Interview conducted by Peter Jones, reproduced with kind permission
PJ: The name "Second" is quite unusual for a band, and knowing your passion for wordplay I suppose
there´s a reason behind that?
AE: (laughs) Right you are. When we started after our old guitarist had left, we sat there with the dire need for
a name. And sadly we were that idealess, we just took a simplified translation of our names (Early Measures), but
were well aware that that was only a temporary solution. After some sessions, KP had the idea of "Two"
as an alternative, with albums named "First of Two", "Second of Two", etc. Still being unhappy,
it suddenly came to my mind that "Second" would do, too, and thinking about that, there were so many
meanings behind that that we started to really like it. First of all, that band being our second project together.
When thinking of lyrics, the chorus of "Scapegoat" formed immediately:
I second your opinion
But I will not take the blame
A fraction of a second
Of momentary fame
Being second can mean losing
With two players in the game…
PJ: Talking of that song, the lyrics sound utterly bitter?
AE: Well, that may be true. Saying I did not think about that when writing them would sound foolish, and it may
well be that the whole story about the aforementioned first band led to that. When we started in 1997, it was one
of those stories that life writes from scratch: My then best friend played guitar, and I knew that he had a friend
he was regularly making music with. I had made lots of demo tapes throughout the years, and took the opportunity
to play them to him. His reaction was, as I hoped, direct and precise: "I want your voice". When I first
met KP and we started jamming, there was a magic between the three of us that was overwhelming. We had the same
ideas, the same sense of humour, and I well remember word battles between KP and me that left both of us short
of breath from laughter after short time. After some years we noticed that finding dates was becoming more and
more difficult, mainly due to family reasons (marriage) with our guitarist. When we made a session happen, he was
more and more demotivated, more playing stuff he had on his mind than contributing to the musical ideas that we
tried to develop. That alone would have been bearable in one way or the other, we still had a level of creative
output that was satisfactory. Sadly it became more and more apparent that we personally changed, the characters,
the senses of friendship, etc.. To cut a long story short: the personal friendship broke, and thus did the band.
I knew that KP had been his friend before knowing me, and well aware that there is always fault at both sides,
I just let things go, keeping in contact with KP, but burying the idea of continuing to make music. After a year
or so I realized that contact between him and KP had died, too, and both of us being really anxious to start again
with our passion. When we chose the tracks for "Phone Calls from Nowhere", adding that title was a logical
way to go.
PJ: How difficult was it to start again?
Ae: Believe it or not: It was easier than anyone of us would have imagined in his wildest dreams. When I arrived
at the studio, I had one song almost completely ready in my mind (On a Butterfly´s Wings) and we recorded
a demo in no time. It´s something I can only call a bond between the two of us: I am no classical musician
that can write down notes, I play guitar, and that´s it. KP is a multi instrumentalist that plays keys, guitar,
bass, has a classical musical education, but still: I only have to describe how I imagine something to sound, with
very rough words, and KP just does it. And if he doesn´t understand me directly and does something different,
I tend to pretend that that was exactly what I meant (laughs). You get the idea. During the coming sessions, it
became more and more obvious what we had missed in the last sessions of the old band: Writing a song mainly consisted
of jamming, some guitar licks, supported by keyboards, and that what was left for me as creative space to develop
the melody lines for my vocals was limited. Not that that didn´t work, but we tend to approach things in
a more vocal oriented way now: Mostly I have the lyrics and melody lines prepared, and we place "all the rest"
PJ: That sounds a bit as if Second was a one man show?
AE: Wooops… no, definitely not! Discussing that topic with KP (when I had the fear that I would limit him by that
approach) we realized that it was completely the other way round. In his opinion my strength lies in developing
the melodies, and his strength lies in making them sound right. And imagine the difference of an acoustic demo
(which is roughly what I have in mind) and a full blown song, you get the picture how much creativity is needed
for that! We´re both happy with the way we work… and don´t think that I propose a melody and he says
"That´s it" right from the start. With some tracks, that works, with others he is completely disgusted
and wants me to do things differently. Some of these cases change the song completely, with other tracks we decide
to do that the way I want it, but the main thing is: After a song is finished, it´s our song and we are both
satisfied. This can be very hard work sometimes, but it´s definitely worth it!
PJ: Focussing on the music: How would you describe that? Any categories?
AE: I expected that question, and I decline it (laughs). Seriously: If you listen to the songs, you will hardly
find a category that really does justice to them. That may well come from our different musical backgrounds: KP
has been doing a lot of "entertainment songs", hits from the sixties to the eighties, and has a very
wide musical taste. I am a progger from the heart, having followed Marillion since 1983, with my musical taste
widening over the years from Jazz over Pop/Rock, Prog, Metal and even Death Metal these days. If you put that in
a melting pot, what can come out of it? We are well aware that this is critical for commercial success, but one
thing is more important than that: Honesty. A song that has been written to fulfill expectations in a world that
constantly changes its taste can hardly come from the heart. And a consequence that is really surprising for us:
When getting demos out to several people around and not saying a word that we were involved in this, resonance
was very enthusiastic from the widest variety of musical tastes involved. I do not expect that everybody likes
every song, that's a natural thing when you mix different styles. Don´t ask my wife about my growls… (laughs).
PJ: Thanks for your time!
AE: It was a pleasure…