Interview with Slickster Magazin (2019)


Interview taken from the Slickster Magazin website. Click here to get to the original Slickster Magazin article

Gerald Peter Interview part 1

Slickster: Is there anything you’d like to mention or talk about before I ask some questions? Is there anything you’d like to clear up or any mis-information about you online?

Peter: No, but thanks for having me on to interview! I’m always interested to talk about music, especially my music, because I spend so much time on it! That is some my main motivation for working on my own music, because I get bored easily when I work on someone else’s music. I love to realize my own ideas. I usually go to the piano, start improvising and something comes out. It goes from one idea to the next, and in the process, I’m building my music.

Slickster: So, building your own music is your main motivation for playing and being involved in music?

Peter: I’ve always loved improvising on the piano. Even after my first few piano lessons, I started to sit down and press random keys on the piano. I’m fascinated when some cool chord progression comes up. Over the years I’ve worked on this skill, taking a few chord progressions or a melody in my head, and I put it in my hands.

When you can transfer musical ideas from your head into your hands and translate that to an instrument without interruption, it is a beautiful skill. I developed this skill only after years of playing and improvising.

Slickster: You opted for private lessons from various classical and jazz pianists since the age of ten. Why did you choose not to attend conservatory? Is music school over-priced and/or over rated?

Peter: That’s a great question! I think when I was about ten years old, I didn’t have a career in my mind. It was a hobby for me. I started piano because I saw some people playing it, and I was inspired by them. My parents agreed to get me some lessons, but they me commit to at least 3 years of lessons. It ended up stretching into six years of lessons.

When I was young, I wasn’t into practicing that much. I’d maybe do like ten minutes per day, just to get prepared for my next lesson.

Gerald Peter sits at his keyboard

Slickster: Can you describe some of the ways that Incremental Changes – Part 2, will be different from Part 1.

Peter: It will be longer, nearly double the running time as the first album. There will be over fifty minutes of music on this album. The production has improved a lot on this album too. I’ve spent a lot of time getting many different layers and different sounds.

On this album, I’ve also experimented more with combing different genre’s together. So you will hear a lot more influences from electronic music but also influences from jazz, prog rock and cinematic styles.

GP on cinematic music

Slickster: Have you scored a movie, or created any music for video, movies, or video games?

Peter: Only for fun, but never professionally, of course I’m open to this in the future. I love film music, it’s really something that gives me goosebumps. Hans Zimmer or Danny Elfman have such great soundtracks. There are times when I sit down and just listen to a soundtrack album. I also transcribe these soundtracks for learning purposes.

On my Youtube channel I have my own interpretation of Elfman’s theme from Spiderman. I worked very long on this keyboard interpretation. It was a fun challenge, but not easy to play!

Slickster: You mentioned Hans Zimmer. Some people kind of throw him under the bus because he’s done a lot of commercial films like Pirates of The Caribbean, but if you listen to some of his other soundtracks – like Dunkirk, Interstellar and Inception – they are radically original and advanced. Could you share some thoughts on Zimmer and his avant grade film scores?

Peter: I loved the Inception soundtrack. That’s a perfect example of how ‘simple music’ can be awesome! (laughs) It’s not very complicated – the main theme is like, five chords – but from a sound design and an arrangement perspective, it’s so well done. It builds from small piano chords to added string texture and then some horns, and it just keeps building more, more and more! Then when you think it can’t build any more it builds even more. It’s incredible. When I listen to this it transfers me into another universe.

Slickster: The new single on your album is Enigma, an eight minute prog rock opus. What can you tell us about it? How did you compose it? Did you use any compositional techniques?

Peter: It started with an idea I had ten years ago. I sang the main riff into my voice recorder. [Sings the left hand piano part] It was inspired by a Dream Theater song.

Slickster: Which Dream Theater song? Do you remember?

Peter: Yes it was from Home (Act 2, Scene 8) from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.

Ten years later, I still hadn’t used it, so I picked it up again and started working with it. I knew I wanted to do something huge with it… a big sound, pads, and a really catchy melody as well. I placed a melody that I also used several times on Incremental Changes Part 1 (sings melody), and I think its kind of the main theme of Incremental Changes. I use this theme in many variations.

