Rhapsody Of Fire (Luca Turilli)
Rhapsody Of Fire, after a forced stop of their activity, releases the third chapter of the "Dark Secret Saga", "The Frozen Tears Of Angels". SpazioRock is very proud to give you a touching interview with one of the two masterminds of the band, Luca Turilli. Enjoy the interview!
Article by Gaetano Loffredo - Publish on: 03/05/10
Hello Luca, "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" is really an excellent album. How long have you waited to release it?

Hi Gaetano and thank you for the compliment. The album was already finished about a year ago. We entirely wrote it once again because we had so much time left, that is four years, between the old and the new release. We tried to shape some old songs we left behind and some other songs that didn't convince us very much, because they had a sound close to "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands Part 2" and to "Triumph Or Agony". Having the same orchestra playing in the two records, we recorded them in a short time. Practically, we shortly arranged the whole production. However, this time we wanted to present something totally different: that's why we reset everything to zero.

I know for sure that, since you had plenty of time to work on "The Frozen Tears Of Angels", you could even have prepared something new for the next album ...

You can bet on it (laughs)! Now that we signed a deal with Nuclear Blast, we are more untroubled . It was a miracle. We could have signed with this label when we were under SPV Records, but then came what it had to come. The good thing of having signed with a label unfocused on the timetable set by the music industry (and that is a nightmare for an artist, I assure you), is that we can plan everything.

By the way, I remember that your two solo albums have been put aside for a long time, hoping to be allowed to publish them ...

That's true. Then, time flies and you suddenly want to add or remove something, like it happened in our latest album. It's physiological, don't you think?

Of course. Always speaking about Nuclear Blast: your plans should change even on a live concert level, I assume.

Absolutely! Now, thanks to Nuclear Blast, we will be constantly on the road, between releasing the record, touring and so on. It's what we should have done for years and somehow we haven't been allowed to. The tour that will support "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" will be the greatest tour ever done before. We will examine the touring plan with our promoter; we receive thousands of offers, but there are only a few serious ones. They offer us even 1000 €, but with this money we can't even afford to pay our drummer. We will start approximately in September/October and summer festivals in 2011 will be the final part of this long tour. This is the plan, more or less.

Speaking about the legal issue against Magic Circle: did the time you lost in releasing the new album damage you economically? Besides, you should also take the crisis of the music industry into account ...

Well, I really think so. The new album will be our "do or die". We will understand everything after two weeks from its release: we will consider the charts, but most of all the effective sales.
We are interested in knowing how many people remember Rhapsody. I should tell you that Italian press has welcomed and supported us since "Legendary Tales"; for the first time I felt Italian people appreciating an Italian band ... That was fantastic!

Has this relationship changed throughout time?

No it hasn't. To be honest this surprised us, we didn't even expect this. We have always thought about people and we have never believed that the press would have supported us that much. If you remember well, on the phone we discussed about a journalist's psychology: it's as though a journalist makes a band successful with his review, and then, when it becomes popular and appreciated by people, he's almost tempted to place a distance. It's normal, it's psychology and I like studying it, as I told you in the past. Thinking about how things were going three years ago, we're very happy now. A dream come true.

It's true, and I still agree with you on that. Let's go back to the album: Alex and you seemed rather free in the song writing. Someone compared "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" to the first two albums, but, as far as I'm concerned, I disagree: there's a come back to speed and there's less orchestra. Were the many mid-tempos a kind of "piece of advice" from Joey De Maio or just a general influence from Manowar?

Well, now it's hard to say that (laughs), but Manowar were certainly one of our influences. I can't hide that those epic atmospheres of albums such as "Into Glory Ride" influenced us really much, especially when there was Ross The Boss playing the guitar. You could notice that also on "Power Of The Dragonflame", besides Fabio was really epic on mid-tempos. Not everybody knows, I've already said it before, but "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands Part II" and "Triumph Or Agony" were produced at the same time, so casualness brought faster tracks on the first one and slower songs on the second ones. You will notice a flashback - lyrically speaking - in "Triumph Or Agony": I had to expressively create it, and it was the only time where music was created before the lyrics ... It was a kind of trick to justify two or three songs. In short, we consider those two albums as one production, because things really went that way.

