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Interview - Scott Leach (Crystal Ball)

Interview with Scott Leach from Crystal Ball
by Daniel Fox at 05 February 2014, 9:46 PM

Daniel Fox had the honors of sitting down with Scott Leach of the coming back Swiss band CRYSTAL BALL, now signed to Massacre Records, for an interesting interview about the band’s new album and their music.

 Hello mate, I'm honored you agreed to this interview. I was quite glad I came about Crystal Ball; nice to know great Euro metal can be found in all corners of the continent. If you can summarize it in a sentence, what was the inspiration behind forming the band?

Thank you very much for your interest in the band, we appreciate it a lot.

I can even summarize it in one word: Passion!

I was still a teenager when I started playing guitar, but for the first time I knew what I wanted to do with my life. It was the same passion that let me put the band together 1995 (at time still as a cover band called Cherry Pie, but with the same members as the first 10 years of Crystal Ball), and it’s the same passion that keeps us all going today.

 What would you consider to be the band's biggest influences, whether it be a band or time period? Like I said in the review, I could hear many respectful musical nods to… Well, a little bit of everything. I thought so, anyway.

Yeah, we have many influences. Certainly a lot of influences from the eighties, when we were growingup. But there is not just one band that influenced us, even though that maybe easier, marketing wise. But we don’t want to limit ourselves. We have quite a variety in our sound.
So we get compared with many different bands.

 How about for yourself, as a lead guitarist? Who would you say influences your style the most?

My first musical influences were Queen, Def Leppard, Scorpions, later on Europe, Bon Jovi, Y.Malmsteen, Pretty Maids, Dokken, Queensryche, Whitesnake, and many more. Among these are also some of my favorite guitar players like John Norum, John Skyes, George Lynch and Yngwie Malmsteen (who was the reason I picked up a guitar when I was 15).

 I feel like the band would put on a tremendous live act; have you had that 'favorite live performance' yet?

We enjoy playing live, especially after this long waiting period from 2008 until now. Every show gets better and the band grows stronger. Since the band is almost “new” in this constellation, we’re still building up, but on a high level. So I guess the best is yet to come.

 What touring prospects are the band looking forward to in the future? I personally would kill to see you guys perform with Iced Earth in New Zealand this March.

I just got the info that we’ll tour together we “The Poodles” in Italy, Switzerland and Germany in March 2014. The dates will be out soon. We’re really looking forward to this. The booking for other show and tours is still in progress and we’re open to play as much as we can. New Zealand sounds great;-). If the promoters are willing to book us … we’re ready for it.

 Crystal Ball has been around for over a decade now, with an impressive number of full-lengths in such a time; some only a year apart. How do you feel the band has come along, musically, since its inception? Any changes in philosophy or music that you would care to point out?

We certainly learned a lot since our first record, both in the studio- and performing live. I think we grew a lot as songwriters over the years. The live-experience also helped to find out what’s effective for playing live. Now, with this new line up, we’ve made another step forward. The band feels fresh, almost like newcomers, but with this time with lots of experience.

 I feel like the band tries to adhere to 'traditional' metal, if you will. Do you think sticking to the roots of hard rock and metal is important to the band?

As mentioned earlier, Metal and Hard Rock are our influences, and we will never be a band, doing crossover stuff, like mixing Bagpipes with Metal. We can only perform what we “feel” and like. Otherwise it wouldn’t be us. A band is also like a brand. It wouldn’t be wise to change that brand completely. But we’re still open to new influences, as long as it fits in and we like it. For example using different tunings, sequencers, loops, etc.

 What about in general? Is tradition and nostalgia and important part of being in a metal band, or is room for progression and diversity equally important?

I don’t think nostalgia is important at all. I can’t talk for everybody, but in general I’m more of a rebel than a traditionalist. I like to try out new ways, but not for the sake of being new. I like it, if  it makes sense. The studio work for example has changed a lot since we started out. And why should we refuse to use those techniques. What counts is the result: the music. Not if it’s recorded on tape or computer.

 Just to wrap this up, and thank you again for answering; as generic a question as it may be, what is the band's plans for 2014?

The first priority will be playing live and getting the band “back in the game”. Later on this year we’ll focus on songwriting again and prepare ourselves for the next record. Thank you very much for the interesting interview.


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