I didn’t use any specific composition technique, but what I do is record something on my audio work station, and then I listen back to it many times. I might listen to it on my ear buds while I go shopping or walking around. Then I think, “Ok. What do I want to hear next? What would be cool for the next part?

As I listened to the ideas for Enigma, I realized I needed a new riff and a new time signature. So, I collected ideas in my head and sang them into my phone. Then I go back to my instrument and try work those ideas out with a unique sound. Eventually, I put everything together in the end, and HOPEFULLY (laughs) putting the main theme back at the end.

At the same time, I try to keep the mood and the energy of the song building. I want the listener to feel as though they have been on a journey around the theme.

Does that make sense?! (laughs)

Slickster: Absolutely!

Peter: It’s hard for me to talk about music, because I don’t really think about it this way when I’m creating it. For me, it’s like a feedback loop where I record something and then listen back. Record something, then listen back. Sometimes I throw away ideas or even whole songs because I don’t like it anymore. So, it’s all about this feedback loop and in the end it’s all about, “Do I hear what I want to hear.

Gerald Peter with Jordan Rudess

Gerald Peter with Jordan Rudess.

Official website:



Link to the original Slickster Magazin article


Article in Canadian Musician Print Magazin (2019)

"Straying from Convention"



Interview with Radio Orange (German) (2019)



Interview with Maldito Piano (2019)


Taken from the Maldito Piano website. Here is the link to the original Maldito Piano article (Spanish)

Maldito Piano: Hello and thank you so much for talking with us. Can you introduce yourself? Who is Gerald Peter and How were your musical beginnings?

Gerald: I am Gerald, born in Vienna, Austria. I am 32 years old and I am passionate keyboardist, composer, producer and creative coder. I always had a big interest for music and also science/technology, that are the two areas I focused on in my life later on. I started already in primary school making music, singing in the choir and playing the recorder. I attended private piano lessons in the age of 10 for 6 years, my passion for making music really exploded as soon as I got my first keyboard, electric guitar and a computer with Cubase so I could starting recording and arranging my own musical ideas. At the same time I also went to a tech high school and discovered my biggest musical influence at that time, Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment which shaped and inspired me a lot. In the age of 20, after finishing high school, I decided to study computer science but at the same time start my own band project, I actually started 3 band projects within the next 6 years and attended numerous local bands as a keyboard player while finishing my tech studies. I got more and more interested into composing/producing as well as kept working on my playing technique. My biggest dream at this time was to create a huge prog rock opera concept album, which took me several years to finish. I released it 2013 titled ‘Jeremias’ with my band ‘Circle of Illusion’. Two years later I released another album with my band Inspirational Corner where we experimented with the fusion of various different musical styles. I was also working for ROLI as Seaboard product specialist and demonstrator in the year 2015, and in 2017 I was touring with Cirque du Soleil “VOLTA” as a keyboardist in the live band. Since then I am mainly focusing on my solo project “The Gerald Peter Project” composing/producing the second part of my conceptual piece “Incremental Changes” where I incorporate everything I love, from progressive, cinematic music to big arrangements as well as midi-generated visuals I create myself.

Maldito Piano: Can you explain us a bit about your experience on the Cirque du Soleil?

Gerald: In 2016, I was signing up to an instrumentalists audition in London and I got lucky, because a few months later I got a full time job offer to be the keyboardist of the new Cirque du Soleil show ‘VOLTA’ starting at 2017. Because it was a new show, I also attended creation, which was an interesting and very challenging experience at the Cirque Du Soleil HQ. We did long hours every day, working with the producer/composer from M83, Anthony Gonzales, rehearsing and sound programming. The show was very “sound-heavy”, that means, the biggest challenge was to match the sonic vision of the composer and at the same time, follow our band leaders calls. It’s usual, that the timing of each show is a bit different depending on the artists performance, so being able to adapt to changes/calls very fast during the show and being very flexible in general is a necessity during working for Cirque du Soleil. Overall it was a great experience, where I was part of a huge production, got to meet a lot of interesting people and lived in 5 different cities within a year, I also got to play a solo on one of my favourite instruments everyday during the show, the Seaboard! :-)

Maldito Piano: When and how did you start to play the new generation of keyboards and, specially, the Seaboard?

