RHAPSODY OF FIRE // official interview 2017 // AFM Records

Lately we met Alex Staropoli of RHAPSODY OF FIRE just in time before their co-headlining tour with Orden Ogan takes of. He talked to us about the re-recording songs for "Legendary Years", member changes and writing new material.

Why did you decide to re-record old classic songs? I mean that the songs haven’t changed too much and they are played very much like the original versions. Why didn’t you decide to add more changes to solos, arrangements and stuff?

I thought about doing something special and a little unusual I would say. Those re-recordings where scheduled since quite some time and the reason of doing them was to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the band. We wanted to show to the world how those old songs sound in modern days, with a new equally great line-up and especially with a new modern powerful sound. It is obvious that we’ve never intended to substitute the old classics versions of course. We have spent several months to record and mix “Legendary Years“. It was a really intense work, but it’s been very enjoyable. This is just a pre-taste of what Rhapsody Of Fire are going to bring in the close future. I have recorded and engineered Giacomo’s vocals, all the choirs, the soloists and some guitar recordings as well, that's the way I like to work. Drum recordings were made in Germany by Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann, with fantastic results I must say. Every arrangement, every melody, basically everything we played and recorded was reproduced with extreme accuracy, in respect to the original tracks, that's necessary when you do this specific kind of re-recordings. The songs, the way they were done in the past, deserve respect in my opinion.

How did you choose your new singer Giacomo Voli? Did you consider other candidates to this position in the band? How much are you satisfied with his work in the band? Will he participate in the composing of new material?

I saw Giacomo performing on TV. I felt he was surely a person I wanted to meet. I have contacted him to sing and to gather singers for the Epic choirs recordings for our latest studio album ‘Into The Legend’. So I finally had the pleasure to meet and work with him for the first time back then. He is one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever meet. I feel truly blessed. After Fabio left I immediately thought about Giacomo and called him up. I am very satisfied. As a producer I tend to push people to their limits and I have to say Giacomo reacted quite well, very professional and dedicated. I am the main composer of Rhapsody Of Fire, but lately I have worked with my brother Manuel Staropoli as well, and of course also with Roby De Micheli, both for the electric guitar side and for some songwriting. Roby has a lot of talent for guitar riffs especially and I really like to enrich our music with heavy riffs. Said that, I always leave the door open to someone’s ideas. So, if Giacomo comes with an idea that literally shocks and excites me, well, that would be great of course! I’m doing this music genre for more than two decades, so I can openly say that I exactly know what I am doing, I can recognize a great idea that would perfectly fit for this band when I hear it.

And the same question concerning Manuel Lotter. How did he join the band? Did he succeed to replace such an experienced and professional drummer as Alex Holzwarth?

We had a lot of drummers applying, some of them were really really good, but Manu was the one that surprised us the most. As soon as we saw some videos we were absolutely impressed by his playing and his attitude. When he sent us some Rhapsody Of Fire’s songs I immediately thought he was the right drummer for us. He is very friendly, polite and professional.

Could you comment in general on line-up changes that happened over the last years?

Well, first of all I feel blessed and thankful towards every musician I had the pleasure to work with in all these years. In the very beginning we were just Turilli and myself. Roby De Micheli was part of the gang as well as Daniele Carbonera at that time. More or less we were experimenting but we all knew something special would have come sooner or later. So from that point on we started to work with musicians that lasted, more or less. I believe it’s a natural selection at the end. Like in the nature. I would never say that some members were not right for the band, but simply, sometimes it’s not easy to fit into a situation you did not grew up with.

Do you already have any plans concerning new studio album? Do you already have any ideas regarding a possible concept and what kind of music one can wait for?

Beside the upcoming live activity, which includes some festivals, headliner shows and a tour in fall with Orden Ogan, I can proudly say that we have written many new Rhapsody Of Fire songs and for some of them we already recorded full guitar tracks and guitar solos in my studio. We are actually working on the fastest songs and it sounds killer!! We are fired-up and really excited to make a new studio album with this great new line-up of extremely talented musicians. Moreover I am proud to say that the working relationship with AFM Records is becoming stronger and stronger, they truly believe in the band and that's also why we extended the contracts for more studio albums. We will keep going doing Film Score Metal for many years and with renewed enthusiasm every time, no matter what.

How do you compose your songs? Where do you find ideas and what are your main sources of inspiration? How do you create new melodies?

When I write for Rhapsody Of Fire I often imagine movie landscapes, or natural scenarios. I was born in Trieste – Italy, a beautiful town where mother nature was really generous. We have the sea, the mountains, lakes, rivers, lots of caves and by driving just a few hours we can reach the Alps. Trieste is a dream town and all those natural elements are always with me everywhere I go. So my sources of inspiration are strongly radicated in me. I have to sit in my studio, alone, and play my piano keys. Usually I never play randomly, I prefer to sit down with a specific idea and a goal to reach, then the notes come smoothly and fluent. I just do it. Lately I got the great chance to write my first soundtrack, which is called like the movie of course: „Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter“. In this specific case I could get direct inspiration from the movie, such space ships, deep space, planets but also personal and intense dialogues. I found myself pretty close to that scenario as well. It was a great and inspiring experience.

Rhapsody is considered as a founder of such genre as Sympho-Power Metal. Do you think that this genre came to its limits and it’s not possible to invent anything new in sympho power nowadays?

Once Rhapsody Of Fire exploited all those albums and all those different songs and styles, even considering that some other bands made their sign as well, it is really not easy to write something musically new In Symphonic Metal. But who knows, new generations may have some brilliant and innovative ideas, that's a part of the process.

What do you think of the music market of today with all these illegal downloads and problems with physical sales? What’s our future from this point in your opinion? Do you agree that young musicians don’t have so many opportunities to be well promoted as before or on the contrary it’s easier with the Internet?

Everything changed, and I am sure more changes will come in the future. There are many options for the future in regard to music formats, this could be a never-ending debate rich of all kinds of speculations. Sincerely I don't have the tools to express a full analysis. What I can see is that music is something human beings will always like and enjoy. I believe that live concerts and shows will remain as a unique and very special form of entertainment. Internet surely can give a lot of visibility to talented and innovative artists in these days.


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