Ray Alder

Ray Alder has built an enviable reputation over for the past three decades as one of the finest frontmen in progressive metal, thanks to his lengthy tenure with Fates Warning. But this is the first time he has ever recorded a solo album. “Well, I did a couple of albums under the name of Engine ('Engine’, 1999, and 'Superholic', 2002), and they were kinda like solo records. But back then I wanted them to be seen more as a band thing than solo releases, which is why they came out as Engine. But now, I feel that I want to branch out and do an album under my own name.”

Alder worked with two guitarists on the writing process for the album. “It all started to come together when I met the old bassist for a Madrid band called Lords Of Black on the city's metro (the vocalist has lived in Spain for the past three years), and he told me that Tony Hernando, the band's guitarist, was a big fan of Fates Warning, and would love to meet up sometime. So, we met up for a beer and I told him that I had plans for a solo album, and things went from there. The two of us then began to collaborate on songs for this project.”

However, the writing side was taking a lot longer than Alder had envisioned, so another musician was brought in to help facilitate this part of the process. “Tony was having some issues with Lords Of Black, and that was keeping him pretty busy. I happened to talk to Mike Abdow, who is Fates Warning's touring guitarist, about how things were going on the writing front, and that it was a little slow. So, I was delighted when Mike told me that he would be very happy to contribute ideas for songs.” In the end, Hernando is credited for providing the music for three of the tracks here, namely 'Shine', 'Wait' and 'Beautiful Lie'. Abdow is responsible for this side on the remaining seven songs.

“I guess you could say that Tony and Mike have two totally different writing styles, and that shows on the album. The way we worked was that they sent me the music, and I then wrote the lyrics and the melody lines.” Once the songs were selected, the recording process happened at various studios in America and Spain. “Mike and Tony both did the respective guitar parts in their own studios for the songs they'd cowritten, and then transferred these over to me. Moreover, the two of them also did the bass parts for these tracks. I was thinking of various bassists who I could contact to come in and play. But then Mike said that he'd like to play his own bass parts, and when Tony found out about this, he thought it was a good idea for him to do the same. “That made so much sense, because each was aware of what was needed as
Release Date: October 18th, 2019
far as bass lines were concerned, because they had invested a lot of time in the construction of the songs. However good an outside bassist might be, they couldn't have done such an appropriate job.”

Alder also worked on his vocals in Madrid, while the drums were played by Craig Anderson. “He's in the hardcore band Ignite from Orange County, and a longtime friend of mine. He knew exactly what drum style was needed to enhance the tracks and did a fantastic job. Craig did the drums in his Californian studio, which meant that none of the four of us who are featured on this record actually met when we recorded!”

Alder was responsible for producing the album, but it was Simone Mularone who was brought in for the mixing stage. “I had known Simone a little from seeing him in Madrid, but thought of him as a musician. However, last year, I went out to guest on a song at ProgPower in Atlanta with Redemption, whom I used to sing for. And Simone was also at the festival. We got chatting about my solo album, and that's when I found out that he was actually a studio engineer. Simone then told me that he'd love to mix the record. “I explained what I was looking for, in terms of the sound, and he did a great job on getting what I was after. Tony and Mike were also delighted with what Simone did.”

The album is called 'What The Water Wants', which is a variation on 'What The Water Wanted', the title of one of the album tracks. “I wanted to avoid having a title track, because that inevitably gets all the attention.” “There’s a loose theme running through the lyrics. Somehow they almost all have something to do with water in one way or another. That wasn't deliberate, but the way things turned out.”

Keeping it in the family, the album artwork has been created by Cecilia Garrido Stratta, who is Ray Alder's wife. “She is a graphic designer in her own right, and was going to oversee the whole process of putting the cover together. I talked to some photographers and artists about ideas for the artwork, but then thought that it made complete sense for Cecilia to do it, as she was involved anyway. And I love what she has come up with. It fits in well with the feel of the music”.

Alder is delighted with the way 'What The Water Wants' has come out. “I am happy that I've got an album that doesn't fit neatly into any specific genre. It reflects different moods, and it's also given me a taste for doing more music along these lines. The entire process was both interesting and fun, which I believe comes across when you listen.”

Latest Release

Ray Alder
What The Water Wants
Limited Edition CD Digipak, LP+CD, Digital Album


Ray Alder