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Steve Moseley (Concept Of God)

Interview with Steve Moseley from Concept Of God
by Yiannis Zervos at 10 December 2007, 9:56 PM

When you say Doom my mind immediately goes to bands like SOLITUDE AETURNUS and CANDLEMASS. CONCEPT OF GOD is another name that will sit on the dark throne of despair along with those Doom Metal giants. Visions is the debut album of a band that was formed by the SOLITUDE AETURNUS bandmates with the Disciple Of Doom Robert Lowe on vocals on another Doom project. The guitarist and mainman behind CONCEPT OF GOD, Steve Moseley took the time to answer METAL TEMPLE's questions.

Steve, congratulations on Visions and thanks for taking the time to answer to METAL TEMPLE’s questions.

Thank you.

The first thing I read somewhere in the internet about CONCEPT OF GOD is that this project is just a side kick for SOLITUDE AETURNUS. How do you answer to that?

I think that CONCEPT OF GOD is both a project, and a real band. The CONCEPT project is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I am currently working on material for a second album. Visions was not intended to be a one-shot album. CONCEPT OF GOD is not a working band, or anything close, but we are open to the possibility of playing some shows. When we first put the project together, we did a lot of regional shows. With a little luck, there will be a few of the larger open air festivals that would like to have us on the bill. So, in some ways it’s a real band in that we want to continue to make music under the CONCEPT OF GOD name. But CONCEPT OF GOD will always be second to the commitment we have for SOLITUDE AETURNUS.


What is the reason that took you such a long time to record and mix Visions? I think that the songs were ready from 2000. What were the difficulties and setbacks?

When we started experiencing problems within the SOLITUDE AETURNUS camp not long after the release of the Adagio album, everything was put on hold to focus on our first priority, which is SOLITUDE AETURNUS. Unfortunately, this took quite a bit of time to resolve. For those who aren’t familiar with what went on during the long break between Adagio and Alone, suffice to say that it was a difficult period for everyone in SOLITUDE AETURNUS.  We went through more than our share of personal, financial, health, and work related issues that cost us quite a bit of time to resolve.  I won’t go into lengthy detail here, but in the end we had multiple line-up changes with bass and drums before we got James Martin to play bass, and Steve Nichols on drums. Those kinds of things can take its toll on a band, and we all hated to see Edgar Rivera and John Covington leave. They are both still great friends to us all, and Covington still plays with CONCEPT OF GOD. They just had issues in their lives that required their complete attention. With everything that was going on in the SOLITUDE AETURNUS camp, that didn’t leave us much choice but to focus our energy on resolving those issues and stabilizing the band before we put any attention towards CONCEPT OF GOD, or any other projects. We were all just as much surprised at how much time had transpired between albums as the fans were.

The last eight or nine years have passed very quickly for each of us in the band. We would rehearse a set list, new material, or a combination of the two with one line up for months and months, only to have another line up change, and need to do it all over again, and again. Couple that with divorces, having babies, child support, changing jobs, relocating our rehearsal room several times, having our equipment stolen, moving to a new city, health problems, and a multitude of other issues and you have what is called life. That’s the biggest challenge for any musician, to balance life and music perfectly. Those few that can do that are truly gifted.

I can see that you have the leading role on the song writing part of CONCEPT OF GOD. It is obvious that you can produce great songs. How would you describe the music style of Visions?

Visions has a sound that should appeal to fans of SOLITUDE AETURNUS, CANDLEMASS, and all who like it heavy. It has been described as: Powerful Doom Metal with a Technical Edge, and Very Friendly to the Ears, a Must Own for all fans of Doom Metal.  I think that any fan of metal that enjoys the occasional straight forward no frills raw listening experience will find a song or two on Visions that they like.

