LOS ANGELES-BORN AND RAISED ERIK NORLANDER IS A BUSY MAN. IN ADDITION TO HIS SOLO CAREER WITH WHICH HE CONTINUES THE TRADITION OF THE CLASSIC KEYBOARD VIRTUOSO AS PIONEERED BY RICK WAKEMAN AND KEITH EMERSON, HE IS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE BAND ROCKET SCIENTISTS. HE WAS ALSO INVOLVED IN ASIA FEATURING JOHN PAYNE AND A FEW YEARS LATER IN DUKES OF THE ORIENT, ALSO WITH JOHN PAYNE. ERIK RUNS HIS OWN PRODUCTION COMPANY AND PRODUCES THE ALBUMS OF HIS WIFE LANA LANE. AND AS IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, HE HAS LED MANY OTHER SYNTHESIZER AND SOUND DESIGN PROJECTS FOR SEVERAL MAJOR COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD. BUT HE STILL PREFERS THE PIANO TO THE SYNTHESIZER. THERE’S PLENTY TO TALK ABOUT WITH THE AMERICAN KEYBOARD WIZZARD.

Erik Norlander/photo by Erik Nielsen

What were your first introductions to music and what were your main influences?

“My very first introduction to music was two albums that were left at my grandparents’ house by aunt. She was the much-younger sister of my mother, and so more like a cousin to be than an aunt. The two albums were ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Favour’ by The Moody Blues and ‘Machine Head’ by Deep Purple. I listened to both of these records probably about a thousands times when we would visit my grandparents, usually when the adults were having coffee or talking about boring adult stuff. This became early musical foundation, and I was introduced to the brilliants keyboard work of Mike Pinder and Jon Lord, respectively. Not to mention the great symphonic arrangements of both bands. Very different approaches, of course! I was able to meet most of The Moody Blues in 2014 when I played on ‘The Moody Blues Cruise’ with Asia Featuring John Payne. The Moodies were the headliners, of course, and they hosted a wonderful cocktail reception for all the other bands on the last night of the cruise. Only Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graham Edge were left from the original band, but they were all so nice and such gentlemen. They were happy to chat about the ‘EGBDF’ album, and John’s daughter, Emily, who is about my age, was especially excited to hear that I was such a fan since that album contains ‘Emily’s Song’. written about her, of course. She heard that John and I were talking about the ‘EGBDF’ album, and she immediately cut in saying, “Oh hi, I’m Emily! Emily Lodge! Emily’s Song!” We all laughed at that, naturally. Fantastic!”

As you said, Jon Lord and Mike Pinder are two completely different keyboardists. What differences between these two are of interest to you as a keyboardist/pianist?

“The great keyboardists of the 60s and 70s tended to be kind of specialized in the instruments they played. Nowadays, that is much less the case. We all play a bit of everything: synths, piano, organ. This is probably due to the nature of digital workstation keyboards where you have every sound on a single keyboard, and you get used to having all of those sounds at your fingertips, even if you do own and play the dedicated instruments like the Minimoog, Hammond organ and acoustic piano.”

“But let’s talk about the so-called ‘founding fathers’…I love this term. Jon Lord was the master of the Hammond organ. He got a unique tone out of the instrument by running it through guitar amps which would naturally overdrive and distort along with the traditional Leslie speaker cabinets. I could be wrong, but I believe his main amp was the Marshall Major, a valve amp intended for PA use! When pushed, that amp would really scream. Then Jon would use the various drawbar, percussion and vibrato settings and volume controls to get a rather wide range of tones, much like a rock guitar player can do with his playing technique and volume and tone knobs. He could the organ to do a silky flute-like whisper all the way up to a searing heavy metal crunch and everything in between. It was -and remains -absolutely inspiring. And let’s not just pigeon-hole Jon as an organ player. He did some beautiful piano work on tracks like ‘Woman From Tokyo’, synth work on tracks like ‘Stormbringer’ and even wrangled samples on ‘Perfect Strangers’ which I believe was an Emulator I.”

