Rockenfied/Speer: Hells Canyon
The pure instrumental masterpiece “Hells Canyon” by well known artist and producer Paul Speer and Quennsryche drummer Scott Rockenfield will is released in Europe via Bee&Bee Records.Renald Mienert did an interview with Paul Speer.
How was the idea for this album born - to do an record focused on Hell's Canyon?
I grew up in Idaho near Hells Canyon. On a recent trip into the canyon, I was made aware of many historical events for the first time and I found them to be very inspiring. I brought the concept to Scott and shared some of the myths, legends, and history with him and he loved the idea.
How did you come in touch?
How did Scott and I meet? We were introduced by a mutual friend at a Tangerine Dream concert in Seattle. I believe that was in 1993.
Why you decided to do an pure instrumental album?
All of my previous albums are instrumental and Scott has always wanted to do an album without vocals so we made a good team. In fact, we discovered that we were both fans of each other’s music when we first met. We became close friends very fast.
Is there a mastermind inside of this project or are you more a "democratic" team?
Everything is 50-50 and we co-write all of the material. Sometimes one of us will come in with a definite idea for a piece but there on, it is an active collaboration.
How does the songwriting work for this project?
We would often sit down with nothing in mind and just start jamming on ideas. Some turn out really good, others don’t. Of course, we keep the good ones and forget about the crappy ones.
Can you tell me something of the process of creating the new record? Were there any problems or went everything well?
Working with Scott in the studio is an incredible experience for me. We have very similar tastes in music and are great at pushing each other to perform our best. We are truly musical brothers. It took us a long to finish Hells Canyon because of other commitments during the recording process. I would say the only problem that occurred was that I wasn’t happy with the original mixes so I ended up remixing the whole record.
Any plans for more projects together in the future?
Most definitely! We love working together. We are kicking around ideas for the next record right now but haven’t tracked anything yet.
Will you present the new material on stage?
We hope to and have done some rehearsing for live performance. However, with Scott’s obligations to Queensryche and my work as a record producer (I typically produce 8 - 10 albums a year for other artists), it has been difficult to find the time to continue rehearsing.
How did you come in touch with your current label? Was it difficult to find a record company?
When we first released Hells Canyon ourselves, it was only on the internet and, to get reviews, we just searched for progressive rock websites around the world and sent out press kits to them. A copy got into the hands of Dolores Bremer and Wouter Bannick at Bee and Bee Records in The Netherlands. They phoned us soon after receiving Hells Canyon and asked if we would be interested in licensing it to them for the European territory. It was pretty easy from there as they love the record and have been extremely supportive.
How would you like to develop in the future?
Scott and I plan to continue making records and we are also putting out feelers to do some movie soundtracks.
What do you think about the situation of your musical genre in the presence and what will change in the future?
I think that Scott and I have established a somewhat unique style of music and that whatever we do, that identity will shine through. Right now, we are thinking about the possibility of working with a vocalist but keeping the texture much the same as it is on Hells Canyon. It is very important for us to be ourselves and maintain our musical identity in the music we create.