A lot of people have compared CONCEPT OF GOD to SOLITUDE AETURNUS, and that is to be expected with any project containing inter-changeable band members. However, I think the songs are different enough, and produced in a way that constitutes an entirely separate band. When writing music with SOLITUDE AETURNUS we often include changes in a song that if overused can sound somewhat unexpected. With the CONCEPT material, I really wanted the listener to be able to anticipate what is next in the composition, and not be surprised. CONCEPT OF GOD has a more straight forward sound with a touch of groove elements and an overall simple feel. Also, the production is more raw and less polished compared to what I did on the Alone album with SOLITUDE AETURNUS. When I began producing the Visions album I knew right away that I wanted a much more simple sound and a cleaner guitar tone. With the Alone album I was aiming for a more polished feel, with a blend of instruments, and a dirtier sound overall.  Although the differences between SOLITUDE AETURNUS and CONCEPT OF GOD aren’t extreme, or night and day, they do successfully give the feel of an altogether different band in my opinion.

Do you think that your music is more accepted in US or Europe?

Europe, without a doubt.  Most people outside the United States aren’t that affected by fashions, trends, or fads of any kind, including those that influence music sales. In America, things are quite the opposite. Americans only seem to buy the music that the corporate entities say you should buy. The majority of music sales in the states take place because of marketing campaigns put together with the radio stations brainwash the listeners into believing that what they are hearing is worthy of their money. Most Americans have no idea that there is other music besides what is being played on the radio stations. But, the worst part is the fact that even if they found out about the wide variety of music available that doesn’t make the air-waves, a large majority of them still wouldn’t purchase it because the corporate money mongers haven’t declared it in style, endorsed it, or pushed it upon them.

Album sales of a significant or note-worthy amount very rarely happen in the United States without the massive marketing campaigns. What that really says about America is that the people don’t decide what they want to listen to. They may think that they do, but it’s the corporations that dictate what should become popular.  If you record the sound of a toilet flushing, add a drum machine, and a couple of million dollars in marketing campaigns, I guarantee you can triple your money back here in America. Obviously I am exaggerating, but my point is that most people here in the states live, eat, and breathe marketing. The media has convinced me just this week that I need a new 300 dollar electric razor.  I had no problems what so ever with my old razor until the marketing campaigns showed me just how inferior, and out-dated it was. My razor is no-longer cool.  How could I manage to live with an antique razor for so long? People in Europe just seem to like what they like, regardless of what the new trend, or style is. That is an admirable quality to have. It often amazes me to travel to Europe and see a multitude of different people, all with different likes, and dislikes, styles, and fashions intermingling together at a club, tavern, restaurant, or public outing. The best part is that they seem to respect each other, and their beliefs.

This mindset seems to apply to their taste in music as well.  A variety of music for a variety of people.

Why did not one of the Visions songs make it to a SOLITUDE AETURNUS album? You feel that you are in the shadow of John Perez or the music style you create is deferent from SOLITUDE AETURNUS?

The material was never meant for SOLITUDE AETURNUS.  I believe there are enough differences that make it unique, as I mentioned earlier. When CONCEPT OF GOD began back in 1999, I was still playing bass in SOLITUDE AETURNUS, and Edgar Rivera was playing guitar. Now that I play guitar in both bands, and James Martin plays bass in both bands, the similarities between SOLITUDE AETURNUS and CONCEPT OF GOD aren’t as extreme as they were originally. Nevertheless, when any of us write music, it isn’t always something we feel should automatically be included on a specific album. Sometimes the compositions we write are extremely different, and never make it to an album whatsoever. CONCEPT OF GOD may have similarities with SOLITUDE, but it isn’t a shadow of John Perez, or SOLITUDE AETURNUS.  I believe that SOLITUDE AETURNUS is like the trunk, or base of the tree, while CONCEPT OF GOD is one of its many far reaching branches.

In the CD credits you underline the fact that you didn’t use keyboards or synthesizers. As a musician and producer you think it is unnecessary to use this sounds on a heavy metal record?

No, not at all. I enjoy the sound of keyboards. Actually, the first line-up of CONCEPT OF GOD did feature keyboards. We played countless shows with keys in the mix, and had several different keyboard players up until we entered the studio to record. Originally I had envisioned keyboards on a lot of the songs, but over time I found that it was somewhat difficult to get the kind of sound I was looking for. Eventually I began using a Roland Guitar Synthesizer set-up with my guitar rig and doing all the keyboard sounding lines myself. In the end I felt like the material had just lost its edge with the keyboards, and I really wanted a more raw, straight forward feel with the album, so we recorded without keys. I still think there are a lot of places in the music where keys would have sounded great, but I’ll probably wait and incorporate those kinds of sounds on the next album.

