Steve Merlin - Between Air And Wing
Released: February 2013
Influences & instruments
Of all the music I listened to when I was young - the Beatles, the Stones and all the 60s, 70s music my dad played, and the 80s stuff on my radio - nothing appealed to me more than the colourful guitar solos of Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour on 'Wish You Were Here', Marillion's Steve Rothery on 'Misplaced Childhood' and 'Clutching At Straws', and the ones by Rush's Alex Lifeson on pretty much every album they ever made.
When I learned to play the guitar, tried to get my hands on the stuff that made it sound like the Great Masters, at least as far as I could afford. I stumbled across two old 70's Marshall speaker cabinets, a JCM 900 tube top and a Roland JC 120H top. The combination still produces my favourite electric guitar sound, combining Boss pedals like MT-2, OD-2 and OS-2.
In 1995 I built my own twin-neck electric guitar and named it Gemini 18, for its 12-and 6-string combination. That guitar sounded better on a Fender Princeton Reverb II tube amp, for some reason.
Nowadays I prefer the Korg ToneWorks AX3000G multi-fx unit, because there are
a lot of dusty old connections in my Boss-pedal rack, and because at soundchecks it always takes me an average of half an hour to find the bug in the chain.
The end of a writer's block
The release of Closer To The Moon, in April 2008, was also truly a relief to me: I hadn't been able to write new songs for years.
By the end of 2008, the urge to write hadn't just returned to me - it smacked me in the face. There was a lot to write about at the time, subjects varying from personal stuff to social and global issues. One year later, if I included the old leftover songs from my nineties singer-songwriter period, I had enough material to fill a double album: about 5 old and 20 new tracks, varying from one to sixteen minutes.
A very short dilemma
A double album as my second album... the idea was attractive, because I'd already split the songs into two sets according to their subject: a relational set for one, and a social-global set for the other cd.
But already the recordings were taking much more time than planned, and I increasingly liked the idea of getting half of the songs out of my system, before continuing working on the other half - bigger, longer, sturdier, proggy songs. So I made up my mind and finished Between Air And Wing first. A big upside was that I could release the album February 23rd, 2013, instead of Autumn 2015.
So my second album had become a fact, 500 copies of it. Now how to get a lot of people to know of its existence, and to buy a cd? In a way, promotion of Between Air And Wing had to pave the road for the third album Crash Course For Earth, but there wasn't any time for gigs in 2013.
Recording, editing and mixing Crash Course For Earth had priority over rehearsals for gigs.
Choices, choices. Nobody had time, anyway.
In the summer of 2013, a progressive rock shop in Tokyo, Garden Shed, took me by complete surprise and sold 30 copies for us. Not bad.
Steve Merlin, February 2013