Young UK rockers Draven have recently exploded onto the scene with debut album Eden. The very fact that they enlisted the production skills of Kevin Shirely was enough to make SoT sit up and take notice and the album is a real contender for the best debut you will hear this year. Sea of Tranquility's Dean Pedley caught up with Draven's Jim Paoli to get the lowdown.
SoT: Hi guys and welcome to Sea of Tranquility....how the devil are you?
Jim: Well the Devil is a mean old fruit but we are fine thankyou!
SoT: The album has been generating some excellent reviews (including our own); are you pleased with the reaction so far?
Jim: It's been amazing. We put blood and guts into this record and it's finally good to know that you did something good and that people are enjoying your efforts (Ta very much!)
SoT: It seems to have taken a long time coming to fruition...what's the story behind this?
Jim: The band definitely went on a journey with the making of this record. We had hard drives crashing, back up hard drives being stolen and re-writing and re-recording the whole thing. We have been stalked and threatened. Each band member was also dealing with their own personal issues that would fit any jaded rock stars biography. But we stuck together and it all worked itself into the songs. That's where it all is.
SoT: The name Kevin Shirley leaps from the credits, tell us about how Caveman came to be involved?
Jim: We were struggling to get the sound we wanted and when the record company (CNR) told us to bring in our favourite albums, one name linked them all together. Kevin Shirley. What surprised us is that he really understood where we were going, even before we did!
SoT: How did you enjoy the experience of recording in California?
Jim: Are you kidding? You have the ocean to your left and Kevin Shirley to your right telling you to stop playing like a pig! It doesn't get any better! But seriously, he loaned us the use of some real cool guitars as he didn't like some of the sounds we were getting. So he pulled out Jimmy Page's Les Paul, Joe Perry's Les Paul and Malcom Young's Les Paul Junior. They all made it onto the record. It was Heavens playground! Oh, and Malibu is quite nice too!
SoT: And was Kevin a hard taskmaster...did he push you guys to deliver your absolute best performance
Jim: Kevin is not a man with time to waste! He knows exactly what he wants and exactly how he is going to get it. If he isn't getting it, then whoever is messing up better pull their finger out. But he is just so passionate about music that you just want to give him your best. He is actually a very chilled out dude. He has a great sense of humour and it's infectious!
SoT: Did you tap him for any good anecdotes of his work with Zeppelin, Maiden etc...
Jim: Hell yeah! We know stuff that could destroy legends! But sorry, it was on threat of death! Kevin knows where we live.
SoT: Turning to the songs there seems to be a mix of up tempo rockers and more considered ballads..talk us through some of your highlights
Jim: The lyrics all deal with stuff that we as a band have experienced and many other people too. Temptations, addictions, and striving for perfection. So the theme of the garden of eden just seemed to fit perfectly. Its an epic story and therefore the album has an epic presentation. It plays like a movie. It's a journey. So you have action scenes like" Blitz" and "Fight". Then there are love scenes like "I Don't Care" and "Breathe." The climatic battle of "Stranger" is a favourite of ours. It lets us show our Muscle! The title track "Eden" was Kevin's Favourite. Now there's an epic!
SoT: How long back do some of these songs date...I understand you have been writing together since the age of 12
Jim: That's right. "Stranger" is the only one that was written outside of this project. But it's a crowd favourite and it just suited the vibe so well that we had to close the album with it. It's a couple of years older but we re-worked it.
SoT: Do you have a stockpile of songs for the next record or will the material be freshly conceived?
Jim: We wrote a lot of songs for this album and some didn't make it because they didn't fit the theme of the album that started to take shape. They are great tracks but don't belong on "EDEN." So some will definately be considered. But we come up with stuff every time we jam so I expect it may be a mixture of tracks waiting to find a home and stuff waiting to be conceived!
SoT: In terms of touring plans what do you have planned?
Jim: Well, we are waiting to confirm support slots with established acts. But in the mean time we are planning a promotional tour of HMV in store gigs. We are also opening Guilfest 09 with Motorhead this year. (Fri 10th July, 1pm- Rock Sound Cave blah blah) It's a biggy for us because it's our home town.
SoT: Would you expect to play pretty much all of the album live at varous times?
Jim: Oh yeah, we bring the album to life in your face!
SoT: The Answer have made huge strides recently thanks to the AC/DC tour.....what would be your dream support slot?
Jim: Yeah it would be great for AC/DC to support us! (Giggles!) Iron Maiden, Aersosmith, Muse and the Foo's would all be crazy shows to play!
SoT: Any words for the fans who have supprted you to date and for those thinking of checking you out for the first time?
Jim: All are welcome. You lot are just as much of Draven as we are. We are a tribe!
SoT: And finally anything else you wanted to add
Jim: Thank you to all those who have dragged us to where we are (you know who and where) and thank you guys for having us in to chat with you. It's been real groovy!
SoT: Cheers Jim, and look forward to catching you at a gig somewhere soon
(Click here to read our review of Eden)