Haken guitarist Charlie Griffiths has finally revealed details from his long-awaited debut solo album ‘Tiktaalika’ due for release on June 17th, 2022 via InsideOutMusic. With musical roots still firmly in the progressive realm, Charlie draws from his love of old-school 80s thrash, 90s tech-metal and alternative rock. Running the gamut from melodic to avant-garde to straight-up heavy, you might say Tiktaalika bridges the gap between King Crimson and King Diamond! The album was mixed by Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood and mastered by Ermin Hamidovic. Here, Charlie joins the podcast to talk about his new solo album Tiktaalika, the new Haken single, and the band’s current tour with Symphony X.
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The album features an impressive roster of guests, and the albums first single ‘Arctic Cemetery’ includes guest vocals from Tommy Rogers of Between the Buried & Me. Watch the video now here:
The album includes stunning artwork from Dan Goldsworthy, and will be available as a Ltd CD Edition, Gatefold 180g 2LP+CD & as Digital Album. Pre-order now here: https://charliegriffiths.lnk.to/Tiktaalika
The full track-listing is as follows:
1. Prehistoric Prelude
2. Arctic Cemetery
3. Luminous Beings
4. In Alluvium
5. Dead in the Water
6. Digging Deeper
8. Crawl Walk Run
9. Under Polaris
This concept album was 375 million years in the making, with the 9 tracks drawing inspiration from themes of geological time, fossilisation, transformation and humanity’s connections with each other and the planet we inhabit. The Griffiths-penned lyrics are given voice by some of the best vocalists in the business: Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried And Me), Danïel De Jongh (Textures), Vladimir Lalić (Organised Chaos) and Neil Purdy (Luna’s Call).
As well as handling guitar duties, Charlie also takes care of bass, keyboards and on one track, makes his debut lead vocal performance. Of the creative process Charlie explains, “I picked up the 6 string guitar again, which ironically has become the more unusual option for me, after 10 or so years writing with an 8-string guitar for Haken. It definitely sent me into a different creative headspace, with riff after riff seemingly falling out of the guitar. I naturally began forming those riffs into song structures, while simultaneously writing vocal melodies and building the lyrical concept. It was a great form of escapism from my usual environment and I had a lot of fun doing it”.
The album also features a host of guest musicians: Drummer Darby Todd (Martin Barre, Frost, Devin Townsend), Keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and Saxophonist Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett). “All of the guest musicians took the songs to another level” Charlie explains, “I had everything written and demoed, so the guys could quickly learn the parts, but I gave free rein for them to bring their personality to the party. Darby’s drumming style, is so beautifully improvised and more jazz-fusion influenced, when paired with my riffs, it resulted in something unexpected. It blows my mind that the synth solo Jordan played was the very first take! Capturing that spirit of spontaneity within a structured piece is always very special”.