Floor Jansen has recently joined Ayreon as a guest singer on their new album, “The Source”, released on April 28. Also, as always, it was a pleasant surprise to us to be flabbergasted by such creativity and amazing musicians!
‘Head up High’ had the opportunity to ask a few questions to one of the most well known Dutch musicians and Ayreon mastermind, Arjen Lucassen.
1. You usually pick a singer whose personality shares a trait or two with the character they’ll play, and we know Floor dreamed of being a biologist herself when she was a kid. What would be the most remarkable personality trait that the character “The Biologist” and Floor Jansen have in common?
Arjen: It’s actually the other way around! I base the character in the story and also the lyrics on the personality of the singer. And of course I know Floor so well now, and how involved she is in the environment and animal care. However, I really didn’t know she wanted to be a Biologist! So that was a good choice 🙂
2. Floor Jansen was featured in the record “01011001” alongside her sister, Irene Jansen, on tracks such as “Beneath the Waves” and “Waking Dreams”. What was it like to have both working together? Is there a chance we might be seeing them working side by side again on any of the Ayreon’s projects again?
Arjen: Irene was not involved in 01011001, just Floor. But they did indeed sing backing vocals together on the European tour I did with Star One! And yes, they will again sing together in the Ayreon Universe shows in September this year. Their voices are just perfect together, two amazing singers!
3. Last year, you played a few gigs with Anneke during the Gentle Storm’s European tour . Three Ayreon Universe concerts in 2017 were recently reported as sold out. It might be too early to say, but is there a chance that this concert could happen abroad?
Arjen: No, sorry… I am a complete recluse and I don’t tour anymore… With The Gentle Storm I just joined them on stage here in Amsterdam.
4. It is known that your writing process is quite reclusive , but we also know that a few close musicians and artists take part in writing the music or the lyrics. Did any of the guest singers take part in the creative process as well? If so, how does it usually happen?
Arjen: Yes. Some singers prefer to write their own lyrics or melody lines. And if I feel that they can do a better job than me, I let them. It’s all about the end result! And it always worked out really well.
5. In some interviews, you mentioned the art of Yann Souetre as a great source of inspiration during creative process of this album. We can tell that there is a gloomy sci-fi nuance to this album , and Ayreon’s albums usually involve analyses of the human condition . With that in mind, what can we expect from this record in philosophical terms?
Arjen: As often in my concepts The Source is about the dependency on technology. I grew up in a time before computers, so I witnessed the exponential rise of technology and how fast people have become addicted to and dependent on it. I’m often amazed at how glued people are to their phones these days, and how they are not lining in the moment anymore.
6. We know that the history of the Forever was is an extensive journey told throughout several Ayreon’s albums, and finally came to a conclusion in “01011001”. Taking into account that this new plot is all about the history of the Alphans, can we expect a sequel or a nod to the history of the Forever in the “The Source”? Or is this record part of a brand new storyline?
Arjen: The Source is a prequel to the 01011001 album, and to the overal Ayreon story. It goes back all the way to the beginning of mankind and the Forever race. Spoiler: we all used to be Alphans once!
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