In every band's career a point is reached which represents a synthesis of all of the musical, creative and touring experience which has gone before. The point for Triumph is embodied in the sons and ideas contained in their new album NEVER SURRENDER.
In a recent interview conducted at their recording studio, the Metalworks, the band commented on the development of their music over the years and on the creation of NEVER SURRENDER.
Q: What do you think makes a successful album?
"From an artistic point of view, it is the original concepts, fully realized, the jelling of lyrics to music to production, and that the band stretches further to the limits of their group work and their individual performance." (Mike)
"Progress: growth, maturity. Pride in craftsmanship and in each other. That contribution to the family spirit of the band is very important to me. When you can sit and look at the jacket and read the inner sleeve lyrics and listen to pressed vinyl and experience the satisfied thrill of the (accurate, meticulous, detailed, complete) realization of your creative dreams, that's a successful L.P." (Gil)
Q: What makes NEVER SURRENDER different from past Triumph albums?
"A gargantuan ambient drum sound; an attention to lyrical detail vocal performance; better written and arranged songs; the influence of David Thoener's impartial ears and technique; tighter, more sophisticated bed and rhythm tracks; shorter songs and solos, more direct communication and no b.s.; more coherency, stability, completeness." (Rik)
Q: Did working with a co-producer for the first time since your first Canadian album make any difference?
"Yes. It changed the way we looked at ourselves. Suddenly on a creative, producing level, here was a window on the world, as well as some probing in our previously private domain. He pointed our self-indulgences, allowed us to dispense with al lot of technical experimentation by providing experienced engineering solutions." (Rik)
"I think he helped the band members appreciate more that ever before each other's strength, and weaknesses, and helped us to take advantage, or avoid them." (Gil)
Q: How does having your own studio effect the making of a Triumph album?
"Time is no longer the keeper. Time becomes an ally, an affordable luxury. The security comes through in the music; its better pre-produced, therefore better written and arranged. it is better recorded, as the technical requirements are more well-known. And it is better mixed, as the only pressure that exists is quality, and so the only concerns are positive, creative ones." (Mike)
Q: Is there Triumph sound?
"I think my voice is easily recognized and Gil's voice and drum sound are unique and definitely the basis of a Triumph sound." (Rik)
"It's aggressive, I think more daring, more percussive, more involving and interesting with the music than just a straight-ahead-beat type of sound." (Mike)
"Triumph's sound is kind of English progressive meets American blues rock and roll, and it's full of surprises. I'd like to think that people can recognize our style. Things like "Fight the Good Fight" and "Never Surrender" are some of our proudest moments. There's a more direct sound coming from the band now." (Gil)
Q: Which is more satisfying creatively/artistically/egotistically - recording or live performance?
"No question - recording. As a musician, it's the ultimate test, and the highest art form available. But I have the blood of a rock 'n' roller in my veins and rock and toll lives and breathes where there's screaming, dancing people, and sweat, and vibration moving the smokey, electric air. I love performance because it;s the rock 'n' roll challenge and to win means instant gratification. But I love recording more because it appeals to the egomaniacal artist in me." (Rik)
"If you want great sound sit home and listen to your stereo... Nothing can match the feeling of the building actually vibrating. Rock is power, there's nothing else like it." (Gil)
Q: Triumph is well-known for its spectacular stage production; will you continue this in 1983?
"And beyond. The basics we built the band on won't change. The live show made us and sustains us. The touring show is what makes you a real live band, and Triumph is as conscientious in its stage production as it is in its album recording." (Rik)
"Elaborate production is the best way for us to present our music, because it makes it larger-than-life and gets you to 'hear' more with your eyes." (Mike)
"Bare bones production masquerading as some sort of music-stressing artistic choice, seems like a cheap, lazy, rip-off of the concert-goer to me. A rock and roll musician who is a concert performer has a responsibility to perform the beast he or she knows how." (Gil)
"So the Rock 'N' Roll Machine goes "star wars" and we wouldn't have it any other way." (Gil)