Double Eclipse 1999
By Ronnie

Formed in 1994 near Sheffield, England, hard-rocking Double Eclipse have a masterplan. Using sheer determination, talent and technology, they want to bypass the stagnant record "industry" to find success on their own terms. Having heard only one track from their new album, I think they can actually pull it off! I downloaded their mp3 track, and can't stop playing it. Double Eclipse has melody without the sappiness; flash without egotism; all mixed with a healthy dose of Zeppelin's energy. Download the track and decide for yourself…

E.C.: I find it fascinating, the story of how you two brothers (Alan & Phillip) ended up the same band? Phillip auditioned for the band that Alan was drumming for. Did you not play music together before this? I would have thought that your first experience in a rock and roll band would have been together,especially being twins.

Alan: We've always written songs together and we were in a college band together but that was before our voices had fully developed! I was looking to make it as a session drummer and it was only when a band I had joined couldn't find a singer that Phillip got frustrated on my behalf and discovered that he'd got the makings of a great voice, hence he offered to audition. The people I was in the band with also liked the idea of the twins thing, so for ages they'd been hoping that my brother would audition! He's now blossomed into a fine singer. If you listen to the vocal to 'Isolation' you'll see what I mean, awesome.

E.C.: Speaking of which, is the name, "Double Eclipse", a word play on being twins? What exactly does it mean and who came up with it?

Alan: In 1994 when we began writing songs together as Double Eclipse, we were inspired by a band called Hardline. Their album was called Double Eclipse and encompassed the power, melody and musicianship that we wanted our band to put across. The twin thing and Double is just a coincidence.

E.C.: Didn't Def Leppard originate in your area of England?

Alan: Just up the road in Sheffield, yes!! We're hoping to emulate their success too!

E.C.: Although Double Eclipse released a four track demo, "D.E.E.P." in 1996, who was actually in the band at that point?

Alan: The E.P was recorded with local musicians from the Sheffield area, John Shaw on bass and Rick Wilson on lead guitar. The touring band was different again and featured Paul Dean on bass and Rick Wilson on lead guitar. During the live shows it became apparent that this line up was no going to be the one to record the album and following personality problems we disbanded this line up after the D.E Tour in '96.

E.C.: What was the date that Double Eclipse actually gelled as a complete rock and roll unit? Was it after the edition of Mikael Johannesson on lead?

Alan: Yes, I'd say we gelled as a unit when Mikael auditioned in November1996. We knew right away that this guy was what we were looking for.

E.C.: Speaking of your album, "Have It Your Way", I know that the album was totally band-financed. Was there a record company involved, or is it a totally independent release? I'm asking this because one of the hardest hurdles to cross with an independent release is distribution. I know that in the states, larger labels often distribute the releases of Indie labels.

Alan: There was NO record company involvement. We were signed to an independent label for over a year but this did more harm to the band than good. We have come across political issues involved in releasing a record that we never even dreamed existed. We are still very much on our own here and although this makes it harder to reach people I hope it will pay dividends in the end in that people will see the honesty and hardworking attitude behind Double Eclipse.

E.C.: Please elaborate on your experience with an indie label? What were some of the problems you encountered putting out your own disc?

Alan: Basically, the indie label's release schedule was not to our liking and we were in a position where we were going to effectively be in limbo for a considerable period waiting for the album to be released. We parted company with the label after coming to an amicable agreement.

E.C.: With his background in graphic design, did Phillip do all the artwork for the album?

Alan: Yes, he's a genius!!

E.C.: Your web site lists Gary Banton on bass, when did he join? Did he plan on any of the recordings? I'm just a little confused because at one point on the web page only three members are listed: Alan, Phillip and Mikael. Did Phillip play the bass in the early years? I didn't see any mention of it in the bands history.

Alan: As the situation stands Gary is a hired gun and there are currently no plans for us to use him in the studio. Phillip played bass on the album but didn't want that restriction for any live shows so we contacted Gary in, I think September 1998. Gary is therefore our on call touring bass player should we do any live shows in the future. Phillip's bass playing clicks with what I'm doing on drums and he is a pleasure to play alongside. He is primarily a vocalist though, so for live shows he would like to concentrate on that and I respect that.

E.C.: How do you both approach songwriting? Is one brother a word-man and the other a music-man? Or is it a total collaboration?

Alan: It's a total collaboration! It might be a guitar lick, a chorus vocal melody or lyrical theme. The lyrics usually come last and are written by whoever feels inspired to write them. The other one will then change things here and there. Phillip really has the final say on lyrics because at the end of the day, he's got to sing them and mean them.

E.C.: Musically speaking, who is your inspiration? If it could happen, what bands would you most like to tour with?

Alan: I'd like to tour with Whitesnake (87 line up), Foreigner and Aerosmith in a perfect world!

E.C.: How would you best describe the music of Double Eclipse? Hard rock, heavy metal...? In the states at least, it is very hard for a group of your genre to get radio play. Live performance is usually the way to success in the states. Do you have any plans or aspirations of playing a tour in the states?

Alan: Unfortunately it all comes down to money. There are bands on big labels who can't afford to tour the states. We'd love to tour, but at the moment it's just not financially viable. We do not envisage getting much in the way of radio play as we are a Modern Hard Rock act as opposed to AOR, Heavy Metal, or pop. We're not really interested in getting on the radio, if it happens, it happens, but with MP3 rock fans can visit our sight and check out the band for themselves without the need for radio air play.

E.C.: I know that "Have It Your Way" is relatively new, but are there any plans for a follow up? The same formula, or will the band venture into new territory?

Alan: Obviously Have It Your Way is still the most important thing right now, but the follow up is being written as we speak. I don't agree in repeating yourself so I think the new album will be a little different but still undoubtedly Double Eclipse.

E.C.: Has Double Eclipse considered putting any "extra" tracks on compilation CD's? These compilation CD's are popular in the states.

Alan: We have appeared on a number of 'cover' CD's on Rock magazines over here which is kind of the same principle. It gives your music exposure to a wider audience.

E.C.: Are any videos planned? Or has any videos been shot?

Alan: The idea of a video is currently being considered. We're hoping that we can get some interactive software up and running for the next release which will include studio footage and interviews with the band.

E.C.: What is the current music scene in England? How are you generally received there?

Alan: The current music scene is killing itself in England unless you play in a certain style. We're not exactly 'Top Of The Pops' over here but we're very pleased with the way the Rock audience has received us and we're very happy with our sales given our low profile. As for the industry, it continues to try and destroy independent music and it is our aim to prove these people wrong and show that you can 'Have It YourWay'!!!

E.C.: What has been the crowd attendance at your live shows? You mentioned that the sales of the CD have been good, and I imagine that most of the sales are at live shows. How often do you guys play live?

Alan: Unfortunately we haven't been able to support the CD with live shows due to the financial considerations involved. You know, if we sell enough CD's then we will be going on the road. We played quite a few dates in 1996 and found that in a lot of cases people did not want to hear original material. Until we have a bigger audience over here we will not be playing live. Most of our sales have come from the web and word of mouth, and of course through advertising in the rock press.

E.C.: You mentioned the state of music in England. In this oppressive environment, how do you keep motivated?

Alan: We believe in what we do and it's honest. The motivation to succeed and put rock music back on the map is what drives the band on and as word of mouth spreads hopefully we'll be in a position to do that in the future.

E.C.: How long do you foresee Double Eclipse lasting?

Alan: We'll always be around, and despite anything that the industry may throw at us we will always put out Modern Hard Rock music for people who enjoy music that is melodic, honest and powerful!

Click here to visit the official Double Eclipse website