Six By Six - Interview
Six By Six is the new band of Ian Crichton (Asia), Robert Berry (GTR) and Nigel Glockler (Saxon). They just released their self-titled debut (read review here) which is an amazing mixture of heavy metal, hard rock and prog. I chatted with Nigel Glockler via Zoom to talk about the bands history and if there are some more plans than just the album and of course because he is a British citizen to talk about the death of the Queen which happened a few days before we did the interview. Enjoy reading!
It hasn't been a long time since we talked to each other but a lot of bad things have happened since then – I guess nobody thought that it could come more worse than with Corona – war, growing inflation and rising costs and lately the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Did you form the band to lighten up people's mood a little bit when they're listening to it?
I was in that band GTR for a while with Steve Howe and Robert Berry was the band, too because Steve Hackett had left. We instantly became good friends but we lost touch for a little while. But then he came to a Saxon gig. I can't remember who contacted whom but we sort of rekindled our friendship. We kept in touch over the years and regarding this band he suddenly sent me an email. It was probably a year ago, I think it was March, April or May. He just suddenly said to me "I started that band with Ian Crichton of Saga and you're the guy (laughs). We want you, are you interested?". They sent me some demos they had been doing and they were great. I've known Ian for a while as well because Saxon and Saga crossed paths a lot of times in Germany when we both were touring and doing festivals and finally enough actually when we were doing the "Innocence Is No Excuse" tour 1985, I think it was in Munich, they were in the same studio complex doing their "Behaviour" album. So that's how long we kind of know each other. Then I flew over to San Francisco, it was in the pandemic but luckily because I am a US resident I was allowed to fly into the country and then I did the drums. That's basically what happened. Ian and Robert had written all the tracks for this album and there were a couple of things we were playing around with. Robert is a really good drummer, too and he put down a template just to listen to the sort of groups they like but they said "you do what you want over it". Ian was in Toronto and I was at Roberts' studio and we were Zooming and said "what about this and that…yeah that's great…" and so it was all written then.
Yes, I guess it is really good to have modern technologies like Zoom and so on these days. Otherwise a lot of stuff would be very complicated.
Yeah, it's very useful. I mean for instance we're actually talking about a second album. We all started to sort of work on it and I sent some things because I write as well. I sent some stuff to Robert and Ian and they're already working on them. It's great, everyone's involved in it.
How would you describe your style of music on "Six By Six"? I find it quite hard to put it into words…
I keep saying this is the sum of all three of us together. There was no plan to sort of say "we got to sound like this". Robert for instance got in touch with Ian previously before that Robert was working with Keith Emerson before he died. Robert wanted to put something a bit more guitar heavy out so he and Ian got together. I mean it's a rock album so that's all I can say with a lot of guitar and Robert plays bass and does the vocals, keyboards… it's just basically how the three of us sound. It's really funny because some people say that it reminds them of later Rush in places, someone said something that really floored me, that the groove of a song I can't remember reminded him of King's X cause I love King's X! I guess our influences are just coming out in this finished thing. I'm a prog head anyway. We're not a prog band but I love King Crimson and all that stuff. We all love these kinds of bands. All our influences with each of the three of us - it's just that's what's coming out.
Your influences are pretty widely diversified – Genesis, Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd – I guess the list could be much longer. Did you all bring your own style into the compositions or was there a common denominator in writing the songs? How long did it take to write and record the songs?
Well, I mean Robert and Ian started before I was even involved. They had the songs. I mean the arrangement changed in a couple of places once I was there because then we could try things out but basically the songs were written and they were working for a few months before I even got there. I went over and recorded in September. I was there for about a week to ten days and did the drums then. But I was almost the last thing to go on because they worked with the drums and as I said we changed the arrangements a little bit in some places. They wanted me to put my own thing on everything. There's a few tracks that are finished but didn't go on the album so there's more stuff finished. It was pretty quick. I love Ians guitar playing and there are a couple of solos that he did as demo solos that just knocked me to the floor and I said to him "don't you dare to change that solo, otherwise death is coming!" (laughs).
Yes, indeed there are a lot of amazing solos to find on it. Are you happy with the result of the album?
Yeah, very! Robert produced it and he's got a full studio in the little town where he lives. He does songwriting there and sessions and everything and I think he did an amazing job.
I sometimes have the feeling that the sound is a little bit overdriven like on 'China', especially the synthesizers but maybe my earphones are to blame for that, haha!
Sometimes things are that deliberate to wake your ears up. But generally I'm very happy with the sound.
What are the lyrics about? I wonder if 'China' wasn't a little bit socially critical, especially watching the video…
Robert writes all the lyrics. He gets really involved in something and I know he was really pissed off when he heard the way that the Chinese are treating the Uyghur Muslims putting them into camps. The song is not against the Chinese people, it's against the government. Putting these people into these camps is just inhuman. I think the way they're trying to dominate everything in the world, financially or whatever, it's all sort of the same and enough. We all have to have these things ourselves rather than someone trying to dominate the world. I think that's what Robert is getting with that.
Is there a red line in the lyrics or do they stand each for themselves?
Each song is on its own. 'Battle Of A Lifetime' is about how we live. There are ups and downs during our lives and we have to keep strong going forward. It's pretty deep when it comes to the lyrics (laughs). It makes people think.
Yes, that's an important thing these days. Maybe you will write some lyrics about what Russians are doing with Ukraine…I just wanted to check the news about the fake referendum that the conquered Ukrainian country parts should belong to Russia now, all this is so terrible.
