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Q: Any chance of a new Live CD/DVD recorded in 2005?
A: Our new Broken EP is as close to a live record as we will probably have for 2005. Four of the tracks on the disc were recorded in one pass in rehearsal this past summer and are unemblished in any way, so it made sense to us to put it together with Broken as a warm up to our forthcoming album to really show what the band is about these days. We do have some video from recent shows, but unfortunately the camera mic is the only audio reccording we have and it is quite distorted.
Q: Why hasn't Bill been using the guitar synthersizer at recent shows??
A: To be quite honest we started leaving it behind for a few of the quick onstage-offstage city gigs we've been playing around Philly & NYC. After watching a few game videos from those shows no one really missed it and - even more of a surprise to us all - fans even commented how much more they enjoyed the clarity and directness of just the guitar and an amp!! So tho' it will surely rear it's sinewy head again in the future, for the time being just straight up electric guitar straight into a Marshall tube amp seems to be working well for us.
Q: What happened to the magazine story that used to be here?
A: It was out of date. You can still read it here, but the Q&A format is more fluid and responsive.
Q: Why is your new album taking so long to finish? (the most frequently asked question)
(Bill Berends) It's not really... there was about two years between previous studio releases and I've put in about two years off and on with this one. However, a lot of other things transpired as well; dicking around with bassists to keep the live band going, retooling my studio to an all digital format - this is the first DDD Mastermind recording and I think the difference is very noticeable - but it took some time to learn how to get the most out of software based recording. I've recorded a lot of music for other bands too, my day job so to speak, so I need some break in between that and rehearsals. My ears can only take so much. And of course the change in vocalists... I had to take a little time after 'Angels...' to figure out where we wanted to go with the band, work with Tracy and write some things we thought were appropriate. There's some very personal stuff on this record which seems to speak to a lot of people... ordinary people. So I think it will be our best album. You'll just have to wait and see.
Q: Why are you playing in bars now?
A: We decided as a band that performing is better than rehearsing no matter where we do it, so we tried a local bar gig and it went well. Now we're booking more. The unique thing about Mastermind is all kinds of people like this band, not just progressive rock fans. We always do well in front of an audience. So this is a good way to break in new material, get the new band some experience dealing with audiences (and drunks). But best of all is we're playing and getting paid, so we'll keep doing it for the forseeable future. For the most part it's a lot of fun. I'm sure when the new album gets out there we'll be doing higher profile shows... and we'll have more fans then because of this.
Q: And you're playing cover tunes now?
A: Sure, why not. A bar gig is 3 hours of playing and even we get tired of nothing but Mastermind music! So we've added some covers to the repertoire to mix it up, draw people in. It works really well, but don't worry about Mastermind becoming just a cover band. It ain't gonna happen.
Q: What cover tunes are you playing?
A: Some Tool, A Perfect Circle, Cream. A Sabbath tune. NIN. A little blues. Things I think our core audience will respond to while appealing to the fans of these bands whom we think will respond well to Mastermind material. It's working... and it's good for the band to get our heads into someone else's logic so to speak. Certainly not any bubble gum pop or top 40.... but if we play 'Schism' (Tool) and go right into 'This Lover's Heart' (from Angels of the Apocalypse) people are pulled right into it. You should see them dancing to 'The Queen of Sheba' (Angels...) while we're whipping out a Mahavishnu-like riff... it's great! Even Metallica did an album of cover tunes, Dream Theater covers Metallica & Pink Floyd, there's a 50 year history of rock'n'roll, why not draw from it?
Q: What hapened to Lisa?
A: Lisa has her own singer/songwriter thing going which is her top priority. We felt like we needed someone for whom Mastermind was priority number one. We knew going into it that working with her probably wouldn't be a permanent situation. She did what we asked of her admirably, and we made a great album together! But at the end of the day Lisa isn't really a hard rock heavy metal person at heart so we parted company. You can find out what Lisa's up to these days at www.lisabouchelle.com
Q: The band it sounds like there is a keyboard even without Jens present. How is that possible?
A: Guitar synthesizer. For those not familiar with the technology, it basically tracks what the guitar is playing and tells a synthesizer to play along via MIDI. It makes much of what we do on the recordings possible in a live setting even without a keyboard player.
Q: blah blah blah blah blah....
A: yeah, probably lol...
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