Rock Overdose and Dimitris Aloras came in touch with the Austrian AOR rockers Cornerstone and learned about their upcoming plans, their belief in their new album ''Reflections'', the special bonds between two brothers in a band and the confusion with the Danish metal band Cornerstone which doesn't exist no more, among others. Michael Wachelhofer (bass/keyboards) and Alina Peter (vocals) enlightened us, giving us full details on their ways of thinking and working as a band.
Rock Overdose: First of all, welcome to Rock Overdose, it's nice to have you here. Where do we find you at the moment and what are your current actions?
Alina :Thank you very much for having us! We are going on a short break over the winter season but we will definitely be back on the road again next year in spring. 2016 was a very exhausting but also exciting year for us so we decided to make a 3-months break so everyone can get new energy and motivation.
Rock Overdose: You have released your third album called ''Reflections''. To most people, the third album is the most critical for a band, how do you see it as an effort? Are you fully satisfied with its result?
Alina: Yes, we definitely are! We put so much work, emotions and memories in it and we really tried to do our best to show our fans a great third album and I guess we reached this goal. The album was produced by Harry Hess in Canada and he did a great job! He put his personal touch in the songs and he got the best out of it.
The album is a huge step forward, especially production wise. It’s pure AOR/Melodic Rock like Fleetwood Mac or Journey. Our fans love the new album, they are incredibly supportive and provided us with the best feedback you could ask for.
A few radio stations in England as well as in Germany and Austria have already taken our new single “Last Night” into rotation, so everything’s quite rosy at the moment.
Michael: Of course there are always things, you could do better, but I’m really satisfied with the tunes. We kept a certain amount of style-variation: for example, “Whatever” is an orchestra-piano-ladden ballad, which could be played in every Lovesong-show on BBC Radio 2, same with “Sooner Or Later”, which has some Sixties-influence.
It was fun, but also because of Harry’s production, the spectrum of the whole album became a bit more focused, and I mean that in an absolutely positive way.
Rock Overdose: Why did it take you 5 years to release ''Reflections'' since the release of the previous record ''Somewhere In America''? Did you want to give time to yourselves and the previous album to grow inside the listeners' minds?
Michael: Well, it wasn’t really 5 years: in 2013 we did the Charity-EP for the “Smalltown Boy”-project... although it entered the charts, this whole thing wasn’t a great idea. It wasn’t Cornerstone music, we created it for charity - a good charity - but I’m not proud of it musically. So it was quite clear for us, that we have to do something in the like of “Somewhere in America”, and I guess, “Reflections” is the result.
We also had a few changes within the band, Alina joined two years earlier, so we’ve decided, to have one Tour with this Line-Up under our belt first, to give us enough time to become a band and so on, before we walked into the studio. I don’t wanted to record an album and doing all of this heavy promotion with someone I can’t stand *laughing*
Rock Overdose: You come from a country with a rich classical music background. How do the people of your country feel about this legacy and how is rock and metal sounds treated in Austria in general?
Michael: Being completely honest, it’s more difficult for an Austrian Band in Austria, then abroads. People here tend to bully their own bands, so we have decided to concentrate on the markets, that are more open-minded, musically. Especially in the UK music is part of the culture, and our tunes were always well received.
As an Austrian artist you have to become successfully abroad first, before you’ll get any acceptance or respect in your own country. Also Falco and Opus made it in the states first, so I guess this is also our way – building up a fanbase in Europe and the states.
Rock Overdose: It would be interesting to know which were your first listenings that enabled you to want to play music. Being a polyorganist, as you both play bass and keyboards, how did all these sounds find their way inside you and are there any new bands or artists that you'd recommend to the readers of this interview?
Michael: I pretty much come from the AOR-side of the street... Toto, Alan Parsons, Queen, Journey... those are the bands I grew up with. Steve listened to some harder edged music – Metallica, Gun’s Roses, Bodycount, this stuff. Of course our own music is influenced by those artists, but we’re always try to keep an unique sound, we’re no copycats – at least we’re trying not to be some *laughing*
With “Reflections” I wanted to create something keyboard-orientated, a heavier version of Savage Garden. Steve wanted to create something that sounds like Gun’s Roses. At the end of the day, Harry turned up the guitars and the drums and created something, that neither sounds like “Affirmation” nor “Appetite For Destruction” – Reflections sounds completely unique, and this is, what I like on this album: love it or hate it, it’s Cornerstone. Alina is the one who explores new music... I do more researching of old bands, that I don’t know – so at least they are “new” for me *laughing*.
I purchased the first Aztec Camera album lately, plus a Sampler with some obscure Italian artists like Rino Gaetano on it, so I try to explore the history of music at the moment.
Rock Overdose: How relaxing is for a band to have two brothers inside it? Do you feel more comfort and certainty that things are gonna go the right way since the both of you take part in it?
Michael: I guess it’s a special relationship, not always harmonious. It can happen from time to time, that we might say ‘Go! Fuck off! We’ll do it like this...’ We’re not very diplomatic with each other, but general it’s cool. We have a blind understanding of each other. We don’t need many words. We could travel back from a gig two hours away and not speak for an hour. It’s not uncomfortable; it’s a positive thing working with your brother.
Rock Overdose: We know that you are a very active live band, please describe us a typical Cornerstone gig to the ones not knowing you or the ones about to witness your live presence for the first time in the future.
Alina: They can expect AOR and enthusiastic live performances. We play our own songs from our last two albums “Head Over Heels” and “Somewhere in America” and of course our new album “Reflections”. On stage we always give our best, we just want to have some fun and we try to leave our fans with remarkable memories.
Rock Overdose: I don't know if you knew it, but there was also another Cornerstone band from Denmark in a more hard rock/heavy metal style. Have you ever faced confusion with the band's name?
Michael: Yes, we are aware of the other band. We founded our band a bit earlier and trademarked the name – but at this time, Internet wasn’t that common, and so we found out a few years earlier, when the other band already released something. This was always a bit of a questionmark, but because the other band doesn’t exist anymore, I don’t see this as a problem, although the question appears from time to time in interviews *laughing*
Rock Overdose: We'd like to know about the band's actions in the upcoming 2017 year, I guess more gigs are to follow, anything else in mind?
Alina: Of course, we are planning on playing a few gigs around Europe again next year maybe England, Germany and Austria for sure but we haven’t fixed anything particular yet.
Rock Overdose: We want to thank you for your time in answering these questions, I hope your vision stays alive through the years and you'll gain more fans with each effort. The last words belong to you, you can add anything we didn't ask.
Alina: Thank you too! It was a pleasure to be interviewed by you. We just want to say thank you for the continuing support and we will do our best to live up to the expectations of our fans and hope that the next year will be as good or even better than 2016. You can find more information on www.facebook.com/cornerstoneaustria or www.cornerstone.co.at
Michael: Well, thx for the interview, Roy, and all the best to the readers of Rockoverdose. In case you want to support Cornerstone, the new album “Reflections” is available at amazon, iTunes, etc. – we have to pay the rents for our Villas in Los Angeles and tank our Limousines, so this is kinda expensive... *laughing*.
For Rock Overdose