Redemption

author MY date 14/07/07

You may think I am exaggerating but without Redemption's second album, "The Fullness Of Time", the year 2005 would feel so empty. At least I would have to find another album that I could listen to once everyday, get addicted to every song, love every note played and every word sang. After two years, on March 2007, their third album "The Origins Of Ruin" saw daylight. Perhaps it wasn't as promising as the previous one but I wouldn't go as far as saying that it is not a masterpiece. So, here is Redemption's mastermind Nick van Dyk, telling all about the band's new masterpiece.

RF.Net: Let's start with the big news, Redemption is touring with Dream Theater in July and August! What's the story behind this tour? Is it the success of the label or personal relationships?
Nick: It's a remarkable opportunity for us and we are extremely pleased about it. From my conversation with Mike Portnoy, he has known about us for some time and we were on his short list of bands to support them. These tours are expensive and the help of the label has been very important. I really can't imagine a better platform for us to perform for our existing and potential fans.

RF.Net: Have you had the chance to listen to the new Dream Theater album?
Nick: I have listened to it a few times. It's another great album from the band that defined the genre. I think the first track is my favorite.

RF.Net: Are you actually a fan?
Nick: I have been a fan since before they were called Dream Theater. I remember getting a promotional CD back around 1988 when they were called Majesty. I called the label they were on, eventually realized they had changed their name, and tracked down a copy of "WDADU". My favorite song of theirs is probably still Learning to Live. I think that's just phenomenal songwriting. Among recent compositions, I thought "Octavarium" was fantastic.

RF.Net: The success of the second album, "The Fullness Of Time", brought you a record deal with the home of progressive music, Inside Out Records. After releasing two albums without much support from the labels, how is it like working with one of the biggest labels in the business?
Nick: There's a big difference. Press was done more rapidly, distribution is broader, there's more money to work with. We're very, very happy to be with Inside Out. This is nothing against Sensory, with whom we worked for two previous CDs. They're a terrific label and I have nothing but good things to say about dealing with Ken Olden. Inside Out just simply has much greater resources. They're the most important label in the world for progressive metal and we're very pleased to be part of their roster.

RF.Net: "The Fullness Of Time" was an awesome album, one of the best I've heard from a progressive band in years. So, while writing the follow-up of an album that successful, did you have any worries that the new one could be left in the shadows of it?
Nick: Yes, that was an issue. With Fullness, we knew we were going to blow people away, relative to the first CD. The songs were better, the musicianship was better, the production was better. It wasn't remotely comparable. But coming after that, the bar was set much higher. Some of the songwriting – "Sapphire" being one notable example – is about as good as I'm ever going to be capable of. And we'd now reached a point where people had expectations, and whether we strayed too far from our sound or hewed too close to it, some people would be disappointed. So it was a challenge.

In the end, we focused on songwriting. We also got Tommy Newton involved much earlier in the process. He flew over to Los Angeles and we tracked drums together, and he made some pretty important suggestions to the songwriting. I wrote "Blind My Eyes "during his stay because he felt pretty strongly that we needed a slower song to give the record more dynamics. We have a much better sounding record. The production is vastly improved.

RF.Net: At "The Fullness Of Time", I think the band were somewhat strangers to each other but things should be a lot easier in "The Origins Of Ruin". What can you tell me about the writing & recording process?
Nick: I still write the music and lyrics and melodies myself. I'll send songs around to the guys and they'll let me know what they think works and what they think doesn't. I'll have a very rudimentary bass line in place, and Sean will replace that with a proper bass line. Chris writes his drum parts and in the studio, we'll make a change here or there, or I'll tell him I hear something different, or he'll play something and we'll listen and he'll want to change it, so that's a bit more of an organic process. When we do vocals, Ray will make a change here or there to a word or a note, or he'll come up with an idea to do a harmony, that sort of thing. So it's collaborative, but I take on the lion's share of the responsibilities, in part because Ray and Bernie and Chris and Sean all have other musical projects and I don't want them ever feeling like they have to choose between using something they wrote in Redemption versus their other band.

RF.Net: We see the same name, Tommy Newton, behind the sound board again. Do you think working with the same producer for a long time is an advantage?
Nick: I love working with Tommy. He's a very, very talented guy and I know him well enough where I consider him a friend. He's not afraid to challenge me. Some ideas I need to fight for, and sometimes he won't give in. He is a big part of our sound and I envision working with him for the foreseeable future.

RF.Net: Do you agree that with "The Origins Of Ruin", Redemption is getting rid of the image of being Nick van Dyk's one man show?
Nick: I think we've demonstrated that we're a band now, rather than just a project. The lineup between the last CD and this one was pretty stable, we have the same basic sound even though it's progressing, people are getting to know us beyond just me and Ray.

RF.Net: As the first two albums were almost self-released, they both had distribution problems. But the latest one can be found at almost every music store due to the powerful distribution engine of Inside Out Records. Do you have a feeling that these two albums were a bit wasted?
Nick: I wouldn't say they were wasted. It's not so much the physical distribution of it – although that's important – it's general awareness. I will say that we got extraordinary reviews for Fullness and it didn't translate to sales. Hopefully the tour with DT will make a lot more people aware of us.

RF.Net: "Sapphire" was the headlight of "The Fullness Of Time". And at "The Origins Of Ruin", "Fall On You" is the shining diamond. Writing long and heart-melting songs seems like Redemption's profession?
Nick: Well first, thank you very much. Part of what makes us unique is our emphasis on emotion. The music is very cinematic and is meant to evoke emotion, and the lyrics are ones which people can relate to and which hopefully are powerful and touching. When a band sings about dragons and wizards, it's hard to be really emotionally invested. Stargazer is the best song ever written about a wizard and its a fantastic piece of music, and Dio sings it with such emotion, but it's not going to move me to tears. But a song about a broken relationship – most people can relate to that.

RF.Net: The hero of "The Fullness Of Time" was your little daughter, Parker. How is she doing nowadays?
Nick: Thank you for asking! She is four and a half. And her eyes are still white. No trace of red. And she still approaches the world with curiosity, wonder, innocence and beauty. (Ed note: He's referring to the song he wrote for his daughter, Parker's Eyes in The Fullness Of Time) She's amazing.

RF.Net: Thanks for your time, Nick. Any last comments to end the interview?
Nick: I just want to thank you and your readers again for your interest and support! It's always a pleasure speaking with you!

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