Hello Rodney Matthews, how are you doing? I’m well thanks. Hope things are well with you too. How is the Covid 19/Corona pandemic affecting you and your wife and your fellow friends in the music/Artist scene in the UK? When the so-called Covid 19 pandemic was first unleashed I thought ‘this will ruin my business!’ On the contrary, my wife Sarah and I have never been busier. We have been able to publish our children’s book Yendor and have almost completed work on our accompanying animation featuring our junior adventurer, which was funded by our fans through Kickstarter.As for my friends in the music business, some are faring better than others. People I know who are involved with rock promotions and sales are suffering, while others (particularly musicians) have been able to record in their own personal studios and are still interacting on a global level with little change. I just received this great double LP with this outstanding front cover, beautiful inlay! It’s one of the nicest Vinyls I have ever got/have in my collection! A big thumbs up for this full-on-professional presentation of Vinyl..! Thank you for your kind review of the ‘Trinity’ album and its production, on behalf of myself and Sarah (who worked tirelessly on the graphics, the promotion, the legalities and just about everything else!) How did you come up with the name Trinity to be the name of the band/project? This album goes back so long that my recollections on some points are not too sharp, but I do remember that the “three swans” image was part of a presentation of pencil drawings made to the band Asia for consideration on their ‘Aqua’ album cover. It was not the one chosen, but sometime later I decided to produce a full colour painting of the scene. This was subsequently bought by a regular collector of my art from the Netherlands. When Jeff Scheetz and I got down to choosing images to inspire music for the album, I thought to include the ‘Trinity’ picture, as for me the swans were symbolic of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With Jeff and I being both committed Christians, it seemed a good fit. Why did you release the album on your own label/management? And not on a respected record label like for instance SPV or Inside Out to name a few? We did not start out with the intention of self-publication for ‘Trinity’. In fact, my first thought was to present the demo to SPV, but they passed on it for the reason that the album was mostly instrumental and therefore potentially not a good seller. Ultimately, we signed with Gonzo Multimedia, who had a publishing history with Rick Wakeman. However, Gonzo were ultimately not able to guarantee a 2019 Christmas release and because I had promised this to our fans, we pulled the album and went it alone. As it has turned out the album has since earned quite a reputation of cult status with many favourable reviews from press and fans alike! What is the reason that you ‘only’ sell the Vinyls and CDs via your website and not distribution canals in the UK and EU etc? By selling the album from our Rodney Matthews Studios Website we are able to provide a personal service and keep control. Our luxury boxed set has completely sold out and sales on CD and vinyl are ticking away on an international basis. Rodney Matthews and Oliver Wakeman Then I saw the great musicians you have collaborated with; Rick Wakeman, Oliver Wakeman and John Payne from Asia to name a few. How did you find this prog-rock ‘Heroes’ to be on your album? Most of the musicians on the album were already friends, as we had worked together on album art for their own creations, so it was not a big problem to obtain their services for ‘Trinity’. I must say how much I enjoyed working with all these highly talented rock heroes as you put it. And then Jeff Scheetz, I know him from the 80’s/90’s. When he released as a great young and gifted guitarist his album; Woodpecker Stomp. How did you find him? I have known Jeff Scheetz since 1993 when we met at a Christian rock music convention in the UK. Jeff explained how he was aware of my art, having seen published images in the US and before long we had agreed to work on a music project based upon my imagery. One of the hundreds of drawings of Rodney Matthews Please tell us about the idea of making this album? You are a famous illustrator and conceptual designer of fantasy and science fiction. Why this album? I have made my living from my visual art, yet there has always been a musical yearning in me waiting to break out. It was just a matter of waiting the long years until the timing and opportunity arose. ‘Trinity’ was rooted in the 1960s and had a very long gestation period! Can you tell us about the writing process of the album, time in the studio? Did you also travel to the USA to record parts of the album? All musicians involved were given an image to inspire their work, although most of the concepts were written by Jeff Scheetz and to some extent myself, with one