A new, epic power metal project is slowly seeing the light of day in England. The man behind it all is Billy Jeffs. On a daily basis he plays the drums in NightMare World. With Memories Of Old he does everything – except for one thing: the vocals. Therefore, he invited Tommy Johansson (Sabaton, ReinXeed).
Could you tell me a bit about the project and why you decided to start up Memories Of Old?
Billy: Well, whilst I wish that NightMare World was a full time thing, unfortunately that’s not the case quite yet! So, I do have a little bits of time here and there to work on something else. NightMare World is a more straight forward progressive power metal band, and while I do love writing and playing that genre of music, my heart truly lies with epic power metal.
Memories Of Old is in effect my epic metal outlet that allows me to go wherever I want with the music. The first album is an epic adventure concept album that tells a huge story all the way through and it’s almost laid out like a theatrical production.
Is this a solo project, or do you collaborate with others – and do you have any plans to make Memories Of Old into a band?
Billy: I am writing and playing all music on the record, but the one thing I can’t do well enough is sing. There is only one person I could have imagined singing on this album and I’m very lucky and truly honoured to have Tommy Johansson [Sabaton, ReinXeed] on lead vocals. I’ve been a huge fan of his music for many, many years and to be working with him now on my own music is out of this world.
I also have the Australian pirate metal band LagerStein playing the part of the pirates in the story. They are great fun to have on board and are doing an amazing job at making what I hear in my head become a reality.
In terms of making a band one day? We will see! I suppose I need to gauge interest once the album is released. If there is demand, then I would certainly love to take Memories Of Old live. I already have a few people in mind for this!
I know you are working on the debut album! How is that going?
Billy: It’s going great so far, but it really is hard work! I’ve never done anything like this before and to be doing it 100% on my own is exhausting. I go through many stages of inspiration, sometimes there is none and sometimes I can’t stop writing. I’m lucky that a lot of the album has been writing itself so to speak… But I do hit the odd brick wall now and then and have to walk away for weeks or sometimes even months before I go back that section.
I am really happy with what is finished so far though! The single is ready for the studio so you will hopefully be hearing that very soon. The rest of the album is around 60-70% finished, so I just need to carry on and hope that everything comes together.
Then I think I will take a two year holiday, haha!
The album is a concept album where the lyrics tells a story. What can you tell me about that?
Billy: The Zeramin Game is actually a book that I started writing years ago. Unfortunately writing a book for me was way too hard! But I always remembered the story and the plot, and when it came to me wanting to write a power metal album, I thought why not, let’s incorporate the story.
To explain the story here would take a while, but I can tell you that the album is almost like a musical, With different characters being represented, an overture at the start and a finale at the end. It really is very theatrical at times.
How would you describe the music, and who are your musical influences?
Billy: When I write for the album all I am trying to do is write music that I enjoy listening to and that makes me smile. In terms of genre though it’s tricky. I suppose it would be a mixture of epic power metal, progressive metal/rock… hell, sometimes there are even hints of blues, jazz etc. It just goes anywhere.
People who have heard the demos however, are mainly telling me that it reminds them of early Twilight Force, Gloryhammer, and even Dream Theater. I would certainly say there is a strong ReinXeed infleunce too. It’s hard to be original these days! Imagine having to double check that you are not ripping off your own singer after writing a new passage or melody!
What is the timeline? When can we expect to hear something from the album?
Billy: Well as I say, the single is now studio ready. Tommy has tracked his vocals and I’m just looking at booking in the time. Once recorded, mixed and mastered, I plan to release the single ASAP afterwards!
I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Tommy’s vocal performance on the song is simply outstanding!
Will this new project affect NightMare World in any way?
Billy: No, not at all. NightMare World is a band I’ve been in from the very start when Sam [Shuttlewood, guitar] and I conceived it, and that was over 10 years ago now! So naturally it is very Close to my heart. Also, right now is the bands best time. We have been playing some great shows and have had some amazing opportunities so far and Things just seem to get better and better.
NightMare World is working on the second album, how is that going?
Billy: Yes, we are! Finally, haha! We are currently tracking a single which we plan to release over the next few months along with a music video for the song. The rest of the album we plan to have out next year for sure. It’s going to be a great record!
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