Change Of Heart: Truth Or Dare?

Change Of Heart's frontman Alan Clark talks about the band's very cool new album filled with classic AOR...

G'Day Alan, nice to talk to you again, congrats on the new album. A few interview questions for you as part of my Escape Music promotion.
Hi Andrew, Good to hear from you too. Many thanks, I took a look at your web site, enjoyed the review.

So Alan, it's been a while between drinks for Change Of Heart - welcome back!
Thanks, quite a few drinks!!

Why so long between albums? It's not COH that I'm solely thinking about here, but you can answer the question in any regard!
Various reasons really, a few personal changes which stopped us, and the problems of being a full band one minute, and down to just two members the next! With Trev and Garry leaving, followed by John's departure, meant the way we worked had to change dramatically. I personally like working in a band environment, which means playing live, writing and rehearsing new material as you go. I think where bands like COH work as a studio based project; do tend to take a lot longer to produce new material. (Definitely in our case)!

Is it a case of the economics of the melodic rock scene not allowing you the opportunity to stop everything else you do in life in order to spend the time making a record?

I'm afraid so!! Unfortunately as someone has already mentioned, life gets in the way!! And with the comparatively small market, opportunities are limited. But hopefully things appear a little brighter than last few years? So you never know maybe get a chance to write a few songs for someone else?

How long did you spend on the songwriting and then the recording process?
Compared with the time between the last album, not long. We had three or four songs written and demo's done prior to the lads leaving. We also had a lot of new ideas, in a rough state, so it was really a case of putting them together, except a couple which were written recently. The recording was about normal although spread out over a period of time, maybe a month in total.

Have you been keeping otherwise busy in the time between albums?

Trying too!! Playing in couple of bands, and keeping writing, also spending time with my second love football! Watching Newcastle United! It's really surprising how quickly time goes between projects, I couldn't believe it was 5 years since the last album, I remember it as if it was last week!

I said in my review (in a complimentary way!) that the band hasn't changed their style, direction or sound, but had delivered just what fans of the last album wanted - with better songs - are you satisfied with the result of Truth Or Dare?
Yep, the sound /style of the band isn't really deliberate, it just happens! I actually cut my teeth, so to say on bands like Dokken and Ratt, so I'm not too sure where or how I ended up writing melodic rock?? We are really happy with the quality of the new songs, it's always good when people say you have improved, we like the sound we get, and hopefully use it to full effect?

It's a double edged sword to be able to make a new album and keep everyone happy without repeating yourself or abandoning your sound. How did you approach this when working on the new album?

The sound of the band is who we are, so I don't get too worried about it. There are plenty of things which happen in life to keep the influences going, and finding new ideas has never really been a big problem.

Steve Overland was a new face in proceedings this time around, how did he fit into the picture and had you worked with him before?
It was great to work with Steve Overland, he's a great guy and has so much experience, you can't really go to far wrong. We'd not worked with him before, but if the opportunity comes along? It's something we would like to repeat! It's always beneficial to work with someone who understands your sound and ideas, rather than change things, he actually compliments the songs, and makes working in the studio easy and enjoyable.

And speaking of FM members, Pete Jupp - will he be a permanent member of the band? Did you enjoy working with him?
We enjoyed working with him very much. Again like Stev O, Pete is a great guy and professional, but like Steve is busy doing other things so although having Pete as a band member would be excellent, I don't think it's possible just now. But things change so you never know!!

I know all fans love to see their bands play live, but many others don't get off their ass to support gigs. Can you see any possibility of COH playing live in the near future?
We always were a live band, and really that's what it's all about for me, being able to play the songs you've written in front of people. Due to circumstances it's not been possible, but it's something I'm trying to address for the near future.

Let's go through the songs on the album if you don't mind. First of all - Burned - a little tougher for you guys, did you enjoy that change in tempo?
Really like this track, it can be easier to do songs like Burned, less time and space for things to go wrong!! It was an idea I had for a little while, and felt we needed to have a bit more edge.

Can you give a few thoughts about each of the other tracks?
· Farlands -
Liked this one for a while, the idea of song is to give you a lift, it's nice to go away, but it's even better to come home!

· Desperate Heart -
Maybe one of the best tracks we've done?? the good thing is, it was the last song writen for the album,(nearly didn't get finished in time for it!!) The backing vocals by Dave are just superb, it was one of those songs where the ideas just came together, and worked.

· Hold On
- Another song to hopefully make you feel things aren't so bad? Tried to make the chorus as big as possible, again great bv's from Dave, one of the songs we've had for a little while, but one of our favourites. Definitely a song to be played live!!

· Falling From The World -
Wanted something that had power, but space to breathe, with plenty of guitar work!

· Truth Or Dare -
Title track, (obviously)! a song which shows the mix between the AOR feel and Rock. A little more technical than most of the songs, but stll has a strong hook, also another good chance to hear Dave's great key skills.

· Don't Cross The Line -
A slight departure in style for us, darker feel to lyrics and music, more experimental for us, moving away for the more traditional COH sound? inlfuenced strangely by watching the film misery(work that one out)?

· Taking My Time -
Basically a straight rock song, with a strong groove and hook, more homage to my early influences than anything else really, it's nice to let go sometimes!

· Keep On Believing -
A song of hope? through personal experience it's good to believe in something, We did want it to have more than just a little Journey feel to it, I'm sure people will guess that! but I'm sure no one will begrudge a little indulgence!

· I Will Remember You -
Written for and dedicated to my Dad.

· Never Fall -
Originally an acoustic song, but with with Dave's special treatment quickly became my favourite song on the album, again a great song to play live, very much in the COH style

What singers inspire you personally? From the present and the past...
The singers that influenced me from the past still do today! Joe Lynn Turner, Dio, Dokken and of course Steve Perry!!

What's next for Alan Clark and also Change Of Heart?

I don't plan on waiting another 5 years between records!! I would really like to get the playing some live dates, work towards another album next year for COH, and personally would like to write some songs for other people, if the chance comes along (anybody)?????

Anything else lined up you can talk about? Writing or singing for any other projects?
Not at present, would welcome the chance, but just have to wait and see what happens?

In a line (or two), describe Change Of Heart for the uninitiated!
A band who offers catchy rock songs, good melodies and delivers!

Anything you would like to add Alan?
Many thanks for the interview and your excellent review, and to anyone who knows us or doesn't KEEP BELIEVING! And listen to Change of Heart you might just like it!

Many thanks Alan!