INTERVIEW WITH IAN HAUGLAND - Europe's drummer

1) You are engaged in a long tour that is bringing you around the world: how do you live this all? It seems that fatigue does not touch you, indeed, any date you add to your calendar increases the energy of your performances.

The way I see it is that this is my life, it´s what I do and not a “job”, therefore I just feel more alive the more I get to play and perform.

2) You passed many phases in your career. But you never gave up, to follow your passion: is this the secret of your success? Tenacity, determination, grit and desire to make music?

Again, since I always knew that music is my life I never felt like giving up, it would have been like giving up on life itself! There has been some tough times when it was hard to make a living as a musician, but I always had a positive attitude, and I always felt that something good would come out of it in the end.

3) In a time when Rock Operas Musicals have many success, have you ever thought of writing one?

We haven't talked about it… Yet, we´re very busy touring and making  new music right now but personally I think it´s a great idea. We´ll see in the future to come!

4) Let's think about when you reunited after a few years ago: what inspires you to write new songs, different from each other, but always effective?

When we reunited in 2004 to record the “Start From The Dark” album we hadn`t made any new music together for more than 10 years. Joey and John Norum had been doing their solo albums and the rest of us had been recording and touring with a lot of different artists throughout the 90´s. I think that we all had been listening to a lot of different bands, artists and styles that inspired us for what became the SFTD album. From what I can remember we listened a lot to bands like Audioslave, Black Label Society and Velvet Revolver around the time we wrote the album.

5) You’re still working with real legends of rock: what did they teach you and what did you teach them?

I think legends like Michael Schenker (UFO), Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy), Deep Purple, David Coverdale (Whitesnake) have taught us that it´s never too late to Rock´n´Roll as long as you can deliver great music and put on a kickass live show! Hopefully we have given them some kind of energy boost by giving the credit for being our heroes!

6) Have you ever thought of publishing an audio book on how you can record your life on the road?

I never thought of that, but it´s a good idea! We try to document as much as possible on the road, who knows, maybe there will be a Europe “Road Movie” coming up in the future!?

7) Since you started writing your songs, if you look back in time, do you find a leitmotif that creates a very specific path in your way of thinking about music and that might lead you to other musical experiments?

Europe´s new music has always been a reflection on the experiences of our lives on and off the road, and of the music we´re inspired by at the moment.

8) What do you think of street artists (buskers)?

I think the streets are where you can find the true musical artists today. These people don´t play to get rich and famous, but because they have an artistic drive to express their art, unlike all the bullshit on TV shows like “Idol” where people join only to become rich and famous, often without having any talent at all!

9) You’ve been together since many years, and you’re one of the few bands still on stage: how do you see yourself in twenty years? Will you continue to do concerts or will you produce other artists? Or both?

I really hope that we´ll still be able to perform in 20 years from now. Looking at bands like The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and Aerosmith gives me hope. As long as we feel like we can put on a great show and there´s a crowd out there that wants to see us I think we´ll be around!

10) How do your songs become alive? And what about the concept of your covers, always very effective?

When we write new songs we try to leave 25% of the song “open” until we get into the studio to start recording because we like to be able to ad the final bits and pieces while we´re acctually in the studio with the producer. Thats when the true “magic” of the music comes to life. We usually have some kind of idea of what the cover should be like, or at least an album title that we can present to the cover artist. Then it´s basically a collaboration between the band and the artist to get the cover design right in the end.

11) In November, we will welcome you in Italy: what can we expect from your concerts? Can you anticipate something?

We always try to make the next show the best we are ever going to do, so I know for sure that we´ll give you 100% of what we are able to perform.

12) After the success of War of Kings (and, of course, of all the other albums), while you are busy with the tour, are you already writing more songs for a new CD?

We haven`t started working on new material yet, but the plan is to start recording the next album after next summer so I guess we´ll start writing new songs in the beginning of 2016.

13) Have you ever thought of making a film with your script and soundtrack, to be distributed around the world?

We have been talking about making an officiall movie about the history of the band Europe, but nothing is decided yet!

14) Knowing that most of your time is devoted to music, do you have other hobbies that stimulate your creative inspiration?

I usually take 2 hour walks every day, I find that to be very inspiring. Also right now, I´m helping my wonderful woman to renovate her house, a great way to spend time and to create something together - very stimulating!

15) Is there anything you want to add and which was not discussed?

Stay compassionate, treat all beings with love and respect, we´re all one!

 

Thank you very much, Ian Haughland!

Very special thanks to Adam Parsons.

 

Paola Elena Ferri