A few months ago the title of the new album was announced. What is the genesis of "The Unquiet Sky"?
Clive: It was a combination of ideas - I had decided to base the album on a short horror story by M.R. James called 'Casting the Runes' - some people may have seen the old 1957 film version called 'Night of the Demon'. We were looking for an album title and John suggested 'The Unquiet Sky' even though he was unaware of my concept idea - as far as I was concerned, it fitted the mood I had in mind for the album - job done! :)
Is the 8th studio album a concept and what is the story behind it?
Clive: It is indeed a concept - as I said above. I must admit that part of the influence is also the old film version - a great atmosphere. It's the film that inspired me to write the opening orchestral section.
How is the work on the album going and have you got a lot of material so far?
Clive: Work is going well… the album is essentially written, and recently we completed the drum recording. The keyboards are pretty much finalised as well. Time to work on the guitars!
The band has parted ways with John Jowitt. Why such a decision and how was Kylan Amos chosen?
Clive: As you know the plan for this year is to do quite a big Arena tour - that combined with the rehearsal and recording commitments meant that John Jowitt would struggle to find the time. I have worked with Kylan before with the musicals and he is a great bassist. It seemed like the obvious choice. We have already rehearsed and performed with him and there's some good chemistry.
With the altered line-up, how does the writing process go? Is every member of the band contributing to the new material?
Clive: This is the first album where everyone has offered up some ideas - that was an interesting process. I guess the real challenge was making sense of all the bits, and making a cohesive collection of songs… particularly since this is a concept album.
Will the new album be maintained in the 'old Arena vein'? Or have you changed the style, mood and sound?
Clive: I guess it is part of the constant evolution of the band, but because this is our 20th anniversary I think there may be some extra classic Arena references.
2015 will be the year of anniversaries - you have announced the Fire and the Quest celebrating 10 years of your musicals, but Arena's 20th anniversary is a big date! How do you plan to celebrate it?
Clive: Basically with a new album and a big tour! :)
Can we expect any special guests during the anniversary tour? Past members of the band maybe?
Clive: There are no plans for any special guests, but I think the tour will be well worth checking out. There will be themes from the new album as well as some nice retrospective moments from our last 20 years.
You are known for your Steampunk image in 'Alchemy' and most recently in Pendragon too. Are you planning a costume for the next Arena tour? And what will it be?
Clive: I guess I will need something - but I really don't know what as yet - watch this space. ;)
How do you see the future of Arena after "The Unquiet Sky"?
Clive: It’s impossible to say what will come next, but my advice is come and see us on tour… this will be a special one!
Interview by Magdalena Grabias