John Wenlock-Smith partakes in a Q&A with Jon Davison about the new Arc of Life project for which Jon is the vocalist.
1/ Arc of Life is a new project, how did to come into existence?
While on the road with YES a few years back, Billy and I found a mutual inspiration to start writing during the long drives on the tour bus. Jay was soon involved, supplying his creative input and positive perspective. We then unanimously felt Jimmy was a natural fit.
2/ Who suggested Dave Kerzner for the keyboard role?
Again we unanimously agreed, as with Jimmy, that Dave would bring the perfect musical ingredients into the Arc fold. We were all thinking the same thing in a sort of collective consciousness, but to answer your question accurately, I believe it was Billy who first gave voice to the idea.
3/ What are the main themes to the album?
The most prominent theme is the evolution of mankind. The concept of an arc of life signifying the rise in man’s consciousness and eventually leading to a far greater understanding, passed all political power play and the greed and indifference which plague and sustain the inequalities of our world. Through this ascension of evolution, man’s intelligence will become highly developed, revealing technological advancements beyond our wildest imaginations.
4/ Were you tempted to get a named producer in for the album or Roger Dean for the cover?
We did seriously consider both at one early point. We discussed the idea of working with Hugh Padgham, but eventually agreed that producing ourselves, with Billy’s skills at the helm, meant ultimately having complete creative freedom.
By choosing to not work with Roger Dean we thought we might minimize the Yes comparisons. I suppose they are inevitable anyway, but we certainly didn’t want to add to them (lol.)
5/ Aside from Yes, what other influences are apparent?
Back to Padgham and The Police sound. Another influence was Peter Gabriel, particularly in a song like, Talking With Siri.
6/ Is this a one off project or can we expect to hear more new material and, if so, is there a time frame for this?
We actually have a lot more material already in the works that will eventually surface on the next record. We have no time frame as of yet for ARC II. More importantly for now, we have so much to look forward to with this record.
7/ This band could have great potential for the live arena, could there be live shows post covid? Could you tour with Yes for example?
We want to be out on the road, sharing our music with as many people as possible, worldwide. We are totally keen to the idea of opening for a bigger arena type band. The only way it would be right touring with Yes is if each member of Yes also performed in the context of their respective solo and side projects. An event highlighting the current day Yes family tree, if you will, followed by a headline performance by Yes.
8/ I think the overall response has been overwhelmingly positive?
That is great to hear. The album has been a long time coming and it’s rewarding to finally witness its coming to light and the enthusiastic reaction of so many.
9/ What’s happening with Yes, is there any progress on new material yet?
We’ve been creating and recording since the pandemic hit and have our sights set on a new album. The rest I’ll leave as a surprise.
10/ What’s the story behind the album cover?
The album cover is symbolic of the dawning of enlightenment just off in the horizon as mankind perceives its light at the end of the long and treacherous tunnel through which we have journeyed – to reach at last the exit of the deep cave of darkness and ignorance. What can I say… I’m an optimist (lol!)
‘Arc of Life’ was released on February 12th 2021.
Order the album here: