The world shifts around us and we shape ourselves to fit inside both imperfect and beautiful, wounded and thriving, delicate and vulnerable, yet forever moving on.
Tony Moore, singer/songwriter, promoter, “Iron Maiden” and “Cutting Crew” superstar, has recently has recently woken up and created his new concept album “AWAKE”, which he performs in its entirety at “The Bedford” in London quite often. “AWAKE” is a very deep expose, bearing witness to all that he is, and all that he was, his calling, his mission, his joy…..
The album who’s tracks hold a larger purpose and meaning collectively than they do individually, is a mixture of Symphonic textures, art rock, with a colorful avant-garde edginess where moments hang suspended, and where he doesn’t let his personal insecurities get in the way of his clarity. As a guardian to the threshold of personal freedom, and the knowledge that time cannot be defined as it only moves in one direction, the album exposes his soul to the light, which sometimes seems fragile, too vulnerable for scrutiny and too delicate to live, yet he protects it with his dazzling rendition of the ribbons in his life through his music….
I had an intimate conversation with Tony regarding “AWAKE” and the story behind its creation……
I love everything you’ve ever done from “Iron Maiden” to “Died in a Your Arms”, and now you are talking about “AWAKE” and performing it at the Bedford in London.
I’ve done 6 now, I think the seventh one is next Thursday and then a short break till September, and then roughly one month. It’s obviously my newest project and I’m very excited about that.
Exactly what is AWAKE?
“AWAKE” is a concept album. In an age where people are releasing solo tracks I’ve gone against the grain and gone right back to my roots to the 60s and 70s rock kind of concept albums and progressive rock, and made something for me really that I am absolutely passionate about. It seems to be translating to other people and the tagline is in a nutshell, “ It’s a journey to discover truth, meaning and love in a world that’s gone crazy.” So that should tell you quite a lot about it. It’s about these last 18 months. It’s about my observations and my thoughts and my feelings and my creative response to what I’ve been thinking about. It’s also about looking at my life‘s journey. I think one thing that’s happened over the last year is I don’t think there is a single person on this planet that hasn’t at some point just questioned what their life is about, and where their life is going, because everything was thrown in the air in a way that there was no certainty or no future that you could plan on.
That’s for sure.
That’s a scary place to be especially for many people, but for a planet it’s a very scary thing to think that we were all going through this very intense and weird emotional and mental challenge right now. So, there is a lot of self-reflection in it, thinking about my journey and the things I wanted to achieve…as well as the things I have yet to do. And there is also a reflection on the relationship with myself and my mom who has always been such a great supporter in my life and my music until now. I’m spending a lot of time looking after her because she needs it. In a weird way the universe gave me this time where I had nothing else to do except stay home. I wasn’t conflicted. There wasn’t a six month tour of Europe that I had to cancel to stay home with my mom. They called it a blessing in disguise and I think for many of us there were lots of blessings in disguise, along with the challenges in the tragedies of what we’ve all experienced.
So “AWAKE” started with one song, which was the first song that was really just a guitar riff. I spent an hour or so working on that recording and sent it to some friends as an instrumental. Everyone wrote a little message back saying that they were loving it and that it should be in the movie because it was really great. I was quite inspired by the positive feedback, so I did some more. Then after about 4 1/2 minutes of guitar I thought maybe I should sing something. So, I kind of just sang the first thing that came into my head. And I had this feeling about AWAKE, because it’s a big word right now but it was really about just becoming aware to everything around us. It’s about just being aware of everything as much as possible. We are being bombarded with information from every single direction and it’s important not to stick our heads in the sand because right now we have to think about the actions we taken and the decisions we make. It’s important to have informed choice in our lives. In order to do that we have to be awake to what’s happening around us. So that was kind of the concept of the song. When I finished it, I thought, well it’s nine minutes long, and it’s not a hit single by any stretch of the imagination.
The chorus comes after five minutes into the song and it fits none of the boxes that says this is what you should be doing to make popular music. But people seemed to like it. Then I did this one live video where I just played the guitar for nine minutes and I managed to get to the end without messing anything up and I put it up on Facebook. Within days I had thousands and thousands of views which was brilliant. So, I thought I should do more of that. I thought this is the beginning of a concept album and I gave myself two months, the months of February and March to try and write, record and finish an album that felt very cohesive as a journey. It has some exciting moments, and it has some restful moments, and some moving moments, but it should feel like it flows. By the time it’s the end of it, and it actually went quite quickly, it’s about 70 minutes long. So that’s kind of the genesis of it. Whilst I was doing it, I was thinking this has to be a live show because it’s too dramatic and theatrical not to have a theatrical and dramatic presentation. So, I was collecting and editing videos and images to go with the songs that I knew would support that in a live environment, without knowing quite how and when I would do it. By the time we got to May in the UK …. I finished everything and recorded everything, but it’s not released here at the moment unless you come to one of my shows, in which case I give you a private download of the album. Lots of friends have heard it, but it’s too complicated to just put it out. It needs to be done with love and caring and thought so as not to waste all of the work it represents without just putting it out there and hoping someone will find it.