What are the influences of CONCEPT OF GOD and what are the musicians that influenced your guitar playing style?

Musically I would say that the CONCEPT OF GOD material was inspired by bands like MEMENTO MORI, Dio era RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, CIRITH UNGOL, MERCYFUL FATE, CANDLEMASS, MANOWAR, VENOM, and KINGS X, among others.  As for the individuals who influenced my guitar playing, I would have to say people like Ace Frehley, Ritchie Blackmore, and Tom Scholz got me started on the electric guitar, and as I got older, it was people like Jerry Fogle, Michael Denner, Yngwie Malmsteen, Mike Wead, Paul Gilbert, Gary Moore, and bands like BLACK SABBATH, VENOM, MANOWAR, JUDAS PRIEST, and IRON MAIDEN that kept me interested in the instrument. Like most guitar players, I could go on and on listing musicians and bands that influenced, or inspired my playing, or my music, but I think the few I’ve mentioned above will give the reader some idea of where I’m coming from.


What is your opinion on Robert Lowe’s decision to record and tour with CANDLEMASS?

I think it is a great idea. All of us in SOLITUDE AETURNUS have always been huge fans of CANDLEMASS, and we are all friends, and brothers in DOOM. Leif Edling called John Perez and discussed the possibility of Robert singing for them, and John wholeheartedly endorsed the idea. When John called me for my opinion, I was in complete agreement with him. Each of us in the band encouraged Robert to give it his all, and gave him our blessing. It’s an opportunity for Robert to stay musically active, and introduce his voice to a wider variety of listeners. SOLITUDE AETURNUS doesn’t have a demanding schedule, so there was no question in our minds that the opportunity was something Robert should pursue.  I personally think the mix of CANDLEMASS and Robert Lowe sounds excellent. I’m really glad that the band has a unique voice on their music once again. That to me is an aspect of their compositions that has always set them apart from others. If they replaced Messiah with someone that had a similar sounding voice, I would inevitably long to hear what Messiah might have done with the material. I don’t feel that way about their music with Robert singing. His voice is unique, and very different from Messiah, and I believe his decision to sing with CANDLEMASS has given a lot of Doom Metal fans (including myself) another timeless album of the highest quality.

Do you think that after the release of the magnificentHour Of Despair DVD SOLITUDE AETURNUS are on vacation for now?

No, not at all. SOLITUDE AETURNUS is our first priority, and we are each committed to the band wholeheartedly. We have already written quite a bit of material for a follow up album to Alone, and with a little luck should be able to enter the studio sometime around the middle of next year. In addition, we are working on a Days Of Doom Part II DVD. We are still compiling footage at this point, but plan to include exerts from several live shows, backstage shots, studio recordings, tours, and general behind the scenes stuff from the last decade.

Do you think that is hard, for well known musicians with a number of projects on the side, to remain focused on something and give all their energy in one?

No, not really. For most of us in the band, it’s just natural that we create more music than what we can use with one single band or project. Often times each of us just simply write music without any regard as to whether or not it will be appropriate for a certain band, or fit with other material already written for that project. That doesn’t mean that we weren’t focused, or that we didn’t gave all of our energy into that composition. When ever it’s time for us to concentrate on a single band, we do just that. All other projects are put aside for the time being, and we give our complete attention to where it’s needed most. We don’t pursue a side project or rehearse for another band while writing music for SOLITUDE for instance.  We devote ourselves, or submit ourselves to that material completely.The only difficult part for us with having several other bands between the members is deciding which songs to leave off of the album when we record.

How do you feel about people that download your music instead of buying your CDs? Do you think internet and downloading is a way to increase your popularity by being accessible to more people? Or do you think that your work is being stolen away?

