Interview (Steven Wilson Remix) by

Release date: June 16, 2023
Label: Alucard

Yes it’s been hard, going a long time.
And we’re together even now.
Why do you ask? Surely you know it!
Isn’t it clear just when and how.
At the beginning had no direction.
Any other way.
After the fourth one, realization.
Finding our road, the same as if today.

The opening lines of the title-track from their eighth studio album originally released on the Chrysalis label, and on Capitol in the UK and here in the States on April 23, 1976, Stereo and Quadraphonic sound, gives us an insight of the band’s hefty beginnings to the mid ’70s. Following up to their Free Hand album, Gentle Giant return to the conceptual format as a radio interview. The interviews were done by freelance journalist and Sounds writer, Phil Sutcliffe, which were done at Advision Studios in London.

47 years later, the album still holds up. Placed in the 10 maddest prog albums in issue ’97 in Classic Rock Magazine, it’s up there with Egg’s The Polite Force, Aphrodite’s Child’s 666, Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Faust’s The Faust Tapes, and Bo Hansson’s Lord of the Rings, Interview is one of those albums that just grabs you and puts you on this roller-coaster ride with the band’s difficult time changes they bring to the story.

But it was also a departure from the band’s proggiest sound as they blend in ska/reggae and African music (‘Design’) into their sound by proving fans that their more than just a prog-rock band with their first seven albums, and going into something different with their music. And to have Steven Wilson return to form once more with a new 5.1 mix and Dolby Atmos sound for the reissue of Interview, it proves that he’s not trying to re-write history, but bringing the clarity and sound in front of our very eyes.

During that time frame, the band had finished a massive tour schedule promoting Free Hand in the States and across Europe. While they never had time to take a break and get their heads cleared, it may have been an inspiration of the conceptual background for the Interview sessions. Yes the concept may be cynical and weird, but man Gentle Giant can take it up a notch with this bad boy.


From Herbie Hancock’s funk-rock orientation of the opening title-track, to the Organ swirling up and down the slide, paying nod to the Moody Blues’ Mike Pinder’s arrangements with ‘Another Show’, Giant takes a back seat with the mellowing acoustic orientation between Gary Green and Ray Shulman by driving down the minor-like highway with ‘Empty City.’ Steven himself has done an incredible job making the mixes more front and centre.

I can hear some of the guitars in the midsection of the fifth track going back and forth and the violin segment into the mix as if they’re having a duel. It has a very Gershwin-sque vibe to it by continuing where ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ had left off and the piano on the title-track which I never heard before coming at the very end.

I wouldn’t compare this track to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but more of French prog-rock group Atoll that comes to mind, and their 1975 release L’araignee Mal. And my guess that the band were listening to Gentle Giant’s music for inspiration. Once they get back on the road by seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for ‘Timing’, Ray’s bass line goes up the ladder with Derek’s vocal lines double-tracked to know how far they’ve come.

Ray is incredible as a multi-instrumentalist. Going from acoustic guitar, bass, and violin, it’s almost as if Kerry gives him carte blanche to bring those two instruments as one in the jam section before Green’s heavy fret work comes front and centre. I almost felt a little tug of a reprise of ‘River’ from the Octopus album, expanding the story to bring it a complete end.

But it’s not over yet. The closing composition ‘I Lost My Head’ returns to their medieval roots once more, showing how much loyalty the quintet have each other. And got each other’s back. Kerry’s vocal lines are beautifully crafted.

Not only there’s the Zappa-sque quality to the song, but how they go back up the staircases, up and down with those insane midsections between guitars and Green’s alto recorder before Derek brings the house down by singing, “Everything’s true, but everything lies, It’s so hard to try to explain it, It doesn’t matter I happened anyway, and for the time while someone is mine, I’ll go on won’t try to contain it!

The reissue released from the Alucard label, has been an amazing home for the Gentle Giant catalog. And it brings together the wonders, the beauty, the surreal, the cynical, and the amazement that Interview has brought to the kitchen table. It’s been two months after Ray Shulman’s passing on March 30th this year, but this reissue is a dedication on how much he is missed. Not only by his fellow comrades, but the love and utmost support that his fans have followed him by proving themselves how much he’s loved. And making sure that the Giant’s legacy will live on in the years to come.

In the words of Babe Ruth from the 1993 movie The Sandlot, “Remember kid, there’s heroes. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.

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