“Mike Pinder is the master of the Mellotron! It is surely the sound of the Moody Blues, and although their songwriting and vocal arranging is legendary, without the Mellotron, they would be a very different band. Mike apparently lives in Northern California not too far from me, but somehow I have never crossed paths with him. I hope to finally meet him one day! I understand that Mike worked for the Mellotron company in England when he was a young man, and so was an expert on the instrument when the Moody Blues were starting out. This gave him and the band a sure edge, and he was able to bring a symphonic quality to the music that few other artists had in the late 60s, short of using an actual orchestra. And few bands had access to that for sure! In a weird way, I always thought that I kind of paralleled Mike when I was developing synths for Alesis when I was starting out making albums in the 90s. I had all of this advanced synthesizer knowledge, and also access to the latest cutting-edge technology. So that when we made our first Rocket Scientists albums and my first solo albums, I had the very best instruments available, and I knew how to use them to their fullest without needing to hire a synthesizer tech or rent any instruments.”

The late Jon Lord and Mike Pinder

“So there’s a nice paragraph each for the great Jon Lord and great Mike Pinder. But I should also mention some other legends that were huge influences on me like Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, Eddie Jobson and Geoff Downes. Many of these guys I even got to know as friends. Keith wrote the liner notes to Threshold, my first solo album, and he recorded in my studio several times. We even played a concert together in San Diego, California, to open a museum exhibit honoring the legacy of Bob Moog and his inventions. Rick Wakeman wrote the liner notes to my third solo album, Music Machine, and I played the Alfa Centauri Festival with him in The Netherlands with him in 2001. That was a lot of fun. I remember him joking with me at the early-morning press conference. When I was answering questions rather seriously, he would be whispering ridiculous things that only I could hear. I had to keep a straight face and carry on with the answers during this! I can tell some really nice stories about Patrick, Eddie and Geoff as well. I have great things to say about all of them, and of course they are all brilliant musicians. Okay, one quick story… Lana and I saw one of the last UK shows with Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. We were invited backstage after the show in San Francisco, and we were talking to Eddie about his transparent blue violin. He told us that this is the same violin he used on the original UK albums and tours, and without hesitation, he hands it and the bow to Lana and says, “Here, try it out!” That was a pretty kind and generous thing to do!”

That’s very nice, indeed. I always thought that Eddie was a strange kind of character. On stage he makes a sleek, ampathetic impression like Michael Myers in the ‘Halloween’ franchise, but with sunglasses.

“Well, Eddie is a lot thinner than Michael Myers, and thinner than me as well! Eddie is probably around twelve years or so older than I am, and he has stayed in great shape, both mentally and physically. He is certainly a kind of reserved personality, not at all like a super-extroverted Rick Wakeman-type personality. And I think he maintains a kind of elegant reserve on stage as well. You won’t see him tipping over Hammond organs and sticking knives into them like Keith Emerson or rocking the Hammond back and forth like John Lord. But as I said, I have always found him to be a warm and kind guy. His musical technique is aggressive, of course, but it is also extremely precise. Eddie is a bit younger than the other ‘founding fathers’ we have discussed, but he seems to have maintained his focus and precision a bit better than the rest as he has gotten older. When Lana and I saw him perform the UK music with John Wetton in San Francisco, he was impressively accurate and massively faithful with both recreating his sounds and his classic keyboard and violin parts. There were no shortcuts or compromises with any of it. That’s a great example for all of us to follow.”

The reserved Eddie Jobson

I also like The Moody Blues-albums ‘Long Distance Voyager’ en ‘The Present’ with keyboarder Patrick Moraz who was briefly in Yes. What are your thoughts about him?

“That is a fantastic album, isn’t it? I remember when it came out, it was such a departure from the 70s style. It still had the familiar Justin, John and Ray writing style, but Patrick brought this big analog synth sound to the band. And it worked really, really well! It was a change in direction for sure, but not a bad one at all! Rather then getting another keyboardist to come in and emulate Mike, they got someone with a completely different approach. I thought it was a brilliant decision. And of course, Patrick knows his way around a Mellotron. Think of ‘Soon’, the epilogue of The Gates of Delirium’ from the Yes album ‘Relayer’. That is some beautiful Mellotron work. But he didn’t take that approach with the Moodies, happily. Tracks like ‘Gemini Dream’, ‘The Voice’ and ‘Talking Out Of Turn’ with the sample-and-hold synth were cutting-edge early 1980s synth productions that sat perfectly alongside other synth-heavy rock albums of that era like Jethro Tull’s ‘Broadsword And The Beast, ELO’s ‘Time’ and Rush’s ‘Moving Pictures’. This was really a golden age for analog synth productions in rock.”

