Steve Overland of FM talks new album 13, Groundbreaker and more.
Rockgig had the pleasure on Sunday 28th November 2021 backstage in Stourbridge to catch up with Steve Overland of FM.
Before the tape started I had asked Steve how the recent UK dates had gone. He said very good with good attendances and just seeing how things operate with Covid.He also said the recent shows in France had been good with the band taking the time to label everything up including plectrums and then seeing the French not really caring too much and they had more difficulty returning into the UK post Brexit.
Rockgig Thanks for taking the time out Steve as always.We last spoke in April 2019 the big 30 shows were announced the next day Synchronized was nearing completion and if only we knew what we know now !!!! Firstly how are you? The tours been good are we back to normal?
Steve. Do you know what Mark? Yes.It's been as we said a case of dipping our toes in the water and seeing how things are. I remember I think it was the second show in France I was sitting with Jim in the dressing room and we were waiting to go on and I said " Do you know it's weird it really feels like we have never stopped". It was almost like after one show we had done the Derby festival in July it's amazing how quickly you just get back into the routine because if you do it as long as we have (laughter) .This run of dates has been amazing.
R You finished the Big 30 tour, Australian dates due in March and then the world stopped !
How was lockdown for you personally and the band?
S The first 2 months I thought Fantastic I am at home .This is what the house looks like ! It was great being at home for the first 2 months and then I started work and I never stopped through lockdown .I can't tell you how many albums I have got coming out !
Lone Rider with Simon Kirke from Bad Company and Chris Childs from Thunder. Groundbreaker has just been released .I have been writing with some young female artists which isn't rock. Strange pop stuff. Just before lockdown I went to Cape Verde to record a new original Staks Band with Andy Wright the producer so I have a backlog of albums to put out.
R How many is there coming out?
S We are having to stagger them out and there is a new FM album recorded too.
R I believe it's called 13 and out March the 18th is that right?
S Yes it is. To be honest I have been absolutely flat out and sessions have been coming in as people think oh he's busy with FM but people have contacted me through various ways including my Facebook page. Fortunately I haven't had to think too hard about finding work like a lot of musicians and I really feel for them. For those people that just tour and I know some top session people that play for Annie Lennox and they have had no work as they don't write or produce or record only on her records. Basically they have no work and no income it's been a nightmare for them.
R Jem (Davis FM keyboard player)has done a solo album and you are on that will you be on Jim Kirkpatrick's new one?
S No .We try not too be on each other's albums .I will get a call to ask what do I think but no. Try not to and keep the sound different from FM.
R As a band you did some Question and Answer Facebook during Lockdown with Merv deleting his. Did you think of doing a Lockdown show?
S We did but too be honest it felt that every band was doing the same thing . We were asked to do something by the guys that run the Winterstorm Festival like a filmed gig but we decided to just do the Q and A sessions and to leave it with that for the time being.
R Synchronized was put back last year and then came out how was it to release an album under those circumstances?
S Weird .It was put back but we thought it's done let's get it out there rather than putting out a double album when we start touring again. It did really well and people of course due to lockdown had the time to listen to and find new music .Not being at work hmet eard of FM lets have a listen and it did remarkably well considering it came out with no tour to support it.
R Lockdown went on and on did you write with the band during that time or was 13 already done ?
S No we didn't write but when we were able to meet and meet one person I met up with Jim has a studio not far from me so we did some bits there with files back and forth.Then when we were allowed to we meet up with Jem who has a studio at home and we worked together on the new album and it came out alright in the end so very pleased.
R Look forward to that one. Having so much time did it make song writing easier or more difficult?
S I haven't stopped and some co writes too. I enjoy the challenge of writing so I kept on writing and one album I can't tell you about. A new person came forward through Dave Ling on Facebook to get to me. He sent me the track and I committed to one song as a co write with him. I did the guide vocal on it as a demo and I thought he would go away and get someone else .He went away did the song and came back and said the record label had given them a contract for a whole album so that's another one to come out. (much laughter)
R Out next year ?
S He's hoping it will be yes. Lone Rider soon Groundbreaker just released and Lone Rider with Simon Kirke is just like a new Bad Company record .We are really pleased with it.
R Groundbreaker recently released no Robert Sall this time? Will he come back?
