Jeff Scott Soto released one of the best albums of the year, as well as his career, since “Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)” has all the ingredients to put it high on your list of preferences. You can’t say that is too different than his previous solo works, as far as the style of the album is concerned, but the devil is in the details as they say, and the difference on this one is the quality of the songs that are a few “clicks” higher. Modest, strict and to the point during our conversation he keeps his cards closed and he is not revealing anything in his politically correct answers, except that he loves playing in Greece. Interview: Yiannis Dolas
Rockpages.gr: How do you spend your time in lockdown/quarantine? Well, of course, except from making a new W.E.T. album, signing with the Cult Stars from Mars, RockSugar etc?
Jeff Scott Soto: Haha, just to name a few! I have been more busy this year than ever but it is because I use music as therapy and sanity since I cannot tour now. I have written or recorded over 100 songs this year, some you may never hear, some for release and some for new projects I am feeling out to see if they will become something new for me.
Rockpages.gr: What are your expectations when we return to normality? And when do you think that’s going to happen? Do you see that everyone would like to play live, tour and release albums?
Jeff Scott Soto: I don’t expect anything, I only HOPE we will be able to feel normal again, that people will be confident to gather as we remember less than a year ago. I feel it will be a slow return to normal because this level of craziness has not affected the entire world in our lifetime. I pray it will take half the time of changing our lives in going back to them.
Rockpages.gr: I thought that “Wide Awake (In My Dream Land)” is the best work you’ve released for a long time. Did you feel more inspired?
Jeff Scott Soto: I am inspired every day, I am blessed every day I get to do this for a living, I never dive into anything I plan to release with anything but this attitude. There is no magic formula or visual on how music will be accepted, I just give my best and my all in hopes it resonates with people. I am very pleased Wide Awake has done this!
Rockpages.gr: How come you’ve worked with Alessandro del Vecchio and not your regular guys, BJ and the rest?
Jeff Scott Soto: My solo albums are always changing personnel, BJ and the others were part of the JSS structure until we made that a ‘band’ and now it is the SOTO structure, 2 different worlds, 2 different genres. I work with people who can bring out the best in me for my solo albums as I used to do them alone. So Ale was a natural progression for me to work with.
Rockpages.gr: Can you tell us a bit about “Someone To Love”, “Love Is Blind”, “Lesson Of Love” and “Living A Dream”?
Jeff Scott Soto: They are all songs about other themes than the titles might make you think they are about, or even the lyrics. I write in double entendre always because it allows the listener to place their own idea on what they might be about. But I rarely offer details as I prefer people to hear them as they might read a book, getting their personal reflection on what it means to them.
Rockpages.gr: According to your bio you have collaborated in more than 90 albums over the years, how come you’ve released only 9 solo albums?
Jeff Scott Soto: 7 solo albums to be exact, 3 live albums and a best of 🙂 I find ‘only’ 9 solo albums funny as my solo career was never a key component to my career. I use my solo albums for things that wouldn’t work with the many bands I am or have been in so the 7 I have out is a pretty good track record overall.
Rockpages.gr: After you finish a project, or end a collaboration with a band do you keep track of what they are doing? Do you have ties with your past bandmates?
Jeff Scott Soto: I do as much as I can, we are all busy working on our paths and careers so I do my best to make sure I support and follow my many friends and colleagues.
Rockpages.gr: What would you say that are your top-3 albums you appeared on and weren’t your solo stuff of course!
Jeff Scott Soto: Talisman – Humanimal, Sons Of Apollo – MMXX, SOTO – Origami
Rockpages.gr: On the other hand, are there any works you’ve done you’d like to be forgotten, buried deep somewhere, because you either regret doing them, or you weren’t happy with the outcome at all?
Jeff Scott Soto: Not at all, every note I have written or sung was a learning experience, never regrets! Without trying things, challenging yourself, etc., you will never know what works and what doesn’t so I choose to use these as lessons and not regrets.
Rockpages.gr: Any news from the Sons Of Apollo camp? Did you manage to work on new material while in lockdown? What’s the plan for the “day after Covid19”?
Jeff Scott Soto: We are not and have not done anything new this year, we released a killer album which we were not able to tour for as planned. The near future includes resuming that tour and going from there!
Rockpages.gr: How does the chemistry work in Sons Of Apollo? What is it like to be in a super group like this? Can you compare it with Soul SirkUS were the situation was obviously different and the collaboration short-lived?
Jeff Scott Soto: Every band and situation is different because they all include different components that make them work. We all have a method that works for each item and once you lock into this, the creating is easy, respectful and involve great results. I am the easiest person to work with especially when the level of respect for one another is so strong to do the best for the songs.
Rockpages.gr: What were the hardest lessons you’ve learned so far in the business?
Jeff Scott Soto: That the business changes very frequently, is not friendly to most and there is very little security in it. These are the things you must tackle 1st, you must overcome them because the business will chew you up and spit you out. There is no loyalty out there, it’s everyone for themselves and everyone is trying to get a piece of a very small piece of real estate.
Rockpages.gr: It’s been way too long since JSS’s last solo show in Greece, when are you coming back?
Jeff Scott Soto: When I can, safely and effectively…. I love Greece, its always one of my favorite places to play!