FATES WARNING's RAY ALDER: 'I Started Losing My Voice Probably 15 Years Ago Or So'
July 16, 2023
FATES WARNING singer Ray Alder, who is promoting his sophomore solo album, "II", was asked in a recent interview with Metallerium how he manages to cover so much ground with his vocals and what he does to keep his voice in shape after all these years. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "To be perfectly honest, I do the best that I can with what I have left. I won't go into names, but there's other singers who have higher voices that used to scream and just can't really do it as much anymore. I am the same. I started losing my voice probably 15 years ago or so. And I was going to the doctors, and they were just basically saying, 'You can't have it forever. It's never gonna be the same. You're gonna get older, and it's gonna change.' So I've changed with it. I obviously can't sing as high as I used to, but I do the best that I can, I guess."
Ray, who will turn 56 next month, continued: "As far as keeping in shape, I'm always busy. If I'm writing, I'm singing every day for, like, six, seven hours a day. So that kind of keeps it in shape. But it's different than when we go on tour. If I go on tour, I have to rehearse. I go to a studio in the center of the city and sing live through the P.A., [to] music with no vocals. And I do that probably two hours a day for two months, just to get my voice in shape to go on tour. Otherwise I would lose my voice in a day or two. So, yeah, there's that. But singing behind a mic every day is a little different. You can do the same thing a hundred times and get it right, usually."
Back in 2014, Alder told Stormbringer webzine about how his vocal approach has changed over the years: "Yeah, [when I first joined FATES WARNING] I was young and everybody was doing the screaming and I thought that was cool. As I got older and progressed as a singer and realized what I wanted to do, I found it really silly. And then, even [singing] live in the old days, I tried not to do it as much. It just seemed silly to me. It doesn't make any sense. But as I grew as a singer, I knew what I wanted to do, and I realized that, I think, soul is more important than range. And it seems as though my voice just said, 'Yeah, I agree with you. Fuck it!' And it just kind of changed on its own. But, I mean, I like my voice where it is now. I have no problem… Again, I like where I am. Some people wanna hear the high screams, but… sorry! [Laughs]"
Asked if FATES WARNING had to change the instrumental parts of some of the band's older songs in order to better suit his new vocal style, Alder said: "You've gotta work around different things where the high parts are, and a lot of the times I think it sounds much better the way it is, lowering certain things and [hitting] different notes. In hindsight, I wish I'd done what I'm doing now back then. [But] it was a thing at the time. Geoff [Tate] isn't really doing those anymore either… That's what we get for smoking and singing too much."
In a 2020 interview with Prog magazine, Alder spoke about what he is doing differently now compared to how he approached singing in the early 2000s. He said: "The top end of my range did start to go away, but I saw a doctor in Los Angeles who told me to stop drinking and smoking, and even to sleep in a certain way. That was never going to fly. The problem was that I destroyed my voice by never rehearsing, going from zero to 100mph. So for the past few years I've sung for a few hours almost every day and now it's back in shape again."
"II" came out on June 9 via InsideOut Music. Once again, just like for 2019's "What The Water Wants", the new LP was written with guitarists Mike Abdow (FATES WARNING touring member) and Tony Hernando (LORDS OF BLACK) — who both also performed bass guitar on their own songs — with drumming by Craig Anderson (IGNITE, CRESCENT SHIELD) and mixing by Simone Mularoni (RHAPSODY, MICHAEL ROMEO, DGM).
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