Sons of Apollo – 'Psychotic Symphony'
By Dave Schwartz Sons of Apollo

“It’s a band, not a project,” says keyboardist Derek Sherinian. 

Sherinian, along with fellow Dream Theater alumnus Mike Portnoy, has teamed with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-Guns 'N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force) to create Sons of Apollo.  Their new record “Psychotic Symphony” dropped on October 20th and the music industry is abuzz. 

DaBelly recently spoke with Derek Sherinian about the new record and plans for 2018. 

DS:  Hey, this is Derek.  I am so sorry for being late.  This is off-schedule for me and I apologize.  Our record, “Psychotic Symphony,” dropped today. 

DB:  No worries Derek.  Things are fine.  I’m Dave from DaBelly.  How are you?

DS:  I’m good.  Our record came out today and the phone is ringing off the hook.  I got immersed in all this and forgot that I had a 10:30!

DB:  It’s all good Derek.  Well let’s get this interview going.  First of all, I’m shocked that there’s any interest at all in you guys putting out a record!  (Laughter) Let me say congratulations on “Psychotic Symphony.”  I’ve only heard a few of the tracks but they are incredible.

DS:  Thank you very much.  It’s vibing like crazy.  It’s charting very well.  The band is excited, the fans are very excited.  The future is bright for Sons of Apollo. 

DB:  It certainly looks like it.  I would love to hear a little bit about putting the record together.

DS:  Well Mike and I had a history together.  We played in Dream Theater together 20 years ago and we reunited in 2012 on a project and realized that we wanted to do something more serious.  So here we are in 2017 with Sons of Apollo and we have a group of just amazing musicians.  Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto.  Everyone in the band has a strong history.  There’s a pedigree of great bands that we’ve played with in the past.  We’ve joined forces and made an amazing record.  It’s a hard rock record with hints of progressive rock and classic rock but it all comes together and centers as hard rock.

DB:  I agree.  I’m amazed with the energy of the songs I’ve heard.  Much has been said about how you fought to find the balance of each song.  As you’ve already mentioned, the musical pedigree of this band is incredible and it would’ve been easy for this record to slip into a bit of a wank-fest.  Can you talk a little bit about writing toward the balance of a song?

DS:  Well, yeah.  When Mike and I first put this together, we thought it was going to be more progressive metal like the stuff we’ve done in the past, but when we started writing all of our hard rock and classic rock came to the forefront, especially with Bumblefoot.  We all were really shocked with that.  And so the progressive rock just seemed like icing on the cake.  So we put the song bits first and then mastered the art of strategic wankery around it. We put in the killer solos and the middle sections but never to the detriment of the song. 

DB:  During the writing process, were there any songs that surprised you?  Songs that started in one place but ended up someplace completely unexpected?

DS:  Yeah, a few of these songs had starting points that I wrote that in my studio.  Then we wrote the middle section together and so it became collaborative.  So I may have had the first three sections and then it went off into a completely unexpected direction.  So there were a lot of sections that were composed before we all get together and then a lot that are composed when we are together.  It’s a nice mix. 

DB:  What was it like to get behind the console once again with Mike?  The "Del Fuvio Brothers” back in business.

Sons of ApolloDS:  It was really great.  Mike and I have always had a strong musical and personal chemistry.  It’s nice to work with him in a band where we’re both in it from the ground floor.  We share a lot of enthusiasm and work very well together as a production team. 

DB:  You’ve got a couple videos out.  Three of them including “Lost in Oblivion” which debuted today.  Tell us how the singles get selected and videos made.

DS:  Mike was in charge of the direction of the videos.  We had a video producer and director.  Mike picked the songs.  Mike worked with the label pretty much and it was really impressive how fast we did three videos in three days, at three different locations.  So they all have a completely different look.  I’m just impressed how well they came together.  I think the “Lost in Oblivion” video looks fantastic. 

DB:  Yeah, three videos in three days is amazingly quick.  There’s been much said about Sons of Apollo being a band and not a project.  I understand that you guys committed all of 2018 to each other.  Please talk about the importance of being a band rather than a project. 

DS:  This band, we feel, has the most potential to generate the most heat.  We’re all thrilled about this record and we’re all feeling the buzz.  Fortunately, especially today, it’s really clear where our priorities are going to be.  People have a tendency to gravitate to where the heat is.  Sons of Apollo is going to be the biggest fire. 

DB:  That is exciting to hear.  The last question I have for you is about touring...

DS:  2018 is going to be a full year of Sons of Apollo touring.  We’re starting with a Cruise to the Edge in February.  From there we’ll do a U.S. tour.  Then we go to South America and Europe.  We plan to hit everywhere in the world hopefully twice.  We realize that even though we have established names as individuals, we are still a new band and we need to put the work in necessary to raise awareness and prove to the people that we’re ready to do this. 

I want to thank Derek for sharing a moment with DaBelly.  I’m looking forward to seeing Sons of Apollo step to the edge of the stage and scream at the world.  Pick up “Psychotic Symphony” and watch for tour dates!

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