Cadden-James, Carl (Shadow Gallery) (July 2001)

Shadow Gallery: An Interview With Carl Cadden-James

Shadow Gallery (circa 1995) l to r: Chris Ingles, Gary Wehrkamp, Brendt Allman, Mike Baker, Carl Cadden-James, and Kevin Soffera (photo © John Sterling Ruth)[This interview with bassist/flutist Carl Cadden-James was conducted after the release of Carved In Stone but before the eventual release of Tyranny. Of course, this year Shadow Gallery have released Legacy, their fourth album.]

It took the band three years before there was a follow-up to their much acclaimed debut album in 1992. As Magna Carta artists they have also contributed to some of the label's tribute albums and have established their name worldwide alongside bands such as Dream Theater, Magellan and Cairo. About time for an intercontinental phone call.

John 'Bo Bo' Bollenberg: When I compare Carved In Stone with the Shadow Gallery debut, I find the latter being more metal oriented. Was that a normal evolution or had either Mike Varney or the sudden Dream Theater success something to do with this?

Carl Cadden-James (c1995) RuthCarl Cadden-James: I guess it was just the logical evolution within the band. Nobody could tell us what to do next even if this would mean a bigger chance to succeed anyway. We just do what we feel is right and with Carved In Stone, as compared to our first album, we again just sat around the table and started writing. I must confess, however, that I am very much into heavy metal and I especially like the German band Gamma Ray.

JB: Why were two extra musicians added to the band. Solely for live purposes? Was it difficult to create what you do on album for a live audience?

Kevin Soffera (c1995) RuthCC-J: To be able to do gigs we needed a drummer so we found Kevin Soffera. At first he would only be hired for live purposes but in the end he seemed the ideal person to join the band [he was replaced by Joe Nevolo for 1998's Tyranny -ed.]. Because in the studio there are a lot of overdubs and because we hate to use samples live, we had to introduce an extra guitarist, which we found in Gary Wehrkamp.

JB: Being a six-piece band now I would've thought you'd be having more space to play the flute ...

Gary Wehrkamp (c1995) RuthCC-J: Because we needed to rush the recordings in time for the record company initially, there was NO flute on the album. However something went wrong in the studio and we got an extra couple of days to set this straight, which meanwhile enabled me to add some flute to the already finished product ! If only I had more time then surely there would've been more flute as well.

JB: ... without sounding too much Jethro like?

CC-J: I feel that the use of flute within Shadow Gallery adds some show element to the whole, as it is a very fine instrument which gives you a lot of space to use the entire stage!

JB: Who are the band's major influences?

Brendt Allman (c1995) ? RuthCC-J: As I already said I'm more into metal and Gamma Ray. Brendt Allman (guitars) likes a cross between Kate Bush and Metallica (yes he's weird!). Gary Wehrkamp (keyboards, guitar) is into Rush, Yes and everything Pink Floyd ever did with the emphasis on The Wall. Mike Baker (c1995) RuthMike Baker, our vocalist, is a lover of Judas Priest and Alice Cooper. Chris Ingles (keyboards) loves ELP, Rush and Eddie Jobson whilst our drummer Kevin Soffera adores Terri Bozzio.

JB: Are you guys a Christian band 'coz apart from Cairo you also thank God in your sleeve notes ...

CC-J: Personally I am a Christian but I don't think we are a real Christian band. I do believe in God as being a super force and that it's thanks to his force that I'm able to create my music. In that respect I have to thank him more than anyone else because it's thanks to him that Shadow Gallery exists!

Shadow Gallery (1992)JB: Three years went by between the release of the first album and Carved In Stone. What happened?

CC-J: When we thought about recording our second album we were looking for a decent studio. When we started calculating how much it all would cost, Mike Varney suggested that we build our own studio because in the end it would be much cheaper. So it took us several months to build the studio, to get all the gear together and finally try it out. In the end we recorded Carved In Stone in no less than thirteen months.

JB: Is your studio only there for Shadow Gallery or can other acts use your facilities?

CC-J: It is mainly for Shadow Gallery only, although we had Steve Howe in our studio to do a duet with Annie Haslam for the "Yes tribute" album. [Tales From Yesterday ].

JB: Shadow Gallery also recorded for that tribute album?

CC-J: Indeed we have. We did a very heavy version of "Release, Release" for the Yes tribute CD Tales From Yesterday, "Time" for the Pink Floyd tribute CD The Moon Revisited and "Entangled" for the Genesis tribute CD Supper's Ready. Each time we tried to put the Shadow Gallery stamp on the music without changing the original too much. Looking back on it, it looks like "Release, Release" is the one that was changed most and sounds much like our own stuff. For the Rush tribute album Working Man we weren't asked as a full band but each one of us contributed to the album, performing with members from other bands. I guess Brett guested on some six tracks whereas I worked on the track "Freewill" together with some members of Lemur Voice. I did my recordings at home whilst they overdubbed in a studio in Holland. Kinda like long distance recording!

Carved In Stone (1995)JB: On the Carved In Stone inlay I see the tracks being numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13. What happened to 2, 4, 6, and 10?

