With: Owain Roberts.
By; Nick Gielkens. Date: August 2008.
Owain is the new guitarist who joined june 2008.
Who is Owain Roberts?
[or]: A little bit of everyone I know
Why did you start to play guitar?
[or]: I just lovde the riff on 'Money for nothing' by Dire Straits, and needed to make that sound
Do you play other instruments?
[or]: Just programming
What kind of band you were in or maybe in which bands you still play?
[or]: One of the bands that I used to play in, and was most proud of untill this point were the Fire Breathing Penguins. SHREDFEST! Otherwise, just covers bands
What are you favourite bands?
[or]: Megadeth.My absolute all time favourites. I've listened to them since I was 12. There's something about the music that I can relate to. Everything's there, from sheer brutality and anger to a sense of pathos. I can relate to Mustaines lyrics, he's somebody who wears his heart on his sleave. Always with melody!
Favourite guitar player (-s)?
[or]: They'd have to be Steve Vai, and Marty Friedman. Vai has an amazing ability to express himself on the instrument, be it with a single note, or a flurry of notes, he always plays the right thing for the song, and if its not right, he makes it work! Friedman just rocks!
Please tell something about your gear.
[or]: My rig is mainly new, apart from the guitars. The Jem has always been my favourite guitar and have always wanted one, and about 2 years ago I got one. My spare is an old Ibanez RG550 that I've had for about 18 years, and has gone through many pickups, but at the moment is loaded with DiMarzio Breeds. Its had a lot of notes played on it. The 7 string is Dylans, but I used to play the same model in the Penguins. My amp is a Marshall JVM, and its a beast. Tone in a box. Pedals are Morley Wah and volume pedal, and a string of Boss stuff. Also an Ibanez Tubescreamer an a shitload of other stuff I use for recording.
Is there something in your personal live that we must know, (married, in love)?
[or]: Always in love, but no one special at the moment!
Are there hobbies that you practise in your free time?
[or]: I really enjoy cycling. I live in a beautiful part of the world, and really enjoy getting lost on the bike for a few hours. Otherwise, the pub with my mates!(hello my luvlies)
You've been in this band now for about 8 weeks now, does it feel like a family already?
[or]: Of course and I suppose Matt is like a strange uncle (lol)
How did your first gig went along (at the Cambridge Rock Festival)?
[or]: It was my first gig for 8 years, so I was really nervous, but it went quite well. I just know there's better to come!
What was the reason you joined The Reasoning?
[or]: I stared speaking to Matt and Rachel about doing the sound for them. As the evening went on, I told them i used to play in bands, a few, days later, I got a call from Matt telling me that Lee had left asking if I was intersested. I thought I'd give it a go! Learnt the stuff, liked it!
Are they special?
[or]: Of course they are. There seems to be something about this group of people, everyone brings something more to the table than just the instrument that they play. Mr. Steve Rothery had some fun on the Cambridge Rock festival with the Reasoning. He joined them to play "Within Cold Glass". Owain Roberts, the new guitarist of the Reasoning made his maiden trip on this festival.
The Reasoning: The Debut Under Armour Arrows
Youri KOMAROV: And so, Matthew, the name of your new band is The Reasoning. What stands behind this name?
Matthew COHEN: The name of the band came about because I loved the idea of there being a reason for everything we do, be it playing, laughing, crying, thinking, sleeping, or just because you love something or someone. The Reasoning made sense to me and said something to me. There is a reason I am doing this with the people I am doing it with and I love it.
YK: The many were evidently discouraged by your decision to leave Magenta at the very peak of its success in 2005. What was the main reason?
MC: Ahhh, the Magenta question - ha ha ha. I get asked this all the time and the answer is quite simple – I wasn’t happy in Magenta anymore. I had had a wonderful time playing to many people and traveling the world, but Magenta was not for me in a musical sense. Magenta is Rob Reed and Rob Reed is Magenta, plain and simple. He writes and records the music and the musicians in the touring band just learn the songs and play them live.
