China is back with Light Up The Dark, time to find out why it took so long til China delivered a new album - and to talk about a few other things... Thanks to Claudio Matteo for answering my questions!
When did you first thought about recording another studio album?
The chance to play with Black Sabbath, Mötley Crüe and Motörhead at the Spirit Of Rock Festival in our home town Winterthur brought the band China back together in 2007. We road for that gig already 2 new tracks and after that we had many request for other gigs so we new we need a new album.
It's been 15 years since the release of your last studio album Natural Groove, even if the band split up and was out of business for awhile, it was a long break. Why did you wait so long?
We were all playing in separate bands for a while and occasionally playing together for special events.
I started with Marc Storace and Brian Kofmehl the trio called Acoustical Mountain. This was a fun project without ambition for a CD, mostly cover songs with some of our own tracks from China and Krokus. This project kept us going for over 10 years and still today we got a lot of request.
Where did you record Light Up The Dark? And how long did the recordings take?
We recorded in 3 sessions in Switzerland and broth in Chris Johnson and Michael Parnin two close friends from USA of Eric St. Michaels from past projects. We also wanted to make sure we had an international sound going on the record. We all got family by now so it toke 3 recording session and for the mix and mastering we went over to Michaels Parnin place Blacksound Studio in LA.
The album was released in your home country in 2010 and now it'll be released in Europe. Happy that the album is finally out elsewhere?
We are all exited about it, also because the feedbacks are really great. Now we hope also to play in several countries.
As the album was released in Switzerland last year, you already got feedback for Light Up The Dark, satisfied with the feedback?
Yes, we had some good and bad feedback from Switzerland, I think the Swiss people and old fans expected a more melodic album like the old days, we did some experiments on LUTD, because we had so much fun. We did not use any keyboards anymore, we like to show that we are a guitar band.
On My Way sticks out a bit, not just because Krokus frontman Marc Storace joined you. The song is a country-influenced rocker which in my opinion enriches the album... Did you got criticized for it?
Yes, some heavy oriented people did not like that track, for us this track was the only old one we had from our unplugged time so we decide to put that one also on the record. It shows also the variability of the band playing music.
In general it can be said that you tried to combine the sound of your early days with some modern sounds. A natural process?
That's exactly what happens. We did not want to copy ourselves from the past, but we tried to compose a record with some updated sounds and songs. It really was a natural process.
Have the songs been written over a longer period of time? Or just prior the recordings?
It took 2 years to write all the songs, because we are not working on a professional level anymore. The recordings happen after that, knowing exactly what we want to reach. Studios are not cheap so we worked fast in the recording process.
Would you like to visualize a song? Which one would you choose for a video clip?
It is a matter of taste but for us has Lonely Rider, Gates Of Heaven or On My Way a single potential.
Soon you'll have a release party for the European edition, what can fans expect?
We play at the show some old tracks and a lot of new tracks. The fans can expect a great party and the new CD EU edition with the 3 new bonus tracks on it.
Since China reunited you play live in your home country incl. some shows with Krokus, any plans for shows in other European countries? Or is it too early to talk about?
We try to play as much as we can and we would love to have a decent tour with some major bands, but I think this is going to be difficult. We've got some requests from Germany, Portugal, Austria and Norway, but they're all just single shows. We are working on it and if not this year I'm confident for next year.
As Light Up The Dark was released in 2010, have you already started writing new songs? And how does it feel to be back promoting LUTD?
Yes, we have some new tracks written and tried them out fist live. We love to be back and it feels always good to promote your own new record. We really hope the fans can hear the passion we put on this record.
Claudio, you are also active as a DJ. What do you like about DJ-ing?
With DJ I can make sure that I survive and payments are done. I have a major request for DJ jobs and as long no gigs are on the way I love the DJ part of my life. But live music comes always first.
Any chance for the Acoustical Mountain trio to be revived?
As long Krokus and China are doing there projects AM is kind on hold, we just do some private shows an as soon the bands have a break we are also back with AM. We love also this project it is really simple and sometime I thinks that is the reason why people like this.
Future plans? Anything you want to add?
We play as much as we can with China and promote the new CD, in the mean time we write new songs tried them out live and hope to go back in some studios for a new CD recording session for next year.
Please listen to LUTD a few times and don't forget to turn up the valium... ;o))