Gerald: I was thankfully introduced to the Seaboard and ROLI in 2014 by Jordan Rudess (keyboard/piano/synth virtuoso and rockstar as band-member of Dream Theater, president of Wizdom music, amazing person and inspiration in general) which also lead to working for them in 2015/2016 as a product specialist demonstrator. From the first moment on, I knew this was something special and I had a million ideas of what I wanna do with it. Luckily as a product specialist I got to spend a lot of time with the instrument, now I am using it in all my musical projects. What are your main influences? I would say that three genres had a big impact on my musical mindset, which are progressive rock/metal, jazz/fusion and hollywood soundtrack/film-music. For progressive rock/metal of course my earliest and biggest influences where Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Project, Jordan Rudess but also Transatlantic and Symphony X. Nowadays I also love to listen to Haken, Frost, Tesseract, Plini, David Maxim and Lunatic Soul. For Jazz Fusion I got really into the music of the jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara and also solo albums of George Duke, Adam Holzman, Pat Metheny, Scott Wilkie and Dave Weckl. These days I love listening to Snarky Puppy, Anomalie, Bill Lawrence, Dirty Loops and Cory Henry. When it comes to film music I am really inspired by the music of Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer and John Williams. When I write music I don’t try to think on what other artists did, I rather follow my intuition, my spontaneous ideas. I mostly compose through freely improvising on the piano. How did you start with the NAMM’s demostrations and How do you feel when you are performing on this huge event? I was performing already three times at the NAMM show, 2016 for ROLI, 2018 playing GeoShred for moForte/Wizdom music and 2019 with my own music, the Gerald Peter Project as well as Audio Modeling/SWAM Instruments. It’s always a crazy event, there are so many good musicians and great people at one place, I am always nervous before performing but it’s every time a fun experience where great things happened. But you aren’t only a performer, you are a composer and producer too.

Maldito Piano: Tell us something about the prog rock opera album Jeremias and your projects with your band Inspirational Corner.

Gerald: It all started with a dream, I had a surreal dream at night, and when I was waking up, I had a story in my head and a lot of musical ideas and I knew, I had to do something big with it. I took actually half an year off from university to write music for a big prog rock opera concept album inspired by Dream Theater’s Scenes From a Memory and Danny Elfman’s movie soundtracks. One year after I wrote, reproduced and arranged about 80 minutes of the entire album / music (around 2010-2011), the difficult part began, to find the right singers, writers and band to perform, text and record with. It took me about another year, then the team was complete with awesome musicians and singers and finally in 2013, the album ‘Jeremias’ was finished and I accomplished the biggest production I have done so far, and I am very proud of it. It also got a lot of positive reviews and listeners from different magazines all around the world, and we also got to perform it live a few times in Austria and Germany. I found Inspirational Corner as an instrumental band parallel to Circle of Illusion to explore all the other musical styles, I was very interested in, which did not fit so much into my other band Circle of Illusion. So first we started in playing some really cool jazz/funk/rock/ fusion covers, later on we worked on our own tracks. We recorded one album, called ‘Chameleon Lab Explosion’, it’s as the name suggests, a style-fusing/-changing, experimental and energy-loaded album, you can find it online.

Maldito Piano: Which is and how did it come about? A lot of artists as Jordan Rudess use it!

Gerald: I have a background in computer science/coding (I studied computer science with focus on computer graphics on university), so one of my passion is to create my own MIDI responding visuals. I am fascinated by the idea of not only hear tones coming out of my instrument but also “see” them, that’s the concept of and also my newer Midi visualizer I am currently using for my shows in my solo project, “The Gerald Peter Project”. The idea is simple, you play a note on the keyboard and get an immediate visual response for it and changing/bending the pitch, expression or timbre of the note being played, changes also the visual. Currently I am working on a new version of my visualiser using the programming language Java and a graphic framework called ‘Processing’.

Maldito Piano: So….we’ve talked about your skills as a keyboardist, seaboardist, producer, programmer, composer… What else??? Hahaha but it’s true. There is more! because we know that you are so good with Geoshred too and you took part on the NAMM 2018 exhibition with the great Jordan Rudess. Tell us about this, please.

Gerald: Thank you, I was also introduced to GeoShred by Jordan, and this is turns your iPhone/iPad in an actual instrument. I loved the idea of having my instrument always with me in the pocket and started practicing it on the iPhone. So I ended up, creating some videos with GeoShred, playing at the NAMM show 2018, next to Jordan Rudess and also performing recently at the Guthman instrument competition in Atlanta.

