Your last album, "Across Angry Skies", received several positive critics, but generally your approach to such musicians like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani seems a little forced, I think that your music is more like the traditional British symphonic rock: great orchestration, contaminations with folk music, fragments of eastern mysticism... What are the main influences which inspired you for the writing of your compositions?
Hi Giovanni and thanks for the chance for this interview. Well, my main influences for this album would have to be life! And I mean every issue in life from emotion, anger, beauty, inspiration. I like to observe things happening either to me personally or around the world. As I write this interview right this minute Al-Qaida Blew up Kings Cross Railway Station in the heart of London and planted numerous bombs on local transport services. For me there is nothing I can do alone to solve these issues so my next best thing is to put my anger and emotion into musical form. As far as a musical influence, I would probably say the film composer Hans Zimmer who wrote the music soundtracks for Gladiator, The Last Samurai, King Arthur and the Thin Red Line to name but a few. He is my ultimate idol for the music which I compose and his work moves me immensely.
In these years your popularity in your country as guitar player seems to have grown up, particularly thanks to your teaching activity in numerous institutes. As a composer you are still typically underground, in the narrow circle of prog fans and the prog magazines-fanzines. Do you think that it will be possible to extend the number of listeners and fans without lose to your ability to write complex and sophisticated music?
Yes! I’m a firm believer that it is all down to how well you target your audience. I could give an example of this by saying: “If I walked past a person in the street and stopped him and said, would you like to buy a copy of my album? The chances of him saying yes and parting with his money would be quite slim. If I or any other artist or band could do that we would probably all have a great fan base. But unfortunately we have to do it the hard way by marketing and advertising it in the best and cost effective way possible. The easy option is to gain a record deal, manager, agent, promoter etc… but in order to do this we first must impress them with our work. As any other musician who is or has done this will find it is extremely difficult. If me and the rest of the guy’s who play and write music of our style started playing more commercial music then our chances of been noticed would be better. I know there is a good market for this kind of music its us finding the fans and the fans finding us! And you never know the guy I stopped in the street may just by a copy of my album! Ha, ha.
"Across Angry Skies" includes many musical parts bound to prog-metal sounds like Dream Theater... but your style is quite different from the U.S. scene. What's your opinion about the American progmetal scene of these years?
Well, let’s face it Dream Theater have the major monopoly in this music scene. They are without doubt one of the worlds best musician based bands, intelligent, outstanding, highly educated in their field and a great bunch of guy’s. Britain and America have always dominated the music scene and since the 60’s when the likes of the Yarbirds and the Rolling Stones where playing covers of black American blues music i.e. John Lee Hooker and sending there renditions of it back to the States the American bands like the Byrd’s where been influenced by the likes of the Beetles and the Stones and sending there work back to Britain. I have a great admiration for American music, I grew up with it and I love hearing new artists creating unorthodox and advent-garde music.
Your compositions sometimes evoke epic suggestions that seem to come from an ancient age, especially songs like "Gates To The Kingdom" and "Emania", but sometimes I perceive a worried feeling too... Do you play your music as an escape (in its rightful meaning), as a simple form of art or as a form of expression influenced by daily events?
As I mentioned earlier I compose with the world in mind we would write pretty boring music if we didn’t have these issues. In other words, I play, you listen, then you decide what you want out of my music. As long as we have different personalities then everyone who listens to my music will hear it in a different way and get something different from it. It’s like the art gallery of life, “25 people looking at the same picture will all come away with a different interpretation of it”!
Like your two previous cd's, you are the main producer and composer of "Across Angry Skies". Do you think that one day you'll form a real rock band... maybe introducing more vocals too???
I live for the day and if fate leads me to other people to work with I will go with the flow and see what happens and I would love to work with a vocalist some day that would be perfect!
“God bless you all who follow there hearts and achieve the impossible, for it is not impossible once you start!” – Alan Williamson 2005.