IRON MAIDEN Bassist STEVE HARRIS - "We Do Have Difficulty Writing Shorter Songs These Days; I Don't Know Why That Is"
September 21, 2015, 8 years ago
Goldmine's Patrick Prince recently caught up with Iron Maiden bassist/founder Steve Harris to discuss the band's new album, The Book Of Souls. An excerpt from the interview is available below:
GM: You’ve claimed that the songwriting process was refreshing for this new album. Why is that?
Harris: "Normally we would go into rehearsal where we would write and rehearse it and then we’d go and record afterward somewhere else. But this time we did it all in one place, so it was good because we’d write and rehearse a song and then put it straight down. Which makes a lot more sense, really, in a lot of ways. I mean, we actually really enjoyed it like that. But I think most people know that studios are so ridiculously expensive that most bands would rehearse in a rehearsal room first and that was normal. This time around we decided to go straight in there, and partly because there was going to be another band rehearsing (in the rehearsal room). We thought, we can’t be somewhere where we’d write a new album and have someone else listening to what we were doing next door, you know (laughs). So we decided to go straight into the studio, which is more private. It worked great. I think when we do another album, we’ll do the same thing again."
GM: The opening track “If Eternity Should Fail” reminds the listener of the influence that classic prog rock has had on your songwriting. In later years, do you think Maiden pushes itself creatively like those progressive bands did in the past — no-holds-barred, expansive and open?
Harris: "Well, that’s always been the case, really. We’ve always done what we wanted to do right from the first album, so there’s no difference there. It’s just that we do have difficulty writing short songs these days. I don’t know why that is. It’s just the way it evolved. There’s no real reason besides the fact that we do have all kinds of influences. Some of them being prog kind of stuff. But we’re not trying specifically to be like anything other than just writing what the songs we feel are right at the time. You know, we never really know what we’re going to write next. Which is part of the excitement when we go in and do a new album. No battle plan, we just go in and do it and what comes out, comes out. It’s only afterward, when we do interviews, when we try to analyze it. We don’t analyze what we do. We just do it."
Go to this location for the complete interview.
Iron Maiden’s The Book Of Souls World Tour will open in the US in late February with Ed Force One flying in for three shows before, in early March, heading into Central America visiting Mexico, followed by a much anticipated first ever concert in El Salvador and a return to Costa Rica. Ed Force One then proceeds into South America for concerts in Argentina, Chile and a number of shows in Brazil before flying back to the USA at the end of March for ten more cities covering the USA and, of course, Canada in the first two weeks of April.
A long awaited return to Japan follows later in April, and then the band are delighted to be playing their first ever shows in China before heading to New Zealand and Australia for a comprehensive tour during the first half of May. Shows in South Africa, Maiden’s first visit there with Bruce, will be the last port of call before Ed Force One heads to Europe for a very extensive tour starting in late May and finishing in early August. This will the first time Ed Force One has ever been used on any European Tour dates (other than Bruce’s Fan Club trips to shows) and will provide transport there for at least for the first few weeks.
Dates announced so far can be found here (with ticket links). Check out a new video ad for the tour, streaming below:
The Book Of Souls has given BMG’s recorded music operation its best first-week album sales in the US market since the Bertelsmann-owned firm relaunched as an independent in 2008, reports Music Business Worldwide.
According to Nielsen Soundscan, the record sold more than 75,000 units in its opening week, landing at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the SoundScan albums chart (which excludes streaming data). That’s the UK metal group’s best sales performance since Nielsen Soundscan began monitoring the industry in 1991.
BMG, which announced its entry into the frontline of the US recorded music business less than 18 months ago, acquired Iron Maiden’s recording rights following its buyout of Sanctuary Records in 2013.
Read more at Music Business Worldwide.
Iron Maiden are back at the top of the Official Albums Chart in the UK this week with The Book Of Souls, reports OfficialCharts.com.
The veteran heavy metal rockers’ 16th studio album lands straight in at #1 with combined sales of just over 60,000. The band, led by Bruce Dickinson, last topped the charts in summer 2010 with The Final Frontier.
The Book Of Souls also tops this week’s Official Vinyl Albums Chart. The record gained attention after Tesco trialled sales of vinyl with the LP in their 55 biggest stores this week; though it proved equally as popular in independent record shops, also entering at #1 on this week’s Official Record Store Chart.
Iron Maiden’s recently released new video for "Speed Of Light" racked up over 3.2 million views in just three days, and is now pushing the 4 million mark. Written by guitarist Adrian Smith and vocalist Bruce Dickinson, "Speed Of Light" is taken from their new double album The Book Of Souls, due for global release on September 4th through BMG in North America. New behind-the-scenes footage on the video can be seen below.
The video was produced and directed by Llexi Leon with animation and visual effects by The Brewery Production Company. A huge Iron Maiden fan, this is Llexi Leon’s first music video. Creator of the cult comic book series Eternal Descent – an IP that digitally animated a cast list of metal and hard rock luminaries, Leon has further expanded into the video gaming industry. He chose to collaborate with The Brewery who’s previous film credits include 2010’s punk-rock inspired Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll with Andy Serkis, 2012’s music festival themed Spike Island with Emilia Clarke & more recently were providing VFX for the Sky Atlantic biopic on Ian Fleming.
The video is an homage to four decades of video gaming juxta-posed alongside Iron Maiden’s 40 years of incredible visual canon centring on their talisman, Eddie, as he travels through space and time to complete his Herculean task.
“Speed Of Light” video:
The Book Of Souls was recorded in Paris with their longstanding producer Kevin “Caveman” Shirley in late 2014, with the finishing touches added earlier this year. However, the band decided to delay its release so that vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who was recently given the all-clear from a tumour, would have time to recuperate sufficiently to join in the preparations for the album’s launch.
The stunning cover art was created by Mark Wilkinson who has worked with the band previously, and because this 11 track album has a total running time of 92 minutes, it is Iron Maiden’s first ever double studio album. There’s a broader split on the song-writing compared to previous Maiden records, with bassist and founder member Steve Harris contributing to seven of the tracks; six of them with Maiden’s guitarists and one sole composition. This is also the first time since 1984’s Powerslave that an Iron Maiden studio album also features two tracks written solely by Bruce Dickinson, one of which is the longest song Maiden has ever recorded! And also two Dickinson/Smith collaborations.
Steve comments: “We approached this album in a different way to how we’ve recorded previously. A lot of the songs were actually written while we were there in the studio and we rehearsed and recorded them straight away while they were still fresh, and I think that immediacy really shows in the songs, they have almost a live feel to them I think. I’m very proud of The Book Of Souls, we all are, and we can’t wait for our fans to hear it, and especially to take it out on the road next year!”
Bruce continues: “We’re really excited about The Book Of Souls and had a fantastic time creating it. We started working on the album in late summer 2014 and recorded it at Guillame Tell Studios in Paris, where we’d done the Brave New World album back in 2000 so the studio holds special memories for all of us. We were delighted to discover the same magical vibe is still alive and very much kicking there! So we immediately felt at home and the ideas just started flowing. By the time we’d finished we all agreed that each track was such an integral part of the whole body of work that if it needed to be a double album, then double its going to be!”