Ring of Gyges

Interview with RING OF GYGES

I have already written about the Icelandic proggers Ring of Gyges and their debut album “Beyond the Night Sky” (review here), but singer and guitarist Helgi Jonsson has answered my questions about the record and let us know what it was like working on this material.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

It’s pretty good, thanks for asking. I’m currently living in Sweden and it’s cold and dark here but I’m from Iceland so I’m used to it. I’m hanging in there. Writing lots of new music these days.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Beyond the Night Sky”?

Imagine, if you will, a lasagna where the beef is our foundation of 70′s progressive rock. We also have some weird and exotic meats sneaking in there, like snake and kangaroo meat, symbolizing the stranger and more creative parts of the album. The pasta? That’s the metal influence. And the cheese sprinkled on top symbolizes… well, cheese. I’m pretty bad at analogies and this sounds like a terrible lasagna, but our album is, like a lasagna, layered with a lot of good bits, it’s difficult to make and consuming it is a pleasant experience.

Beyond the Night Sky

What was it like working on the album?

It was amazing to be honest. Sure there were moments where you wanted to claw your eyes out because you just couldn’t get that one part right, but more often than not I felt creative and energetic and excited. We got some great guest players in the studio and working with them was an absolute pleasure, when we got the string players to the studio it really felt like some songs came to life and it was magical. I truly appreciate the effort that everyone voluntarily went through to help us with the album and I feel truly privileged to have such friends.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Beyond the Night Sky”?

Not yet, unfortunately. We want to, oh man we want to, but it’s logistically problematic right now. We still don’t have management and planning a tour on your own is damn difficult. If any manager or agent is reading this, don’t hesitate to send us a message!

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

A European tour would ideal for our budget, and we’d love to play around Europe (for example in Germany, UK and Poland), but we also have some good friends in the US that we’d love to play a show for! Getting a work visa in the US is getting more and more difficult though, we’ve heard of bands getting sent straight back to Europe even though they had all their paperwork completed. But hypothetically, we’d like to play around the world!

Who and what inspires you the most?

I guess I’d have to say Steven Wilson, he’s a musical mastermind and he doesn’t seem to be affected by anything anyone says and he’s always true to making the music that he wants to do. He doesn’t settle for anything less than great and why should I?

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

I listen to everything from classical music to death metal. I’m really into jazz fusion as well, but most music I listen to seems to defy classifications. If it sounds interesting to me, I’ll listen to it. I love film music, John Williams is a god to me, and obviously his predecessors (Holst, Stravinsky, Resphigi). I guess most of the time when I play solos I’m hugely inspired by jazz players, whose melodies seem to be carefully walking the line between sounding right on the mark and completely off. Just the right amount of wrong. That’s what I find musically interesting.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

No problem, it was fun. I guess I’d encourage them to broaden their musical horizons, but seeing as this is a prog magazine, I guess they already have. 

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