“Okay, now let’s talk about Patrick himself. I met him in the early 90s when Rocket Scientists was rehearsing material in the San Fernando Valley in the northwest part of Los Angeles County. We worked a lot at a particular rehearsal studio, and Patrick has a space in that complex as well. He was very friendly and would pop in often. He was always interested in what we were doing, and he was extremely supportive. Not at all arrogant or acting superior in any way…even though he clearly was!. He was ‘just one of the guys’ and very easy to be around. Then our drummer at the time got a gig playing this band called Darling Cruel, and they did a short tour opening up for The Moody Blues with Patrick on keyboards. And as a side note, we actually ended up covering a song from Darling Cruel called ‘Coloured Life’ on Lana’s first album, ‘Love Is An Illusion’, in 1995. It’s still one of our favorites. We went to see them all at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, and nice outdoor theater in the Hollywood Hills area. That was a really great show, and Patrick played brilliantly, even using a Mellotron on stage with one tape track full of custom sound effects for various Moodies’ songs like the intro of the ‘The Voice’ and of course several older classics.”

“Now let’s fast-forward about 15 years. I had stayed in touch with Patrick, and we saw each other occasionally at trade shows and other events. He had moved to Central Florida, the area around St. Petersburg /Orlando. I was playing an outdoor festival gig there with Asia Featuring John Payne, and I needed to locate a Minimoog Voyager for the show. The backline rental company couldn’t find one. I called my friend, Michelle Moog. She is Bob Moog’s daughter who runs The Bob Moog Foundation, to ask if she knew anyone in the area who had a Voyager that I could borrow. She said, “Well, Patrick lives there. I’m sure he would loan you his Voyager.” Perfect. So I phoned up Patrick, and of course, he was happy to come down to show and bring his synth. So our band had a bad flight delay, and we got into St. Petersburg very late. We went from the airport straight to the stage for soundcheck. My tech and I are setting up the keyboard rig, and from the other side of the stage comes Patrick up the stairs with the Voyager. “Hey, Erik, I have your synth!” I give him a hug, say a big thank you, and tell him to please join us in our green room and of course for dinner after the show.”

Patrick Moraz [red jacket] with The Moody Blues in 1983

“The guys in the band, John Payne, Guthrie Govan and Jay Schellen, all ask me, who was that? I say, “That was Patrick Moraz. He brought a Minimoog Voyager for me to use today.” They all laugh, like I’m joking. I say “No, really.” I shrug, and I go back to setting up the keyboards. Then imagine their total shock when we all go into the green room after soundcheck, and who is sitting there…Patrick Moraz! After the show and after dinner, we all went to the hotel lobby where they had a grand piano, and Patrick and I played together for quite a while. At several points during that, I would stop playing and sit next to Guthrie, the guitarist, sipping a beer. He would ask, “Why aren’t you playing?” And I would reply, “Often I think it sounds better when Patrick just plays.” He would pause for a moment, and then nod thoughtfully, A very mature decision.”

When I first saw a picture of you with the ‘Wall of doom’ in a magazine, the first thing I thought was that you must be big fan of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. Am I right?

“I am indeed a huge fan of both Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. The albums ‘Phaedra’ and ‘Rubycon’ are my favorites, and the live ‘Ricochet’ is also massively inspiring. For Klaus, it is ‘Mirage’, ‘Timewind’, and also ‘Dune’ from 1979. His final album ‘Deus Arrakis’ is an impressive work as well, despite his health struggles then. I love that Hans Zimmer quoted music from the 1979 ‘Dune’ album in his score to the Denis Villeneuve movie ‘Dune’. That was a very classy move, not to mention a nicely artistic one. But about the Wall of Doom, I have to say that the influence for building this synthesizer was 100% Keith Emerson. I was lucky enough to have Keith’s famous modular Moog in my project studio for about a month in 1994, and I instantly thought, “This is the best sounding synthesizer I have ever heard. I have to get one of these!” And so in the confident arrogance of youth, I set about finding a modular Moog system. I found a Moog IIIC from 1967 in rather bad shape, and that became the genesis of the Wall of Doom that would not be finished and put into full musical service until the year 2000.”

