ARTISTdirect.com editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with IRON MAIDEN bassist/founder Steve Harris about Steve‘s solo/side project album, “British Lion”. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: What’s your take on “British Lion” as a whole?
Harris: It does feel very cohesive like an album. Yet, with the way it was put together over a long period of time through bits and pieces here and there, it’s almost a wonder it feels like that. It was done at all different times. I’m really happy and pleased with it. It flows really well, and the tracklisting picked itself.
ARTISTdirect.com: Did you get to try anything performance-wise you’d never done in the past?
Harris: I tried a few different things out. I suppose recording the album at different times gave me the luxury to do that. For example, I could let the strings go really dead if the song needed that. Or, I could grind it out a little longer to make an even more top-y sound than I usually get. The sound I’ve got for MAIDEN is the right sound. I’ve got to cut through three guitar players for that. It makes it even more important to have that top-end. The stuff tends to be a little faster, and I need to cut through. With some of these songs, I was able to experiment more with different guitars and sounds. Doing everything in bits and pieces is not the normal way I’d like to record. Everything in my whole life is dictated by what MAIDEN is doing. [laughs]
ARTISTdirect.com: Was there a certain freedom to “British Lion”?
Harris: It’s pretty diverse, but I don’t think we thought of it that way. We approached it by writing whatever felt right. That’s always the way we approach things with MAIDEN as well. We didn’t sit down and say, “We want to go in this direction or that direction”. We don’t do that with MAIDEN either. We don’t analyze what we’re doing until afterwards. It’s only when we speak to people afterwards that we analyze it.
ARTISTdirect.com: When did you come up with the title “British Lion”?
Harris: I came up with that a long time ago. When I first these guys, I was producing, writing, managing, helping them out, and doing all kinds of things. Back in the day, I named the band BRITISH LION. I thought it was a really strong name. When it imploded, I thought, “I’m going to use it myself one day”. Now, I have.
ARTISTdirect.com: “British Lion” evokes UFO and THE WHO, but it still sounds modern.
Harris: Yeah, without overanalyzing it, it’s managed to capture that. I don’t know how, but it has. It’s a natural thing for it to come out like that. It’s all ’70s-influenced. To me, that was the most creative era ever really for the music I like. I grew up in that period when there was so much diverse stuff going on. It influences you in one way or another.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.