The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



back with a stunning new album 'New Horizon' The Answer could well have just made our album of the year...


Released September 30 2013

For a band that has been consistently great over the years it’s been amazing to hear them up the ante with each long-player. There must surely come a point when they can’t continue to top their last one? Well that time hasn’t come yet. ‘New Horizon’ is The Answer’s best yet...



Northern Irish rockers The Answer have amassed a dedicated following internationally due to their electric live shows and soulful, blues tinged style of hard rock.


The band are on the verge of releasing their fourth studio album and embarking on a full 40 date UK tour. The new album, titled New Horizon, will release on September 30th.


We sat down with singer Cormac Neeson to talk about the new album and tour. 




ALEX: Many thanks for taking the time to speak to The Rockpit Cormac. We’re a bit less than a month away from the release of your fourth studio album New Horizon. We’ve read some excellent reviews. How would you describe this album as a snapshot of this particular moment in your career? How have you guys progressed as a band since Rise?

CORMAC - I think it's a strong marker for where The Answer are at right now both musically and mentally. It captures a band in the mood for some no nonsense hard rock, recorded by for guys who are feeling pretty excited about the future.  I think it's essential that a band develops with each record. We challenge ourselves and each other to make a better record than the one before...write better songs and capture better performances. "New Horizon" is our most intense and powerful record yet.

ALEX: Most of your previous albums have a recognizable thematic sound (Rise being very 70’s style bluesy hard rock, Everyday Demons having a bit more of a modern edge, etc). How would you describe the overall sound of New Horizon?

CORMAC - "Raw" would be the word that springs to mind. We recorded everything live and tried to keep over dubs to a minimum, so it's pure and stripped back in comparison to our first three records.

ALEX: Did you have any particular goals in mind when you set out to make your fourth album?

CORMAC - We wanted to make a 10 track hard rock record that grooves from beginning to end..full of great songs and ass kicking riffs.



ALEX: This album is a bit of a departure for you in that you decided to co-write it with a couple other guys. What made you decide to go this route?

CORMAC - we wanted to shake things up this time around in order to force us out of our comfort zone and into the great unknown. Co-writing was something we had never considered before, but as it turned out, it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Having an outside perspective from a guy who doesn't care about band politics or pissing one of us off really enhance the whole creative process.

ALEX: How has the decision to co-write changed your approach to writing a song?

CORMAC - I think so...I definitely look at the songs we write in a slightly different way than a year ago. I'm less precious about my own ideas and more honest about everybody else's.

ALEX: Was there anything specific you ran into trouble with? Maybe a particular song that went through a lot of revisions or something that was difficult to nail down in recording?

CORMAC - There's always a point at the beginning of every writing session where you inwardly wonder where the hell the next song is gonna come from. But you stick at it and believe in your own abilities. Once that first song is in the can the floodgates open and self-doubt gives way to an explosion of creativity.





ALEX: There’s not a weak moment on the album, we particularly loved the title track, the first single ‘Spectacular’ and the thick groove you’ve laid down on tracks like ‘Leave With Nothin’’ making it an album full of shades and textures, that manages to showcase everything we already know about the Answer then add that indefinable ‘something’. Does it feel like a continued evolution for you or a bigger leap forwards?

CORMAC - A bit of both I suppose...I think this record makes more of an overall statement than anything we've done before. But there's still that thread which began with "Rise" and has worked its way through all four albums.

ALEX: What was it like working with Toby and Mike? What did they bring to the mix?

CORMAC - Toby was great...he brought some of that focus and intensity I've already talked about as well as some great song ideas. As a musician and a singer himself, he was able to empathise with the bands position and gained our trust at a very early stage in the process. We had worked with Mike on Everyday Demons so we already knew the guy was a genius. But this time round he really brought his ‘A’ game. Having mixed records for ACDC and Metallica, he knows how to make a hard rock record rock hard.

ALEX: You guys are about to start a full 40 date European tour. Are you looking forward to getting back out there on the road?

CORMAC - For sure. Our live show has always been an important slice of our identity and we're itching to play these new songs for our audiences. It's gonna be a fantastic tour.

ALEX: An awesome hard rock band by the name of Tracer is supporting you on this tour. What do you look for in a supporting act?

CORMAC - We look for good rock bands with soul and passion who are hungry for success. It helps if they're not complete assholes too!





ALEX: What challenges come with putting together a new set when you’ve now got four albums of material to choose from?

CORMAC - It's tough..that's what we're currently trying to work out in our rehearsal space. I think a balance of about 60/40 new stuff/old is about right when it's a tour to support the new record. But that means we have to drop some great songs. A good problem to have I suppose.

ALEX: Do you have any future plans to release any more live material a la 412 Days of Rock n Roll?

CORMAC - You never know..we were really happy with the way 412 Days turned out and would definitely think about creating something along those lines in the future.

ALEX: Revival never saw a release in the US, nor did the tour take you there. You seem to be making it a priority this time around. Do you plan on returning?

CORMAC - I'd get the first flight tomorrow morning if I has my way. We're actually heading over the pond at the end of this month to do some promotion with plans for a big old tour in the new year. Touring America accounts for some of the happiest memories of my life so I really can't wait to get back over to you guys.

ALEX: What sort of music have you been listening to lately? And has anything you’ve heard recently found its way into your overall sound?

CORMAC- I'm really enjoying the new Clutch record..there's some great songs on there and the drum sound rocks my world. I think we do our own thing when it comes to creating our own sound. But there's some good music out there lurking in the shadows.

ALEX: You guys released ‘Spectacular’ as the album’s first single last month. What made you choose this particular song as the first that people would hear from the new record?

CORMAC - Honestly...we thought it was the most commercial sounding song on the record. We didn't write the song with that in mind or anything like that. But once the album was finished we sat down with our label and talked about the first single..pretty much everybody picked "Spectacular". It's actually quite a heavy track and the message encapsulates part of the overall statement were trying to make with this record.







Mark Diggins, Editor The Rockpit



ALEX: Did the band set any specific goals for the next twelve months?

CORMAC - We want to take this new record of ours around the world, so get ready America.

ALEX: Do you have a favorite track on the new album? Or one that you are particularly looking forward to road-testing live?

CORMAC - I love "Call Yourself A Friend"'s just such a journey from beginning to end and contains some of the most delicate and also the heaviest moments on the record.

ALEX: Your voice is sounding better than ever this time around, do you have any particular secrets of tips for young vocalists out there?

CORMAC - Just keep pushing your limits as a vocalist and have the confidence to show the rest of the room how it’s done.

ALEX: If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ for the recording of any classic album at any point in time just to see how the magic came together what would it be for you personally and why?

CORMAC - Probably Jimi Hendrix "Are You Experienced". It's just such a forward thinking album by a guy who was at the peak of his powers. I'd say the atmosphere in the studio must have been quite literally electric!!

ALEX: And the easy one we ask everyone - What is the meaning of life?

CORMAC - It's there to be lived.








Cormac spoke to Alex Hood September 2013





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