Erik and The Wall of Doom…just choose your favorite button/photo by Erik Nielsen

At what age and at what point did you decide to become a professional musician?

“That’s a hard one to answer! I guess one becomes ‘a professional musician’ when one starts earning their living playing music full-time. Or maybe not, I don’t know. Well, for me, that would have been around age thirty with the Lana Lane ‘Garden Of The Moon’ album. We went from selling three to forty thousand items with each of our prior albums to forty thousand with that one, and it changed everything. No more day jobs! And not that I had a bad day job. I designing synthesizers for Alesis in Los Angeles, quite a great job, actually, and one that was difficult to leave, as we were working on the Alesis Andromeda at the time. But I had to go as it was an opportunity that would probably not come again in most people their lifetimes.”

“I guess another way to answer this question would be “when did you know that music would be at the center of your life?” Because I have a lot of friends, even now, that are world-class musicians that DON’T make their living playing music. But I would certainly consider them the most professional of musicians. They play on all sorts of great albums, and they play on my album productions as well. For me, that moment came when I was about 18 years old and just starting university. It was clear to me that a traditional career in business or even academia was not going to fulfill my passion, and music was the only thing that could do it. I because super focused on music and synthesizers and production at that age, and it really was the center of my life from then on.”

Are you implying that the breakthrough for you was not Rocket Scientist, but Lana Lane?

“Absolutely! The business breakthrough and breakthrough to a much larger audience certainly came with Lana. Rocket Scientists was the band that gave me my start. It was my first proper album release, and my entry into the professional music world. But Lana’s third album, ‘Garden Of The Moon’, was definitely the career breakthrough for all of us. Not only for Lana and me, but also for Rocket Scientists musicians Mark McCrite and Don Schiff. Both played on that album and toured with us to support it. And the next Lana Lane album called ‘Queen Of The Ocean’ had similar success in Japan and for the first time even a little breakthrough in Europe. Thanks to a new record label deal there.”

Happy together: Erik and his wife Lana Lane

For someone like you who is a designer and musician at the same time, you know exactly what a perfect synthesiser should meet. To what extent were you left free to design and had to take into account the wishes/requirements of the production company?

“To quote Han Solo in the original Star Wars, “Well that’s the real trick, isn’t it?” Ultimately I am working for a company and serving their needs, their requirements. So those have to be met first. But the product is a musical instrument meant to be played by real musicians to make real music. So that’s where the artistry comes in, and where hopefully my aesthetic sense is of some good value. This where we have to balance the issue of price vs. performance and cost vs. benefit. In the case of the Andromeda, we had to make sure that sound was king. And in the end, it was. But the weak spot was probably the plastic case, which was a necessity due to the price point that the company wanted to reach. In fact, the price of the instrument already soared past the original goal. The result was that too much plastic was probably used, and now you see a lot of Andromedas 20+ years on that have broken end caps and rear panels. This would not have happened if those were made of metal or wood like other classic synths. Of course that would have added a lot of cost and weight. But then again, consider the relative price of an Oberheim Matrix-12 or even a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. Those instruments cost quite a bit more in relative dollars.”

Do you have the patent or shared patent on the Alesis Andromeda?

“Unfortunately I do not. The Andromeda is wholly owned by Alesis, and Alesis is owned by inMusic. I tried to actually buy the product at one point and manufacture a Mark 2- version, but it was not possible for a number of logistical reasons. The custom chips that Keith Barr designed were a particular problem. I don’t think it would be possible to manufacture those again, especially considering their high failure rate during the manufacturing runs. Or at least, not really practical. Anything is ‘possible’, I suppose!”

The Alesis Andromeda A6

You are a classical trained musician, aren’t you? So, just a quick desert island question here: a grand piano or a synthesizer?

