Let’s start some months in the past: Vision Divine used to be a side-project to Labyrinth. What was the reason for setting up this project? Well, thinking to those times now that things are clearer I could say that the reason was simple: I was not feeling happy anymore on how things were going with the band Labyrinth. I needed to feel excited again by writing music, and the most important thing, I was needing to feel that I was playing with other people that could enjoy the music I was writing… These reasons, all together, brought me quickly to realize that VD was not a project band, but I was becoming day by day my real band.
To be honest, I did not listen to your first two releases before I heard the new album. So what can you tell us about “Vision Divine (99)” and
“Send Me An Angel (02)”? No problem and no surprise for what you said. I know that 1st and 2nd album didn’t have good distribution in Germany. The reason is that when I started VD I didn’t want to create confusion with fans, so I chosen a small label who could simply release the album and guarantee me a solid distribution without starting any competition with Metal Blade. Unfortunately I found out later that this label was not working properly in some Country like yours. And even worse: they were not intended to cooperate with other labels I was suggesting (like MB).This made me take the decision from this album to close the deal with them and sign back to Metal Blade.
Regarding the first 2 albums,well, surely the music is not exactly the same of this 3rd album ,or I should better say that the music is not entirely what you can hear now.
Once again the reason is quite simple: before this album I was playing in 2 bands, so when I was writing down material I always had to keep this in mind, choosing not to record everything I was having in my head or surely the 2 bands would have sounded too much similar (or even more similar, if you prefer). The 1st album specially, has been considered to be the final summa of the real Italian Power metal, so I guess you can imagine what to expect from it.
With the 2nd one, anyway, you can already hear our intention to move from that genre to approach something that if not new, could at least demonstrate our intention not remain forever into those coordinates. I think this 3rd album is the perfect mix between the previous 2 albums, plus the new "sound". We finally reached thanks also to the fact that I really have no other bands than VD to think about, now, so I’m free to write everything’s crossing my head .
Looking at the bandname and the release titles: Is there a deeper meaning behind it? Yes, there is. Since the very first I decided that VD would have been a band looking for its own identity also for the style of the lyrics. In fact every album we release I talk about spiritual arguments, like the fear of dying, the existence of God, and the common fears we all have. This is what VD wants to be, a band that uses music to explore a little deeper some of the most common feeling we all have, but we are not so used to explore in Heavy Metal.
So let's go straight to your latest release. What were the reactions to “Stream of Consciousness” so far. As far as I know, you earned top-ratings in Italy.
You are right, here in Italy we went over the top, and the album went TOP ALBUM really everywhere, webzines included. I could not even expect such a wonderful reactions from the mags, but of course I cannot be other than happy about it! Even more surprising is the reaction we are having from everywhere, it really looks like everybody liked this album and the most important thing, everybody now talks about VD as a real band and not a project anymore. I’m really proud about this.
I guess you know my opinion about your new output or at least the rating. So I am eager to get more information about it... To be honest I’m not that well trained with Deutsch anymore, so I understood something, and I also noticed your nice rating you gave us, but I could not tell you more about it. I just can hope that you really liked it, eheh.
The songs in this album are in my opinion really various, we move from "The secret of life" , a classic heavy song with a very open refrain to "Colours of my world", a little less fast and heavier than the 1st one, and again with a refrain that I consider a killer one and that is driving people mad in Japan . Then we have "in the light" an instrumental we needed to add to give the album the right atmosphere for the following song. "Fallen feather" that’s surely something uncommon to us if compared with our past. This is a very progressive song with some dark arrangement that makes it unique, It's definitely one of my favourite songs. After this we have one of the fastest songs, "la vita fugge". More a speed than a power metal song, with some technical duel between guitars and keyboards and above all an incredible performance from our new singer Michele. We have then "Through the eyes of God", probably the strangest song we wrote. "Shades" is very classical and a little Malmsteen oriented (but that’s the only one). “We are we are not “ comes after and so far I realized that when we play it on stage people get crazy shouting the refrain all together with us, another couple of instrumental songs and then we have "Out of the maze" , a fast songs that stops in the middle to a piano part opening to one of the most appreciated guitar solos. The album ends with “Identities” a very uncommon ballad, if we can call it so, with the main refrain coming back from the 1st intro and other songs like “Colours…”, in my opinion the perfect end to this album and to this concept.