CC-J: All of the uneven numbers are songs with vocals, the even numbers refer to instrumentals ...

JB: "Ghostship" not only is a great piece of music, it's also sort of a small play. What kind of ideas do you have to add visuals to this kind of piece? E.g. what happens when Chris Ingles plays his piano solo in the middle of the song? Does the rest of the band walk offstage? In fact it's a very hard contrast what with this heavy classical piece and the metal guitar in front of it.

Chris Ingles (c1995) RuthCC-J: If we could have a larger budget then we'd love to add some film to our shows by means of 16 mm footage, like it was done on the recent Queensryche and Pink Floyd tours. Because of where I work, there are a lot of engineers, so that a lot of special effects can be made low-budget by them. So in the end the Shadow Gallery show will be quite spectacular anyhow. We will, amongst others, be working with dry ice and lasers so it should look alright!

JB: It must be a very difficult piece to do live, especially with all the breaks and calm, classical passages? How does the audience react to these sudden changes (when they don't know the song)

CC-J: The audience just takes the song as it comes along. "Ghostship" has to be experienced in its full 22 minutes, in which you sort of follow the plot. The audience simply goes along with every move we do.

JB: At the end of the song, when you think it's all over, you suddenly hear these weird knockings. What's the story behind this?

CC-J: That's the bonus track! We thought that with the price of CDs being rather high we'd like to give our fans as much music as possible, so whilst we were in the studio we kind of had the idea of adding something extra. Those knocks act as an introduction to the final track, which, as you can see, has been untitled. That was the only way we could reserve it as a surprise.

JB: Both of the albums you produced yourself. Wouldn't you rather have a third party stepping in to give his/her views on the material . If so whom would it be?

CC-J: I see the production of the Shadow Gallery albums as more important than my bass playing! I see that role equally if not more important than writing or performing.

JB: With bands such as Magellan and Cairo also being added to the Magna Carta label, can you speak of the Magna Carta sound? Is the label beginning to have an impact in the States? How do you see it growing?

Tyranny (1998)CC-J: Although we don't copy each other's music I guess that we are a bit alike from the fact that each of us does what he likes. The record company doesn't ask us to record following certain rules. In that respect Magellan, Cairo and Shadow Gallery are exactly the same because we just do what we like. Sound wise there are obviously differences but I know what you mean by the so-called Magna Carta sound. Up until now though the impact hasn't been very successful in the States. The only things that are happening in America is if you play grunge or rap. What we see though is the fact that grunge is losing its popularity and more and more people are getting into more melodic structures. We all hope to see our kind of music being snapped up by more and more people. I'm sure that with the Magna Carta tribute CD's also more people will get to know about the label and it's artists, so we all hope for the best.

JB: How many copies has your first album sold so far?

CC-J: I don't have an exact figure but I guess it only sold about 30,000 copies worldwide which isn't a lot really.

JB: How do you feel when someone calls this album "the best album Dream Theater and Queensryche never made?"

CC-J: Well of course it's nice if someone writes something like this, but we all try not to bother too much. After all, it's only the view of one single person. I must say that we virtually only get good press. So far nothing negative was written about us, which is far more interesting than the view of one single guy.

JB: At the bottom of the "Cliffhanger" lyrics you can read "to be continued ..." How do we have to see this?

CC-J: On the new album [Tyranny] we'll go further with the story behind this song. So far we don't know the true identity of the character which will probably be revealed on the new album. [Which didn't actually happen until Legacy with "Cliffhanger 2" -ed.]

JB: Kind of what Saga used to do?

CC-J: Exactly

JB: Is there a chance we might be seeing Shadow Gallery live?

CC-J: We all hope to be able to play in Japan very soon. Obviously everything depends on the budget we can have, and as yet we have to wait for the sales figures of our second album to see how things are going. So all of you readers out there go out and buy our albums NOW! It has to be said that each member of the band is very much looking forward to playing in Europe!

JB: What are the future plans? Not another three years for the next album I hope!

Legacy (2001)CC-J: Surely not. As I already explained, the main reason for the long delay was the building of our own studio. Now that it's finished all we have to do is get into the studio and start recording again, so the next album will be out much quicker. Of course it all depends on you, the listener. If you dig Carved In Stone and it sells bucket loads then obviously our record company will be asking for more product. If it doesn't sell then I'm afraid it might even become the band's final album. That's how things go now: the future of music is in the hands of the fans. But as we work very hard to please all of our fans to the fullest, I'm convinced there will be many more Shadow Gallery albums to follow. On behalf of myself and the band I'd like to thank all of our fans out there who make everything possible. Thanks again for your support and see you all before too long!

Shadow Gallery 2001
Shadow Gallery 2001: Brendt Allman, Gary Wehrkamp, Carl Cadden-James, Mike Baker, Chris Ingles, and Joe Nevolo

Shadow Gallery (1992)
Carved In Stone (1995)
Tyranny (1998)
Legacy (2001)
Room V (2005)
Prime Cuts (2007)
Digital Ghosts (2009)

Added: July 26th 2001
Interviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Language: english

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