Adam Wakeman comes from a legendary name in the music world with his Father (Rick Wakeman) and brother (Oliver Wakeman) both being very prominent keyboardists, most notably performing with the legendary Prog band, Yes. Adam chose a different path that focused more on Heavy Metal with a resume that include playing Rhythm Guitar and Keyboards for the world's most famous Metal singer, Ozzy Osbourne AND playing Rhythm Guitar on select tracks on Black Sabbath's The End farewell tour. When Adam is not touring the world with the legendary names of Metal, he is writing music with his Progressive Metal outfit, Headspace, whose new album All That You Fear Is Gone drops February 26th through Inside Out Records. I recently got to talk to Adam about everything that is going on in his world. ENJOY!
Hi Adam. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I am an absolute huge fan of you and your whole, musical, family. It is a complete honor to be able to do this with you. February 26th brings the release of the 2nd album from Headspace, All That You Fear Is Gone. What went into the process for the new album?
Well, a lot of time! We started the writing process about 3 years ago. As we all have other commitments with other bands and artists, it’s hard to all get together at the same time, so we tend to work separately or in pairs.
What would you say are the biggest changes, musically, the band has gone through since the release of 2012's I Am Anonymous?
Musically, I think perhaps this album is more ambitious. Not intentionally, but I think the band has just matured a little perhaps.
All That You Fear Is Gone is a continuation of the story started with I Am Anonymous. Did you and the band have any idea where you wanted the story to go before you started writing, or did it come during the writing process?
Damian writes the lyrics and the lyrical concept so yes, he had a strong idea of what and where it was going to go right from the start. He changes lyrics right up until the day of final vocal recording to make sure he’s totally happy with it all. We are all the same with our musical parts. One of the best things about taking a long time to make an album, is that you have time in between to reflect on the recordings and then come back and make changes.
The new album also brings in the addition of drummer, Adam Falkner, how has his presence changed the band?
He’s a great guy and musically he brings a different playing approach to the songs. We’re all looking forward to getting out and playing some shows with him too. He’s better looking than the rest of us too, so he might bring attract some more female fans…
Did you, personally, have any changes in what you brought into the new album? Musical or otherwise?
Not really. When Pete and I write together it follows a very organic method. The songs can turn into 15 minute epics or 2 minute interludes. I used my Hammond Organ on this album which I didn’t use on the last one. I personally like the original instruments rather than the plug ins or simulated versions. It’s more focused on the performance then, because you can’t quantise or tidy things up too much.
Is there any chance of Headspace touring in the future?
yes, we play Ramblin Man festival in England on 24th July and 12th August we will be playing Cropredy, also in the UK. We are looking to put a European tour together for December, once my Sabbath commitment and the other guys are all on a break from their other shows.
2016 also brings the release of the acoustic project you did with Headspace (and Threshold frontman) Damian Wilson entitled, Weir Keeper's Tale . How did this come to be?
I wanted to do something different with Damo, and as we both write in a different style outside of Headspace for our solo projects, I thought it would be cool to do a kind of ‘unplugged’ type songwriters album together.
Considering how well you two work together in Headspace, did you both have a similar mindset going into Weir Keeper's Tale?
We approached it differently as there was just the 2 of us! Damian came to my house and we locked ourselves in a room with a piano and a few guitars and just wrote songs. We did this 3 or 4 times for a period of 2 or 3 days at a time. Damian might say “I’ve got this idea” and we’d work on that for a bit. Then I’d play a piano or guitar part and we’d work on that for a bit. Then we just developed the 8 or so best ideas and sorted the arrangements and Damo sang some melodies. He then went away, and we’d get together again once he’d written the lyrics to record them, whilst in the meantime I recorded some more instrumentation.
Considering Weir Keeper's Tale and All That You Fear Is Gone are releasing pretty near each other (January 8th and February 26th respectively) were any of the songs written at the same time? Any songs that could have made either album?
