‘Make a great record, and they will come!’ says Alan Niven with a smile.
The industry veteran and former Guns N’ Roses manager is better placed than most to chime in with his opinions on the music industry in 2016 and he says there is evidence even today that a great album can still rake in mega sales.
Now associated with Arizona band Razer who might just be the best band you’ve never heard of, Niven reckons Razer have what it takes to leave their musical bootprints in your rock n’ roll soul.
“If you wanna celebrate your soul, your individuality, the small victories you achieved this week and you wanna drive your pick up into the sunset with some excellent company, then this record will serve to contribute to the mindset ... salt of the earth rock n roll muthafuckers,” beams Niven as he discussed the band.
Described as Arizona’s greatest secret, Razer are ready to boot doors into the mainstream off their hinges and Niven believes the band are ‘world class.’
Recalling the chain of events which led him to begin working with the band he says: “Chris (Catero) used to work at Krank and he fixed Corey, my son, and Storm, up with amp heads.
“The quid pro quo was that I should sit in on a vocal session with Chris Powers. To be perfectly honest, I was less than impressed with their last record, and reluctant. Long story short, but when I had him sing face to face, Chris Powers blew my friggin' socks off.”
He explains: “Catero and I discussed things and set upon an approach that would better realize the elements of the band. He also had to agree to approaching recording with what I would call an analogue consciousness.
“Space, dynamics and organic tones. Once we got into it we found the three of us worked well together, we took the time to write meaningful songs and I consider Razer to be a truly worthwhile album. Sounds fuckin' great when the Tequila is flowing.
“But then I consider Storm of Perception, Buck and Evans, and Razer all to be world class. And there's this little band in Texas that is really interesting to me.”
Niven played a key role in the recording of Guns N’ Roses monster debut album Appetite For Destruction when bands followed a tried and tested musical timetable in a bid to get a record over.
Now the ever-changing musical landscape has created a seismic shift in the game which Niven acknowledges.
“ Ingeneral, the infrastructure has gone and the world wanders around staring at the screens on their phones ... so treat the medium as if it is late 1950s/ early 1960s, as if it is a singles driven medium, and make videos for great songs and put them out every six weeks,” he muses.
“Don't lean on the album format - you'll know when your following is primed and ready for an album.
“Be patient. If you are compelled to make music you don't want a brief career moment, you want a lifetime of making rock n roll. Be like Lemmy - die with your fuckin' boots on.”
While physical album sales have fallen the day of the album aren’t over says Niven who holds pop songbird Adele up as an example.
“Many factors are in play here, but look at Adele. Make a great record and they will come,” he says.
“There are too many ho hum digital records, recorded with 'apps for that', from ho hum talent cluttering up the ether - anyone can generate something that, superficially, seems like a record, but it's difficult to find something you can take to your heart, to your soul.
“There’s a great increase releases, but not in talent. We need better records and a clearer focus on those records - that’s your job Ed.”
How far Razer can climb up the rock n’ roll mountain is unclear, but with Niven on board, and with glowing reviews for their self-titled album, they have ever change of makinga bid for the summit.
A last word for Niven on the boys: “The future is uncertain and the end is always near, so take it to the limit while you may ... what else can a poor boy, or girl, do?”