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By: Charlie Gardner
On the eve of their UK tour, Renaissance’s Annie Haslam talked to Charlie Gardner about painting, patronage and why the band, now in their fifth decade, have never really seen themselves as prog rockers.
((o)): What can we expect from Renaissance on their UK tour?
We will be performing some of our older classics, Mother Russia, Carpet of the Sun, Prologue, Song for all Seasons and highlights from our most recent CD.
((o)): As this is the first time you have toured with Curved Air, will Annie be duetting with Sonja, perhaps?
We had planned to but time didn’t permit in the end, we still may try though when I get over there.
((o)): Renaissance have been completely US-based for some time now. Do you think of yourselves as US band but with a British essence?
I feel we are both, because it’s all about the music, all the classics were created in the UK and the new material was created in the US…
((o)): You have an enormous following in the US. Does your release of the DVD/live album of last year’s Union Chapel concert indicate that your UK fan base is expanding?
Yes absolutely and with the help of Facebook and social media in general we can connect again, it’s wonderful! I wish we could play the rest of the world too though, so many places we haven’t played yet.
((o)): Your most recent projects have been crowd-funded. How have you found working this way? Has it proved to be a blessing in disguise?
Indeed a Blessing in Disguise, it seems the only way these days and reconnects us with our fans all over the world. We have a lot to be thankful for.
((o)): What does the term “Prog” mean to you? Is it a label you’re still comfortable with?
Not really, I prefer Symphonic Rock Band, we were never really a Prog band.
Prog is a bit heavier and more ‘male’…
((o)): Your career as painter and visual artist has developed enormously over the last ten years. How has this influenced your song-writing and composition?
I think they are most definitely connected, and sometimes the lyrics flow out easily like my paintings. Hard to explain really… I love both equally!!!
((o)): Tell us about your future projects, both music and art. When can we expect another studio album from Renaissance?
I am excited that Trading Boundaries gave me an exhibition of my art prior to our shows there on the 14th and the 15th April starting off our tour.
It is my first gallery showing in the UK!
We hope to record a new album next year, but before then we need to promote the last one in more countries.
((o)): If you were to play a tribute to the late Bowie, which song would you choose to play as an encore?
((o)): Just to end on an Echoes And Dust staple, what’s your favourite biscuit?
Ginger of course!!!!
Renaissance play the O2 Forum Kentish Town on April 26th. Get tickets here.