Good question, but no, they were completely separate. All That You Fear Is Gone was finished well before the Summer. We had to get it to Jen Bogren to mix by then so he could fit it in between his other mixes he was doing.
Were there any songs written in the 2015 songwriting period that did not make the cut for either release that may be used in the future?
Not for Headspace. We wrote everything for this album and there were no left overs! With Weir Keepers Tale, there were a handful of other ideas that we did develop far enough to make the album so we’ll re-visit those at some point. We’d both like to do another album like that as it was really good fun. The idea was that we could play it live anywhere there was a piano and a guitar so it gives us freedom to do a few impromptu shows if we can fit them in at short notice!
For non-prog fans, people may know you best for the great work you have done (keyboards and rhythm guitar), in studio and live, with Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath. What would you say you've learned the most from your experiences working with Sabbath and Ozzy (solo)?
I’ve learned so much from those guys - and continue to do so. There’s a wonderful family vibe on the road with everyone with Sabbath and Ozzy - and that runs through the crew, truck drivers and band. Everyone always looks happy to be at work, and there’s not many jobs you can say that about!
What would you say are your favorite songs that you have performed with Ozzy and Black Sabbath? Any songs that you wish you (could) have perform(ed) live?
With Ozzy, I love playing Mr Crowley (because of the intro especially) , No More Tears and Killer of Giants as there’s lots for me to play in those tracks. I always wanted to play Perry Mason - we did in rehearsals once but it never made it on the set list. It’s difficult when you have a back catalogue like Ozzy - there’s too many great songs!
With Sabbath, my favourite has to be Into the Void. I play rhythm guitar on a lot of those songs and it’s just brilliant to play. So many classic riffs in one song. Most people would have made it into 2 or 3 songs, but that is one of the great things about Sabbath, just when you think the song is over, Tony throws another killer riff in there!
Is there any chance of another Wakeman With Wakeman album with your Father, Rick?
We had spoken about it a while back as we were playing a few shows on 2 grand pianos. We play 4 shows on 2 Steinway 9 foot grand pianos at the Dean Street Jazz Club on March 11th and 12th so I’ll probably chat to him about it then. It’s always great working with my dad - it’s a shame that other touring commitments mean that it doesn't happen more often!
You are definitely keep very busy with all of the great projects that you are a part of. If you had/have the time, is there any other musical projects that you would attempt that you haven't explored before?
I’d like to concentrate more on film scoring. I have scored one full length film and 3 or 4 shorts and had a lot of music used on TV but I’d really like to get stuck into more of that. You can’t just ‘drop in and out’ of that world though, it’s all or nothing so maybe when the touring slows down a bit I’ll be able to do that. I have a production music library (www.theperfectmusiclibrary.com) where I look after my and over 50 other composer’s music for TV and film which also keeps me busy in-between flights and shows!
So what are the current plans for the rest of 2016?
Sabbath is keeping me pretty full on this year. We are currently out in the USA and Canada, then we tour Australia, Europe and back to America. That’s pretty much the full year. In the gaps, Headspace will play a couple of festivals in the summer and then we’ll tour Europe in December all being well.
With it being February 2016, have you had time to enjoy any music from 2015? Is there any albums coming out in 2016 that you are looking forward to hearing?
I really enjoyed Dave Gilmour’s last album. He’s someone I’d love to play with. I’ve always held him as one of my favourite musicians and guitarists.
Thank you once again for taking the time to do this interview. It couldn't possibly be more of an honor to be able to talk to you. Before we go, is there anything else you'd like to mention that I haven't brought up yet?
Very kind words! - Thanks to anyone that supports Headspace and please come and see us live when dates are announce and buy the album! That way we can keep making more music! Keep an eye on our/my social media and always come and say hi if you see me in a pub. I can talk for England to anyone that will listen….
Headspace- All That You Fear Is Gone will be released February 26th through Inside Out Records!
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.