You never know. I totally agree, I just saw a video where all those areal bombs were dropping on this village where the Ukrainian troops are just taking this area. There are hundreds of these things drifting down no matter where they hit, they just don't give a shit. Why can't we just live in our own areas? But this will never happen. It is throughout the centuries that there is always someone that wants more.
If the album was a soundtrack for a movie – for which genre would it be?
Oh, that's difficult. I give you a prime example. When I'm not doing this, I write what they call library music what goes to a music publisher and they put it out on television. I sometimes write with Doug (Scarratt; M.) from Saxon, we do stuff together and another guitarist friend of mine or I do stuff on my own because I play keyboard. I never know where the stuff is gonna get used until I get a royalty check or something. I just send up what kind of music they ask and sometimes I just send stuff whatever mood it is. One day I could wake up and write something like a heavy instrumental thing like Rammstein or some real industrial metal and the next day I'm like Vangelis which is really ambient. One piece of music I wrote and sent off I got the royalty check back it was used in "Florida Animal Police" and then it was used for something I can't remember and then it was used for something about sex toys (laughs). You just don't know, it's just what people want.
Haha, yeah! But what I meant was if you could choose a movie to be perfect for the album, which one would it be?
Hm, I don't know, that's hard to say. The track that just Robert and Ian did with the acoustic guitar and the keyboard that would be great for something like a love story film. 'China' could be in something quite military.
Do you plan to go on tour with the album? And will this one be the only one by the band?
Yes. We're only looking at some time. I am obviously got to work with around Saxon schedules and Ian has got to work around Saga. Finally enough we had a Zoom call yesterday with the three of us and our manager and we were discussing this. I think probably in the first quarter of next year there will be some shows and if that does come to happen there's gonna be some German ones. We've already talked about that. This is no on-off project. We gonna tour with it and we've got a three-album deal. This is a serious thing.
You are a British citizen, why did you decide to move to the USA?
The weather is better (laughs). It's lovely over here.
Like almost every Briton you are pretty concerned about the death of the Queen - what are your feelings about her passing? There are a lot of discussions going around this these days…..
First of all I was very upset about that the Queen died like nearly everyone in the UK was. We got up at 3.30 AM to watch the funeral live. The main funeral celebration was in Westminster and there was one bit right at the end when her body was taken to Windsor where she will be buried which was heartbreaking. When she became Queen she was given the crown and the scepter and at the end one of the main people came and took the crown off the coffin and that was put on the altar, then the scepter was taken off and these are the things that were only given to them while they're king or queen. They have to pass it on to the next person and that really hit me. And then her coffin was lowered down into the vault and that really shook me off actually. I think Charles will be really good – I like the Royal Family. They don't get involved in politics and a lot of countries still have monarchy. All this stuff about the past and the colonies really annoys me particularly people talking about it at this time. Having a go at other people in the Royal Family when their mother or grandmother has just died I think is disgusting! It is despicable and unforgivable. Really the colony things – you can't blame these particular people for something that's happened centuries or years ago. They didn't send people and I think it just gets ridiculous. The whole thing goes absolutely mad and there was someone in America that said "Good I hope she suffers in excruciating pain!" and this mad me absolutely mad! About the colony and the slave thing – yeah, we knew it went on but don't forget it was actually the British Royal Navy in the end that stopped it. Because once said Britain has decided that it is not good the Royal Navy started patrolling up and down West Africa stopping the slave ships. They seem to forget that. The other thing is that you can say that there should be reparations they should pay. For instance, there is an island in the Bristol Channel called Lundy Island and the Barbary pirates who came from North Africa that was a stronghold for them. They used to capture British people and take them to North Africa as slaves. So what should we do with reparations from them then? Or reparations from the Romans for invading Britain? How far do you want this shit to go? What about pull down statues – we could pull down the Pyramids then because they were built by slaves. Every single country has been cruel. The only thing we can do is learn.
Haha, this is a very interesting point of view!
I am not a religious person but I live my life and treat people how I want to be treated. So I don't go and cut someone's leg off because I don't want my legs to be cut off or hit them in the face or steal stuff cause I don't want that to happen to me. Why the hell can't everyone be this way?
These were very inspiring words to the end. Thank you very much for the interview!
Six By Six
- Ossuary - Stellar Annihilation - Nov 30
- Abyss Of Hel - Into The Abyss - Nov 30
- Oniricous - Los Cultos Del Ghoul - Nov 30
- Isospin - Aftermath Chronicles - Dec 01
- Nornír - Skuld - Dec 01
- Demoncy - Black Star Gnosis - Dec 01
- Grau - Abseits Des Lichts - Dec 01
- Koldbrann - Den 6. Massedød (Manna Fra En Annen Himmel) - Dec 01
- Yermo - Yermo - Dec 01
- Paradise Lost - Icon 30 - Dec 01
- Cryptosis - The Silent Call - Dec 01
- Abyssal Tomb - Buried - Dec 01
- Heimdalls Wacht - Mystagogie - Lieder Voll Ewigkeit - Dec 01
- RüYYn - Chapter II: The Flames, The Fallen, The Fury - Dec 01
- Beyondition - Abysmal Night - Dec 01
- Varathron - The Crimson Temple - Dec 01
- Helfró - Tálgröf - Dec 01
- Nimrod B.C. - Legacy Of The Dead - Dec 01
- Dethroned - A Bridge To Eternal Darkness - Dec 01
- Walking Corpse - Our Hands, Your Throat - Dec 01