That is fine if you have no desire to write music, but I did and do have that desire. We were never going to be part of the album recording process, except for the singles, and we were never going to have a creative input into the band either and that is very frustrating. On top of that, I am not really into 22 minutes songs. I like to rock and again, Magenta is a Prog band in the 70’s sense of the word and I wanted to be in a Rock band, hence why I left and formed The Reasoning. It was the best decision I EVER made. I love what I am doing with this band and to top it off, I have the love of my life, Rachel, with me, so life is just wonderful.
YK: Whether you had already known that time what kind of music your new band will play?
MC: I always knew what I wanted to do with music, but it was finding the right time for it to flow freely. I first got into rock music at the age of 6 years old when I first discovered Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I then really got into Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake and later on Iron Maiden, Rainbow and Marillion (my first Prog flirtation).
I have a varied taste in music and discovered Prog much later in life via Rush, Dream Theater and Yes, but Rock is where my heart is and always will be. I never wanted to be in a Heavy Metal band, I wanted music that had all the subtleties to it and by that I mean, I wanted to be able to have the great hooks but add the softer and more melodic elements to the music plus have huge vocals and harmonies. That is what I have with The Reasoning.
YK: Now a few words about musicians of The Reasoning. By what way did you find them? Have you ever worked with any of them before?
MC: The band members were found through association and through advertising. Let’s start with Dylan Thompson. I met Dylan during a recording session at my studio. His band came in to lay some demos down and I was really impressed with his voice and his guitar playing. I asked him if he wanted to get a band together and thankfully he said yes.
Lee Wright I have known for a long time. We tried many different little projects together, but time was not on our side and they never really amounted to much, so when I got The Reasoning together, he was my first choice for the guitar role and because he has very different style to Dylan, I knew we could get some exciting things going with them both.
Gareth Jones, also, is someone I have known for a long time as we used to play in a local covers band together with the guitarist from Blue Horses. Gareth also came in and did some keyboards for my pre-Magenta project – Erasmus. That band never got off the ground but we did release an album in 2002 through F2 Music. Gareth has an amazing voice and is a great piano player. I was a bit hesitant about asking him first of all, as his love of music stems from the Pop side of things, but I needn’t have worried, as he has slotted into this band so well and, like all people in this band, he is a huge asset.
Adrian the Rock.
The Peel, Kingston, 14 April 2007.
Vinden Wylde, we found by placing adverts for drummers after Rhys Jones (ex-Magenta) was fired in August 2006. Vinden is amazing. He learnt the album in a month and recorded it in 3 days. He is a real mellow guy as well which is very unusual for a drummer, but he knows how to hit those drums and thank God we found him.
Rachel Jones (ex-Karnataka) joined much later in 2006 and as I have always been a huge fan of her voice and music there was no way I was going to say “No” when she asked me if she could be a part of the band. She is so talented and hears these amazing melodies and then, just sings them. I love hearing her and watching her on stage, she is amazing. Rachel is such a professional and such a gift.
YK: There are three lead vocalists in the band? Whether it turned out accidentally? Your comments, please.
MC: As I have said before, my intention with this band was to always focus on melody and especially vocal harmonies. I am lucky because I have three very talented and individual voices in this band, so we are able to do anything we want and be able to pull it off live as well, which not a lot of bands can do.
YK: How you could entice the voice of Karnataka into the band? It looks like one did not dispense with “Armour arrows”.
Photo by Adrian the Rock.
The Peel, Kingston, 14 April 2007.
MC: I am not sure if you are aware but Rachel and myself are engaged to be married (November 2007) and have been together for over 2 years now. We met at the ProgAID sessions in January 2005 and got together properly after I played with Magenta at The Borderline in London. Rachel had for all intents and purposes given up the music industry after she left Karnataka. She was concentrating on her University degree in London. Anyway, after I quit Magenta and then formed The Reasoning, we did some warm up gigs in mid 2006 to see how the songs worked live. Rachel came along for support, and after we got back, she asked if she could join the band. There was no hesitation, I said “Yes” immediately.
We set about re-working of the songs (which made the songs even stronger), but with Rachel in there and with Dylan’s and Gareth’s vocals, we had the sound that is The Reasoning. I am so pleased she joined from a personal and musical point of view. I was a huge fan of Karnataka and like many people, was really disappointed when they split. I saw them 3 times live and Rachel always captivated me with her voice, lyrics and stage presence. I hoped she would one day get back into singing but never dreamt that I would be playing by her side. A dream come true and I can’t express how happy I am.