Interesting, is there anything else?

Mind that, when we were working on "Triumph Or Agony", for the first time there has been the request from the label, to create a catchy track. It's something we don't like at all. I'm talking about "Silent Dream"; if you try to kick off that song from the tracklist, this one seems much more homogeneous. Anyway, we don't regret anything at all of what we've produced so far.

rhapsody_of_fire_intervista_2010_03_01Is "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands Part I" still your favourite album?

Not anymore. Four of us prefer "The Frozen Tears Of Angels", Dominique (Lerquin) is still fond of "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands Part I", that is at the second place in personal chart. I can tell tell you that the new album is much more felt from the band members, because, unlike the previous ones, it has been entirely produced by Alex and me, without Sascha Paeth's support, who only mixed it. That is a victory for us, today we only need a technician for the recording. We take care of the rest...

After all, isn't the aggressiveness of the new album a reflection of the circumstances between Magic Circle and you?

No, everything was already decided. I don't know if I told you that in the interview supporting "Triumph Or Agony". It has been the peculiarity of this chapter that suggested us to create more aggressive tracks. Anyway, this is a new beginning for us; even if we had to compose another orchestral album, we would definitely do that in a different way. We found out that we have many new things to offer. When we release a new album, we are already thinking about the next one. We need to think about new ideas in order to differentiate our works.

Why is this matter so important to you?

We compose everything very carefully, we're not the typical band that create its songs during the reharsals. From my point of view you can't do everything in that moment. Mind that our drummer lives in Germany, the drummer and the bassist are French, the other three members are Italian. However, we wouldn't work that way even if we had the chance. We plan everything carefully, because otherwise we wouldn't be able to offer an album such as "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands". A production typical of Dream Theater, with rhythm changes and some other tricks, can be created during reharsals smoothly; but you can't say the same for a saga.

How long will it take to end the saga?

I don't know, we're perhaps at half of it. It all depends on me, if I want to talk of a certain subject, or of another one. I can pick up the thread in the next two albums, rather than dealing with it in a single episode.

This statement means that the music of Rhapsody Of Fire is mainly based on the lyrics...

Yes, absolutely. The only exception is that song I told you about a while ago.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm afraid to say that "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" has a weak point: the final suite is not comparable to the others you released in the past.

I can assure you that this last song brings us to tears every time we listen to it. It's a tribute to Crimson Glory and its singer, Midnight (prematurely passed away). In this song, you can hear a reference to its "Eternal World" song. It's right to have personal tastes and preferences. We have them ourselves and we have preferences on different songs.

"Danza Tra Fuoco E Ghiaccio", a possible new version of "Where Dragons Fly", is the stronghold of the whole album. I guess that most of your fans never had a chance to listen to this track, since it has never been released on a full length. I would release it soon, if I were in you...

In some foreign countries people told us that the song sounds like "Reign Of Terror", while journalists from Germany agree with you. We can't still use "Where Dragons Fly", since we have to respect Limb Music's royalties. Indeed, we often think about it, since it is one of our favourite tracks.

By the way, I know you like Tolkien...

I like the movies, but I've never read "The Lord Of The Rings".

At this point I suppose that it is not the case to ask your opinion on G.R.R. Martin and his well-known saga "A Song Of Ice And Fire"...

Unfortunately I never heard of it. The title is a mere coincidence...

Many bands have already published an entirely acoustic album. You could satisfy all the requirements, have you ever considered the chance to record such kind of an album?

We've already thought about it, but even in this case we have to keep in mind that there are problems concerning the rights of the old songs. We still have to understand if we can use them and rearrange them in order to record an acoustic album.

Are you still willing to produce a Hollywood movie soundtrack?