Maldito Piano: Future projects?

Gerald: I am currently working on the album ‘Incremental Changes Pt. 2’, which is the second part of my first solo EP of “The Gerald Peter Project”. I am excited for this release, 50 minutes of new music, I worked a lot to make this record happen. I am passionate of fusing many different styles together, in this record I also experimented with new styles I never did before, especially it has some electronic touch to it. It features again, the awesome drummer ‘Aaron Thier’ and also some special guests, e.g. award-winning soundtrack vocalist Julie Elven. Finally, We always ask our guests the same three questions:

Maldito Piano: Do you think that some musical styles are better than others?

Gerald: No, but it is ok to have preferences. Taste is very individual.

Maldito Piano: Do you feel that you need a good training to play whatever?

Gerald: It’s like sports, the more you practice, the better you become (at whatever). So if you wanna become a good musician, it just really depends on the hours of (focused) practice you spend on your instrument. I think, a university, school or teacher can just be guide, but it is not necessary, it basically comes down on the hours you spend working on the instrument (I never went to music school/conservatory, just private lessons).

Maldito Piano: What do you think about the popular belief that musicians should play for free?

Gerald: I think like in any other aspect of life, the market defines the value and also the overall expectations. As long, musicians/groups will play music for free or as long streaming will be free for everyone, it will also be expected from society that music is overall free. But in general, it takes years of practice to master an instrument, recording/producing albums can be more than 1000 hours of work, 1000s of dollars for gear/instruments, investments for promotion, rehearsal space, studio costs, website, photo shoots etc. so as in any other job, which requires craft, skills, investments, I don’t think musicians should play for free, if they are booked by someone to play somewhere.

Maldito Piano: Thank you so much for accepting our invitation. It was awesome to spend this time talking with you about music and your career. Thank you and We hope to see you playing on a concert of your tour soon!! For our followers, You Enigma is available on youtube, spotify, bandcamp, itunes, apple music, amazon, etc.


Interview with Mitkadem = Progressive in Hebrew (2013)


Taken from the 'Mitkadem = Progressive in Hebrew' website. Here is the link to the original article.

An incredibly rare masterpiece of prog-rock music – that’s “Jeremias” by Austria’s big surprise, the band “Circle of Illusion”. Their debut album, an 80-minute rock opera, has been climbing prog charts all over the world, since its release in September 2013. The mastermind behind the project, Gerald Peter, agreed to conduct an interview with Uri Breitman.

1) I’ve been listening to Jeremias for weeks and weeks now. It’s a haunting album, it doesn’t let go and it penetrates every corner of your brain. This huge piece of work could not have been written by a musician with no formal education. Can you please tell me what kind of music training did you get, from childhood to these days?

Gerald Peter: Here is my musical CV where all the information is included. [Born in Vienna on 1986; Six years of piano lessons; Attended workshops and jazz-piano lessons] So I never studied music. I just had classical and jazz piano training, lots of band experience and passion for music.

2) This project has taken years to complete. Most musicians can’t work so long on one piece – how did you find the energy to keep going and not give up on your vision?

Gerald Peter: The trick for me was to make unrealistic plans, due to my lack of real experience… I wrote the whole album in 2009 before the “Circle of Illusion” band was formed. It took me 6 months just to write an extraordinary concept album with very high ambitions. Actually, I wanted to finish it earlier, but the problem was that the band didn’t form earlier, the material had to be rehearsed, lyrics had to be written (which I cannot do). The CD-recording and the post-production also needed much more time than I had planned. My love for small detail also delayed the production process. But you have always to think about this: Good things need time!

3) The story of “Jeremias” echoes some past works, mainly Ayreon’s “The Human Equation” and Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime”. Did you find some inspiration in these masterpieces?

Gerald Peter: I listened to the “Human Equation” a few times, but I don’t know the story and the music very well. I don’t know about Queenryche’s CD. The basic idea of the story of Jeremias arose in a dream i had years ago.

At the beginning of the project, we had a three person-creative-team (with me, Florian and a third guy called Markus) to do brainstorming about the development of the story based on the main idea. Later, Florian concentrated in writing lyrics and the progress of the story and me in the production of the album.

