“We’re quite open about our influences because that’s the music that we love. There’s RUSH, YES, GENESIS, a lot of bands. We even give a tip of the hat to DREAM THEATER in a few sections. That’s all a part of what we are.”
So says HEADSPACE keyboardist Adam Wakeman when discussing their new band and the full length debut, I Am Anonymous. That doesn't mean, however, the band is dependent on the greatness of others to make themselves of worth to the progressive metal masses. On the contrary, the influences Wakeman mentions only serve to enhance what was an ambitious, talent-driven project from the very beginning.
Headspace began innocently enough; as a way for Wakeman – also a member of the legendary OZZY OSBOURNE’s band – and a close circle of musician friends to reconnect. There were no preconceptions of launching a prog metal band, no visions of grandeur. In fact, there was no clear musical direction at all. It was a case of getting back to the basics of forming a band, calling upon the roots laid down as teenagers, when one made music for the love of doing so. Of course, given those roots, it became clear rather quickly that Headspace was going to be a prog band.
“I don’t know who we were kidding,” laughs Wakeman.
Indeed, with players like Wakeman – a branch off the Yes family tree courtesy of legendary keysman and father Rick Wakeman – vocalist Damian Wilson (THRESHOLD), and bassist Lee Pomeroy's connections to Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman and IT BITES, Headspace was destined to go in their “unashamedly prog” direction. Add to this drummer Richard Brook and Pomeroy’s long history of playing together as a rhythm section on numerous projects, resulting in a familiarity that gives Headspace a solid foundation . People may be surprised to find, however, that for a band led by a keyboardist and vocalist – at least on paper – I Am Anonymous is a heavily guitar oriented record. Headspace is the sum of its parts rather than one or two members with absolute creative control. Even though Wakeman and guitarist Pete Rinaldi composed the bulk of the music, everyone has their say, meaning that I Am Anonymous should not be considered a blueprint for future Headspace releases.
I Am Anonymous is the slab of concept-oriented mindfood one expects from a band boasting the talent and influences that it does. According to Wilson “the title of the album has the finger pointed directly at the listener. It is about you and your relationship with humanity, ultimately the battles fought within the mind from child to man.
Through Kubler Ross’ model of impending death, with reference to war, the turmoil leads us to peace and acceptance, only then to swing straight back around to chaos.”
The concept, like the music, evolved naturally. Wilson was responsible for tying the band’s thoughts and ideas on the subject together. He pondered over every line until he was completely satisfied, leaving no room or consideration for throwaway pop lyrics. It’s also worth noting that in spite of having all the so-called “typical” earmarks of a prog metal band, Headspace doesn’t fall into the trap of the music overshadowing the band. Simply put, I Am Anonymous is song-oriented rather than musician-oriented, making Headspace a breath of welcome fresh air.
Wakeman: “I don’t have any ideas of grandeur, wanting to make people say ‘Look how fast he can play that solo!’ I’ll play whatever fits.”
The lack of virtuoso posturing in a blessing, and credence to the fact nobody was trying to direct Headspace in a direction guaranteed to appeal to the diehard prog metal fans. The band made I Am Anonymous the way they wanted to and received welcome support from the label for their efforts.
Returning to the subject of influences and how they may have affected the making of I Am Anonymous, there was never a point during the production where the band had to take a second look at what they’d written and throw it away because it sounded too much like their aforementioned heroes.
“That’s never really been a concern of mine,” insists Wakeman. “Obviously, of you’re writing something and you think ‘Hmm, those are the same chords as ‘Roundabout’…’ you’ve got to rethink it (laughs) But, to be open with your influences is a credit to the people that have influenced you.”