The Shadowheart Mirror is the first release from new progressive band Oceans Of Night. Scott Mosher, the multi-talented mastermind behind this new act, answered some questions about the new album and his music, from Sea Of Tranquility's Scott Jessup.
SoT: Hi Scott , The Shadowheart Mirror is an impressive CD, how have the reviews and sales been?
Scott: The CD was released the end of June, so the reviews are just starting to arrive on my desk. The general consensus seems to be positive, but you can read for yourself on the Oceans of Night website (I post EVERYTHING in it's entirety, on the site in the press section, as I receive it.) Sales are, as predicted, a bit on the sluggish side, but with the state of the global economy this isn't all together unexpected. The music industry, especially at retail, is as dysfunctional and disjointed as ever. I've always functioned as a jack of all trades and that includes working in the capacity as marketing department and PR representative. Garnering exposure in a very crowded field isn't easy, but I've been doing this long enough to understand the market and my place in it. That said, it's not for trying that times are tough all around.
SoT: Which are your favorite tracks? I was pleased to hear an instrumental on the CD.
Scott: I'm not ashamed to admit I do have a few favorite tracks, for whatever reason. Creatively and musically, "Living in the Past", "Whats Left of Me" and "A Way From You" are high points for me, mostly from a compositional point of view.... and my favorite guitar solo is the outro solo on "Two Worlds Apart". It's mandatory that I always have at least one instrumental track on every CD I do. This time, the title track, is actually the heaviest song on the CD and really is like a sonic sucker punch to the ears. It's placed strategically in the middle of the CD so you get the chance to recuperate before dinner.
SoT: You are multi skilled when it comes to instruments- what's your favorite to play?
Scott: Well, I've been a guitar player most of my life, but I compose almost entirely on a keyboard workstation. I have control of all the instrumentation, and the sounds at my disposal often dictate the direction of the song, or at least certain sections. I find songwriting far more rewarding and creatively addictive than woodshedding to increase my guitar prowess. I'm remaining focused on song composition.
SoT: The recording process must be quite different with only two guys, as I suppose with the exception of main vocals you are the band.
Scott: That is correct. This is how things work: I compose, arrange and record the songs, then I present them to Scott Oliva and he proceeds to create vocal lines and we then bounce ideas back and forth, including lyrics once the melodies are in place. From there he sends me finished vocal tracks and harmonies, if applicable, and I consolidate them on my Mac and then its onto mixing and the engineering stage. The process we take to create songs isn't that different from the manner in which many bands and musicians produce things these days.
SoT: Scott Oliva and yourself must have a good relationship. Will you be doing more albums together?
Scott: There's usually a good 2-3 years between releases, so it's just a matter of time. I tend to write sporadically, with no set plan or methodology, and when I have a collection of songs I give Scott a heads up a few months ahead of time. There's no set schedule for us when we collaborate. Mr. Oliva is constantly presented with a variety of other recording projects and he also sings in the NY-based Iron Maiden tribute band, Live After Death. As you can probably imagine, he often has a number of vocal projects and/or live shows on his plate. The best I can offer him is his just desserts of a more experimental nature. He's more than happy to comply, lucky for me!
SoT: How does The Shadowheart Mirror compare to the other releases you have been involved in?
Scott: This is the first CD I've done where the evolution between the current CD and the previous one has decreased noticeably. It feels like The Shadowheart Mirror is a logical step, almost laterally so, from Deep Horizon. The songs, the approach to song composition, the synthesis of styles and performances, are rather cohesive and complimentary. To me that basically means I've finally hit upon a style of progressive music that I'm comfortable working within... not to be confused with musical complacency or resting on my creative laurels. I definitely feel I've reached a point, musically, that I'm comfortable with and that I can still experiment with and not stray too far from what has come before. There's plenty of room for expansion (and improvement) but the stylistic groundwork is now solid. Any expectations I have will probably still fall within the wide musical boundaries I've made. This is good as I probably never feel that way with my cooking skills.
SoT: What can you tell the readers about your music?
Scott: At it's core, it's metal. But it certainly straddles the line between hard rock, progressive metal and experimental music. There's a convergence of musical elements and inspiration from ambient and trance music... a dash of new age/electronica... and the obligatory vocal and guitar melodies that work together as a cohesive whole. Dynamics are probably the most important element of the music I create. Taking conventional song structures adding some compositional twists and turns, and breaking things down into sections, at times almost cinematically, like a musical movie. Atmosphere... ambience. And of course,, bombastic, dramatic and heavy guitar tones. Basically, ambient progressive metal seems to be the appropriate terminology.
SoT: Do you have any tour plans with a full band to support the new album?
Scott: No, I do not. My main concentration and field of interest is song composition and musical collaboration, and I really want to focus on those areas, and employing live drums in the future as well. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or desire to perform live, though if I had the opportunity and the financial backing sometime in the future, I wouldn't rule it out all together. I have familial and occupational obligations which pre-empt me from a proper tour, not to mention the logistical considerations of putting a live gig together.
SoT: I can't keep up with all the progressive metal bands that seem to be appearing, and many sound so similar to each other-who do you think are the standouts?
Scott: Well, the stalwarts and standard-bearers (forefathers?) like Fates Warning and Dream Theater, have absolutely made their mark and their influence is rather obvious, in my music as well. Personally, I'm also down with Symphony X, Kamelot, Zero Hour, Hubi Meisel, Section A, Enchant, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, OSI, Evergrey, Redemption, Kings-X.
SoT: What are your preferred styles of music and bands ?
Scott: Honestly, while hard rock/metal/prog is my forte, I do listen to a little bit of everything. My archive of music crosses all genre's and that includes Bulgarian folk music and Zamfir!
SoT: Thanks for your time, all the best with The Shadow Heart Mirror.
(Click here to read our review of The Shadowheart Mirror)