4) It’s so hard squeezing so much music into one 80-minute disc. How much editing did you have to suffer through? Did you have to cut down some written parts in order to fit the 79:59 limit?

Gerald Peter: I could not believe how much work it is, until I actually did it the first time. This is especially true with arrangements containing over 100 audio/midi tracks. I did it professionally for the first time for a full album, and I have to say that this is a part of the work I could imagine to delegate on the next album 😀

5) This album deserves at least two titles/accolades: the best Austrian prog album of all times — and one of the best albums of 2013. Which title means more to you? would you prefer a different title altogether?

Gerald Peter: It is a special honour for me to hear both of this titles. But I think the title of one of the best albums 2013 means more to me, because there is no austrian prog band which I have listened so far (except my own…).

Circle of Illusion - band photo

Circle of Illusion – band photo

6) Which are your favorite composers? I mean classical ones, modern ones, rock composers, even Jazz or film score composers.

Gerald Peter: Film music composers: Danny Elfman, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Don Davis; Rock/prog composers: Dream Theater (late 90’s to early 00’s) , Haken, Symphony X, Neal Morse; Great artists from the jazz/fusion genre where I am inspired from: Hiromi Uehara, Dave Weckl Band, George Duke.

7) All three singers – Taris, Cara & Elga – have really done their best here, their voices are very good and they deserve a lot of respect. But personally, I had a hard time understanding their lines because of their (natural) Austrian accent. Was this a concern for you, or you just wanted to focus on the music itself?

Gerald Peter: I just focused on the music. Lyrics and pronunciation was Taris’ task [that’s Taris Brown, main vocalist and the guy behind the concept and most of the lyrics on the album; U.B.].

8) This is a rock-opera which needs to be seen, not just heard. Are there any plans for some kind of video production in 2014? perhaps a DVD or a stage show in London or even YouTube clips?

Circle of Illusion - album: Jeremias (2013)

Circle of Illusion – album: Jeremias (2013)

Gerald Peter: There are a lot of ideas, but no concrete plans at the moment. It has to be worked out and if there are any news it will be posted on our Facebook news feed.

9) Now that the “Jeremias” album has been released (on Sep-2013), are you thinking about writing a 2nd one? or are you focused with promoting and touring the first one?

Gerald Peter: The focus is on promoting and playing the first album. In my head I have enough ideas to start writing a 2nd concept album, but playing live is more important for me now than working on new stuff.

10) Although “Jeremias” is a very original composition, I still notice many Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation tributes and references in the arrangements, vocal parts and lyrics. Did you do that on purpose, did it slip by accident, or did you want to show your respect?

Gerald Peter: In the music itself, there is no intentional tribute to Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation. I also didn’t listen very much to Pain of Salvation except the album „Be“. I think some words of Dream Theater album-titles are used in the lyrics. You could consider it as a tribute.

11) What was the most exciting feedback you’ve got for the release of the Jeremias album? (feedback could mean reviews, phone calls, emails, invitations, anything).

Gerald Peter: A review from live-prog (Marcel Haster) – this review is really enthusiastic and made me smile for the whole length of 15 minutes.

12) What is your opinion on recent prog-rock works like Steven Wilson’s “Raven” album, Haken’s “The Mountain” and Dream Theater’s 12th release?

Gerald Peter: I did not listen yet to Wilson’s “Raven”. Haken’s “The Mountain” is one of the best progressive albums I have ever heard. Dream Theater’s 2013 release is good but at some points I miss the quality of compositions like 10-15 years ago (Scenes from a memory or Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence).

13) Thanks for your time. After you’ve answered all these questions, there’s probably something more you’ve wanted to say about this great album and your band?

Gerald Peter: It was the biggest project I ever did in my life, and I am happy that I found such a great band to realize it and record this album. I am also glad that I found our label Generation Prog Records with Michael Schetter. I am thankful about everyone who likes the album!

Please follow Circle of Illusion on Facebook and demand us on and tell everybody about Circle of Illusion 🙂

* * *

That was the interview with Gerald Peter, the main composer, arranger and keyboard player for the band Circle of Illusion. If you like big, dramatic symphonic prog rock, you will definitely enjoy this action-packed, richly producted mega-monster of operatic prog, sing in English, with very elegant and tasteful metal influences, three great soloists and excellent playing from all members of the band.

