Interview with JEFF SCOTT SOTO
Jeff you have a new album coming out in January 2015 under the banner Soto but i would adress that a little bit later.
All of us Swede know you from Rising Force with Yngwie but i think that the memory with you is with Talisman.
When you started listening to music who whas your first hero that you listening to on and on.?
As a kid, my earliest hero was actually Michael Jackson, he was about 12 years old when he hit it big so me being very young as well, I truly related to him and his vocal skills. I sang every song like him then only that my voice eventually got deep haha. As I got older, Freddie Mercury and Steve Perry became my biggest influences. I love voices who are more personality singers like David Lee Roth and Ozzy but I truly get inspired by a real voice, something that takes heart and soul to get to.
Fredrik. It seems like you have listen to a lot of music your first solo album Love Parade was kind of a funky ride, have funk and that kind of music been a part of your life growing up.?
Absolutely, and it still is! I love soul, R&B, funk, everything in that arena...but I love rock, metal, pop, jazz, blues...so many styles of music that help round me out as an artist. Love Parade was my sort of message to the world that I am not just a metal singer as the industry has a way of putting artists in a shelf. I had categories, I hate labeling, to me there’s only 2 kinds of music, good music and bad music. So if I feel I want to dig into the influences that I couldn’t use with Yngwie or Axel, then I would make my solo career the vehicle for this.
Fredrik. You did two albums with Eyes and the first i have. how whas that expirience.?
I actually did only one, the 2nd one you’re referring to, Windows Of The Soul, is a collection of demos we did that got us signed to do what became the 1st album. The label didn’t want us to be so ‘soft’ and I agreed, so we did the album more as a rock band. When I left the band, they wanted to capitalize on selling the demos as an album because so much money was spent on them. You can hear a night and day difference in the genres of both albums.
Fredrik. You have made an album with maestro Paulo Mendonça (Beautiful Mess) how did that came about.
I was on a really poorly attended, last minute booked European tour with my solo band in 2005. There was one night we checked into a hotel that the promoter was in charge of booking for us that was really depressing. I spent the evening feeling I didn’t belong there, I was just doing a tour of my past music and as I was listening to one of my favorite albums of all time, Paulo’s Different Phases and thought ‘this is what I want to do musically, this is what I havent done yet in my life’.
So then a light bulb went off in my head to see if I could get Paulo to write with me as I love his music so much...I contacted Mic Michaeli of Europe 1st as he helped produced this album but he hadn’t heard from Paulo in years. I then put my friends at Warner Chappell Sweden on the case, they got a phone number for me within 24 hours. I texted Paulo a simple introduction of who I was and that I would be honored to write with him, he replied immediately ‘I know who you are, any time, any place!’. I was very lucky that at the time of his life, he had given up the side of being an artist and was concentrating on being a writer and producer for others. But then of course I got the Journey gig so we had to wait until 2007 to finally do it!
Fredrik. In 1990 a album named Talisman was realesed and i guess it just took of.
Can you tell us a little about getting the call to sing on Marcel´s songs.?
I was in Eyes full time at that point, Marcel had just left John Norum’s band but had a collection of songs that were supposed to be on his follow up solo album. Marcel had Goran Edman on the demos but Goran decided to stay with John and he could not do Marcel’s songs on what Marcel planned to make a solo album for himself. He asked me if I could sing on it but I knew my contract with Eyes would not allow it.
The only thing I had going for me was that there was no advance, no money, nothing to live on with Eyes so I begged the label to let me record this ‘small album on a tiny label that would only be released in Sweden and no one would ever hear about it’...haha, Eyes lasted another year and Talisman lasted 19, so much for my little story!
Fredrik. Talisman have had a couple of covers on the albums by Seal (Crazy), Darling Nikki (Prince) how did that came about, whas it you who came with that influence to the band.
Yes and no...I was very influential on Marcel discovering my music during the recording of Genesis. He especially loved Terence Trent D’Arby as did I, you would start hearing this more groovy side to Talisman from that point on. For the 4th album, it was Marcel’s idea to do Crazy, I thought he was crazy for wanting to do a song that was a hit so recently but when I heard his idea on how to do it, it made sense and I loved it. When we did the 5th album, Truth, he came up with the same idea of doing Frozen. I had already wanted to do Darling Nikki so we decided to do both and see which would remain...we kept both obviously!
Fredrik. You are on tour with TSO (Trans Seberian Orchestra) right now,
can you tell us about what that is because it seems like that tour only hits US.?
That’s because its a very American Christmas story oriented trilogy that made them very popular here. It grows bigger and bigger every year but in Europe or elsewhere, the idea might not work as well unless it was translated into different languages. But they are making many efforts to extend the band into non-holiday albums and tours that will work as well overseas.
Fredrik. W.E.T. is another swedish band that you are in, two amazing albums and a live cd,dvd is there a new album in the making.?
At the moment, WET is on hold for a while. I am concentrating on my new band SOTO, the others on their bands Eclipse and Work Of Art. I love that band and those guys but I don’t want to confuse people about my priorities and at the moment I have fulfill the hard work I have put into it all.
Fredrik. If you get to choose a band that is your all time favourite what band is that.?
If you’re talking about in my own career, Talisman wins over all...if you’re talking about generally, that’s impossible to answer but the closest band who covered every genre of music I love would be Queen.
Fredrik. If got to choose another thing to do besides being a singer and rocking out what would it be.?
Death! I wouldn’t want to be alive if I couldn’t create or perform music, it is life to me and without it is death!
The new project SOTO is more heavy than what you have done before, what is the inspiration for the new album by SOTO called Inside The Vertigo.?
The same way I decided to do Beautiful Mess, I thought it was time to get back into the heavier end of music. Through my recent years with Journey, losing my best friend Marcel Jacob, 2nd divorce, etc., I went through a lot of things that have me quite angry, things I could not get out of my system doing happy music. As well, I have done so much AOR, funk, classic metal but I havent done anything in the power metal side which I currently love so I went for it. It started as another solo album but everyone I played it for including my new management agreed it sounded more like a band and would easier to brand as a band like Dio, Daughtry, Winger, etc., I thought this was a good idea since it was so different from WET & Talisman, even my solo albums, that I should separate it from the past and do it as something completely new.
Can you tell us about the members of SOTO?
Well my current solo band were just so good live, the best musicians I have been around in my career because they can adapt to everything I want to do but even more important, they love doing what I choose to do so I asked them all to do this with me as a band now, they deserve it, they have been with me every step since 2009 and I want to showcase them as a band entity now. Jorge Salan on guitar, Edu Cominato on drums, BJ on keys/guitars and David Z on bass!
The writing process for the SOTO album how did it work,whas it written on tour or did you send files to each other or who wrote the music and lyrics becouse this seems like a real band effort?
As I said, it started with the idea of another solo album so naturally I went to co-writers I knew could write the best songs in the genre I was heading towards. The guys in the band all contributed but I had so many good songs from others like Gus G, Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob) and Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick) that I had to use them all instead of just writing with the band which is more likely to only be the case on the next album.
Next year you will be on tour with Gus G in sweden and you just did a tour with him in US how is it working with a talented musician like that?
No, it is an appearance with Gus, a few songs with him, not a full show. I love Gus, both as a person and musician, he is amazing and I am blessed to work with him in any capacity. The gigs in the US were a lot of fun and way too short! I am sure we’ll be doing more in the future as well.
I recently interviewed Gary Schutt and he seems to be a big part in the making of your albums, is he on the new SOTO album ?
Yes, he co-wrote the title track, Inside The Vertigo...he is beyond happy that I named the album after the one song he contributed on the album!