Double Eclipse - 2003
By Ronnie

Double Eclipse is a band that is beating the odds. Most unsigned bands are lucky to last a few years and have maybe one indie album out. Double Eclipse have their own way of doing things - having just released their second album, while other bands are still struggling to get "that deal" through the "normal" channels. I talked to the driving force of the band, the brothers Hackney, about what keeps them inspired and motivated without that major label help (or some would say "interference").

Right: The brothers Hackney

E.C.: Double Eclipse was in one of the very first issues of EAR CANDY back in 1999. I know there was a membership change, especially with the departure of Mikael Johannesson...Bring me up-to-date on what's happened with the band since we last talked?

Alan: I remember it like it was yesterday. Ear Candy rocks! As for Mikael, he hasn't departed as such. Double Eclipse was always me and Phill. We roped Mikael in to record HAVE IT YOUR WAY with us and due to his awesome performance on the first album we really wanted him to record FREEDOM TO FUNCTION with us.

Phillip: It was really a question of timing. Mikael was not only moving home he and his partner were also expecting their first child. I'm really pleased that he was able to make such a solid contribution to FREEDOM TO FUNCTION.

E.C.: Is Richard Spencer your permanent lead guitarist now? How did you approach finding a replacement for Mikael? Did you want someone who could replicate his leads, or did you want someone who would bring a little diversity to Double Eclipse?

Alan: Richard came in to play guitar on the tracks that Mikael didn't have time to record. We weren't looking for a replacement, to replace Mikael is pretty much impossible, so we looked for someone who we felt could do the songs justice. Richard certainly did that and his solo on 'See You On The Other Side' is a perfect example of what he brought to the table. Again, I wouldn't rule out working with Richard again in the future.

Phillip: I'd also like to mention how much Phil Abram brought to the sound with his acoustic guitar playing. His performance on 'When All The Talk Is Done' is exceptional.

E.C.: With Mikael's departure, what is the future of the band live? I'm sure that you want a performing band instead of just a "studio" band?

Phillip: After many gigs in the early life of DE we made a decision to spend our money on recording music rather than van diesel. I think we've made the right decision as we now have two albums under our belt, whereas other bands from the same period are still playing the pubs looking for 'the deal'. If the demand is there then we will play live, it's that simple; and Mikael will be involved I'm sure!

E.C.: Your first CD came out in 1999 and the new one in 2003 - why so long between the CD's?

Phillip: We had a few non-musical hurdles to sort out but once they were out of the way it was a case of demoing the songs with Mike, finding a bassist and another lead guitarist, getting hold of Phil Abram, and sorting out a studio. I'm sure the next one will be a lot sooner - hopefully next year.

E.C.: What was the time span of the recording of the album? Was there a big time lapse between the Mikael involved songs and the others?

Phillip: No, everything was laid down during August, 2002. We gave ourselves a bit more time on FREEDOM TO FUNCTION which allowed us a little more room for manoeuvre in the studio.

E.C.: Any special meaning behind the name of the new CD, FREEDOM TO FUNCTION?

Alan: It's basically our band philosophy of being totally independent of the music industry and having total control of the music we put out there. We're not looking to get signed or any of that, we did that and it wasn't for us. I hope that we inspire other musicians to get out there and do it on their own. The music industry is killing music as an artform; we don't want to be a part of that.

E.C.: The new album is much more diverse, with piano, synths, slide guitar, etc. Was it intentional to make a departure from your first album?

Alan: In a word...yes!!! We felt that the first album really showcased the raw hard rock sound of the band and we were very happy with it. This time around we wanted to try different things and broaden the sound. Keyboard programming is something I've done for many years now so it made sense to embellish the songs with keys where it was appropriate. Again, we're very pleased with the direction this album has taken us in. I think this album also has two of the heaviest songs we've ever recorded too so there's diversity there which keeps it interesting. I hope it keeps the listener guessing.

E.C.: The songwriting is also more diverse on this album. Did you approach songwriting any different this go around?

Phillip: No, not at all. We just went with what felt good really. We have reached the point in our songwriting where we don't worry about sticking to a musical style. Obviously our love of guitar based music means that the songs lean towards the hard rock style, but it's important to remember that most start life on an acoustic guitar or keyboard. You know you've written a cool song if it's exciting in its primitive form.

E.C.: What would you say are the differences between HAVE IT YOUR WAY and FREEDOM TO FUNCTION?

Phillip: We've been through many ups and downs since HAVE IT YOUR WAY and FREEDOM TO FUNCTION was obviously going to mirror that. We've experienced new situations, both positive and negative, and they have contributed to both the sound and mood of the new CD.

E.C.: HAVE IT YOUR WAY was basically a do-it-yourself, self-financed venture. What did you learn from that first album?

Alan: Wow!! I could write a book about it Ronnie...seriously! There's so much politics out there that you wouldn't believe it and there's also a stigma attached to bands that are unsigned (the industry and much of the media perpetuate the myth that unsigned means untalented). We learned so much about the whole recording process too so we were very prepared when we went into the studio and knew exactly what it would take to get the best results.

Phillip: We've learned that people aren't afraid to go with their instincts and won't always be dictated to by radio and record labels. It's quite a brave thing to do these days, to admit you like a band with long hair, but I'm pleased to say that there are a lot of brave people out there!

E.C.: Were you satisfied with the sales of HAVE IT YOUR WAY?

Phillip: Yes. For an album of that syle it was nice to see that there are people still interested in hard rock music. FREEDOM TO FUNCTION is selling faster than HAVE IT YOUR WAY and we're even getting people buying both albums at the same time. I guess that this is because more people are getting on the web and discovering us for the first time.

E.C.: Why didn't Phillip design the album cover this go around?

Phillip: I wanted to see what another artist could bring to the table, and I also decided to concentrate 100% on the vocal/production side of things. This was also the reason for getting David Gotteri in on bass guitar. We love the finished artwork painted by an old friend of mine Rob Richardson, who is known for his stylistic approach and superb draftsmanship. For the next album I may well do the artwork once again - whatever happens we will keep things evolving and fresh.

E.C.: What are the touring/promotion plans for Double Eclipse in regards to the new album?

Alan: I think there's a famous phrase, "Don't go to the party unless you're invited." If the sales indicate that touring is a realistic proposition then we will go out on the road in an instant. As it is, we would be happy to recoup costs and get back into the studio next year. We will obviously be looking to advertise where appropriate and have promotional singles available for free for people who are interested in having a try before they buy. We want to get people away from the misconception that they have to rely on other people to tell them what is or isn't good...that's what our ears are for right!? Have it your way!!

E.C.: Do you think we will see a renaissance in the popularity of heavy metal/hard rock like we saw in the '80s?

Alan: No. I think those days have been and gone. I like to think that there is still room for creative and diverse modern hard rock. We're influenced by so many great bands from the 70's, 80's, 90's and current, particularly those that have their own unique sound and identity. You should always open your ears for new inspiration. The 80's were great but there has been so much exciting music since then that it would be a shame to get stuck in any particular era.

E.C.: Have the goals of Double Eclipse changed since we last talked in 1999? What are your goals now?

Phillip: Well, Ronnie, it's simple but true: our goals are to keep recording our songs. We'll never be a 'trendy' band but we'll always strive to bring new ingredients to the music with every album that we do. One thing is for certain, we're not going away, whether our following is two thousand or two million!

Click here to visit the official Double Eclipse website