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Scott Leach (Crystal Ball)

Interview with Scott Leach from Crystal Ball
by Yiannis Zervos at 25 November 2007, 12:30 PM

Swiss hard rock scene has another diamond in the vault of great albums. CRYSTAL BALL with Secrets establish themselves in the European rock community as a solid unit. The band's lead guitarist Scott Leach answer's Metal Temple's questions about their past, present and future.

First of all congratulations on your new album and thanks for taking the time to answer to Metal Temple’s questions.

Thank you very much, it’s a pleasure.

First of all, this is your first album with AFM Records. What is your feelings about that? Why did you leave Nuclear Blast?

The deal with Nuclear Blast has ended, so we were free to decide what we want to do. Nuclear Blast had a lot of bands and we were not a very high priority inside the label. So we wanted to find a new label where they believe in CRYSTAL BALL and therefore push the band more. We’ve found this with AFM Records and we are very happy to work with them.

This album seems to have a certain power. Can you tell me how much did it take you to record and mix Secrets?

The process of writing and recording and the mix may have taken about 8 months in total. But it was a very different situation than on the other records. Because two members left the band we were only three musicians and couldn’t really write in the rehearsal room. Therefore, we moved to my home studio were we could record the pre-production stuff immediately and play around with it.

I can see you brought Michael Bormann for the production of this record. Why did you choose him? You’ve worked in the past with him?  What do you think is the main difference musically from your previous release, Timewalker?

Even though we knew Michael Bormann for quite a while, it was the first time that we have worked with him. Our former producer Stefan Kaufmann was very busy at the time. Our singer Mark hast worked with Michael on his solo record before. So the decision was not so hard. Secrets is both in terms of songwriting and production a little step ’back to our roots’: Hard rock. Timewalker had a little more ’metal-stuff’ in it. We like both worlds, so we don’t really think about it too much. But when we have to analyze it, I would say that Secrets has  more Hard rock elements in it than TimeWalker.

In Secrets the listener could pick out a variety of rock and metal music styles behind your steady hard rock touch. You though you could experiment a little bit more this time?

To be honest: we don’t think about that stuff very much. Music evolves from feelings and represents the band and and its feel at that certain time. We don’t plan to go this way or another way on purpose. We just let it flow.

What are the bands and musicians that influenced CRYSTAL BALL’s music, sound, style of playing and performing on stage?

We’re mainly influenced from bands of the 80s, when we grew up. I’m influenced by stuff like SCORPIONS, DEF LEPPARD, WHITESNAKE, DOKKEN, Y. Malmsteen, PRETTY MAIDS, QUEENSRYCHE etc. Our singer Mark is more into stuff like HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, BLIND GUARDIAN, STRATOVARIUS but also STEELHEART and many others. The rest likes also all kinds of 80s style Hard Rock and Metal.

What is your opinion about hard rock music these days? You think there are more bands like you with that kind of feeling in their music?

I don’t know too many bands in our style of music that are new. Of course there are the ones that have been around for 15 to 30 years. At the moment I see a trend for metal/gothic bands with female voices. I’m curious if this will last, but I don’t think so.

Swiss hard rock scene is well known mainly because of GOTTHARD. What is your opinion on your countrymen’s music? You think there are other Swiss bands on the hard rock stage?

GOTTHARD are great. They brought Hard Rock back to a bigger audience. Leo Leoni played a guest solo on the song It’s Not Love on our new album. So we have a friendly atmosphere. Besides us and GOTTHARD, there is KROKUS and SHAKRA in the Hard Rock scene. There are other bands who are in to Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal etc.

Let’s go back in time. What was it like when the you were called CHERRIE PIE and you played covers? That name was inspired from the infamous WARRANT song? You think that was the beginning of CRYSTAL BALL and it gave you the experience needed for your journey in hard rock?

The name came from that WARRANT song, yes. It was on purpose so people would know that we are a cover band playing that kind of music. We played all kinds of hard rock and metal though. From BON JOVI to METALLICA, from QUEEN to QUEENRYCHE. It was certainly a good rock-school to play covers. When you’re playing 150 shows in two years you know whether you have some cool people in the band or not. This was like a test for ourselves to see if we’re strong enough as a band. I was tired of looking for professional musicians at the time, so I thought: fuck it, I just form a cover band. If somebody doesn’t want to play anymore, he will be replaced, it’s only covers. After a while the right musicians were together and we moved on to CRYSTAL BALL, stayed together for 10 years and released 5 records with the same band members.

The band toured all over Europe with great names of metal and hard rock like U.D.O., AXXIS, DORO, KROKUS, PINK CREAM ?. What is the feeling touring with those bands? Can you remember anything funny that you can share with us?

Oh, it was a great feeling, trust me, haha! I looked up to those bands when I was a teenager. I  listed too KROKUS when I was only 5 years old. Not only could we support cool bands, we got to play with the heroes of our youth, It’s unpayable and it’s rewarding you for all the time practicing and rehearsing.

Have you planned a tour for Secrets? Will you be the headliners on this tour or you are going to support a band like AXXIS or GOTTHARD?

We’ll do headline shows in Switzerland. A swiss tour was cancelled just shortly due to a stupid promoter, but we try to find new dates. Next year a european labeltour of AFM is planned. We don’t know yet what bands will be on this tour. Probably a package of 3 or 4 bands. I guess we will play somewhere in the middle!

How do you feel about people that download your music instead of buying your CDs? You think internet and downloading is a way to increase your popularity by making your music accessible to more people? Or you think that your work is been ’stolen’ in a way?

Internet is a great invention but it has also dark sides to it. To promote an album it’s cool to have one our two songs or even a video online for free (like we have). But for us as a band it’s a real disaster when people steal the whole album, because we’re all struggling to make a record possible. We invest a hell of  a lot of time, money and heartblood into a album. And if the sales are going down, there we be no ’next’ record someday, especially for smaller bands like we are it’s really hard. You can even tell that a lot of bands don’t have any money anymore because a lot of productions sound like shit nowadays. I don’t think that this is was the fans want. Real fans want to have the booklet and all the infos, too.

Is there anything else you want to add or say to our readers and your fans?

A big thank you to all our fans out there. You make the rocking world go round.

Thank you very much for your time.

Thank you for your support!


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