YK: Who wrote the music for the album mainly?
MC: The majority of the album is written by myself and Dylan. We enter my studio and put some ideas down, then, we come back to them and work on them further. Once we have a 75% finished song, we take them to the band and rehearse them. I like to look at the arrangement of songs very closely so I always play with the structure until it flows and go back and try it again. If you take a song like “Aching Hunger” and “Shadows Of The Mind”, you wouldn’t believe the first demos of those songs compared to the finished product. “Aching Hunger” went through 8 re-writes before we got it right and “Shadows Of The Mind” was the same but then you take “Awakening” “Fallen Angels” and “Chasing Rainbows” and they have remained practically unchanged. I did some re-working when we recorded them but very little.
Gareth and Rachel also contribute a lot to the writing process. Gareth came up with some additional piano parts, chord structures and vocal melodies that made a lot of sense, and Rachel brought in so many great vocal ideas, melodies and lyrics plus helped me with the song structuring too. She has a great sense of song structure and I have learnt a lot from her. If someone has a good idea and it is right for The Reasoning, then it is in.
YK: What is the title song “Awakening” about if to say in a several words?
“Awakening” is about whatever you want it to be. When myself and Dylan first wrote those lyrics they started off as a story of 2 people meeting and discovering life and waking for the first time, but after a while they started to mean so much more in many different ways. I think, if I were to summarize the song, “Awakening” is about discovery in a very healthy and happy way.
YK: A question to Rachel now. What do you think about the fact that now you have to share a microphone with two more vocalists?
Rachel JONES: It’s wonderful! I have worked with other vocalists before, but I think it’s quite unusual to have three strong “lead” singers in one band. Having fronted my own band for many years, I enjoy sharing lead singer duties with The Reasoning very much. We also get along really well as friends, which makes for a lot of fun!
YK: I can't keep from a question about Karnataka. What happened to the band? If I'm not mistaken there is only Jan Jones of original line-up in the band.
RJ: There is no mystery regarding the demise of Karnataka! I ended a personal relationship with Ian (Jones) in 2004, and decided that I no longer wished to continue working with him. As soon as I decided to leave Karnataka, the other original members very quickly revealed their dissatisfaction with the way the band was being organised. They no longer wanted to continue working with Ian either, and so a majority decision was made to split up.
Ian has since put a new band together under the name “Karnataka”, but he is the ONLY original member remaining, and the “new” band bears no relation to the original line-up.
YK: What were you occupied with after having left Karnataka? Would you like to tell a few words about your University degree in London.
RJ: I have just finished my degree, which has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life! It has been wonderful to concentrate on something different, and I also loved living in London as a student – it is a very exciting place.
I will be returning to University in Cardiff this September to do a further (Masters) degree, which I am looking forward to very much.
YK: How did The Reasoning come into Steve Rothery’s field of view?
MC: Rachel met Steve a few years ago at a Karnataka gig in Aylesbury, and he contacted her again at the beginning of 2006 to ask whether she was still. involved in music following the break up of the band. He offered to contribute to any projects that she might be working on. She introduced him to The Reasoning…and the rest is history! We were thrilled to work with Steve, because Marillion have been a huge part of both our lives for a long time – he really is one of our favourite guitarists ever!
What an honour and what a solo and to top it all off, what a fantastic guy, so genuine and kind. He came up and played with us in Rotherham back in March and Rachel and myself looked at each other on stage and smiled the biggest smiles you have ever seen, it was a very special and emotional moment. A dream come true.
YK: The Reasoning has played several gigs already. Recently the band played supporting Marillion in Bristol. How did audience receive new band?
MC: The reaction was wonderful! As a band, we were well prepared for the gig and were confident from the outset. The audience enjoyed the music, the performance and the band’s interaction with the crowd – we certainly put on a great show.
Since the gig, interest in the band has increased significantly once again, and all of the comments we have received have been very positive indeed. I think that this show will prove to be an important move forward for The Reasoning.
YK: Thank you very much.
Matthew & Rachel|
during the ProgAid sessions.