Pelle Saether best known as vocalist with Grand Design expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
I have always loved high range singers with personality and my first vocalist hero was Ian Gillan from Deep Purple. I almost shit my pants when I first heard the song Child in Time from the live album “Made in Japan”. I found out that the rock singers from the seventies were my cup of tea so my main influencers became singers like Steve Walsh (Kansas), Brad Delp (Boston), Steve Perry (Journey), Lou Gramm (Foreigner) and Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow).
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?
No not really. I was the lead singer for a band called Glory North that later became Glory. I jumped off that wagon before the first album by Glory.
You have appeared on a number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
I like a lot the first and only album by Schizophrenic Circus (1996). We recorded it in my studio when there were free spots. We just tried out crazy things and the creativity was on top. We also made a Scandinavian tour as support to Saxon. Veeeeery happy times! Unfortunately no second album because our bass player broke up with his girlfriend and our crazy drummer got together with her!
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
Yes I do! I loooooove playing live with the guys in the band. We have the best fans in the world and it is really showing when we are performing. I used to get nervous before a gig but now I get like an adrenaline rush!
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip-top shape all these years?
Well to be honest, I can feel a difference in my voice. I have to warm up longer and my voice has become more sensitive to smoky stages and I try to avoid too much small talk before the gig. In the 80s and 90s I never warmed up and talked a lotta shit with everybody before shows 😊
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
Great question! Me and Micke from Coldspell, a good friend of mine, and a great guitarist, have talked over the years about putting together a project just for fun. Also a collab with my all-time favourite producer Mutt Lange would have been a dream come true.
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days in Glory or any bands you’ve been involved with that could be released?
I think there are some songs left from my days in Glory that they didn’t use on any albums. Also some songs from Schizophrenic Circus album 2 are somewhere on a cassette. Besides that I think all leftovers have been used.
Do you have any plans to release a solo album?
No, not really. I feel my visions and songs are getting realized in Grand Design. A solo album from me would probably sound like Grand Design but softer and more AOR inspired.
With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK?
We looooove the U.K. We have many fans there so it would be awesome to come back. So far we haven’t got any good offers but hopefully with our new album out things will happen.
You appear to have done some production work, is this something you enjoy?
I really enjoy working in the studio, producing, mixing other bands. The whole process is very unique. Five rockers in a studio, together 24/7 for 3-4 weeks, creating music and having fun. Nowadays I mostly work with drum recordings and mix, mastering.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?
The new Grand Design album “Rawk” is out. We are very proud of the result so I hope all you rockers have a listen to it. More Grand Design videos coming up and more shows being booked.
Interview by Stuart Dryden