– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with ATKINS / MAY PROJECT?

AL…..Hello Sergio, we are doing great thanks and we are currently putting together some videos off our lastest album.

PAUL .. Hi Sergio, Happy New Year to you!! And its all looking good Thanks !!

– First off, as you released your second album a few months ago; could you please make some history of the duet for all those that may don’t know about you yet?

AL….. Guitarist Paul May and myself go back over 20 years when he played guitar and help produce my first six solo offerings..we drifted apart for a few years when I put my band Holy Rage’ on the road and Paul turned to Christianity . We bumped into each other a couple of years ago and Paul asked me to guest on some new songs he had written and I ended up singing the entire album hence Atkins May Project was born…we called the album ‘Serpents Kiss’ and was very surprised how well it was received by the music press with very high sales worldwide, it was enough for our record company to ask us to record a follow up…..


– Last November you released «Valley of Shadows», your sophomore release. How is its feedback being? And which were your expectations on it?

Paul …. To be honest the majority of the reviews on the new album have been pretty much outstanding!! Great feedback, some very complimentary quotes and the fans have been tremendous with their support. We also just got metal album of 2012 from a spanish magazine!

AL……The feedback has been really good so far and it made ‘album of the month’ in a Denmark mag on it’s release in November. Our expectations were quite high because of the great reviews we received on our debut album and to my mind ‘Valley of Shadows’ is a bigger beast of an animal.


– Your debut «Serpent´s Kiss» was released a year ago, which makes me think you may have a strong source of inspiration from where you manage to create a huge amount of songs in a relatively short period of time so, are you already working on new ideas? Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to create your compositions?

AL……Paul and myself are both writers but has Paul wrote the songs on our successful debut I thought why change something that works so I let him take the reins again so I will let him tell you where his ideas and inspirations come from?

PAUL … Both albums cover a wealth of Powerful Subjects, ranging from Betrayal, World Events, Addiction to Pornography and even Prayer for that «dark night of the soul». I take what I see, experience and believe and combine that at an honest level and from my perspective as a Christian


– This being said, I would also like to know which bands or artists have influenced you and the ATKINS´ squad?

AL…….So many for me to answer but in the late 60’s two bands really inspired me to form ‘Judas Priest’ and they were ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘Deep Purple’…

Paul … once again many fab bands to choose from but Purple and Sabbath are right up there, along with Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, Hendrix …. too many to cite


– Digging deeper into «Valley of Shadows», we could say is an album that, in some way, marks certain evolution from the band, with more straight-forward and in your face tunes but, what do you think are the main differences between your two studio albums?

AL….The difference between the two albums are that ‘Serpents Kiss’ was random songs that Paul had written and very well too but ‘Valley of Shadows’ Paul wrote the songs with my vocal style in mind and to me this worked better.

Paul … I think «Valley of Shadows» has definitely a more ‘Mature’ feel about it, and as Al pointed out I wrote the songs specifically to suit HIS Vocals, with which he’s has done a superb job!! However I love the songs on «Serpent» too


– On the band´s info we always find Al is the evil side and Paul is the good and Christian side. Due to this I would like to know which side does finally beat on the songwriting.

Your music is a mixture of different influences, from Rock to Heavy Metal or more progressive sounds. So, would you mind to tell us if there´s any border you would never go through?

AL….You got that wrong Paul is the evil one??? just kidding!! we both come from metal backgrounds and we are trying to create a moAdern sounding old school music and it seems to work??? we have been asked by our record company to record an acoustic album..ARE THEY COMPLETLY MAD??? that’s my border but having said that some of the early work i did for Germany i did play acoustic guitar on.(I must have been on drugs.)

Paul … I don’t think there are any subjects or styles I wouldn’t approach, I think as a Christian I should be able to be as up front as possible and not be fearful to approach any subjects! oh and yeah the good guys win!! lol, usually!


– Lyrically, what does this «Valley of Shadows» deal with?

Paul…. okay the album covers a variety of subjects, from manipulation, to discovery, from bitterness, to pornography, never giving up, standing your ground, from bad reputations to the Chosen One! … Thats pretty much a rock’n’roll collection … ha ! but on a serious note the title track «Valley of Shadows» is a very honest track in as much as its about that «dark night of the soul» that finds us all in our life time and its the experience of calling out for help, a prayer for Gods deliverance through that darkest time … it emulates the emotions conveyed in the psalms 23 and 91 on a personal level … its a lament in rock. Blimey that was deep dude!


