Edison’s Children is the culmination of efforts between Marillion/Transatalantic bassist Pete Trawavas and Eric Blackwood. Their first album In The Last Waking Moments…was released to critical acclaim in November 2011. The album is a first in that it features all 5 members of Marillion on different songs. Darrin Cappe caught up with Eric, Pete and Wendy Pastore at The Opera House on Wed June 20 2012 just prior to the Marillion show. Read on after the jump!
Darrin: Can you guys tell me a bit about Edison’s Children and how it came about?
Pete: How did it come about? I met Eric and Wendy a few years ago now. You were helping out Marillion for the Less Is More…
Eric: No it was before that…it was Los Trios Marillos (the 3 piece acoustic version of Marillion featuring Pete, Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery).
P: We came over to America; the three of us to do some shows cause we couldn’t afford to bring the band over. We had lots of issues with transportation, equipment and stuff and Eric said “Hey I’ll help you guys out”. We just became good friends. About half way through the tour Eric was helping out with guitars and was line checking a guitar one day and we just started jamming.
E: Yeah we did
P: And over the years I’ve come for Transatlantic stuff and I missed a flight one time back to the United Kingdom so I called Eric up and he said “Why don’t you come hang out with us for the day?”. We went around some nice area…where did we go around?
E: Sandy Hook New Jersey.
(Pete at this point gets pulled in for sound check)
D: I remember hearing about that when Pete was stuck in the airport and meeting….You! Tell me a bit about the album.
E: It’s kind of psychedelic rather than progressive. You know Pete did the progressive thing with Transatlantic and he does the beautifully melodic thing that is Marillion. We wanted to do something a little different for him; something out of the box. So we started this whole psychedelic project called Edison’s Children and it sort of has a bit of a sci-fi mode and follows the story of this guy who one day sees some lights in the sky and goes to find out what it is and goes through this whole crazy journey within the experience from beginning to end.
D: So it’s a concept album…
E: It’s definitely a concept album
D: The album came out not too long ago.
E: No about Christmas (2011).
D: And I understand Andy Wright and Annick Gauthier are involved as well.
E: Yes they are our fan club presidents and also our public relations department. They have done a fantastic job getting us out there and letting people know…It’s been great.
D: So have you done any shows together yet as Edison’s Children?
E: No not yet, not yet. Pete’s been busy with Marillion and it was too late to try to think about putting something together. Once they are on tour they have a couple of days worth of set lists to work out so…it is a lot for him to remember and do all of Edison’s Children too. He’s doing a lot more guitar, he’s not just doing bass. So it’s sort of like speaking another language; he’s got to learn keyboards, guitars…it’s a whole process.
D: So you are lead guitar
E: I’m lead guitar, lead vocals when Pete Trawavas is not the lead guitarist and lead singer (laughing).
D: So you both trade-off on them.
E: We just kind of went back and forth. Whoever felt like playing whatever it was at any given time picked it up. That’s what was so great about this project. If I had a drum part, I’d do a drum part. I even play bass on some of it you know and I’ve got Pete Trawavas who is possibly the greatest bass player in the world…but I’m playing bass on it. It’s kind of funny.
D: But that’s what happens with music though, it’s a personal thing. When you write something just because somebody might be a great musician doesn’t mean they are necessarily the right person to actually do that part.
E: Right absolutely. The song Dusk which is an old live song of mine. It is a really creepy haunting kind of song and I guess I just had…the way I was playing bass on it was not the way he would have played bass on it but he loved the way it sounded so we decided to stick with me doing it. Then when we thought about it we thought it was funny that people would buy a Pete Trawavas album and he isn’t even playing bass on the first song.
D: It’s funny actually I was going to ask him when I was interviewing him earlier is that one of the things I find really interesting is that I was talking to them about how melodic and lyrical all of their playing is. One of the things I didn’t mention to Pete was which I think is really heavily overlooked is his vocals and how much they actually contribute to the band. It’s something that you don’t notice. There’s an aspect of music where when something sounds really good there is almost an ability to not…it doesn’t jump out at you all the time…it can sink into the mesh of what is going on and I find with vocals he is kind of like that. He’s got a great voice that you aren’t always really listening to.
E: That’s why he is a little more prominent on vocals on this album. We tried to work out a couple of lead spots so he’s a little more prominent. You hear his voice a little more for the first time. Again, something different to showcase him a little more. You know he’s got a great voice but he’s just…got h (Steve Hogarth) on stage (laughing). But he himself has got a great voice so with Edison’s Children I really wanted him to showcase his vocals. He sings lead on a song or two and on the EP he sings on a lot of it as well. There’s a lot of duet kind of things.
D: Do you think you are going to be playing at the Marillion Conventions with him?
E: I wouldn’t mind. We’re thinking about it. We’ll see what happens. Again it is a lot for him. It is a lot of stuff.
D: Did you play with Pete at a previous convention?
E: No, Pete played with Robin Boult who actually mixed a couple of songs on this record. He mixed the single and we’re hoping it does very well.
D: Well I hope you guys do something. I think it would be really interesting to see. It’s nice to see at those conventions other musical avenues that the band are involved in.
E: Yeah I agree
D: And it gives good exposure to people who maybe the fans don’t know as well. Even bands like Sun Domingo and …
E: Yeah I’m really glad people are getting to see how great they are every night. It’s terrific. Sun Domingo are a great bunch of people. They’re not just a great band, they are a great bunch of guys.
D: Yeah they are a really good bunch of guys.
E: And when you get to see the album all the images…have you seen the album cover?
D: I have it is very proggish and dramatic and it is great.
E: A lot of disturbing, morphing kind of images, there is a 20 page booklet with the lyrics.
D: Maybe not music for your children.
E: Haha maybe not. It’s not necessarily made for a PG audience. This lovely little lady is responsible for all the disturbing images that are Edison’s Children.
D: Oh nice! Nice to meet you. You are the mind that is at the core of the disturbed nature of the artwork.
Wendy: That would be me (laughing).
D: It’s nice cause from vinyl to CD and now to digital download it is an art form that has sadly been in decline. So it is nice when you get really good artwork which in this case is great. Like Marillion as well they take a lot of time and attention to artwork it gives back something tangible.
W: It really does make a difference I think. It’s easy to download but there is always something behind the music and a whole CD with a booklet and the pictures are trying to tell the story along with the music. I think it just makes it that much more…
D: That’s what it was like growing up with records and why people love vinyl. There is a tactile aspect to Vinyl and the artwork and the smell and all of it that you are attuned to growing up with that. What you’ve done is great.
W: Thank you so much!
D: Well thanks very much both of you for taking time to talk to me.
A week later Edison’s Children Robin Boult mixed single A Million Miles From Away was the highest-ranking debut song on U.S. radio. Check out everything Edison’s Children at http://www.edisonschildren.com. Pete and Eric photo courtesy of Andy Wright and Point and Shoot Imagery – http://www.pointandshootimagery.com/