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In Words: Fool's Game

- Matt Crooks - Sep. 2009 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Fool's Game
© Fool's Game

Matt Crooks - September, 30th 2009 (by email)

A new band, but some names might sound familiar to a metal fan... Fool's Game is the band and if you want to know more about the band, then read what Matt Crooks has to tell!

Please tell us in a nutshell how Fool's Game came to life!

It started with me writing songs in my studio by myself. I had just left my previous band, and was writing some new songs, basically whatever I thought was good. At the same time I was recording the band Pharaoh and spending a lot of time working with Matt Johnsen. I played Matt the songs as I was working on them, and eventually he signed on to play leads on the album. The next step was to find a singer. I sent a few emails around to people I knew, and about a week or two later Lars had agreed to be the singer for the band. The next step was to find a drummer. Matt knew John and talked to him at a summer cook out. I sent John the songs the next week, and he joined up once he heard the songs. The last step was to find a keyboard player. Nick has been a good friend of mine for several years, so it seemed only natural to ask him to play the keys.

What's the story behind the band's name?

I really wish there was some deep meaning to the name, but there is not. Once we had the line-up finalized, I kept trying to come up with a name for the band. All of my ideas were at best bad, and at their worst, embarrassing. I was recording the band Superchrist, and the singer said "Any more signing tonight is a fool's errand." That made me think of the Mordred album Fool's Game, which I thought would make a cool band name.

How long did you work on Reality Divine?

I worked on the album off and on for about 18 months. Because I was doing most of the work at my studio, I had to schedule Fool's Game around my other clients – they were paying me after all! I think all told, we spent a week on drums, less than a week on drums, a couple of days on bass, four or five days each on rhythm and lead guitars. I do not really know how much time Nick spent on the keyboards, as he recorded them at his studio in Los Angeles. Once everything was recorded, I probably spent a total of two or three weeks mixing it.

How much of a band effort are the songs? Or have the songs been written before the line-up was completed?

I wrote all of the basics of the songs. The rest of the band wrote all of their parts. If there was anything I did not like, we changed it, but that did not happen much at all. I told everyone to do what they thought was best for the songs, and I am really happy with the results.

The album cover is quite dark... How had the idea? And who realized it?

Our management company was contacted by an agent who was representing Michal Karcz. Michal had several pieces completed, and ours was one of them. The imagery fit very well with some of the themes of the album, so we decided to go with a piece that was complete instead of commissioning a new piece of art.

Which song(s) represents Reality Divine best in your opinion?

I think that The Wild Swans at Coole is probably the best representation of the band. It has some of the progressive elements that we have mixed in with more traditional metal elements. It also showcases the twin guitar leads that are in most of the songs, and the big catchy choruses that Lars wrote.

On The Conqueror Worm you got joined by Tim Aymar... Have you had the idea right from the start to add another male singer?

We had discussed having Tim sing on a song or two from the start. Since I work with Pharaoh a lot, it made it very easy to add Tim to the songs. I think he did a great job with the song, and his voice provides a good counter point to Lars.

Can we expect other interesting cooperations in future?

I hope so. We haven't discussed much about the next CD, except that we want to have it out early in 2011.

Is Fool's Game a studio project? Or will you play live?

Because we are so spread out geographically, I think we will always be primarily a studio project. However, we do want to bring these songs to the stage, and our management is in negotiations with at least one festival right now… so we’ll see what 2010 brings!

What's on the schedule next?

Well, for me it is to continue writing for the next album. I have four songs in progress so I've got a lot more work to do. Pharaoh is finishing up the recording of their next EP this coming weekend, so I will start working on the mix for that soon too. Matt is finishing up the writing for the next Pharaoh LP now. Nick just released Snowfall on Judgment Day with Redemption, and is working on the follow up already. Lars is working on the next Manticora album, and John just put Ark back together with Tore. So everyone is busy with lots of projects, but we'll get back together next year to record the second disc.

Great to hear that they hope to bring Fool's Game on stage - and that it ain't just a one-off project. And good news about Ark, too! So, check out the band members main bands, in case you don't know them yet!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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