I dare you to listen without getting hooked for at least 1 month. Now seriously, I wouldn’t have taken the trouble to interview Gerald Peter if I hadn’t thought this was one of the best progressive rock albums released in the last 3 years.

Taken from the 'Mitkadem = Progressive in Hebrew' website. Here is the link to the original article.


Interview with Rock Times (2013, German)


Taken from the Rock Times website. Here is the link to the original article.

RockTimes: Hi, Gerald! Zunächst einmal unsere Glückwünsche zu Eurer grandiosen Rockoper Jeremias - Foreshadow Of Forgotten. Wie ist denn das mediale Echo und bist Du zufrieden damit?
Gerald: Vielen Dank! Es hat bisher einige sehr positive Reaktionen und Reviews in Magazinen aus aller Welt gegeben, womit ich sehr zufrieden bin! In Österreich gibt's relativ wenig mediales Echo - aber aufgrund der kleinen Progressive-Szene in Österreich war das auch zu erwarten.
RockTimes: Wie sind denn die Reaktionen außerhalb des deutschsprachigen Raumes?
Gerald: Es gab einige Reviews aus dem französisch- bzw. englisch-sprachigen Raum (z. B. bei liveprog, lady obscure,,, die alle sehr positiv waren - unter anderem mit Zitaten wie »the best music coming from Austria since Falco.«.
RockTimes: Fünf Musiker, drei Sänger, eine Rockoper - daraus könnte man auch schließen, dass Circle Of Illusion eher ein Projekt als eine feste Band. Ist das so?
Gerald: Es hat als Projekt mit mir alleine begonnen. Später kamen Rupert Träxler und Taris Brown hinzu. Seit 2011 sind wir aber eine Band, die vor hat, mehr Live-Acts zu spielen!
RockTimes: Seit wann trugst Du Dich denn mit der Idee zu diesem ambitionierten Werk und was hat Dich dazu inspiriert?
Gerald: Die Idee, ein Konzeptalbum bzw. eine progressive Rockoper zu schreiben, trug ich seit 2005 in mir. Da hatte ich begriffen, dass ich das Zeug dazu habe, und dass ich es auch verwirklichen möchte. Inspiriert haben mich sehr stark
Dream Theater mit "Scenes From A Memor" und "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", Neal Morse mit "Testimony" und die Idee, dass Musik in Form einer kontinuierlichen Geschichte bzw. eines durchgehenden Films abläuft.
RockTimes: Wie kam es zur Zusammenarbeit mit Florian Braun [aka Taris Brown] und wie lange hat es letztendlich gedauert, bis das Konzept konkret Gestalt annahm?
Gerald: Wir haben uns durch Zufall im Jahr 2010 in einer Funk-Band kennengelernt. Am Anfang war ich zwar sehr skeptisch, aber seit der ersten Aufnahme-Session war ich sicher: Flo ist der richtige Mann! Als ich ihm dann auch noch von meiner Idee erzählte, das Ganze in eine durchgehende Geschichte zu verpacken, war er begeistert und wir begannen gemeinsam (zu Beginn noch mit einem dritten kreativen Kopf), uns eine durchgehende Geschichte zu überlegen. Später hat Flo dann den Part der Geschichte- bzw. des Texteschreiben alleine übernommen. Die Herausforderung, Texte zu bereits vorhandener Musik bzw. Melodien zu schreiben, hat er wunderbar gemeistert!
RockTimes:... und daran anschließend die berüchtigte Henne-Ei-Frage: Was war zuerst da? Die Band oder das Konzept? Oder andersrum gefragt: Ist die Band speziell nach den konzeptionellen Anforderungen 'zusammengestellt' worden?
Gerald: Das Konzept, die Musik und Komposition war zuerst da. Ich habe mir dann die Leute dafür gesucht, um es auf CD und Bühne umzusetzen. Ich habe dafür die besten Leute in meiner Umgebung gefunden und dafür begeistern können, worüber ich sehr froh bin!
RockTimes: Nach welchen Kriterien wurden die Gastsänger ausgesucht und daran anschließend: Weshalb fiel - neben dem sicherlich 'gesetzten' Florian - die Wahl auf Elga Shafran und Cara Cole?
