With his wacky rock musical "Transitus" Arjen Lucassen leaves the Ayreon comfort zone for a moment and sends his renowned ensemble through a ghost story located in the 19th century.
Daniel and Abby, the two main characters of the psychic story, are played by Tommy Karevik (Kamelot) and Cammie Gilbert (Oceans Of Slumber). Other well-known artists in the all-star cast include Simone Simons (Epica), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman and Johanne James (Threshold)
eclipsed: Arjen, first a wistful look back: The big Ayreon show at the NOTP festival has unfortunately fallen victim to Corona.
Arjen Lucassen: Of course I am very sad about the cancellation, especially since a show of this size requires much more time to be invested in the run-up than a normal concert. All musicians had to confirm, the stage setups were ready, we had worked on the videos at the time of the cancellation, but it wasn't meant to be. Especially with an album like "Into The Electric Castle" it would have been a great opportunity to show the proggies what Ayreon is all about. Because I still have the feeling that many in the prog community still frown when the name Ayreon is mentioned. But a repetition next year is out of the question, as I already have other plans for 2021. Maybe it will work out in 2022!
eclipsed: After decades of moving almost exclusively in the Sci-Fi universe, the plot of "Transitus" seems a little more "earthly" at first.
Lucassen: At some point, of course, I'll return to the vastness of space, that's for sure. So this album is not a new beginning for Ayreon, but rather a small step aside! Originally the album wasn't supposed to be released under the name Ayreon at all, that's why it sounds totally different. Ever since I saw "The Omen" and "The Exorcist" as a kid, I've been a big horror fan, so I thought that I could take up this topic for a change. And suddenly I had this romantic ghost story set in the 19th century in my head. But I would hardly call the plot "earthly"! A big part of the story is set in the realm between heaven and hell: Transitus. Although I am quite a skeptic myself, I have always been fascinated by the supernatural. Of course, a little humor is always part of my work, so that it doesn't get too cheesy.
eclipsed: Originally you had even planned to do a film version...
Lucassen: Our genre is often referred to as "progressive", which for me means always breaking new ground and experimenting. I constantly need new challenges. The more extreme they are, the more fun it is for me to work on them. With this project, I wanted to fulfill one of my biggest dreams, and that would have been a cinematic realization in the style of "Tommy" or "Jesus Christ Superstar". I also chose the singers not only because they are amazing vocalists, but also because they have a certain charisma, look good and could have acted their roles.