Space Elevator
(Space Elevator)


I 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 there’s 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 1970’s, 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. presents an interview with

: 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. It’s 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. It’s 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 show’s inception in 2002 until its closure on May 31st this year. I played guitar on around 400 shows between 2007 and the show’s closure although it wasn’t 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.

mwe3: 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.

For the 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. It’s the same with amps. I wouldn’t 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 JSX.

mwe3: 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 don’t think about any band particularly when writing. Also for me it’s Rush and Genesis when thinking about certain grooves and textures for Space Elevator. Even Kiss although that may sound a bit weird? That’s 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 haven’t 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 on.

My favorite 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: What’s the chemistry like in the Space Elevator band? I know Neil Murray is in the band and he’s 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?

David Young: Haha. I’m 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 don’t 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 @


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