Downloading music is the next evolutionary step for the listener to acquire music in my opinion. I personally have never been a fan of downloading music, simply because I’m one of those people who enjoy the cover-art, and liner notes, and the whole package. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that downloads will replace the normal forms of media such as compact discs, vinyl records, cassettes, DVDs, etc. at some point in the near future. The real problem with it is that most average ordinary listeners aren’t aware of the fact that there was a tremendous amount of hard work involved in creating the music, and without some type of monetary reward, it’s literally impossible to continue to create music for the fans.

Take the Visions album for example. There are hundreds of hours of rehearsal time involved with the arrangements of those compositions. Time away from our friends, families, work etc. We weren’t making money while rehearsing, we were spending it. The thousands of dollars spent on equipment to perform the music.

Not to mention the normal operating costs that any musician would incur each month, such as strings, picks, sticks, heads, gasoline, food, etc… The countless hours spent on artwork, layout, and design of the c.d. itself. That alone usually costs several thousand dollars. How about the time spent in the studio to record the material.  The average studio around here runs somewhere between 65 and 120 dollars an hour. We spent 21 days recording Adagio. That adds up rather quickly. It’s difficult to make a good sounding album in less than 100 hours in the studio. Then you have the mixing and the mastering of the recordings. That is usually an altogether separate charge of at least a few thousand dollars. Most promotional agents require professional photographers, which you can imagine are extremely expensive. In the case of Visions, we also have distribution rights to North America, which brings us to duplication costs. Several thousand dollars were spent printing the c.d.’s themselves. Advertising, and marketing of the product, and whatever other promotional materials involved.  I could go on and on about the normal costs of releasing an album. Most people would be amazed if they knew how many thousands of dollars of my own money I spent to get the Visions album released.

A lot of people think that those costs are covered by the record label. In a Utopian society they would be. But in reality, the record labels give an amount appropriate to what they feel the potential sales of the album will be. Most labels pay an advance to the artist that is usually a substantial amount, but unless you sell a significant number of c.d.’s, that amount rarely covers your initial cost, or investment. More importantly are the bands like CONCEPT OF GOD, who are releasing their debut album, or bands that aren’t on a label at all. There is no advance, or money to pay for the above mentioned costs of releasing an album, other than your own in most cases.  The one thing that a lot of people need to remember is what happens when the record labels who would normally help finance or pay for these things no longer makes any money from c.d. sales because of the prolific use of internet downloads and file sharing.  Record labels will not be giving advances or monetary assistance to artists that don’t sell records.  At some point the artists, including myself, will run out of money, and will be unable to finance another recording without some amount of compensation.  Music like what is found on our Visions album is made possible only because each of us work a normal job during the day, and managed to save enough money to finance the recording. Such is the case with literally thousands of bands all over the world. It’s difficult to accept the fact that the thousands of dollars and countless hours invested in something would yield no return. Most ordinary people would not invest a fraction of that into something without some type of return. That is the nature of an artist. Just knowing that somewhere there is somebody that enjoyed listening to your compositions is reward enough.

Downloading music for free, or file sharing and not paying for music is not just a case of the artist not making any money for their effort, the artist is actually paying you to listen to their music. However, there is no doubt that because of downloading music or file sharing, your material will be exposed to a wider variety of people that otherwise would have never had the opportunity to hear it.


What are your future plans? Is CONCEPT OF GOD  going to perform live or maybe tour in Europe? Are there any confirmed dates?

I’m actually in the process of writing material for a second album right now. Robert and I have spoken about some of the ideas back and forth a few times, but we are still a long ways off from being ready to record. With a little luck we will have a new album available by this time next year. There are no tour plans as of yet, but all of us would very much like to play the CONCEPT OF GOD material live. With a little luck we can get overseas to some of the larger open air festivals.

Is there something you want to say to your fans, the people that want to listen to Visions or to our readers?

All of us in CONCEPT OF GOD are thankful for your interest in the music.  If you would like to keep in touch with us, or perhaps want to find out about the latest news, etc.. Check us out on the internet at: www.conceptofgod.com or visit www.myspace.com/conceptofgod

Stay Heavy, Steve Moseley

Steve thank you very much! Doom On!



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