Alessandro Staropoli - Rhapsody

June 5, 2002

Give us some background on the band.

Now the band is relaxing after the big tour that we did. Europe, Japan, and Korea and it is not finished because probably by the end of the year or maybe next year we will go to South America and hopefully in the future we would like to come to the U.S.A. It’s not a new thing. It is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

We’d like to have you here.

I know.

Your music is very orchestral based which gives it a very huge sound. Why did you decide to go in that direction?

Let’s say that it is a big passion for the scene in general from movies. Movies and soundtracks are our passion. I think the most important thing is that the music of the movies already alone can give you some pictures so that’s the secret of Rhapsody. We try to do the best way that we can to give pictures to who is listening to our music. It’s always this orchestral touch and soundtrack influences. We try that.

You used a choir and an orchestra on this album. What was your inspiration behind that?

The inspiration is always there because for example I have a lot of CDs from soundtracks. I love many different composers. I like many styles. Obviously the orchestra and the different styles are my big passion. As I told you before it’s really a good way to express the drama of our saga and the deepness of what we like to tell to our listeners.

Tell us a bit about the individual who does the artwork for your albums.

That’s a great man because from Dawn Of Victory on, we changed artwork and it was a good choice because this is absolutely a genius. We’re just getting the deal of what we like to have on Power Of The Dragonflame and he did something really amazing. On the CD it is very little. It’s really very good but if you see it bigger it’s amazing. It’s unbelievably good and we’re really happy because now finally we got very serious cover artwork.

Has he done artwork for your previous CDs?

This was another guy. It was just good but not good enough to work on the deepness. He worked very good with colors and everything but we always wanted this 3-D dimension kind of thing. So now with Power Of The Dragonflame we have finally this impression of deepness in the picture.

You have two new band members.

Yes, yes. The very new man is the bass player, Patrice Guers. He is from France. He’s a friend of Dominique Leurquin, the live guitar player that for the fifth album he will record also some guitars from the album. Finally we’ve got new members.

So they’re going to part of the studio and touring lineup.

Yes, touring as always. In the studio, yes. In some songs, yes for sure.

Power Of The Dragonflame is your fourth release. It brings the Emerald Sword saga to a close. Can you tell us a little about the Emerald Sword saga?

To tell you about the Emerald Sword saga is a bit complicated for me right now because it’s very long. It’s not just a few minutes of an explanation. What I can tell you about Power Of The Dragonflame is that it’s the last part. For this last part we liked to come up with an album full of dramatic emotion as the end of the saga is. For that reason we looked at composing it, we found a lot of sadness, a part of it was being the last part of the saga that was from ’97, a part of our lives. Apart from that, we really like to compose dramatic things knowing that the story is going to matter in the end. I think the most important point that really influences us for the complete album is it’s something really intense I think more than ever. Every album for instance is characterized from something. In every album we put a lot of ourselves, a lot of everything. I have to say that this fourth album we really did something maybe more than we all suspect.

It’s very beautifully done.

Yeah, thanks. We waste a lot of life and we are absolutely 100 percent devoted.

You recorded the album in The Gates Studios in Wolfsburg with Sascha Paeth and Miro. Have you worked with these guys all along?

Yes always. Now they’re more friends than technicians. We go down there and they know already exactly what we like. We just record everything and in the end Sascha knows how to manage the material, how to mix it, and how to technically put together everything. It’s really not easy to work with Rhapsody music but now finally Sascha really knows what me and Luca likes. Now it’s really easy to get the right sounds and everything. The complete spectrum of the CD. Obviously it’s not five weeks. It’s really months of production that in the end anyway are very hard for them.

It’s not your run of the mill metal music. One of the songs, “Lamento Eroico”, is sung in Italian. Why did you guys decide to do a song in Italian and are you going to do more songs in Italian?

I don’t know if we’re going to do more. I don’t think in the near future but we are open to this. Anyway the fact is that we decided for the Italian because we were composing operatic songs somehow really dramatic and sad. Operatic style. More than the Italian or maybe Latin, it was something really musical to use it for the song. So the Italian sounds really musical. That was the idea, to combine the music of the song with Italian lyrics and in the end you can understand it also maybe if you don’t know Italian but everything is very musical. That’s the main goal that we liked to have. Overall Fabio another time proved that he is one of the best singers in heavy metal because he did really a good job for “Lamento Eroico”, for the complete album, and also for “When Demons Awake”, the 80th song that we did and as you can listen, one of the roughest Fabio voice that he did.

Italian is a really beautiful language. Tell me about some of the tracks on the album.

I would like to say that my favorite ones are basically “When Demons Awake” and “Lamento Eroico”. It’s always that I like every song. For us it is not possible to say which is the best one. Because every song is a song apart. I would like to say that for what they all present, “When Demons Awake” and “Lamento Eroico”, I really like them. For example I can mention the last song that is almost 20 minutes, it is split in three parts, and this is what I told you before about dramatic and effectness that we felt composing it. This song, I think, everything is concentrated especially the very end. It’s called “…and the legend ends…”. It’s really something that the more concentrated, it was not possible to vary. Really a moment full of elements, sadness, drama, and rage. Everything with beautiful sound. That in the end of the production we almost cry to listen to what we have done. This represents really a good emotional point for me to listen to the complete CD and to listen to the end makes me really emotional.

You did a tour in April. How did that go?

We did two as I told you in Europe, Japan, and Korea. It was really successful finally because I don’t know if you know, but we didn’t start as a live band. We did the first two albums without touring. Then we had to start and luckily we did a good tour with Stratovarious in 2000. We did some headliner shows in South America in 2001. So now in 2002 we did a European tour, Japan, and Korea and hopefully we go again to South America. So finally Rhapsody is a strong live band. Still we are growing up and we like to propose a very big show in a theatric way. Every time we go on tour we like to perform more and more because we really think that the people just not only listen, not only see the band, but see also a big context so we like to have theatrics and some acting on stage. Not just the band but also some special guests. This is what we’ve planned to do for every tour. I hope to bring all this stuff also to South America and to the United States when we come.

In other words, you’re not five guys that stand playing instruments. You put on an actual show.

Yes, yes. We began with this last tour and not just six people on stage. There’s not just the band but there are some guests on stage and when you see the stage with the big flames and the lights and the stage set, it’s really amazing. It’s what we like. Something that the people can go home remembering. Something to remember visually. That’s really our style. We want to represent somehow a part of the Emerald Sword saga on stage. Not just the band but a complete feature.

Any other comments or ideas?

I hope that a lot of people will read what I’m saying. I’m really looking forward to coming to the USA. It’s a great country. Actually we came to Florida two years ago. We had a really nice time over there. I personally would like to come back because we travel a lot to so many places but the USA is really something. Actually we went there and I read some magazines. I saw that Rhapsody was supported also from some magazines so we are really looking forward to coming to play over there. We just wait for good offers. That’s the main problem because there are some offers but we have to fly from Europe to the States. Sometimes the offer is not really big enough just to cover the costs. Tell everybody Rhapsody are waiting to come but at least covering the costs.

Touring is really where you make your money. It definitely helps to have big enough offers so that you make a profit.

We had some offers from Canada and the USA. The offer was not good enough to go and to have fun without earning any money because we don’t care about earning money. We just care about doing a good show. If we cannot do this good show it’s not convenient for us to come. We like to propose the big show and everything. We are really waiting for just good offers and we are ready to come. We are really ready to come. Probably if everything is going like we think, probably next year or a maximum in two years we will do a worldwide tour and I really hope to involve Canada, the USA, and Australia in places where we never play. We will see.