The Windmill

I had been expecting a new studio release from The Windmill for a long time now and when I finally listened to it, I was totally enthused by the final outcome. These Norwegians progsters deserve more popularity and I’m sure they will become bigger and bigger over the years. It’s was great to catch up with Erik again and talk about the new album among other interesting things. For more check out below…
The Windmill band pic
Hi Erik, I’m glad to have you again on Grande Rock. “Tribus”, is an exceptional prog rock album! It has made it to the GR list with the Best Albums of 2018 again!
E: Oh, wow thank you very much!
Well, why did you take you 5 years to release a new album? What happened in the meantime?
E: We are all quite busy outside the band. We all have normal day-jobs and families to attend to, and of course we had gigs that needed to be rehearsed. We also recorded a Blu-ray/DVD during a show we had, so that is in fact also a release. That one is called “Live with it” and was recorded November 8th, 2015, and released the same year. We were also busy rehearsing for Clive Noland’s Alchemy. A “Rock Opera”, where The Windmill performed as the backing band on the Norwegian production with Clive Noland himself in the leading role. That took up almost a year so we had to postpone the recordings of “Tribus”.
I know that Sam Arne Nøland’s passing during the recordings was a great shock for the band in general. Was this one of the reasons why it took you more time to conclude the album and release it? Did Sam manage to record his parts fully? I’m sure, he’d be more than happy with the final outcome, right?
E: Yes, this was terrible really terrible news for us. He was not just our drummer, but a very dear friend to us all, as well. The only delay caused by his illness and passing, was barely a couple of months. He managed to finish all the drum tracks before he got too ill, but unfortunately he never got to listen to nor see the final result.
What are those things that you have gained over those five years and have helped you come up with “Tribus”?
E: We have become tighter as a band, both as human beings, and of course when it comes to playing our instruments. We know each other quite well now, and we do not have to speak so much before everyone knows what to do music wise.
Which are the main differences between your previous album and the new one?
E: I think the main difference lies in the production itself. We have been much more thorough during the whole process. Someone would maybe say a bit too picky. And of course due to the fact that the mixing and mastering was done by Karl Groom from the superb band Threshold, helped a lot for the end result. He is really good.
You also signed with the Apollon Records, right? How did it occur and what does that mean for the band’s future?
E: Morten, our flute and saxophone player, was in Lorely Germany, on Night of the prog 2017 when he was approached by the manager of Apollon Records, and asked if we would be interested in negotiating a deal. So, when back in Norway we kept in touch, and ended up signing a deal with them. The nice thing about being signed is that we get more time to concentrate about our main goal which is making and playing music. They also have more contacts and distribution deals worldwide than we could manage to get on our own, so it helps pushing the album out to all corners of the world.
How did you come up with the album title “Tribus” and what does it declare?
E: “Tribus” could mean different things. For example “Tribus” includes one or more closely related groups of organisms in a way also cold tribe, industry and branch, which is an optional category used in the biological system. It made sense to call it “Tribus” because the way we think as a band, related group of organisms. Not just one tree, but all the branches (members) are active.
Do give us a hint about each track…
E: “The Tree”: Starts with the seed in the ground, which slowly grows to a full tree.
“Storm”: This one was actually written by our keyboard player Jeanni back in the mid 80ies, but haven’t found its way to an album before now. The main theme was written in the midst of a powerful storm. The middle part (eye of the storm) was written for this album and with the help from two brothers on clarinets Fredrik and Magnus Eriksen. This storm is meant to be felt from the tree in the forest.
“Dendrophenia”: Well what can we say about that one? It’s a bit on the edge of the correct side, so I guess people just need to find out on their own, what it’s really about. Keywords are “experienced by the tree”. It’s more to this track than first meets the ears. One just has to listen to it carefully to get all the small details.
“Make Me Feel”: The lyrics for this one are written by a good friend of ours from Edinburgh, Scotland, Brian McNeil, and the music is basically written by Jeanni, our keyboard player, with elements from all the members in the band.
“Play With Fire”: This one has been with us in our live-shows some years already. It was basically written by Morten, our flute and sax-player, and then rearranged by the whole band, and the lyrics were partly rearranged to fit better into this album. Maybe the most “folky” song that we have.
