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Friday, 7 February 2014

Something Else! Interview: Geoff Downes on new albums from Asia and Yes, and learning from the past

Geoff Downes better be wearing comfortable shoes, because he’s going to be on the run in 2014. The busy keyboardist just finished a new album with Asia, and is in sessions for another with Yes — with tours for both slated, as well.
Somehow, he’s also made time recently for side projects including DBA with Chris Braide and the New Dance Orchestra’s Electronica.
Pity his poor staff. “Yeah, and they’re very, very conscious of keeping me up to speed,” Downes tells us, in an exclusive SER Sitdown. “It’s not easy. It can be a scheduling nightmare.”
To wit: Yes will tour behind its forthcoming studio effort, to be helmed this time by Roy Thomas Baker, first through Canada in the spring, then over the seas as part of Cruise to the Edge, into Europe for six weeks and then back into the U.S. In between, Asia is set to release Gravitas in March, its first album with guitarist Sam Coulson, after the departure last year of Steve Howe. A summer tour in Japan follows, before stops in Europe this September and then back to the states thereafter.
Oh, and yes … it’s that Roy Thomas Baker. This will be Downes’ first Yes project without his former Buggles bandmate Trevor Horn serving as producer — which seemed like as good a place as any to start, since we’d caught Downes in a rare moment of stillness …

NICK DERISO: Roy Thomas Baker is known for his distinctive approach to vocals, with bands like Queen and Journey. Has that played any role in the early stages of this album?
GEOFF DOWNES: He started an album with Yes back in 1979 in Paris, though not much materialized. After that is when Trevor and I joined the band for the Drama album. He is known for a bit more of the vocal thing, and I think some of the material we’ve gotten lends itself to that kind of treatment. But Yes, as much as being an instrumental band, if you listen to a lot of the albums, there is a lot of very intricate vocals — and a lot of that comes from (stalwart bassist) Chris (Squire). I think this one is going to have those elements.

Read on...

Union (Standard DVD)
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The Lost Broadcasts
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