Gerald: Es gab einige Interessentinnen. Aber wir haben uns dann für jene entschieden, die stimmlich und vom Typ am besten zur Musik bzw. zu dem passten, was wir suchten.
RockTimes: Welche Qualitäten prädestinierten Elga Shafran und Cara Cole für ihre Rollen?
Gerald: Sie haben beide eine tolle Stimme mit einer breiten Range. Elga hat ein wenig eine weichere Stimme und passt daher besser zur Rolle der leidenden Sarah. Cara hat eine kräftige bzw. sexy Stimme und passt daher super zur Rolle der mächtigen und verführerischen Jelena.
RockTimes: Erzähl' doch bitte mal kurz etwas zu den Lyrics. Wovon handelt "Jeremias..." und was ist die 'Message', falls es denn so was gibt?
Gerald: Ganz kurz zusammengefasst: Jeremy verfällt komplett ohne Erinnerungen, ohne zu wissen wer er ist, in eine skurrile, surreale, bedrohliche Traumwelt. Dort trifft er auf die Charaktere Jelena (die 'Herrscherin') und Sarah (seine große Liebe), die ihn auf metaphorische Art und Weise mit emotionalen Konflikten und ungelösten Probleme seiner Vergangenheit sowie großen Gefahren konfrontieren. Die Message gegen Ende und gleichzeitig das Entkommen aus seinem nicht aufhören wollenden Alptraum ist es, nicht mehr vor seinen Problemen davon zu laufen, sondern sich seiner Vergangenheit, seinem Schicksal, seinen tiefsten Ängsten zu stellen und sich selbst für seine eigenen Fehler zu verzeihen.
RockTimes: Die CD ist ja pickepacke voll geworden. Haben Dich und Flo diese magischen 80 Minuten beim Schreiben und Texten irgendwie limitiert - sprich: Musste die eine oder andere Passage weggelassen werden und wird evtl. nur live gebracht?
Gerald: In den ersten Versionen der Titel waren "Beginning" und "Memory" noch länger, da ich genau auf 80 Minuten Länge kommen wollte. Da "Continuum", "13th Floor" bzw. "Nightmare" länger geworden sind als gedacht, habe ich ein paar Passagen aus "Beginning" und "Memory" (die ohnehin etwas langatmige Wiederholungen waren) wieder entfernt. Bei den Texten ist nichts gekürzt worden, da diese ja geschrieben worden sind, als die Musik schon fertig war.
RockTimes: War das Werk bereits komplett fertig auskomponiert als Ihr ins Studio gegangen seid oder kam dort noch einmal eine gewisse Dynamik in die Geschichte?
Gerald: Es war bereits alles komplett auskomponiert.
RockTimes: Der Aufnahmeprozess war sicherlich sehr aufwändig, oder?
Gerald: Ja! Ich selber habe ja schon 2009 die komplette Komposition in MIDI-Form vorproduziert. Seitdem habe ich mit Rupert und den Sängern kontinuierlich an den Recordings gewerkt. Uli, Aaron und Stephan haben das Ganze im Jahr 2012 innerhalb kürzester Zeit zuletzt im Studio eingespielt. Es waren alle sehr ambitioniert bei der Sache. Für mich war's das aufwändigste und ambitionierteste Projekt, das ich je gemacht habe.
RockTimes: Hättest Du gerne ein Orchester eingesetzt? Sicherlich eine Kostenfrage...
Gerald: Natürlich! Aber die Zusammenarbeit mit Orchester ist etwas, das ich auf jeden Fall in Zukunft noch machen möchte!
RockTimes: Wäre eine DVD-Veröffentlichung der Live-Umsetzung eine Option für die Zukunft? Vielleicht ein einmaliges Konzert mit den Wiener Philharmonikern?
Gerald: Tatsächlich hab ich schon öfters darüber nachgedacht. Eine Live-DVD mit Orchester wäre ein realistisches Zukunftsszenario, jedoch eine Budgetfrage.
RockTimes: Deine Keyboards nehmen ja eine zentrale Rolle ein. Ich stelle mir das sehr schwer vor, live umzusetzen oder nimmst Du für Konzerte ein, zwei Tastendrücker hinzu?