Did you plan to release long tracks or it just occurred along the way? Are there any changes in the way you write songs?
E: He-he, we have sort of made it a bit as a trademark to include a lengthy track (epic) on our albums, so it was deliberately. Having said that, nothing has ever been said about keeping that trademark forever. Who knows what the future will bring?
Where did the recordings take place and who is responsible for the production, the mixing and the mastering? What has changed in the way you recorded and what do you think of the final outcome on the whole?
E: The recording mainly took place in our own combine rehearsal venue and studio. Some parts took place at Morten’s vacation house in Sweden, and some keys were recorded by Jeanni in his home. The mixing and mastering was, as before mentioned done by the brilliant Karl Groom of Threshold in UK. I think the outcome became as good as we hoped for, and in our own humble opinion the best we have done so far.
Have you planned to give any live shows in 2019?
E: We are doing some gigs during the spring and summer in Norway and we will also be doing festivals in Europe. The first one I am not allowed to mention, as it is not yet official, but I can relive that we will be at Summers End Festival in Chepstow, UK October 3rd – 6th, 2019. More shows are being negotiated as well, but so far not confirmed yet.
What are your expectations from “Tribus” and what do you wish to achieve with The Windmill over the next years?
E: Our expectations I think are nearly met already, as the album has sold very well so far, and we have to get more pressed as it’s soon sold out. Of course we also hope to get more gigs abroad as a result of our third album, which together with the two previous ones has been very well received all over, with fantastic reviews from everywhere. For the next years, we will continue to create music and do live-shows and release new albums.
Time for our “weird questions”!!! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
E: Rockstar: Marc Boland of T-Rex. Great legend, nothing more nothing less…
Prog Rock: Genesis. One of the founding fathers of prog.
Sci-fi: Star Wars! Great movies up to a certain point, the 3 first movies were great, and forget the rest.
Eurovision: Glam and glitter!
Music Realities: I don’t really have an answer for that.
Which music kind can’t you bear to listen to at all?
E: “Swedish” dance-bands (a typical Scandinavian type of music, which is very popular amongst many Scandinavians) .Hip hop… that’s just awful!
If you found a genie in a bottle and you only had 3 wishes what would they be?
E: 1.I would wish that people and world leaders got their acts together, and started to behave in a human way, and not only let themselves be led by money.
2. I would wish myself, my family and my friends to have good health and to be happy.
3. I would wish I could earn enough money on the music to be able to live from it.
Top 3 sci-fi movies of any era?
E: Some of the “Star Wars” movies, “Gravity”, and the hilarious “Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy”, “Alien”…
Is there a particular book you can’t recommend enough?
E: There are so many good books around but one that really made an impression was a book called “Once a Warrior King” by David Donovan. Highly recommendable.
Fill in the phrase… “Prog Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
E: King Crimson and Genesis… plus many many more…
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
E: Suzy Quatro maybe?
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in rock history?
E: Best female in history… not easy to answer this one, but Janis Joplin sure is one of them, such a soulful voice. For the male singer it would be Freddie Mercury without question; I think, he was just great, even to the end. Just listen to the “Innuendo” album and especially the song “The Show Must Go On”… just incredible, when thinking of how ill he was at that point, and the song was recorded in just one take in the studio, just amazing.
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
E: I would like to invite Roger Waters; he seems like an interesting person to discuss with, not only for his political views, but also for his contributions regarding (as I see it) music that will live on forever, in my humble opinion. Both Pink Floyd and his solo albums are really great timeless stuff.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
E: That would have been “Amused to Death” by Roger Waters. It was released in 1992, and still I discover something new from time to time on that album. Something magical is happening on this release. The sound, the details, the concept story in whole, are just great. I bought it in 5.1 surround sound, and if possible this album sounds even better, with even more details coming through. I could die happily if i had written something like that…
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock music the most?
E: Not easy to answer this one either, but Lennon/McCartney must be my numero uno here, such good songwriters. I can’t see that the world will see that kind of talent again.
That’s all for now Erik. Thx for taking the time to do this interview. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care dude!
E: Thank you for the questions, this sure is fun. And a big thanks to you Thanos for promoting us by doing this. (i.n.: Thx for the music Erik!)