Neoprog : Hello Steph, and first of all, thank you for granting this interview! In Neoprog, we are really delighted!
Steph Honde : The same way!
Neoprog : We really like Big Trouble so much, but how does promotion and
first returns progress in a general way?
Steph Honde : The reviews are very positive, I didn’t think of having as many good
returns, especially for a first album. It’s rather incredible! That gives me good hope as regards following coming.
Neoprog : It’s rather impressive to see the line-up you could gather. How does one make, when he’s a French guitarist unloading in California - certainly with a solid reputation after having opened for AC/DC and Deep Purple -, to gather Vinnie Appice, Don Airey, Tim Bogert and Paul Di'Anno under the banner Hollywood Monsters?
Steph Honde : It took several years! I started to have the idea of the project at the time of my first tour with Deep Purple. I had the chance to be appreciated as a musician by Don Airey and Roger Glover and we kept in touch. A few years later, I left in tour with Paul Di’Anno and that was well with him, so I asked him to sing on one of my track, and I also
asked him to choose the track - all knowing that he was going to select "Fuck You All". One year afterwards, I left to Los Angeles, and there, I decided to go for it: I contacted Tim Bogert and Vinny Appice. They listened to my demos, they liked and voilà!
Neoprog : One feels on the album, however very personal, of the many and various influences. Do you think of having succeeded in posing a distinctive mark "Hollywood Monsters" or well is it still in construction?
Steph Honde : I think that it’s only a beginning. I don’t want to be partitioned in "Metal". The first foundations have been posed, it seems to me that the musical diversity of the album is what makes its force; that could have been double edged but it seems to me that it was well appreciated. I would like Hollywood Monsters to be a mixture between The Who, Pink Floyd, Misfits and Genesis.
Neoprog : You speak about progressive influences, which one can feel on "The Ocean" and "Village of the Damned". Could you speak a little about it and tell us if you think going further in this register?
Steph Honde : Yes, I would like to have one or two progressive tracks on the next album. Prog is one of my major influences. Besides, I have a prog piece already composed. I think that this influence feels on my guitar playing, I do not seek to be demonstrative but melodic above all. Technique must be at the service of the music and not the other way round. I think that bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes were perfect examples. I don’t really want to make music only for guitarists.
Neoprog : It’s true that your way of playing and your guitar sound insist more on melodic aspects and conveyed emotions. One knew you as a guitarist, one discovers you a singer and, furthermore, an excellent one. When, why and how did you decide to also reach for the mike?
Steph Honde : That’s because I wanted above all to be a "songwriter". I sing since a long time but, until now, I hadn’t had the occasion to express myself as a singer. The other problem is that I don’t like to sing in French, it’s not my stuff… and in France, if you don’t sing in French, you don’t have any chance to be signed by a label (what is totally ridiculous). I do not support those French variety circles which monopolize the musical world while there are so many people who want to listen to other things!
Neoprog : Now, it will be necessary to get Big Trouble live on the road. It seems that a European tour is announced for the beginning of 2015. Can you tell us some words about it, and especially, if that’s possible, indicate to our readers which are the musicians who will be with you on stage, and if the tour will pass by France?
Steph Honde : The tour should begin at the end of January or beginning of February. It will begin with France, surely in Toulouse. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the line-up yet but I can guarantee that it will be extraordinary! Tim will not be part for he doesn’t travel anymore, but another great bass player will take his place. I think of being able to give names in a few weeks but those which follow me on the social networks have certainly already an idea!
Neoprog : Well, to have some information, I can confirm to our readers that it will be a very heavy band! We look forward seeing and listening to this! Do you think of being able to preserve this line-up for the next album or will you still function with various prestigious guests?
Steph Honde : The goal is that Hollywood Monsters becomes a band in itself. I would like to keep the same musicians – why separate of a team which goes well? Most complicated is to manage the schedule of each one! I think nevertheless there will be one or two “guests” on the next album.
Neoprog : Then, nice to meet you on the tour, and thanks a lot, Steph, for granting this interview to us.
Steph Honde : Yes, I hope to find you all in a few months on the road, and I also hope to meet the fans and speak with them. Thank you for this interview, Henri.
Rédigé par Neoprog le 23/08/2014