► Hello! For a band to have been around as long as the answer has, and to still retain all its founding members is quite rare, do you believe that you have a certain chemistry in the band that other bands seemingly lack?
I definitely think there are a lot of closet rockers out there who for one reason or another are reluctant to give themselves over to the genre completely. All we’ve ever done is be honest to ourselves and our fan base about the kind of music we love and the kind of songs we want to write and jam out to live. We were never the kind of band who sat back and tried to work out what was trendy at the time and attempt to imitate what was going on. It kind of annoys me when bands do that and get all this credit for being original when they’re clearly not.
► Do you ever feel that your music would be more appreciated (and successful) had you been formed the band in a different era?
Perhaps. But I’m a firm believer that there’s a timelessness to the music that we play which transcends the pigeon hole culture we live in.
► After touring with the likes of AC/DC and Whitesnake, how has it affected you in terms of planning the future of The Answer? Have the plans been optimistically magnified since?
We’ve always had big plans for The Answer. We want to be as big as the bands that you’ve mentioned and playing with those guys helps to keep us hungry for more success. It’s always been a case of onwards and upwards. We’re getting there.
► What inspires you to write new music, and have your musical inspirations changed at all since the early days of the band?
I take inspiration from all over the place. Whether it’s partying with ACDC in New Orleans or having a quiet pint in my local pub in Belfast I try to soak it all up. So in a way my source of inspiration is constantly changing and that stops the whole process from getting stale and tired.
► You had the opportunity to record the Revival album in El Paso, Texas; did the recording location influence the production of this record in any way?
I believe it did. There’s a strong underlying blues flavour to this record which I think was fed by the location. At times it felt like we were in the middle of an old Western set. Paul even got to play a large portion of the album on Billy Gibbon’s guitar.
► With such a busy tour schedule, how difficult is it to keep in touch with the Northern Irish music scene? And are there any bands from Northern Ireland you are really gunning for in 2012?
I make a point of keeping in touch with what’s going on at home. Especially if there’s some good rock n roll happening. Right now there’s a number of shit hot rockers on the scene…Swanee River, Trucker Diablo and Million Dollar Reload are three bands I’d love to see kick some ass this year.
► After playing over 100 arena shows with AC/DC, have you found it hard adjusting to playing the smaller venues on your own tour, or have you been happy to return to the eyeball-to-eyeball closeness that the smaller venues offer?
I’m loving it. There’s no better feeling in the world than having your own crowd sing back the words to all your songs. It’s been great to know that there’s so much love out there for The Answer.
► 2011 was a massive year for The Answer, but if you could magically travel to the end of 2012, what would you boys be speaking about over some year-end beers? Another successful bout of tours? Another release? Simply another year of being the band?
A platinum album and a couple of arena tours wouldn’t go a miss.
► Finally, what advice would you give to Northern Irish bands who want to follow in your footsteps?
Make sure you can play your instrument, get on with your band mates and write good songs. Simple really.