Yes, but somehow I don't feel like doing it anymore. Some years ago we wanted to start two separated careers; we planned to meet an important figure from Hollywood, I don't even remember his name. Eventually some persons involved in the world of movies explained to us how such things work: you can have no artistic freedom in this field, and we don't want to renounce to our freedom. Consider that the guys of Nuclear Blast, in order to let us sign the record deal, asked our permission to listen to one of our new songs, to avoid any potential change of sound. They trusted us and offered us a three records deal: no one can risk anymore, nor us, neither the label.

I was wondering that, nowadays, there could be a little chance to disinter the old "Rhapsody In Black" project...

Yes, since now we have a deal with Nuclear Blast. It has nothing to do with black metal, actually, I can tell you what the concept is about, if you really want to know it. The word "black" refers to more serious topics that we want to explore by using allegories and metaphors. The lyrics deal with different cultures, abuses on women... We are emotional persons, this is something really terrible, something we really feel the need to talk about, even the compositions are quite particular. Going back to the lyrics of each song, we thought about paraphrasing them - as it happens for Dante's comedy, though we are talking about different cases. We could add some footnotes for example, to make the lyrics easier to understand. The lyrics of "Emerald Sword" have such a particular meaning that not everyone has managed to comprehend...

Therefore you have to tell us what's the meaning of that famous verse, "For The King, for the land, for the mountains...", which we've all been singing since our teenage years...

I mentioned this very track, since the ones who critic Rhapsody use it inopportunely. Try to imagine that this refrain is about lintels and marbles... Such themes have nothing to do with the melody, right? The only important things are the emotions behind it, the suffering. We don't want our songs to sound too artificial, so we don't pick up casual words in order to compose our lyrics. I never talk about such things, because they're too intimate, but I feel like opening up with you. On our way to Milan, we listened to our new album and while we were listening to the last song, we almost shed a tear. This track gives us deep emotions. The chance of doing this kind of work makes us really happy.

Lyrics come first...

The message of our lyrics is much more important than everything that concerns my person. I would like to talk as little as possible about me, to be honest. I'm a humble person, I'm not flawless, but my message is like a victory to me, is above everything...

What can you tell us about your solo career? And what about Alex?

Alex is still working on his first solo album. I can't keep working on so many different project, so I'm considering something really special now. I somehow hate my name: it is like a curse, I can't release anything that doesn't have my name on it. To come out with a project which was similar to Nightwish, with some gothic influnces, I had to opt for the moniker Luca Turilli's Dreamquest. This was a successful album, but it was not well promoted, since it had nothing to do with Rhapsody Of Fire. Anyway, there's much more to come, expect something great things for the next year.

Going back to "The Frozen Tears Of Angels", I noticed that you left that baroque sound that characterized your first two albums behind...

We did, since nowadays I'm much more inspired by the mixture of symphonic and electronic elements, a predominant style in so many movie soundtracks, as in "Matrix" and "Resident Evil". I can tell you that the harpsichord you're quite fond of will make up on our next album and that we're not going to renounce to our folkish soul.

Last question before we say goodbye, Luca: what do you think of "Dark Passion Play" by Nightwish? The former band of your beloved Tarja, to make it simple...

Well, I am a fan of Tuomas Holopainen. It is a good record, but I liked them better when Tarja was still with them.

Well enough, Luca. Thanks for giving us the umpteenth never-ending interview... See you on tour!

Thanks to you, Gaetano, and to all your colleagues which were here with us: Stefano, Donatella, Marco and Fabio. Thanks to SpazioRock and all the readers! See you on tour!

Pictures by Donatella Lomma
Questions by Gaetano Loffredo
Special Thanks to: Stefano Risso, Fabio Petrella, Marco Caputo, Alessandra Leoni, Marco Belafatti Alex Staropoli, Luca Turilli & Girlfriend, Pamela & Kizmaiaz Promotion, Art Hotel Navigli (Milano).


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