TALKS TO MARK ABOUT THE FIRST ALBUM IN 18 YEARS
Mark: Hi Danny thank you for talking to us again on almost the eve of the release of Tyketto’s first album of all new material in what seems like decades!
Danny: 18years! Where does the time go, eh?
A lot has happened since you were the Rockpit’s first ever interview way back in 2009 and you seem to have been keeping extremely busy, not just on the Tyketto front either?
I suppose it looks busy on paper. I've been recording and touring more and more with THE ULTIMATE EAGLES which is a sensational Eagles tribute band that I'm part of and I'm leaving tomorrow to do 4 solo acoustic shows in the UK. I've also been working on some things for other artists. I recently recorded 2 songs for Ged Rylands, which areg oing to be on his next solo release. I like being busy!
Speaking of Tyketto though, the new album ‘Dig in Deep’ will be with us on 20thApril – excited, nervous or both?
Both, for sure. For me, the smoke still hasn't cleared. I usually need about 6 months to a year before I can sit and just listen to an album I've made and just hear the music without thinking about all of the various elements and logistics that went into making it. But our partis done now and the rest is up to the listener.
18 years is a long time between albums, why was the timing right now? Have all the stars just aligned or was the album something that has always been on the cards eventually?
We have always had an open door invitation from Frontiers Records if ever Tyketto, the original band, should ever make another recording. That is a great pressure release in itself. So we never felt a need to make a new album in any given time frame. With us almost everything is a matter of when things feel right.
It must have been very different putting the album together with everyone being so far apart?
Yes, very different. Initially, Michael, Brooke and I met up in Las Vegas, where Brooke was living at the time, and spent 5 days working together just throwing new ideas around to see if we still felt strongly about the way we write songs. It was a happy discovery that we still do enjoy it and we still like how we work together even if it is now more at a distance.
Mark: We loved the lead in single ‘Faithless’ – how has the response to that been so far?
Danny: Tremendous! I have to take my hat off to the record company there. It's not a song I would have picked to lead in with but so far the responses have all been amazingly positive. It seems to get across our main message which is that this is Tyketto as you know us, but also Tyketto in the now.
A lot has changed in the industry in 18 years, but you have a great label behind you with a reputation for quality. How important is it to have someone like Frontiers on board?
It's the difference between doing an album for your own pleasure that you hope someone might hear and doing one that you know will weigh in as a serious contender out there in the rock world. We have the rocket, but they have the fuel that makes it fly.
We’ve been lucky enough to preview the album and must admit that we love it; but it’s perhaps not quite like some people might imagine. It’s not ‘Don’t Come Easy #2’ – we loved the variety - how would you describe it?
There was no reason to make DCE part 2. I am always surprised when people suggest that. What would that sound like? Can you describe it? I can't. After all, if you like the way that record is presented then...you already have the record you're looking for. A new album means exactly that. New ideas, new ways to try and write and play, new subject matter. To me, the way the 4 of us are playing still immediately identify it as Tyketto. It's not like we decided to attempt to sound like Dimmu Borgir or Jeff Buckley. We sound exactly like us.
It’s hard to play favourites, I know, but that is an awesome title track! You must have loved playing around with that song?
We had fun with a lot of it. And I'm really pleased that we were able, in our small budget, not to have to compromise on anything. Brooke was able to do almost all of the guitar tracks from his home studio where he has a load of vintage gear that he knows inside out. Consequently, he came up with many more ideas and smaller “color” parts than he had the chance to do on previous albums. We were also able to do things like have a real string trio on the final song, rather than have to settle for a synth version of strings. On “Faithless” we did have Bobby play synth strings and it sounded right. I call that our “Ozzy moment”.
Let’s look at a few more of our favourites in detail if that’s OK? ‘Evaporate’ is a monster of a song surely destined to be a Tyketto classic?
That was a song that Brooke brought to the table. Almost all of the songs on the album were written specifically for this album and weren't songs hanging around from years back. But “Evaporate” was a song that Brooke had written on his own a little earlier, and we all loved the attitude of it. It fit in with the attitudes f a number of other songs on the album.
Opener ‘Faithless’ just has one of the biggest choruses we’ve heard all year!
Thanks. I think “BIG” was what we were aiming for on that one! It started out as an idea I had written with Eric Ragno and Fabrizio Grossi a year or so ago. I brought it to Tyketto and Brooke came up with the monster guitar riff and Michael asked us to completely change the old chorus so we wrote a new, and stronger one. Like “Forever Young” this song went through a lot of changes before it became the song you're hearing now.
‘Let This One Slide’ is probably as close as we get to the first album, great song!
That's a good example of how well we are now working together. If you heard the first demo I did of that song you would barely recognize it. Initially, even I wasn't sure about it, but Michael heard something in it and we pursued the things about the song we liked best and it slowly shaped itself into a bit of a monster by the time we were finished with it. Quite often, the magic of Tyketto is that fuzzy line that exists between Brooke's Van Halen influenced guitar style and my70's rock approach to song writing. Once they merge it's definitely more than the sum of it' parts.
‘This is how we say Goodbye’ for a band who has had some beautiful ballads, just could top the lot?
Thank you. I think it does. Once I wrote that one I knew that I didn't want any other ballads on the album. It's an extremely personal song that deals with the loss of our loved ones. In this case, it's specifically about Michael's mother and my blood brother, Charlie, who passed away within a year of each other and were both remarkable and unique human beings and this song is possibly the best song I have ever written.
Mark: What’s it like to be back with the original Tyketto line-up again after all these years?
Danny: Something’s have changed, some things have stayed the same :-)
Remember as well that we have reunited to play live shows several times over the years so this isn't a completely new experience for us.
You debuted some of the new material in UK and US shows in December 2011to some rave reviews: that must have given you a great boost?
Absolutely. I think the best thing about it was that so many people came up to us and said that the new songs sounded like Tyketto to them. Like classic stuff only delivered now. We couldn't have hoped for a better response.
We know you have a slot scheduled for Firefest this year but the big question is when are we likely to see the band out on the road again?
We are going to do a few more shows after Firefest in October. Unfortunately, it's just not possible for us to do any extensive touring any more. Most of the guys have families and jobs and you can't just walk out on your job for 4 or 5 weeks and expect it to be there when you return. So we'll do a week or so in Europe this fall and see what else happens in the future.
So outside of Tyketto how are things? You never seem to stop?
People keep saying that LOL! I don't feel that busy. I always say that when I'm working half as much as Jeff Scott Soto, I'll need to start slowing down!
Mark: As you get older you get wiser or so they say. What pearl of wisdom can you share with us?
Danny: Ah, you've heard it all by now. I have no doubt that I am wiser but mostly to do with things that directly affect how I live my own life. I don't know much about the over all scheme of things. As far as advising musicians goes, the only thing I know for sure is that you should always play whatever music truly moves you first. If you believe in it, then your audience will find you.
If you could have been involved in the creation of one classic album, or just have been a fly on the wall what would it have been and why?
Not sure if I could name one album in particular, but I would absolutely love to be involved in something Peter Gabriel does. I would really love to see his process in action. What does it involve to have that level and depth of creativity and to have the resources to make anything you imagine be possible?
And finally an easy one, we now ask everyone but never got to ask you first time round. What is the meaning of life?
I don't have much of an answer. I think that key to surviving life as we know it is: acceptance.
Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Hope you had a great tour with The Ultimate Eagles and best of luck with the launch of what is a truly great album: 'Dig In Deep'.
Danny: No problem Mark, I hope we'll talk again soon!
By Mark Diggins