Gerald: Ich setze es live alleine um. Dabei habe ich ein recht aufwändiges durchprogrammiertes Keyboard-Setup mit ca. 15 Presets pro Track. Jeder Preset hat im Schnitt vier Splitzonen mit unterschiedlichen Sounds auf zwei Keyboards verteilt. Es gibt ein YouTube-Video, bei dem die 'Tricky-Parts' und Soli demonstriert werden.
RockTimes: Es ist ganz sicherlich finanziell äußerst schwierig, ein solch komplexes Werk 'auf die Straße' zu bringen? Können wir trotzdem in näherer Zukunft mit einer kleinen "Jeremias"-Tour rechnen?
Gerald: Es wird eine große Herausforderung, es umzusetzen - aber es zählt zu den Zukunftspläne! Wann, ist im Moment noch ungewiss!
RockTimes: Ein ganz dickes Lob von meiner Seite für das liebevoll gestaltete Booklet. Wer kam auf diese glorreiche Idee und wer hat die Gestaltung übernommen?
Gerald: Die Idee, die Geschichte komplett als 'Kurzroman-Form' ins Booklet zu geben, stammte von mir, was das ganze Werk auch komplett macht! Die Texte stammen alle von Florian Braun und die tollen Grafiken bzw. das Design von dem sehr talentierten und ambitionierten Grafiker Florian Solly ( Zwei Gemälde im Booklet (Seite 9 und Seite 11) stammen von meiner Mutter (lacht).
RockTimes: Du hast sicherlich noch andere Projekte am Laufen. Welchen Stellenwert räumst Du Circle Of Illusion für Zukunft ein?
Gerald: Circle Of Illusion ist natürlich mein 'Baby', in das ich sehr, sehr viel Arbeit gesteckt habe. Aber natürlich spiele ich gerne und viel und habe auch andere Projekte am Laufen (z. B. Inspirational Corner). Filmmusik ist überdies auch ein Bereich, der mich sehr interessiert, in den ich mich noch weiter vertiefen möchte. Eine ferne Zukunftsvision wäre es mit Circle Of Illusion und einem Symphonieorchester vor riesigen 3D-Leinwänden selbst komponierte Musik zu 3D-Kunst-Animationsfilmen zu spielen, es als Gesamtkonzert-Multimediashow aufzuziehen und damit auf Tournee zu gehen. Aber in nächster Zeit liegt mein Fokus auf Live-Performen und der Präsentation von "Jeremias".
RockTimes: Wird das nächste Circle Of Illusion-Album wieder ein Konzeptalbum sein oder könntest Du Dir auch vorstellen, ein 'ganz normales' zu machen?
Gerald: Aus derzeitiger Sicht wird mein nächstes Album ein Solopiano-Album (lacht) - danach ist alles noch ungewiss. Aber ich könnte mir schon gut vorstellen, dass "Jeremias" nicht das letzte Konzeptalbum gewesen sein wird. Es wären genug musikalische Ideen vorhanden. Aber da wäre es cool, von Beginn an mit einem Animationsfilm-Studio zusammenzuarbeiten, sodass dabei ein Film entsteht, der auf der Bühne mit läuft.
RockTimes: Gibt es bereits Ideen für eine neue Veröffentlichung? Mit diesem Klassealbum habt Ihr die Messlatte ziemlich hoch gelegt. Siehst Du darin eine Belastung oder eher eine Herausforderung?
Gerald: Derzeit gibt es keine Pläne. Natürlich wird das eine Herausforderung (lacht).
RockTimes: Noch eine Message an unsere Leserschaft?
Gerald: Bitte erzählt allen von Circle Of Illusion, vor allem in euren Freundeskreisen!
RockTimes: Und auch Du musst meine obligatorische Scherzfrage beantworten, wobei hier eine 'freche Schnauze' gefragt ist: Was wolltest Du schon immer mal von einem (Piefke-)Journalisten gefragt werden??
Gerald: Darf ich Dich sponsern?
RockTimes: Wir danken Dir sehr herzlich für dieses Interview und hoffen, bald von einem Konzert von Circle Of Illusion berichten zu können!
Außerdem danken wir Michael Schetter von Generation Prog, der dieses Mail-Interview ermöglichte, und Sabine Böhm von den geschätzten Kollegen von MoreMetal für die Fotos sowie Florian Solly für das Artwork.

Taken from the Rock Times website. Here is the link to the original article.