have seen the future of album oriented rock and it may very well be
in the hands of U.K. based Space Elevator. Releasing their
first full length debut CD, the self-titled Space Elevator,
the band proves masterful at coming up with catchy pop hooks,
expertly paired with driving, crunching guitars, soaring synths and
skillful group interplay. At the core of the Space Elevator sound
are the vocals of The Duchess and the electric guitars of David
Young. Also in the band are bass ace Neil Murray, Brian
Green (drums) and Elliot Ware (keyboards). Owing to the
splendid vocals of The Duchess, some may draw comparisons to groups
like Blondie and even ABBA, (did someone say Queen?) but theres
also something uniquely appealing behind the Space Elevator sound.
Guitarist Young and Brian Greene have played together with singer
Sonja Kristina of Curved Air and others, while Neil Murray has played
with some of the great prog and rock bands bands of the 1970s,
and his excellent bass work provides a solid anchor for the soaring
vocals and crunching electric guitar work here. Imagine the voice
of Deborah Harry fronting Queen and you can get some of the gist behind
the Space Elevator sound. With their self-titled CD debut, U.K. based
Space Elevator carries the spirit of anthemic stadium rock to a whole
new level of sonic expertise. www.SpaceElevatorBand.com
mwe3.com presents an interview
David Young of SPACE ELEVATOR
Where are you from originally and where are you living now and what
do you like best about it?
David Young: Originally I am from Glasgow in Scotland. Space
Elevator has a strong Scottish connection, Neil Murray our bass player
is Scottish and our manager is a Glaswegian as I am but he supports
the wrong football team!!...ha.
I now live in a place called Marlow which is in Buckinghamshire, England.
Its about 25 miles west of London and is right on the River
Thames. I live in the Old Rectory of a church which is on the river.
Its very inspiring for writing music. I have lived here for
two and a half years and I love it.
mwe3: When did Space Elevator form and how and when did you
meet up with your Space Elevator band mates?
David Young: It started initially as a writing project for
me and the Duchess. As the songs were completed in demo form, increasingly
we felt that there was a cohesion between the songs and that we should
put a band together and record an album. She and I have gigged and
written together on and off over the years. Brian Greene our drummer
has been my best friend since we were teenagers and we have done loads
of gigging together. He is also the best drummer I know so it was
just obvious that he would be in the band.
Neil Murray who of course already has an international reputation
as a bass player from his time with Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Gary
Moore, Peter Green, Brian May etc etc etc
we met at the West
End production of We Will Rock You where Neil was the resident bass
player from the shows inception in 2002 until its closure on
May 31st this year. I played guitar on around 400 shows between 2007
and the shows closure although it wasnt my full time gig.
The same with our keyboard player Elliott Ware. Elliott was musical
director at We Will Rock You when I began although he went onto do
other stuff fairly soon afterwards such as playing with The Who. The
key thing with Elliott was that although he is obviously a brilliant
musician, he was quite rare in my experience, in that he was a classical
pianist who could also play you the full repertoires of Genesis, Queen,
Jethro Tull and Rush amongst others... so that was right up our street.
How long did it take to write, record and produce the Space Elevator
CD? What were the key events that led to making the album and how
did you share the song writing with The Duchess?
David Young: Well the writing was done over a period of about
six months but very much in a one day a week or a fortnight kind of
a way. We demoed the stuff at my house and played all the instruments
ourselves. The recording began in April 2013 and the album was finally
mastered in November 2013. However, all the playing, mixing and mastering
was done in a total of about 20 days over that period. Roughly speaking
two days per instrument and a day per track to mix.
We have written together for many years and we are very comfortable
writing in any combination. So maybe I could write almost a whole
song or she could write almost a whole song or one of us would have
a couple of chords and we would work on it from there.
Space Elevator album, the majority of songs started off with me having
a few chords and maybe a drum loop or something. This could be very
basic though and we would then come up with new sections together
and mess the songs around all over the place. Although I contributed
a few lines she is our lyricist and also comes up with all the melodies
on top of everything.
mwe3: How long have you been playing guitar and what guitars
are you featuring on the Space Elevator CD? How about sonic effects
you use on the Space Elevator CD and what are your favorite guitars
and guitar companies?
