Bio: Ken – We formed Spiral Key in 2012 out of the frustration of the limitations of the local music scene and the kind of person who answers ‘musicians wanted’ adverts! Both of us had been settling for covers bands, and that we turned up in the same one was a happy coincidence. We quickly discovered a common love of progressive rock music, and set about turning those half-formed ideas and songs that had been simmering for several years into a coherent whole.
We are an unsigned and fully independent progressive rock/progressive metal band with symphonic overtones.
Genre: David – Progressive is the main theme – the very word means to move onward, and this is what it means for us. To move ever onward, technically, musically, to progress from the simple towards the complex, and to find rewards in the perfect blend of technical ability and songwriting. It also leaves us with an open field from which to draw direction, feel and influence as we see fit and as we progress as musicians, composers and arrangers.
Ideas about the album: David – We’re immensely proud of the album, as a personal achievement and as a musical statement. We wish we had had the time to add more vocal harmonies, and that’s something we remedy live and will pay more attention to in future recordings!
Ken – We did a lot of work before going into the studio and the songs were pretty nailed when we walked into Bentham House Studios and handed over the initial Stems to Dug. For his part, Dug pulled some great performances out of us both, so as far as PERFECT MACHINE is concerned, we are both very proud of it and think it is worth fifty minutes of any music fans time to take a listen.
Reception: Ken – Extremely positive. Right now, we’re involved in trying to get as many people to hear it as possible.
Preference; live or studio: David – The two are so different. The studio experience is the purest expression of the music, standing alone; it’s the point at which the music moves from ideas, discussions and a mental activity into something tangible. Live, it’s another animal entirely: we’re focused on giving the best show possible, which is a difficult yet rewarding juggling act with just the two of us!
Next step; live or studio: David – We’re actively looking for live opportunities. At this stage, festivals and support slots are ideal, and we’re looking at lining more of those up in the coming year.
Future plans: Ken – We intend to keep writing, keep recording, keep promoting and working towards getting recognition so that we can perform this music in front of people that like what we do. Progressive music ‘as a genre’ seems to be having a bit of a resurgence right now so we feel now is a good time to be doing what we’re doing.
Composers: Ken – So far, the songs get written by either one of us, music and lyrics together. We critique each other along the way mutually influence our writing, but each song is essentially the responsibility of one or other of us.
Inspirations: David – Fifteen years ago, I would have had a short answer to this. Today, though, there are so many amazing bands out there that blow me away. I love bands with strong concepts and great singers, and my tastes run heavy these days: Fate’s Warning, Seventh Wonder, Everon, Dreamscape, Kamelot…
Ken – For me it’s Rush, Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, King Crimson, Pink Floyd (mostly the ’71 to ’77 period), the most current Marillion (I love the last four albums!), Europeans (Hogarth again), Everon, Tool. I’m starting to investigate other bands as well (The Tangent, Meshuggah, Amplifier come to mind). To be honest, there are hundreds of artists I love and they will all be exerting an influence all the time. But I think those above are the most obvious.
Evolution of the musical and thematic elements: David – Musically, on this release I split time equally between keyboard and guitars to get the initial ideas. I find transposing a phrase or a chord sequence that fits naturally on one instrument onto another gives fertile ground for inspiration. Generally, the lyrics and music evolve in tandem and each informs the other, even if the final lyric bears little resemblance to the original!
Ken – As far as actual song writing is concerned I tend to work fairly instinctively. Sometimes I write and record as I go along, working a bit like a sculptor maybe, allowing the thing to reveal itself. Other times I write an entire song using lyrics and guitar accompaniment, and then deconstruct it and rebuild it with a band arrangement. Occasionally, the ideas are almost fully formed in my head and it’s a case of getting them down on Cubase, where I can sort out the bugs and then develop them further. I also write whole lyrics as a separate thing although I may end up using only small sections in a finished song or combining sections to create a finished whole.
Lyrics, themes and concepts: David – Personally, lyrics can come from anywhere; a twist on an old story, a strong emotion, even just a phrase taken out of context. I’ve always loved lyrics that tell a story or a defining scene from a story, and I’ve always searched for stories a little bit different from the standard.
Ken – I’ll leave that for the listener to work out. For me though, inspiration can come from personal experience through to reports in the news. I can be fairly opinionated, so song writing helps me get some of that in order.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Ken – The music is an end in itself.
David – The music, definitely. There’s always a balance to be struck, and right now we’re totally focused on giving the audience the best presentation we can so that the music can speak clearly for itself.
Greatest Accomplishment: David – Without a doubt, this album.
Why Spiral Key? Ken – Now that would be telling…
Also, here is their “At Sixes and Sevens”