track written by Oliver Wakeman and one by Pete Coleman. In the first instance, I travelled to Jeff’s studio in Kansas City, USA, where we laid down some rough ideas. Jeff sent me some rough guitar tracks with a click and I was first to record finished drums at M2 studios in the UK. Later, I flew to Las Vegas, to oversee recordings made by John Payne in his studio. As time went on Oliver Wakeman added his keyboards, again using his own studio, Pete Coleman did likewise and Tony Clarkin from Magnum (unusually for him) recorded some bass tracks at M2. It was an international effort. You were born just right after/end of the Second World War in 1945. How did you find out that you were so gifted to do what you are doing? Probably there were in the 1950’s and 60’s any schools teaching what you are doing now? Who or what was your inspiration? My drumming aspirations can be attributed to (or blamed upon) my father who had been a dance band drummer in the 30s and 40s. He made the mistake of leaving one of his drum kits assembled in the family living room. The rest is a little-known history. My art can also be traced to my father, who got me going with art as early as aged three by drawing Walt Disney characters, for me to copy on (believe it or not) the interior walls of our house – the year, about 1948. How did you get the idea to paint and illustrate that started somewhere in the 70’s album-covers for bands like; Asia, Magnum, Rick Wakeman, Diamond Head, Nazareth, The Scorpions, Eloy, Thin Lizzy, Praying Mantis, Barclay James Harvest, Seventh Angel, Detritus, Tigers of Pan Tang etc? I was never trained in fantasy or sci-fi art, but had a couple of years tuition in general drawing and illustration at the West of England College of Art in Bristol, UK. My art heroes at the time were, of course, my dad and Walt Disney, but later on I discovered Arthur Rackham, Frank Frazetta and a plethora of fantasy/sci-fi artists. What bands of artists were you listening to in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s? And what are bands that you listen now Anno 2021? That you consider as your favourites? Let me think – during the 1970s my turntable would be occupied with albums by Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, etc., but also with albums by some of my jazz heroes including the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and swingers like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. My 1960s music intake would have included The Shadows and The Ventures and Chuck Berry. Then later, the Beatles, Stones, Cream, etc. My favourites today are all or mostly retro acts from the golden years of rock and jazz. Drummer Rodney Matthews Do you think that there will be another album released with you sitting behind the drumkits? Realistically, I am currently so busy as to not have time to organise or even think of such a thing – yet in fleeting moments, yes, I think I’d love to do another album with my friends. Please tell us how you got involved with/in the obscure prog-rock Bands; Squidd and Originn? Originn and Squidd were the last in a line of my bands that as you suggest started and ended in relative obscurity. From the beginning in 1960 there were, The Cheetahs, The Rhythm Cats and Pentworth’s People. That said, we had some great times and supported many legendary bands. After our final rejection slip from CBS records in 1974 I called it a day. Yendor Can you tell us about a new project you started called ‘Yendor – The Journey of a junior Adventurer’? Many of the projects that concern me today have their origins in the 1970s – Yendor – The journey of a Junior Adventurer is no exception. The original Yendor children’s illustrated book was published in 1978 by the company that also published my poster output – Big O (London, Germany and USA). In 2020, Sarah and I decided to re-publish the book, with a few changes to the text and layout. This was quickly followed by a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign which has allowed us to adapt the book to an animated short. We are currently in the final stages of the animation process and are now setting our sights on video games and a second animated series or special for TV. Time will tell on this. What are the other projects you are busy with at the moment? We have a story and illustrations almost ready for our second children’s book Oddney’s Otherland and are considering other intellectual properties for development, subject to the magic ingredient – funding! CD and Booklet Do you have a last word or something that’s on your heart you want to share with us? Yes, I can say a word to the many people out there who have recently lost loved ones to the Covid situation, who have lost their jobs, who have become down-hearted, who have contemplated self-harm, and who have almost given up and that is: Stand firm in the belief that no evil thing is ever permanent. The truth will be revealed and we shall see good times again.