SONS OF APOLLO keyboardist Derek Sherinian (BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, ex-DREAM THEATER) recently spoke with Greece's Rockpages TV. The full conversation can be viewed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his initial goals when writing the music for what would become SONS OF APOLLO's debut album, "Psychotic Symphony":
Derek: "I just started pumping ideas out, and a lot of them were progressive, and some of them were, like, straight-up hard rock, like AC/DC, AEROSMITH [and] VAN HALEN. I really wanted to make sure that I wasn't putting labels or limits on what I was writing — I just wanted to let it flow out. I sent everything to Mike [Portnoy], and he loved it all, and so we let the music write itself in a sense. I will say that originally, when we put SONS OF APOLLO together, the plan was to be more of a continuation of what Mike and I were doing in the old act [referring to DREAM THEATER] — like, off of the last record [we recorded together], 'Falling Into Infinity' — but once we started writing, the hard rock element started coming out, classic rock. That's just the way it turned out. If I look at SONS OF APOLLO, I don't consider us a progressive rock band at all. I consider us a hard rock band with sick-ass chops [and] virtuoso players. There's some progressive moments for sure, but it's based in hard rock."
On the album's opening track, "God Of The Sun":
Derek: "'God Of The Sun' was the first thing I wrote for SONS OF APOLLO. Once I knew that this was going to be a band and we were doing it, I started writing, and I just started adding to it every day, and probably in a week I finalized the song form. I sent it to Mike, and he goes, 'This is genius. This has to be the album opener.' I love collaborating with the band and bouncing ideas — that's great — but there's some times where I just need to have the freedom to not be messed with, and just let me do my thing, and trust me – at the end, it's going to be brilliant."
On SONS OF APOLLO performing two "Falling Into Infinity" songs live during their world tour in support of "Psychotic Symphony":
Derek: "Honestly, I like to be in the present, and to play songs [from] the past, that's cool and stuff, but my mind[set is that] I want to keep it fresh. I want to tread on new ground. Honestly, if it was up to me, I wouldn't play any of it. Mike is in control of the setlist, a lot of it, and yeah, we kind of have to play from that record, because there's fans from both of us that really enjoy that record. That's cool, but in the future, I don't see us playing that stuff anymore. There's no need to, because we have our own music, and that was a long time ago."
On the group's future plans:
Derek: "We're going into the studio [soon] to get out a record sometime in 2019. I don't know what the release date will be. It's just going to be a continuation of the way I write. It's just a matter of how I feel at the time is what comes out. There's no strategy — I just go in and do it."
On the status of BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION:
Derek: "Everyone is doing other things. Joe [Bonamassa] has his solo career; Glenn [Hughes] is out touring; Jason [Bonham] has his LED ZEPPELIN [EVENING] that he does; and I'm doing SONS OF APOLLO. Maybe [in 2019], if things work out, we'll do a fifth record. I love playing with that band. Those guys are amazing. Joe, Glenn and Jason are top-notch, the same way SONS OF APOLLO is top-notch, but it's a different vibe. It's a different hit, where BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's much more '70s, old-school rock. SONS OF APOLLO has a metal, progressive element that BCC doesn't have. It's cool — I get the best of both worlds."
"Psychotic Symphony" was released in 2017 via InsideOut Music.
SONS OF APOLLO is:
Jeff Scott Soto - vocals
Derek Sherinian - keyboards
Mike Portnoy - drums
Billy Sheehan - bass