“Yes, I started studying piano at eight years old, taking piano lessons on my parents’ antique Chickering walnut parlor grand piano. It would have to be a grand piano since there are no power outlets or amplified speakers on a desert island. Okay, that’s the joke answer. But honestly, it would still be a grand piano. A great acoustic piano is infinitely expressive and totally timeless. It challenges your musical technique and compositional sensibilities in a way that synthesizer does not. Synths do other amazing things, of course. And naturally I love synthesizers. But I would chose the piano if I had to chose only one. Fortunately I do not have to choose, right?”

Can you remember something about your first performance as a professional?

“I think this would have to be the first Rocket Scientists concert on our first tour. This was at the Rotherham Rocks Festival in the north of England. We were invited to play at this festival and another in Germany in 1997, and this allowed us to book a small European tour. All of it was done on a shoestring budget, and we stayed with friends in Europe in various countries. It was a fantastic experience despite the total lack of luxury and any creature comforts. When I think about some of the tours I have done in recent years with tour busses, nice hotels and crews, it’s such a huge contrast. But we were quite well-rehearsed, and we even managed to squeeze in an extra rehearsal in Holland before in the second festival. We were super focused that way. The fact that we were promoting two albums was something to be quite proud of, and that we were doing it in these foreign countries to such warm receptions was also really amazing for us.”

Being a musician is one aspect, but what does it take to be an independent producer also?

“I think creating and maintaining good relationships is the key to be a successful producer. You have to generate sense of trust and well-being in the studio and in the business environment in which everyone is working. Even if it is a low-budget project, if everyone is clear about the terms and the situation, the creative environment can be quite positive and stimulating. The important thing is to keep the mood positive and maintain a good level of respect among everyone from the super famous session player to the lowly second engineer who is making the coffee and moving the road cases. And beyond that, sure, you have to have a great vision for the production, some reasonably good engineering skills along with at least a little musical talent!”

According to talent, the concept album ‘Music Machine’ from 2003 is a critical sneer at the commercial and profit-driven format of talent shows on television. Did you make this album as a kind of indictment of this format that holds musicians hostage and exploits them?

“This album turned out to be rather more prophetic than I thought. The ‘Idol’ shows had just started around this time, and I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. That is not what music is about for me, and probably not what it is about for most of your readers. Most of my own favorite musicians are not ‘ídols’ at all. They are these nerdy, geeky, awkward recluses that write amazing, deep, beautiful music and play/sing for the ages. Not for the Thursday night prime time TV ratings. If our culture gets reduced to this idol mentality, would we have a Neil Young? A Roger Hodgson? A Yes? Rush? Procol Harum? ELO? How you can you be a star with weird hair like that? Now not only do we have tons of these kinds of shows, we also have things like Spotify and streaming services where the artist makes pennies and the executives makes millions. Those guys are driving our Ferraries and living in our mansions. Now you see the actors and TV-film writers on strike over this. It’s a shame the musicians couldn’t do the same. Some of us have. I point to Taylor Swift often. Not exactly my style of music…big surprise, eh?…but this young woman is pretty much on the right side of everything. She represents us very well in this regard. Here I’ll mention Neil Young again, too. Neil is a 60s counterculture guy, so that’s in his nature. Nevertheless, he is a major artist fighting the good fight for us little guys.”

You are more or less an independent artist. You do your own thing and have your own production company. Would you advise that to any starting musician: to be independent?

“I think it’s important to have the ability to be independent, because you never want your art to be at the mercy of business people. Especially unscrupulous business people. And there are a lot of those in the music business, probably now more more than ever! No artist wants to have to do ten different jobs where they have to be the graphic artist, the manufacturing coordinator, the publicist, the mailman, etc. We all just want to write, perform and record, naturally. And there is no better feeling than working in perfect sync with a great record label that believes in you, keeps you well-financed for both albums and tours, and sells enough product to make it all work. I have been extremely lucky at more than one point in my life to find myself in that rare position. And then other times, I have had to do it all myself to get my music out into the world. That’s just how life goes. You hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