S Yes at the time they wanted the album Robert was doing something else in Sweden.I would work with him all the time as he is a good friend of mine but he just couldn't commit at the time that it was needed to be done.I wasn't sure but spoke to Alessandro Del Vecchio and he said he had got together a good line up with Sven Larsson guitar, Nalle Pahlsson on bass and Herman Furin on drums and it came out great.
R How did the new album come together in Lockdown with files back and forth and with your vocals recorded in the UK ,the band in Sweden and produced in Italy? How does it work?
S It is actually the way a lot of records are made these days but that album Ale sends me a backing track I will listen to them and then say I like that one and not sure on that one. He will go away and say what if we chop this bit up move this bit here and that is how it comes together. I will take the track as it's a demo with no musicians and stick the reverb vocals on and backing vocals and normally on both Groundbreaker albums that is how they have come together. I will do my vocals send it off and it's done. The band will lay their tracks down in Sweden and then Ale puts it all together and you get a Groundbreaker record.
R Do you get much input to the sound and the way it turns out?
S Ale will send me the mix say what do you think Steve? I will have my say like the drums are too 80's and he will go away as he has been doing for ages and sort it and in a few hours send it back and it will be fine.
R Any thoughts on any live shows?
S Love too we did talk about it before Lockdown looking at dates when we weren't touring but it didn't happen but we are looking at maybe some festivals.
R Likely to be a Groundbreaker 3?
S Definitely. Serafino at the label (Frontiers ) said one of his favourite all time albums is Indiscreet I want you to go out and be a retro 80's AOR band and do that I want no veering away no blues I want big melodies big harmonies and I said I will see what I can do. Indiscreet was a long time ago but we tried and it worked. We wanted 80's retro AOR we wanted it to be up to date and the plan was exactly what we set out to do.I have another 3 album deal with Groundbreaker when I can find the time. I said to the wife a few years ago that I was going to slow down and then Lockdown kicked in and I have never been so busy. So I got that wrong (much laughter).
R Going back to FM Tough It Out Live came out earlier this year. How was it to sing the songs again? Revisit old songs and some never played before and I have to ask did you need St. Johns Ambulance ? (much laughter)
S It was great and I was alright and some of the songs we had never played before .Can You Hear Me Calling,Obsession and Feels So Good and I thought oh no and I had to get the album out and listen to songs that I wrote with my brother a long time ago. I was picking out guitar parts and melodies and it was really nostalgic to do.
R How was the tour?
S Fabulous. Dan and the boys and Gun are good friends of ours and we have followed each other around the world over many years .The great thing about the tour was when it was announced we all spoke to each other and when you have done it as long as us and Dan said which gig should you headline ? And then we can do this. The Gun boys said we wouldn't mind headlining opening that one and there was no ego's of any description .We can do Manchester you do this we can do that.
R You did that with Dare too didn't you?
S Yes we did and it is no problem we are all there for the show and people bought the tickets. No one gave a shit who went on before who and I quite enjoyed it going on first and time for a drink and watch the other bands !!
R As a fan I really enjoyed the bonus cd with the rarely played songs on it. Do You enjoy mixing up the setlist?
S Absolutely. This setlist has a couple from Synchronized and we listened to what the fans had said online .It goes right through everything but you still get someone who says you didn't play this or that but hopefully there is enough there to please everybody.
R You went back to the live shows in July how it is to be back playing live again?
S Amazing it is like we never stopped .When we started back in Derby that was the longest ever I hadn't played a gig in a year and a half and I remember thinking what did I used to do on stage .What did I say and what did we do together? But it just happened we went on and it came back automatically.
R One last question next year's tour was due to be Synchronized now it's 13 what are the plans for 2022?
S Just to keep on doing it we have a lot of live shows and then we will start a new album so we keep ahead of the game so when we finish touring in May we will start recording again and get on to the next one.
R Thanks as always for taking the time to speak to Rockgig and all the best for the future.
I then handed Steve a copy of the new Groundbreaker cd to sign and he thanked me as he had not seen the finished copy and artwork and was yet to receive his copy.
Big thanks to Gary Levermore of Red Sand PR for arranging the interview and to Scott Towns FM's touring manager for his time and great hospitality on the night.