The talented young dutch musician Wilmer Waarbroek is featured as backing vocalist on Arjen’s 2012 solo album Lost in the New Real. Links Wilmer on Facebook Wilmer on YouTube
Marjan Welman of the band Elister sent in a demo of her voice many years ago, and once again after her successful appearance in the Stream of Passion cover act “Team of Passion”. Arjen’s attention was drawn and he eventually invited her to sing a part on the new Ayreon…
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Arjen explains: I met Steve for the first time back in the eighties when we played in Italy with Vengeance, my band at the time. He still was a drummer and a goldsmith back then and I immediately recognized his amazing vocal talent after I heard him sing on a demo they gave me. A bit later he stayed at my house for a few days because
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Arjen explains: For the project Ambeon I was looking for a bassplayer who used a very different technique compared to my own or other bassists I usually work with. Various people recommended Walter who had established his name in music by playing for big names such as Pat Travers, Steve Lukather (Toto) and Snowy White (Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy). Walter did indeed play on Ambeon in his own style, which provided an added value to the product.
Arjen explains: I’ve always been a big fan of the progband Kayak, especially because of Ton’s amazing compositions. I asked him to play a synth solo on ‘Into the Electric Castle’ and he replied that it wasn’t his specialty. Yet I had seen him play a magnificent solo on a video of the English prog band Camel for which he played keys for many years and I really wanted that synth (Prophet 5) and that sound. Ton recorded…
Arjen enlisted the vocal talents of his “arch rival” Tobias Sammet (Avantasia, Edguy) to record an explosive, over-the-top version of the 1973 Alice Cooper hit, Elected. The song is featured on a 4-track EP including 3 other tracks…
Arjen explains: I heard Stratovarius on a metal compilation and thought the singer Timo had a very pleasant voice. I got in touch with him through email and he was immediately interested in participating. We immediately hit it off, and because we have the same sense of humor, we laughed so hard and had funny pictures made of the both of us. I used Timo’s voice very differently from…
Thijs van Leer
Arjen explains: I’ve always been a fan of the band Focus, especially Thijs’ flute playing. When I was looking for a flutist for ‘Into the Electric Castle’ I had my sights set on him. It wasn’t easy to get a hold of him, but once he had heard my music he could be persuaded. Thijs, in comparison to other classically trained musicians, is not only able to play from sheet music but is also quite able to improvise. A day after the recording I received a fax from him in which he told me how wonderful he felt…
Stephen van Haestregt
Arjen explains: “Stephen helped me install my new computer program Protools and taught me how to use it. He and I started the Ambeon project together by putting Ayreon song fragments into the computer, editing them, dressing them up so new songs were created. I then decided to record a real drummer to add more of a human feel to the songs, and Stephen turned out to be an excellent drummer…
Sharon den Adel
Arjen explains: Back in about 1997 I read in a music magazine that the new band ‘Within Temptation’ named Ayreon as one of their sources of inspiration. Of course I was honoured so I went to their concert and met with Sharon afterwards. She told me that she would love to sing on an Ayreon CD. Sharon has a beautiful, fragile voice and great charisma. At the time we recorded her part of the Indian she wasn’t very
Arjen explains: I heard a demo recording of Ruud’s voice, and his warm, calm voice immediately won me over. Although the first CD ‘The Final Experiment’ was already finished, I wrote and recorded ‘Charm of the Seer’ especially for Ruud. I also played and sang on some of his solo tracks under the name ‘Biscuit’. He now plays in a great band called Cloudmachine.
Arjen explains: The Symphony X webmaster informed me that guitarist Michael Romeo liked my music. I started listening to Symphony X and was blown away by Russell’s voice.
I tried to get in touch with Russell, which wasn’t easy but as soon as he had heard my music he called me a few hours every week! Russell has a very powerful and versatile voice, and on top of that he…
Arjen explains: I know Rodney from the glam rock outfit The Blockbusters (www.blockbusters.com) because I sang a Bowie song on their 1999 album ‘Powder to the People’. Rodney has been repairing and providing computers for me for years. One day he left his solo CD on my desk. I was very impressed by his powerful voice, so I asked him to sing a song on this album. He chose…
Arjen explains: I was looking for a voice who could represent ‘Death’ and what better choice than a grunter? I was about to record Sharon den Adel, and her boyfriend Robert Westerhold is the grunter of ‘Within Temptation’. And because he loves my music, he was more than willing to grunt along. Robert told me that George Oosterhoek of Orphanage could release the most chilling…
Arjen explains: Robert and I go back a long way, further than I can remember. When I had disbanded Vengeance, I finally had the opportunity to work with Robert. We started Planet Nine, a Whitesnake type of band, but at that time that kind of music was no longer popular, so the band never took off. Robert has a low, raw and full voice, and is often compared to David Coverdale, which doesn’t…
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Arjen explains: I’ve always been impressed with Robby’s abilities but never knew how good he was until I actually worked with him. I went to him for one section of a piano piece. I played it on guitar for him, and he immediately turned it into an entire symphony! When this was recorded in one take, I had him play another three piano pieces. On top of that he conjured up…
Arjen explains: For ‘The Dream Sequencer’ I was looking for a drummer that, apart from being tight and powerful, could also add sensitivity and a groove. I remembered having heard a demo recording of Rob that really impressed me so I went to a concert of his (stoner rock) band Celestial Season, and my suspicions were confirmed; he was the right man for the job…
Arjen explains: René works in the RS29 studio where I recorded/mixed most of my CDs, and has played keyboard for a lot of different types of bands; from the symphonic Rubicon to the death metal band Gorefest. Rene has fast fingers and is a very versatile keyboardist. The only thing that gets on my nerves is that his guitar imitations on the keyboard are just too damn close to the real thing!
Arjen explains: Over ten years ago I saw a performance of Gamma Ray and the high powerful voice of Ralf stuck with me. When a German reporter told me that Ralf had been trying to get in touch with me, I called him immediately and invited him to sing on Ayreon. I went to Germany and the song was recorded within an hour. He is a great and reliable guy.
Arjen explains: During the 60s Peter was a big star in the Netherlands with his band Q65, but I was more interested in his progressive period with the band Finch in the 70s. The first time I met Peter was when he produced my very first demo in 1978. From that time on we’ve always kept in touch and worked together in the cover band ‘The Renegades’, the 1993 Anthony CD, and the first Ayreon CD. Peter was…
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