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InterviewsThe Heroes and Villains of FM - An interview with Steve Overland

Posted on Saturday, April 25 2015 @ 17:51:22 CDT by Steven Reid

FM are BACK! Did no one tell you?? The UK's prime AOR-sters have just released the fourth album of their lazarus like comeback; Heroes & Villains the crowning glory of their amazing resurrection. Always a band capable of packing their sounds with an authentic upbeat groove, this new set of songs possesses a real verve and enthusiasm a band half their vintage would struggle to capture. Sea of Tranquility's Steven Reid plays the villain as one of the heroes, FM's singer extraordinaire Steve Overland, tells us all about it…

Firstly Steve, who are the heroes and who are the villains…?

There have been many heroes and villains throughout my career, but to be honest we just liked it as a title, and thought it fitted great with the image on the album sleeve.

The album is a really up-tempo grin inducing collection of songs, where each and every track vies for your attention. Was there a  specific plan of attack as you went into the songwriting, or is this just a reflection of how the band feels right now?

The positivity around the band since we re-formed has been amazing, from the press, radio and, most importantly, the fans. It's inspiring, so although we never write songs to order I guess this must reflect in the mood of the songwriting.

I'm intrigued with "Walking With Angels" though, it's more than a little different from the rest of the album. Where did the idea and basis for that song come from?

Walking with Angels is a song I've had kicking around since before the Metropolis album. I played it to Jim back then, and during the recording of this album he asked me if I remembered it, I played it on acoustic in the control room and Adrian, our manager, said, "you have to record it just the way it is", so we kept it stripped-down.

It feels like guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick has really stamped his mark on this album. You must be delighted with his contribution to the band since he joined?

Jim has been a great asset to the band. He's much younger, so gives us a kick up the backside, and sometimes shows us a different approach to doing things. He's a big player in the songwriting. We usually have the basic song written and then let the band F.M it.

Lyrically the album covers quite a lot of "tougher' topics. Was this something you'd wanted to explore a little more on this album?

We just write songs, there's no conscious effort to toughen-up or write about any particular topic. We just write about what we feel.

Since FM resurfaced, the whole vibe around the band has been incredibly positive. Do you think that you all needed the time away from FM to re-find your enthusiasm and drive for the band again?

I think we stopped when we had no-where left to go and, maybe by luck, came back when the time was right. I do think the break made us realise how enjoyable being in FM was when we did it again. We were all still working in music, so it's hard to say what we would have been doing if we hadn't reformed…I'm just glad we did.

Before the band split, you had… interesting times with record labels. So I was a little surprised to see you teaming up with Frontiers for Heroes and Villains. After being so successful under your own steam, why join up with a label again now?

When we reformed we wanted to keep the thing in-house, after all our past experience with major labels. But we had no idea it would become so big again, and we now need a world team around us again. We simply don't have the manpower to handle where we are today. Frontiers, and the guys that run the label, are fans of the band and truly understand our music. They have been amazing so far in the build-up to the release of the album. I think we'll make a great team.

This summer you're playing a whole host of festivals, from Nantwich Jazz Festival to Ramblin' Man Fair and The Frontiers festival to Graspop. How does it feel to be such a "hot ticket" act again?

It's amazing to be back where we are after such a long break. We never take it for granted. It just proves that rock fans are the most loyal.

And the UK radio play doesn't seem to be drying up either. Do you have to pinch yourself sometimes that all this has happened on your second bite at the cherry?

The radio support for the band has been amazing. We never had it before and it's a real kick hearing your stuff on BBC Radio 2 and, of course, the tremendous support we've had from Planet Rock.

However sandwiched in-between, you have an eight date headline tour of the UK. You must be eager to get out and get the parties started with some new material in the set?

Can't wait to get out and play the new stuff live, we'll do as much as we can get away with, and we're gonna change the old stuff around a bit too.

Obviously the festival slots will keep the band's profile really high. However the opening slots with the likes of Foreigner and Europe must have been a real boost for the band too. Do you have anything like that in the pipeline for later in the year?

There are all sorts of things being talked about for the back end of the year… We loved the Foreigner tour…

Your live dates take you right up to the start of August, what's the plan after that? European shows? Another EP perhaps?

As I said, the touring will be an on-going thing. We want to cover everywhere and there are things being planned every day!

(Click here to read our reviews of Heroes & Villains)

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