“When we were working on the first Rocket Scientists album in the early 90s, we had opportunities from various management companies and record labels in Los Angeles. Everyone wanted us to change things. Change these lyrics. Fire this musician. Hire this other musician. Change this guitar. Change these clothes. Use different synth sounds. Record at this other studio. And a lot of would have required going into debt and committing to contracts that would have tied us up for years and years. We were in our 20s and had our whole careers and lives ahead of us. We knew the music we wanted to make, and we saw how so many other bands, especially in Los Angeles, were completely ruined by making bad long-term decisions for what looked like good short-term opportunities. We didn’t want to fall into that trap, and happily we didn’t. I would encourage every musician, young and old, to learn as much about business as you learn about music. If you don’t, you may find yourself in a very bad situation as so many of our peers have over the years. Brilliant musicians that don’t have a penny to their name but owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Ouch.”

How did the band Rocket Scientists emerge?

“Mark McCrite, the vocalist/guitarist, and I met in High School in European History class in the early 80s, and we became friends with a common affinity for 70s prog. Mark would make these demos on his Fostex 4-Track cassette deck, and he had me play keyboards on several of them, mostly cover songs. Back then I had just a beat-up Rhodes electric piano and some cheap Roland synths, but I could still get some cool sounds of them. We then were roommates in college at UCLA, and we started getting more serious about music. We started working with real drummers, bass players and even other guitarists, and we started recording in real recording studios. That’s when we started Rocket Scientists, probably around 1986 or 1987.

“I ended up renting a room from the guy that owned the home studio where we were doing most of our recording, and I starting hanging out at his sessions, doing keyboard works whenever possible, and often trading for studio time. Work like this allowed me to buy some better synths, and I even got an amazing deal on an Oberheim OB-X as no one wanted that model at the time. If only they knew!”

Rocket Scientists a few minutes before lift off: Erik Norlander, Mark McCrite, Don Schiff/photo Tracy McCrite

“Mark ended up in an apartment with a little studio of his own based around a Tascam 8-track reel-to-reel recorder where he recorded commercials and scores for various corporate projects. Between Mark’s studio and the pro home studio where I ‘lived’, we ended up recording the first Rocket Scientists album ‘Earthbound’ that we self-released in 1993.”

“About a third of that album was done on Mark’s Tascam 8-Track with SMPTE time code, and an early Macintosh computer synched up with an early version of MOTU Performer software with all the synths sequenced. We even were able to squeeze extra tracks by recording background vocals onto a slave reel of tape and then sampling them into my Akai S1000 units and re-triggering them from the sequencer. Mixing was crazy, as you can imagine! The studio had a Trident Series 65 console with 24 channels and 16 more channels in the monitor section, and Mark had his own Studiomaster 16 channel desk that he brought in to submix all of the synths and samplers that were being played live via MIDI from the sequencer. I ended up buying that Trident console from the studio and building my own home studio in 1994. We recorded so many albums on that great Trident desk.”

From then on, the career of Rocket Scientists prospered. Am I right?

“Well, ‘prospered’ is a rather subjective term! We didn’t all buy houses in Tenerife, of course. But we made the second album, ‘Brutal Architecture’, right after that and released it in 1995, followed by our first tour in 1997, our first live album in 1998, and our third studio album, ‘Oblivion Days’, in 1999. Lana’s big breakthrough in 1998 kept us busy with her career for a solid five years along with a few solo albums from me, but then Rocket Scientists returned with a big double album, ‘Revolution Road’, in 2006, then the epic ‘Looking Backward’ box set in 2007 followed by quite a bit of touring with the band both in the US and internationally in 2007 through 2009. And of course then the anniversary releases, ‘Supernatural Highways’ and ‘Refuel’ in 2014. So we certainly prospered musically, there is no doubt about that. No one got rich along the way, but I don’t think any of us ever expected to. And even if we never play another note together, this is certainly a career that all of us are extremely proud of.” 

Can you tell someting about future plans according to Rocket Scientists, Lane Lane and Asia feat. John Payne, and your solo carreer? I hope you perform in Netherlands again.

“Rocket Scientists played our final concert at the 2019 ProgStock Festival in New Jersey. We announced that it would be our last live performance, and it was a great one. We have a great multitrack audio and multi-camera video recording of it, and I intend to release that one day in the not-to-distant future. So you will not see Rocket Scientists on stage again. Whether we get together to record more music in studio, that remains possible. We shall see what the future holds.” 

