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John Prekesh – Vocals for Shakra

Date: 1/24/13
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. How long have you been in the band and how many albums have you sung on?

JOHN: I joined in 2009, this is my second album. On my first album with them, “Back On Track”, it went to #2 on the Swiss album charts. With this album, “Power Play”, it went to #1 which is so cool. We worked really hard on this new album.

2. Do you know the band Gotthard? They are also from Switzerland.

JOHN: Yeah, of course I know them. Great band, really like the new singer, has his own style. I really like their album “Dial Hard”.

3. Was your audition a challenge and what did you have to sing for it?

JOHN: At the time I worked as a sales assistant and my boss told me Shakra was looking for a singer and he said I should send em my stuff. So I told the story to my mom, and she sent some of my stuff to Thom (our main song writer), and I didn’t know she did. A couple hours later she got an answer from him and he really liked my voice, wanted to meet me right away, and two days later I met the guys and we hit it off right away. I had to learn the songs first before I sang with them, so they were ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Inferno’, and the ballad ‘Why’. It was perfect, the chemistry. Two weeks later I was on a TV show.

4. Were you a fan of the band prior to becoming a member?

JOHN: Yeah I’ve known them from the radio.

5. Who are your influences from hard rock and metal?

JOHN: O man, I like a lot of people. Van Halen, old Bon Jovi, Extreme, Mr. Big, also Alter Bridge, 3 Doors Down, Nickelback, some Linkin Park, I like different kinds of music, its good for writing. Iron Maiden, Rock In Rio is a great DVD. I also like Hammerfall, Edguy.

6. What is the scene like for hard rock and metal bands in Switzerland?

JOHN: I think its pretty good. There are a few of these open air festivals to perform in front of a large audience. It’s important to be open to different kinds of music, and an open air festival is a good place to expose a hard rock band to an audience.

7. I hear some influences from American hard rock bands , like Nickelback, n some of Shakra’s music. Do you hear that as well?

JOHN: Music is a personal matter, and our tastes are diversified. I hear Alter Bridge, German bands, its modern. I just like Shakra’s music. I can live with it if you hear the Nickeback, (laughs). Maybe I hear them a little in a couple spots.

8. Has Shakra ever been asked to tour the USA?

JOHN: No, not yet. But we would like to, I know we would come to America if asked. We have been to many of the European countries. We have yet to tour in the South American and Eastern countries. That takes time to get our name out there, and we need a good promoter. I would love to tour in Brazil too, they have an amazing dedication to hard rock and heavy metal.

9. Why was the first video for the new album “PowerPlay”, the ballad, ‘Wonderful Life’?

JOHN: Really, to get on radio. Its very commercial, I know that. But the second video is for ‘Save You From Yourself’, it’s a rock song, I like the video too. It should be out next month.

10. How involved were you in the songwriiting process for “PowerPlay”?

JOHN: Thom is our main songwriter, he works alone, afterwards we work together on the vocal lines. I wrote the lyrics together with our bass player, Dominik. I was involved with every song in some way.

11. Since you are the new guy in the band, do you still feel like the new guy, or a member of the band?

JOHN: I really feel part of the band. we know each other better now, team spirit, the whole deal.

12. Shakra’s music is classic hard rock/metal, a little more modern and contemporary. So, has your record label made efforts to send singles to American radio for airplay?

JOHN: You know I really don’t know. We have a good relationship with the label, but I don’t know. They say they do something, but do we really know that? No. That has been a problem getting radio to play this kind of music. We do get airplay here in Switzerland, the country is very supportive.

13. Plans for 2013?

JOHN: Playing live, summer festivals. March through May club shows.

Official website: http://www.shakra.ch/en/news.html


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