussion. Michel has been on board of BTL since summer 2010. His first release was the single “The Peter Principle” and he played the drums on BTL’s 3 album “Chapter III”, and his versatility is amazing, as are his broad range of influences. I appreciate these guys’ commitment to playing a superior kind of music. At the same time, what drives me to working with them is not only the mastery they demonstrate at their instrument but also the fact that every one of them is open-minded. There is no special agreement in place and I hope that they will stay as a contributing member to BTL forever.
I always had the idea that Beyond the Labyrinth became more chances abroad than in Belgium, even though one cannot say that people don’t like melody in Belgium. In the past, you have shared the stage with some major names. Did you make any contacts? Isn’t it better to cross the Atlantic to follow up on these contacts??
There is so much I could say … But the guys have asked me to remain diplomatic. (yes, yes, I consulted them !) I am proud to have been given the opportunity to share the stage with Threshold, Pagan’s Mind, Uriah Heep, Y&T and much more. I have often noticed that people in other countries are more chauvinistic for bands from their own country. A bit of enthusiasm goes a long way. This makes it interesting for record companies to invest and to grow a scene. As a consequence, in Belgium, our music is mostly underground. There are not a lot of chances for a band in a subgenre of a subgenre in this underground, so when and if you come out it needs to be super quality so anyone organizing taking the risk to organize a concert has a unique opportunity – it needs to be good and special. Move across the pond? 30 years ago that would have been an option. Not when you have responsibilities and when the chances that you can support a household of your musical skills are close to zero. We live in an era where the perfectly executing, skilled, musician can make money on condition of sticking to the execution of other people’s music. We don’t live in an era when new songs are appreciated. People buy what they already know, and the audience is growing older and is slowly decimating. My contacts are mostly lovers of the genre and fellow musicians who share the same love for the art of music, not the necessary logistic contacts like booking agents and record companies.
Since some years Belgium has a jet stream of good bands, albeit in the harder genre. Anno 2016, has it become a battle or has it become more easy? Do I see it the wrong way or is there is an oversupply of bands who want to finish each other off ?
See it in as a matter of economics: For a product to be valuable it needs to be scarce, or special. If you think AC/DC will never tour again, you will hurry up to go and see them one last time. However, if you are a debuting band and are desperate for concerts, you might act desperately and play for free. Basically, at that moment you are saying “our music is less worth than the music of someone else” but most of all you are disrespecting your music. Music business is business before anything else. It is a myth that playing a lot of concerts will make you popular – it’s the other way around: popular bands play a lot of concerts. In the sixties, seventies It used to be a way to grow, to improve on ones’ sound, chops and skills. Nowadays, each concert needs to be perfect. Most people will buy what they already know and the general public doesn’t see the art form “music” as being special. In fact, if they can get it for free, they will. So, by giving it away, you confirm that point of view. In economic terms that is called: “There is no market for new music”. Back to the single “Ghost Melody” – we can say that the accompanying video clip looks very succeeded and professional. Where did the idea come from in filming it this way. Most of the time we see a lot of blood and horror in video clips, is that not something you participate in ?
The song is about a song writer lamenting the perceived loss of his muse. Me and (singer on Ghost Melody) the Man in the Mask came up with the scenario together. In the past, I’ve already shot, edited and/or directed enough video clips to know what the challenges are and how to work on a tight-to-very-tight budget. Beyond The Labyrinth has always steered away from the big horror, satanic and gore clichés. Personally these things are not my cup of tea and if you look on the Beyond the Labyrinth Youtube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/BeyondTheLabyrinth/videos) you will find a lot of video clips with a story, a meaning. Check out for yourself: [youtube id=”FkNePJ9xEog”]