You are very deep.
Thank you Eileen, I did think very deeply about a lot of things. And even though when I’m presenting shows, my radio show and things like that I can be very light and fun, but underneath everything there is a certain spiritual nature and humanitarian nature to things that I’m trying to do to make music for other people as well as me. And by the time I finished the album I realized that I had a live show pretty much ready to go. So, in May, when we started back at the Bedford, our first live show back I did my presentation of the show. I spent 10 days working at it with my team at the Bedford because it’s highly choreographed. I only talk three times in an hour. The rest of it is just moving from guitar to guitar, and keyboards back to the center. It runs like clockwork because it has to. It is an immersive experience for people. So even though they’re a small audiences (from 60 to 100 people), the environment feels very full and there is just stuff happening all around everyone. So, you never know quite where something is going to happen, but I don’t want to give too much away for people who haven’t seen the show yet.
Don’t give any away…keep it intriguing.
So that’s the idea and now I’m trying to work out how to get it to a touring version. Obviously the Bedford is my venue as I’ve been curating music there for 18 years, so it’s kind of my home to do what I want there, but to go to another venue without a large touring budget, I have to work at what essentials can I bring with me and how can I transport most environments to make it a suitable place to experience the show? There were also a lot of technical challenges I’m thinking of simultaneously.
I hope I get to see it. So with everything that you’ve ever done have you had your ultimate stage fantasy yet?
That’s a great question…. And bizarrely enough it’s very pertinent because I am having my ultimate stage fantasy right now. This is it. I’m doing a show that I’ve always dreamed about being able to do since I’m 16. But at 16 I didn’t know how to do it and I certainly did not have enough profile to be able to pull it off, or enough experience. Everything that I have done in my life I’ve loved. I am definitely one of “I don’t regret anything crowd.” Even the tough and challenging things that in the moment felt very hard really taught me so much and gave me such a cool set of experiences to draw on that I really don’t regret anything. I’ve been blessed to do some incredible shows and to make some fantastic music and tour the world. For many people I’ve done more than most people can dream. My dream was always to do what I’m kind of doing now, a very theatrical Tony Moore kind of show. “AWAKE” represents something very special to me and bizarrely enough, I think people realize that. I’ve had a lot of people comment on my Facebook page saying that they know me for years, but what I’m doing now seems to be the pinnacle of my career. This seems to be what I’ve been working towards. In fact, there is a radio presenter called Jonathan L who was originally from the states and he has a great syndicated show once a week. I think it was about three weeks ago he made the beginning of his show the entire album. That was 72 minutes and he played it from beginning to end. I thought it was not only such an incredible compliment but a remarkable idea of supporting something that needed to be heard and it’s entirety the first time. It’s hard to take one track out and really get a feel for it. I was very grateful to him for doing that. He thinks it’s the coming together of everything I’ve ever done in one place.
How cool is that? If you could have me ask you any question on the planet what would it be and how would you answer it?
I need to think about that for a second….. Tony if you could play with any artist on the planet who would it be? Peter Gabriel. I’d love to do a track with him. He is one of my childhood heroes, an inspiration because first of all I love his voice but I love the ethic and the moral foundation of what he stands for, what his music represents, and as a kid I aspired to be as much like that as possible in my own way. But if I could have the opportunity to work with any artist, it would certainly be Peter Gabriel.
Do you by any chance know Leland Sklar, who has played with Peter Gabriel?
I’m going to tell you something really, really strange right now… About 15 minutes before we started to talk, I was watching a technical video on YouTube and the video finished and the next interview that came up was an interview with Leland Sklar… He has even played at the Bedford. He’s incredible. He’s a legend, he’s played with everyone on the planet pretty much.
Is there anything else that you want to talk about that we haven’t talked about?
Yeah… I wear many hats, no pun intended because I also wear many hats. But I wear many creative hats that represent different roles. One of my biggest passions in life is shining the spotlight on new and emerging talent. This is something I have done for 25 years or so. Over the years I’ve heard and seen so many great artists. About eight or nine years ago I met a girl called Ilona who hasn’t done anything in the music business but was a friend of one of my relatives. She told me she wanted to sing and so I listened to her voice, I played the piano and she sang “Summertime.” I thought what an incredible voice! Especially for someone that had no experience, it was just a natural talent. We worked together really closely over the last eight years or so writing and recording. She has changed her name to ILO and I am such a fan of her voice. We’ve done hundreds and hundreds of shows together and I think she is a very special talent. We are in the world now we’re still the futures a little bit misty for all of us. We all have to fight on and do what we can and exude positive energy. But she is somebody that I think deserves a much bigger audience and much bigger recognition. I have no doubt that as things move forward for her, she will.
The official website for Tony Moore may be found here:
Photo Credits: Mike Prior & Richard Mountain