– All this about the album being said; how could you describe your new CD in just 3 words?


Paul … «Classic Rock Album» !!


– The cover artwork looks like quite «power metaller» but, what did you want to express with it? Please tell us a bit about the whole artwork and its creation.

Paul ….. The artwork was done by a friend and colleague of mine name Rodney Matthews … he’s a World class artist who is famous for his fantasy artwork. I commissioned Rodney for the first album «Serpents Kiss» and he came up with a prophetic cover that conveyed the state of the economy … stunning cover, if you check out our website at theres a page where I asked him to explain it all in detail! Worth a look. As far as the new album cover for «Valley Of Shadows» its actually a scene from «Lord of the Rings» when Gandalf says to the demon «You shall not pass» … I loved that imagery and thought of standing up and facing the demon no matter how big he may seem and saying «up yours … no more!» that picture of courage …. it reminds of so many biblical incidents … David and Goliath …. even the parallel of Gandalf fighting the demon and then laying down his life for his friends … a man named Jesus did that! I mean Lord of the rings was actually written by Tolkien who himself was also a Christian so the parallels are hardly surprising .. but apart form that its a damn good rock n roll kick ass cover!!


– On your first opus you did a cover for KISS´ «Cold Gin», but this time around you have no featured any cover song. So I am interested in knowing if you had to choose three songs to cover, which ones would you choose?

AL…. ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ by King Crimson…….’Cold Sweat’ by Thin Lizzy and Megadeth ‘Symphony of Destruction’

Paul … I don’t want to give away what we might be covering next …. but some of the ones I would love to cover outside of our project would be «Don’t Believe A Word» Thin Lizzy …. «Dirty Women» Black Sabbath …. «Long Live Rock ‘ n ‘Roll» Rainbow


– You are not newcomers at all into the Metal and Rock world, so I´d like to know which are your thoughts on the current state of this scene in general, more facilities to record music, tools as internet, much more bands, etc.

AL….In the UK the music scene is pretty healthy but young metal bands are finding it a bit tough with a lot of small venues closing down due to the poor economy so there seems to be too many bands and not enough clubs, i hope it all picks up again soon. Also a lot of the smaller independant metal labels have been swallowed up by the big record companies so the young kids rely on the internet to shift records which is a good thing….i love the world of pc’s (but not free downloading)’ I tunes’ etc and how technology has moved on so fast and wondered how we managed back in the 70’s without satnav’s ,mobile phones and computers….but we did??? We got lost a few times though!!!. LOL.


– Al Atkins was the former JUDAS PRIEST´s singer, a fact that will always be a part of the music history. Due to this I would like to know if you ever imagined back then the band would so successful and also what are your feelings on them.

AL…No way, but all bands dream the dream and hope one day to make it big time, we were a good band and was well received when we played live playing alongside other bands like Slade, Budgie, Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath to name a few,,, we played over 150 gigs back in ’72 and through this hard slog on the road and a few personal changes in the line up over the years they eventually got their reward and well deserved too. I am very honoured my name is mentioned in the same breath has Judas Priest , they always gave 100 percent on their live tours and have written some classic tracks over these long years.


– As 2012 ended few days ago; could you please tell us what are your 3 favourite albums of the year as well as the least favourite one?

AL…Black Country Communion…..Testament (The Dark Roots of Earth) Darrio Mollo and Tony Martin (TheThird Cage)…….’Don’t have a least

fave one. Sorry.’

PAUL …. My favourites I brought were actually all older releases !! «Grrr » Rolling Stones …. «Black Ice» AC/DC …… ‘Best of Rainbow» Rainbow


– And finally; what are your near-future plans?

AL…I will be re recording an album of all my favourite songs that i wrote from Judas Priest times to Holy Rage ,I will record just two Priest ones, ‘Never Satisfied’ and ‘Winter’ and others from my solo works and there will be some surprise guests on there too. Paul and myself will be recording some new videos of songs from ‘Valley of Shadows’ so i will be looking forward to both these projects in the near future…….

Paul …. I’m already at work on the third album !! I’m also going to be working with Al on his «Best of» Cd that will be cool thats going to be much heavier !! Im still involved in several projects other projects and currently putting together several videos for the new Atkins May Project!!


– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Paul … thanks for the interview, we are both looking forward to a great 2013!!!! Peace!!!


Sergio Fernández

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