“Asia Featuring John Payne is a totally different band than the one I left in 2014. John Payne moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, and since then, he has a band of Las Vegas musicians that play live with him as Asia Featuring John Payne. It is convenient for him, and from what he tells me and from what I have heard from friends and fans, the current band is quite good and plays a great show. That makes me happy of course, as John remains a good friend. John and I have our Dukes of Orient project which came out of the ashes of the old Asia Featuring John Payne band that we had together from 2007 to 2014. We released two great albums on the Frontiers label in Europe that I am extremely proud of, and there is a good possibility we will make more music like this together. I hope we will. I think the two of work quite well together and create a unique sound.”

Erik and John Payne as Dukes Of The Orient

We of course released Lana’s album ‘Neptune Blue’ in 2022, and I really love that record. I think it’s one of her very best. I expect we will make more, and hopefully you will see Lana onstage again, too. As for myself, I have just been invited to play a solo set at the 2023 ProgStock Festival, the same festival where we played our final Rocket Scientists concert four years ago. So I will be doing that in October. And I hope to continue to get out play after that!

Many thanks for your detailed answers to my questions and your enthusiasm for participating in this interview, Erik.

Heel erg bedankt,” Michel, for a very nice conversation. I really enjoyed the questions and the thoughtful dialog, and I hope to see you in Holland sometime in future. Tot ziens!”

Michel Scheijen

Een speciale dank gaat uit naar Eric Snelders van www.synthforbreakfast.nl.

https://eriknorlander.com/

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Dit bericht heeft 4 reacties

  1. Erik Neuteboom

    Geweldig interview Michel, erg interessant, gevarieerd, en Erik heeft zo’n ongelooflijke kennis van muziek en instrumenten. Het leuke is dat ik Rocket Scientist ken vanaf het begin, ik was erg onder de indruk van een lang nummer met majestueuze Mellotron klanken, nu weet ik waarom. Mooie combinatie trouwens, die eerste 2 LP’s van hem, Deep Purple en The Moody Blues, hij vertelt daar fraai over, evenals over Patrick Moraz. Ben benieuwd of je jezelf gaat overtreffen na dit interview, of gewoon stoppen op je hoogtepunt, haha ….

    1. Michel

      Hallo Erik,

      Bedankt voor je reactie.

      Ik ben heel tevreden over het interview. De enthousiaste Erik verleende alle medewerking. Zijn uitgebreide antwoorden en leuke anekdotes wijzen erop dat hij zich alle tijd nam. Dat waardeer ik enorm, want ik ben geen hotshot van een gerenommeerd magazine of een website met duizenden subscribers. Ik doe mijn best om interessante vragen te stellen. Van nature ben ik erg nieuwsgierig naar onderwerpen die mij boeien.

      Rocket Scientist vind ik geweldig. Norlander solo vind ik nog beter. Zijn ‘Galactic Collective’ kan ik je van harte aanbevelen. Van de studioversie en de live-versie heb ik de luxe cd/dvd-sets. ‘Music Machine’ is ook een prima album.

      Alle goeds,

      Michel

  2. Servé

    Met Erik eens, Michel, een hoogtepunt! Boeiend interview. Zijn opmerkingen over de nauwkeurigheid van het spel (“precise”) van oude helden kan ik helemaal onderschrijven en het is de eerste muzikant die dit opmerkt (bij mijn weten). De Andromeda was ondanks al het plastic indertijd niet goedkoop, maar klonk prachtig. De “Uno” waar hij nu bij betrokken is moet ik maar eens gaan beluisteren, evenals de oude Rocket Scientists albums. Dit interview zet me er toe aan! Top Michel.

    1. Michel

      Hey die Servé,

      Bedankt voor je reactie.

      Ik herinner me dat Chris Jonker van Mangrove eenzelfde opmerking maakte over het spel van Tony Banks. Het was een geweldig interview om te doen en de uitgebreide, goed onderbouwde antwoorden van Erik maken het zo boeiend. Hij weet echt waar hij over praat.

      Alle goeds,

      Michel

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