David Young: I am not remotely attached to specific guitars.
I never have been. Its the same with amps. I wouldnt say
I change guitars a lot but I am just looking for a certain sound at
a certain time. I am more of a Strat player than a Les Paul player
although recently I have started playing a Gibson 339 a lot which
is like a small bodied 335. On the album it was a cross between a
1986 Japanese Fender Strat, a Greco 1976 Telecaster, which is basically
a copy of a Thinline. I used that a lot actually. A 1979 Tokai Les
Paul Love Rock, solos only and the Gibson 339. Also a cheap £200
Yamaha acoustic which records great, and a Felix Manzanero classical
for "I Will Find You". That guitar used to be mine but is
now owned by a friend. I snapped the machine head on my own classical
the night before the session! I recorded the guitars with the effects
already on my board which is mainly delay but with chorus on clean
parts. Adam Vanryne, our engineer/producer would sometimes add effects
afterwards, this also to the vocals. We used a bit of flanger here
and there. All the overdrives were out of the amp which was a Peavey
Some music fans have compared Space Elevator to Queen in sound or
even The Beatles on some songs. Who were your music heroes and favorite
guitarists growing up and how does that come out in your music?
David Young: For me, Queen are a massive influence although
I dont think about any band particularly when writing. Also
for me its Rush and Genesis when thinking about certain grooves
and textures for Space Elevator. Even Kiss although that may sound
a bit weird? Thats more in the thinking of the album pacing.
I actually produced a classical guitar album of Beatles songs for
Carlos Bonell which went to Number one on the UK classical iTunes
charts. That said, I havent grown up on The Beatles at all.
That influence is from The Duchess. She adores The Beatles and the
Stones. She also loves Queen, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper. Queen, Kiss
and Alice Cooper are where the theatricality comes from I think.
In terms of my own influences as guitarists, well I now regret this
but as a teenager I never worked out or copied records. I regret it
because I would be a much better transcriber if I had done that early
rock players though were always Brian May, Angus Young, Jimmy Page
and Ace Frehley early on, Alex Lifeson, Francis Dunnery and Brian
Roberston from Thin Lizzy. Also Gary Moore and even people like Larry
Carlton and Pat Metheny. Classical guitarists would be Carlos Bonell
and Julian Bream. It was more the guitarists from the bands I liked
than even the guitarists specifically.
mwe3: Whats the chemistry like in the Space Elevator
band? I know Neil Murray is in the band and hes something of
a jazz-rock legend in the music world? How does the group influence
the final sound and arrangement in the songs? Is Space Elevator something
of a new 21st century super group?
Young: Haha. Im not sure I would call it a super group Well
the songs were written although bits of melody and lyric were missing
when we went to the studio. That said, we are very open to input from
everyone. The keyboard parts were really all invented by Elliott in
the studio but most of the other instrumentation was done on the demos.
Of course having great players like Neil and Brian took what we had
written to a much much higher level.
mwe3: Can you tell us something about the Space Elevator cover
art? Is there a concept with the CD artwork and how did you come up
with the name of the band?
David Young: We wanted a name that was grand and big. Something
like Led Zeppelin but not something like The Smiths for example. We
came up with dozens of names but the Duchess came up with Space Elevator
and we just liked it! Many of our songs have a superhero/sci fi context
to them also, but the name led to the cover art and the image of the
Duchess on the side was inspired by American WWII bomber art.
mwe3: What other plans do you have for Space Elevator for 2014
and into 2015 as far as concerts, new recording and more? Are you
planning to bring the sound far and wide?
David Young: We have just done some gigs in the UK which went
great and we are trying to nail down some gigs in Germany, hopefully
in the Autumn. Next year we will gig as far and wide as possible and
will hopefully start work on our second album. We have a bout six
songs ready to go already.
For reasons we dont yet fully understand, forty percent of our
web hits are from the West Coast of the USA! so if we could get over
to America to play that would be a dream come true!
Thanks to David Young @ www.SpaceElevatorBand.com