What no one expected suddenly happened. British neo-prog band Landmarq released a new studio album in 2012 after almost fourteen years of abscence. Lead singer Tracy Hitchings was diagnosed with cancer and required a long and intensive recovery.
The band processed the suffering and hope in their fascinating 'Entertaining Angels'-album. Landmarq ended the first part of their tour in The Netherlands during the Rock Ittervoort Festival on april 2013. Lazyrocker had a short meeting with bassist Steve Gee and the always adorable Tracy Hitchings just before their final gig.
Angels exist, you know. Just learn how to believe.
Landmarq made a grandiose come back with the well received album 'Entertaining Angels’.
It's called the best Landmarq album until now. Do you agree?
Steve: “Yes, I would have to agree. The albums prior to ‘Entertaining Angels’ are obviously sounding a little bit silly, but we are proud of all the albums we have done, of course. A new Landmarq-album is like giving birth to child. In musical terms is ‘Entertaining Angels’ the most complete album we’ve ever done. It’s the way the band worked together in studio and on stage. There’s a certain kind of cohesion that there never was before."
Is the album completely based on Tracy’s recovery?
Steve: “No, it’s not. I must confess that there are a few things slightly mixed up. The songs that Tracy has written are autobiographical. The other songs that our guitarist Uwe Drose or I wrote are purely our songs. For example; ‘Mountains Of Anglia’ or ‘Personal Universe’ are written by me, but the content of the lyrics could aply to Tracy. In fact is applies to both of us in different ways. So it’s understandable that people think that Tracy has written the entire album."
Where does the song 'Entertaining Angels’ stands for?
Tracy: "Our guitarist Uwe Drose came up with the idea for the song, actually. I grabbed his idea and wrote the lyrics and vocal arrangements. You can say that I stole the song from him. Ha!Ha!Ha!
But straight I way I knew it was going to be a spiritual feeling, because that's the area that Uwe and I are into. The spiritual feeling is a kind of my faith and how I live. So it makes sense to write about that.
I must confess that I really can't remember what triggered it. It was more a kind of realising that I know that there's something more that just a human state. Some strange, odd things happened to me. But I won't tell you, because people may think that I'm a bit funny. Ha!Ha!Ha!"
Would 'Entertaining Angels' be a different kind of album if Tracy had not become ill for such a long time?
Steve: “ The funny thing is that we even didn’t know if we would record another studio album. Landmarq’s last studio album ‘Science Of Coincidence’ came out in 1998, and that was the first album with Tracy as lead singer. From that point of view we had to release a new studio album. A couple of songs from 'Entertaining Angels' were first released on our live cd/dvd ‘ Turbulence-Live In Poland’ which came out before.
I gues the album developed as it went along. The band has always a plan of some sort, but it’s never a hundered percent. Things always change as we go along."
Do you romanticize your spiritual philosophy in the lycrics?
Tracy: "It's a bit of both that goes into it. The emotional connection between passion and reality is very important. There usually is something that you've experienced and pulling into it, but you might add a bit of fantasy around it. All the songs from the album which I wrote the lyrics, melodies, and arrangements for are really shaped from my personal experience with cancer.
The writing process went very chaotic. I started reshaping the songs because I had to deal with the cancer. Because of that Landmarq couldn't go ahead and record the album. We had to wait a few years to get everybody together. Writing, recording, and producing the album was a major point for all of us. We really came to a high level of that nature where we came into our own.
I live a very different way now than I did before. Much more positively. Because of that the writing comes more like a gift."
Are there any plans towards the future of Landmarq?
Steve: “There are some plans, certainly. We hope to come back for a European tour towards the end of this year. There’s some new material written for an album, and plenty ideas are still coming up during the rehearsals. Also we’ve got a lot of music left that couldn’t be used on ‘Entertaining Angels’. We also have plans to release a new live DVD from the concert that’s filmed at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Ooooh…so much things to do, and so little time left. It’s because we are all spread out around the country, you know. Everyone has his personal life elsewhere.”
Tracy: "We are hungry to move on. Grrrrrr! Ha!Ha!Ha!"
Thanks for your time and answers, Steve and Tracy.
Michel Scheijen for www.Mostlypink.net
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A proud interviewer and Tracy.