Interview by Tarja Virmakari
While highly acclaimed AYREON with their mastermind ARJEN LUCASSEN’s ‘Forever/Planet Y’ saga seemed to have reached its conclusion with the album “01011001”, it’s clear that ARJEN LUCASSEN’s creative muses had other plans. The new AYREON album “The Source” revisits the “Forever” saga, adding a whole new chapter to Lucassen’s impressive body of work. With its top-flight cast of singers and musicians, compelling songs, overwhelming sound, and intriguing story, “The Source” offers everything that has gained Lucassen dedicated fans worldwide since he laid the foundations of AYREON back in the mid 90’s.
Last time Metal Shock Finland talked with Arjen Lucassen in 2014, for the “Theory of Everything” album, and just a couple of days ago, Tarja Virmakari had a huge honor to interview Arjen again, talking this time about his new masterpiece “The Source”, in detail, which comes out on april 28th via Mascot Label group/Music Theories Recordings. Arjen revealed also some details about AYREON‘s three special shows, taking place on September 15th, 16th and 17th at Poppodium 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands. To know more about “The Source” and else, please join the chat below. Enjoy!
The international status of AYREON enables ARJEN LUCASSEN to write his characters with some of the most respected singers in rock in mind. The special guests of “The Source” are: James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Tommy Giles Rogers (Between the Buried and Me), Simone Simons (Epica), Mike Mills (Toehider), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus), Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia), Nils K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind), Zaher Zorgati (Myrath), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) and Russell Allen (Symphony X). Special contributions were offered by guitarists Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big), Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Asia, Steven Wilson), Marcel Coenen and keyboard player Mark Kelly (Marillion).
On February 23rd, Metal Shock Finland had a pleasure to premiere, for Finnish territory, the latest lyric video “Everybody Dies”, taken from AYREON‘s new masterpiece “The Source”, check it out below.
Metal Shock Finland‘s Tarja Virmakari commented the video:
“Year after year, Arjen is regenerating the meaning of musical freedom, offering the high class experience which takes you to an enjoyable journey, again and again! It’s nearly impossible to describe the emotions with words, so join the voyage and let the tunes to guide your senses!”
“The Source” album saw Lucassen’s creative process take an unusual twist. Normally, finding and assembling the album artwork comes very late in the process, long after the music is finished. But to gain inspiration he began looking for artwork very early on, after writing just the first few songs.
“While Googling I found the website of the French artist Yann Souetre. Right from the start I was fascinated by his imagery. It was industrial and futuristic at the same time. I was particularly captivated and inspired by a portrait of a woman under water, hooked up to various tubes. Not long after that I had an overall theme, a story line, and a visual aesthetic for the album. I contacted Yann, and after we agreed that his artwork would be available for the album, I continued composing songs with confidence and a clear vision.”
2017 will be a particularly exciting year for Ayreon fans thanks to a unique chance to actually see Ayreon live. Limited to three exclusive performances, “The Ayreon Universe” will take place in September (15th, 16th and 17th at Poppodium 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands). This unprecedented live event features the best of twenty years of Ayreon music, brought to life by a top cast of musicians such as Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Russell Allen (Symphony X), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Anneke van Giersbergen and various others. The reclusive Arjen Lucassen himself is also expected to make a rare appearance on stage. The tickets for all concerts – 9000 in total – sold out within a day, proving once again that the Ayreon magic is still very much alive and kicking.