What are your names?
My name is Michael (Wachelhofer), I play Bass, Keyboards and doing Background Vocals. The other members of Cornerstone are Elena Atkinson (Vocals), Steve Wachelhofer (Guitars, Vocals) and Eric Blie (Drums, Percussion)
What is the band’s name?
How did you come up with the band’s name?
In the beginning we have called ourselfs “Faith”, but than we’ve stated, that this sounded a bit too boring. So, we have decided, that every bandmember should come up with a list of 10 bandnames, and we’d find the best out of this. In the end we had 10 names from me, Steve came up with 5 names, and the singer at this time came up with one name – all of those were really horrible: “The Vagabounds”… “LeRoux”… very creative word creations *laughing*. So, I’ve went to my CD collection (YES, I’ve collected CD’s!) and found the 1979-album from Styx, “Cornerstone”, the one with the big tunes on it: “Babe”, “Boat On the River” etc. I’ve found this name great, it sounded like rock, down-to-earth and very solid to me. The others agreed immediately. We have trademarked that name quite early on in our career, which was a good decision: another band also used this name, but in the beginning of the 2000’s Internet and researching wasn’t that common and easy, so we simply weren’t aware of each others existence. This other band splitted in 2007 or so, so this isn’t a problem anymore.
What is your genre of music?
It’s called AOR – Adult Oriented Rock – Soft Rock. Or simply: Pop/Rock *laughing*
Give us a little bio about you.
Steve and I founded the band back in 1998. In the beginning it was pure fun: we have played a few Covertunes by R.E.M. and The Cure and also wrote some Originals. F.e., “Changed” was the first proper song we have ever written, it can be found on our debut “Head Over Heels” from 2008. We have played 2-3 gigs in front of friends, and that was it. In 2004 I was at the point end up the band, but decided to go forward. In 2007 we’ve got an offer from an American label, and this started this whole train rollin’. Meanwhile we did 10 tours through the UK, an US-Tour back in 2009 and released 3 ½ albums since. Not bad for a band, that started out as a hobby-project *laughing*
What made you go into music?
Steve and I watched a lot of MTV, when it was great – around 1995, 1996. This was the aera of the great guitar bands, so it was simply a question of time, before we’ve started our own band. In 1997 Steve got a guitar as a Christmas present, and we’ve started to practice like crazy. As time went on, I switched over to Bass and Keyboards, because I don’t see myself as really talented in playing the guitar. I do this from time to time now, when it comes to songwriting or Unplugged gigs. As I always joking, I’m Austria’s 4th worst guitar player. *laughing*
Who are your influences?
My influences are for sure REM, Alan Parsons Project, Toto… I come from the AOR-side of the street.
Steve’s influences are a bit heavier: Guns’n Roses, Metallica, Queen. So most of the time it’s pretty much the middle ground, where we meet, songwriting wise.
Are you signed?
We’re working with an American label called ATOM Records since 2008, which is great for us: artistically we can (nearly) do whatever we want, and it’s hard to ask for more. We were signed by Sony Music for the European market back in 2010, but it didn’t work, so they let us out of the contract. There were some talkings with another Major a few weeks earlier, but didn’t bring any results. Bigger doesn’t always means better.
You released your new single ‘Private Eyes’, tell us more about the single.
“Private Eyes” was written in it’s basic structure back in 2020, but due to the pandemic, lockdowns etc. we didn’t find any motivation to finish it. But we thought, that it has been 5 years since our last release, and it was time to do something new now. The release is out now.
What is the meaning behind the single?
In the timeperiod between the writing and the release I was affected by the topic of “Stalking” – yes, also men will get stalked sometimes. It lasts over a year, in the beginning I found it funny and even had some laughter about it. But after a while it causes “bad dreams” and “sleepless nights”, like it’s mentioned at the lyrics, and I found out, that “This joke isn’t funny anymore”, to quote Morrissey. There was a point, at which I’ve got eight phonecalls within an hour and dozens of messages overnight, so I’ve decided to write about it. It was really easy to transform my thoughts into words.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Stressfully. The writing itself was easy, but doing the arrangement was difficult, because we weren’t able to do any rehearsals because of the lockdowns. So it was just me and my Mini-homestudio doing everything and creating the Demo, with a bit of input from time to time from Steve. We’ve completely underestimated the studio work: originally we wanted to do two new songs, but in the end we were quite happy, to finish ONE song!
Describe the track in two words.
Rocksong about stalking. Ok, those were three words *laughing*
Who did you work with on the single?
For the recording, we have worked exactly with the same people, that were involved in the “Reflections”-album. For the production we have worked with Harry Hess, producer of acts like Muse, Simple Plan, Billy Talent in Canada. He was also involved in the “Reflections”-album. Funny fact: two days after he has finished our Single, he won a Grammy! Well, not Harry himself, but an album he was involved in productionwise, best Latino Pop album by Alex Cuba.
Will we see a Album or EP this year and if so what can we expect from it?
I do think, that we’ll release a new album next year, but I want to avoid working the same way like at the Single. It sounds more like a Solo-effort of mine than a group effort, although everyone worked on it and included his ideas. But this will take some time.
Will we see a Music video for ‘Private Eyes’, what can we expect from the creative process?
We have started to create and shot a video, but it’s a bit difficult: exactly in the week of the shooting, half of the band and half of the filmcrew was affected by Covid-19, so we had to stop. Because we are really busy with the Single-Release at the moment and we are currently on tour, we could only shot in segments, so it will probably take some time before it will be finished.
Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so let us know where we can catch you at?
We have booked a tour of around 30 concerts for this year, which isn’t that bad for year 1 after Covid19. In April we’ve been in Germany for six concerts, and we’ll play at some Festivals and Clubgigs all over Austria during 2022. On May20th/May 21st we’ll play at the Pop Overthrow Festival in Liverpool, so this is the only chance to catch us in the UK this year.
What else can we expect in 2022?
We’ll be busy with the Single for a while now, maybe in fall we’ll release another one. But basically we are using this year to settle everything, come back on stage etc., so it’s more or less a “comeback”-year. Brexit also affect our plans, it’s not that easy to come over to the UK and perform, Visas etc. We have to figure out everything more detailed.
Will we see any collaborations and if so, can you tell us more about them?
We are close friends with Gary Howard, former singer of Flying Pickets and Alan Parsons, so it might be possible, that we’ll do something with him. Also our producer Harry Hess is a quite well-known singer in the Melodicrock-scene, so a collobaration is also a possibility – let’s see!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully in a big house in LA with a swimming pool and a few No.#1 tunes *laughing* I’d prefer purchasing the house of Uncle Charlie 😉
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“Don’t Wait For Heroes – believe in yourself, you’ve got the power” (Dennis DeYoung)
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?