Pulling together talented musicians for a small project can sometimes be a difficult task. However, this was not the case when members from Dream Theater, Dixie Dregs, and King’s X joined forces to be a part of something new and fresh in the progressive rock market: Platypus.
Platypus’ sound falls somewhere in between the heaviness of Deep Purple and the eloquence of Dream Theater. Spooky. I was given a chance to chat with Derek Sherinian, Dream Theater’s guitarist and one of the founding members of Platypus, about the band and where it stands among today’s other progressive rock acts.
Hey, man, how are you?
Great! I just finished up work on my solo album, doing the overdubs, and I start mixing it tomorrow.
Cool. Could you give me a quick history of the band?
Platypus was put together by John Mar Young. He asked me to participate and I immediately accepted. He brought in Ty Tabor, from King’s X, who I wasn’t very familiar with. [I didn’t know much about Tabor or] King’s X before Platypus, but I’ve since become a very big fan of his. And as a kid, the Dixie Dregs were a very big influence to me as a musician. I was a huge fan of Rod Morgenstein, so when his name was brought up to be the potential drummer, I almost jumped through the roof because he’s one of my favorite drummers in the world. I was little bit starstruck during the whole process of the making of Platypus.
This is just a side project, right? You’re not giving up on your other bands, are you?
This is strictly a fun thing. The thing about Platypus, that record was written and recorded in a two week period.
And it has an amazing sound to it.
The cool thing is, there wasn’t a history between the four of us, and it was a very fresh situation. We were in a studio in Upstate New York.
Where in Upstate New York?
Millbrook. Yeah, we just cut the record up there. We wrote it. It was very light-hearted, but very intense work, but it was still a very cool thing. I hear we’re going to do it again in a couple of months.
So, did you have any goals set when you went into the studio?
The main goal was to make great music.
A fairly small label picked you up. Were you hoping to get on a major label?
Not really. We just wanted to get the record done. It seems that Velvel, the label that’s putting it out, they seem pretty excited about it, and they’re pushing it. We’re just excited to get the feedback from the American people.
When you recorded it, was having five voice tracks and five instrumental tracks set in stone?
We knew which ones were going to have vocals and Ty wrote the lyrics to all the vocal songs. So, after the two weeks after we recorded all the music tracks, Ty took the music and finished all the lyrics at his home recording studio.
It has technologically a 90’s feel, but I definitely got a 70’s vibe the first couple of times I listened to it.
Yeah, there are a lot of organic tones to it. I’m using a B3, plus there’s a lot of Wurlitzer.
Would you say you’re trying to reach a 90’s oriented audience?
I wasn’t trying to reach any audience. We just wanted to make good, grooving music, like stuff we enjoyed listening to when we were growing up. That’s the cool thing about Platypus; we’re all from different musical directions. We just threw all of our personalities into the pot. And that’s what the record is.
Is there anything to this band that would make you want to do it full time?
The bottom line is, you have to go where the music takes you, and if for some reason, this Platypus album, people take to it and love it, and they want us to come play, of course, that would be awesome!
Do you have any plans for live shows?
Nothing planned, but I think everyone is open to anything.
Do you think the progressive sound still has a place in music today?
Yeah. I think the cool thing about music is that there are so many different styles to accommodate different tastes. There’s obviously a strong group of people who like progressive music. Labels like Magna Carta Records are putting out a lot of progressive stuff, and it’s cool.
Do you consider yourselves a throwback to the 70’s sound?
I don’t think so.
Do you feel like there’s more to come, maybe after the release of the next album?
It’s all up to the people, you know?
That’s about all. Do you have anything to add?
Yeah. Let me get you my website address.
It’s www.dereksherinian.com that’s my personal site and my solo record is called Planet X. That’ll be out this summer on Magna Carta Records. It’s instrumental, prog-rock fusion.
Sounds great. Thanks a lot!
I’m glad we had a chance to chat!
Same here. Good luck with everything.
Thanks. See you later
+ rick hinkson