How are you doing, are you feeling enthusiastic when it comes to release of your new project?
No no no, it is not a studio project really, it is a band of course! Of course, we are excited like when you have a baby, you know? Especially because this is a new adventure after ten albums we made as Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire and we finished this saga, all the music and lyrics were concentrated around this saga, heroic fantasy fairytale. Now, let’s say that I took a freedom to speak about whatever I want, to face all the topics that I like to face, and in this band I am also the keyboard player so it is just fantastic. I always say that I have the passion for the soundtracks, for the cinema, also to orchestrate for evey instrument… I mean, I was making the basic orchestra arrangements together with Alex in Rhapsody but now of course, being the keyboard player I have complete control of everything and total freedom.
Could you please now present your opus Ascending To Infinity to our readers?
It is an absolute pleasure for me to represent the new album! What I can tell you is that with me came some people after the famous split with Rhapsody of Fire one year ago. The bass player Patrice and guitar player Dominique, both are friends, and on top now we have the new singer Alessandro Conti, and the new German drummer Alex Landenburg who has also played with Stratovarius, Annihilator… Very good drummer! I can tell you something more about the singer because I think that his voice is really the heart of the new band in a sense that this time it was great for me to have a possibility to work with the singer who has the incredible end enormous talent, and when I discovered him for the first time I was immediately amazed by this kind of high tone voice that really reminded me of incredible singer Michael Kiske of the golden age of Helloween. I can tell you that I have started listening to metal with the albums Keeper I and II so for me to hear this kind of great powerful high voice was fantastic. But then I also discovered that he has great talent for singing low, and offering different vocal colors like for example I discovered that he studied in the same school as Pavarotti for tenor. So really for this album I had the possibility thanks to all these vocal possibilites he was offering me, I was able to compose also songs with the more operatic approach, so you can imagine that this is just great for composer because in this way when you work with a singer who really offers an incredible range of voice there are no limits to your fantasy when you compose for him!
You have did one cover of Helloween – March Of Time for the bonus track, so tell us why did you choose this particular track?
Because he started singing with the band of friends, an actual band that is still performing and I found him through this band, Trick or Treat is the name and they started as cover band of Helloween. So this means that he really built his technical abilities really perfoming for many years every night all the songs from Keeper I and II, and some songs from the Walls of Jericho, so that was incredible school to increase his technical abilities. Not many singers out there are able to sing those songs, and especially with March Of Time he was able to demonstrate his great abilities, so immediately when I listened him performing that song which is one of the most difficult to be sung I loved it. It was the same song I used to present him to the record company Nuclear Blast and they were just amazed just listening him singing it so I did not need to make them listen to another song to convince them. Then of course, he sung it so well that I decided to make the cover. I orchestrated it, it is of course different from the original because I would never do a cover that is really the same, I like always to take some great songs and orchestrate them and to do them more in Rhapsody style, you know. So that is why it was so spontaneous to cover that song.
I have noticed that the album is a little less symphonic and more based on guitars, could you compare it with previous albums?
This is very subjective, because for some people this is totally cinematic, for some people it is less cinematic… For me, of course it is more cinematic because for this album I was playing the keyboards, also that I made much more ochestral parts than for example on the last two albums of Rhapsody. If you compare carefull The Frozen Tears of Angels and From Chaos to Eternity with this one there is much more orchestra in this one. This is really what I wanted, I know it by amount of tracks for the keyboards I used to give to the studio haha. For sure, this is what is important for me to underline because cinema and the passion for the soundtracks is always the heart of Rhapsody. I would not play the music in the band that was just guitar or drums-based, I think the connection between the soundtrack style of music and metal impact is just amazing, there doesn’t exist another music that is more powerful or emotional… at least this is my taste.
Also you have done one video clip for Dark Fate Of Atlantis, so can you tell us what is the story behind this video clip?
Well, we don’t only want to sound cinematic but we tried looking a little bit more cinematic! So I remembered that I saw the video from the band Kamelot called The Great Pandemonium that for me is one of the best metal videos ever, I fell in love with this cinematic approach that this video director had so I contacted him immediately, he is Swedish director from Dreamday Media and his name is Owe Lingvall so I asked him to realize the video for Dark Fate Of Atlantis. We were so happy with the final result and success that this video had on the interned, the amount of people that saw it was above 100,000 so it was just amazing, the advertisement for our new band that this video did. We decided to go on working together and right now we prepare a lot of visual surprises for the upcoming tour at the end of the year, a lot of surprises to come thanks to cinematic talent visuals of this video director.
You have just mentioned the upcoming tour so can you please tell us something more about it?
I can tell you a lot because we are almost at the end of the planning, we have this Rock the Nations booking company and finally thanks to the same agency I think there are lot of chances to come in the east of Europe which is just amazing for me because I think that we have many fans out there. After many years of inactivity and not being able to play in your country or countries close to you, it was not happening until now. We always tend to go to the main markets – France, Italy, Germany, Spain… For sure this will be the longest European tour ever for us, it will be something around 30 dates, it will be happening in November and December of 2012 and after that we will go to the rest of the world at the beginning of 2013 and finish the tour on festival season of the following year. As I told you there will be a lot of visual surprises that we are planning, we’re planning it now and working on it because you need 5-6 months to prepare everything in the best way, especially when you have the show that is not just based on just playing on stage but you want to have something more.
For the end, do you have any message to fans here Serbia?
Absolutely, I can promise them that we will be there sooner or later, though a festival or with a date of the tour. I think that now we have the right agency allowing us to do that because they work a lot, I know that they work already in Slovenia, Croatia so maybe also in Serbia, I don’t know. I think that there is just a great possibility for us finally and this is just amazing because we know that there are many fans there already from Facebook. Youtube is also very good because you easily receive appreciation for the videos, trailers that you put to promote your band… and we see that Serbia is one of those countries where we have a lot of appreciation. This is a kind of promise that I feel I need to do without any problem, I am really looking forward to be there and to have some evening with our Serbian fans in the name of our cinematic metal.
What can you tell us about your upcoming tour days? So far, as far as I have noticed you have done only some single/festival shows…are you preparing tone bigger tour? How the people react when you play live?
The best promotion of the album these days is to play live and show your music to as many people as it’s possible. The band has been invited for couple of summer festivals which are headlined by big starts. That is a big honour for us as a band, that we can play on the same stages with Rhapsody of Fire, Accept or Arch Enemy. If there is only possibility to play anywhere, we are trying to push it forward and get our job done in best possible way. We are working on tour with a big headliner but I don’t want to tell about it right now. Hopefully our band will be able to play with a big headliner soon. And people??? I think that`s always a big surprise for a people to see the band live. Listening to a CD is a little bit different activity, then to see and listen to the band at the same time. I hope that people like our live shows….you should ask them (he, he, he)
Answers by Luca Turilli
Interview was done by Marko Miranovic