About the concept, I tell the story of an ordinary man, so much obsessed by the need of discovering the real meaning of life that he takes the decision to suicide and see what’s real in the afterlife.
He won’t die. On the contrary in a state of coma he will be guided by his Guardian Angel (our conscience) to explore the afterlife . He will see through the eyes of God and then he’ll be sent back.
This is the question: how would we react if we could discover the real meaning of life, the supreme reason of our existence? Would this life worth the price to be lived anymore? Of course I have no answer to this, and in fact I give just my personal opinion about.
The production took us a whole year from the songwriting to the recording, and we moved to a studio here in Italy where we have been almost living for a couple of months. The album, for its structure, has been quite complicated to realize, not because of the songs, but because of the final result we were looking for, like the idea of melting the whole stuff together in a single song. We are really satisfied with the final result, really.
Of course you must be satisfied with the result :).
Due to the lyrical concept ypu did not include a cover songs like on the two albums before, right? Yes, it was impossible to add a cover, and after all, as you said, we always did a cover so it was not bad to avoid it for a single time. We played many covers in our albums and at our shows. I don’t think is so bad to release an album cover-free.
The cover-artwork is quite gloomy, while the music is more in a good
mood. Also because of the concept?
Well, the cover represents the start and the end of the concept, and that’s not so happy, of course. The rest of the album instead moves along the story with different feelings and it’s normal to have different feelings depending on the songs, I think.
Anyway, we strongly wanted to give a new idea of what this band is, and we decided to start right from the 1st thing you see of an album, the cover. We didn’t want to risk to be confused anymore with “another power metal band from Italy”, with typical fantasy-sword & sorcery lyrics.
You already mentioned the fantastic performance of your new singer. Michele’s musical influences are more or less Hardrock and AOR. Did he have any influences on the new material?
Of course it did. Michele is a very talented singer with a very strong personality, too. When he joined the band the only thing I was asking him was not to feel like forced to copy anybody, especially Fabio’ style. Well, he did really great, adding his personal taste to every single note he had to sing. If the album sounds as it does, it is also because of what he did and how he did it.
How did you get in contact with your new singer Michele Luppi? I got in touch with him 3- 4 years ago because of an album he was preparing and in which I was supposed to play a couple of solos. Of course I’ve been really amazed by his great voice and since then even If I had no time for that project, we had the chance to talk sometimes by phone. When Fabio had to leave because of his problems with the new contract he signed with Rhapsody, I had a call from him and then It came out natural to make a try. After the 1st second in which he was singing I realized he was our new singer.
I was a bit surprised about the long running time of the album. You
almost could have made two longplayers out it. Oh, do you really think so? I know it’s not so common anymore to release 1 hour long albums, but we really wanted to things in the best way and we wanted people to be happy for spending their money for an album with a decent length. I think nowadays too many bands release albums that are just a little more than a mini cd and this is not so good for the fans, I think. We spent a whole year to realize this album and we thought it was right to record an album like this. I just hope people won’t be angry for this ehehe…
They won't :) and I think now there are many people waiting to see VD live on stage. So what are your touring plans for Germany? Who knows yet? Of course we would really like to have a chance for playing there, but we also know that thinks don’t go exactly as we’d like, often. We just hope things will go good enough to give us this chance, and I think there’s no need to say that if we’ll be asked for, we’ll be there. We are a live band and we are preparing hard to give the best show as possible. We just have to wait a little, be patient and let Metal Blade do their job ‘cause they definitely know how. If the result will be satisfying I’m sure they will find something for us.
How many people do you expect to attend your concerts? I mean gigs at
sold out locations are no longer reality. You are right, it’s not an easy moment and we are not so childish to have impossible illusions. So far I just can tell you thing based on our experience. In South America we did many sold out, and last time we played (Saturday 1st of May) here in Italy we had almost 1500 fans here shouting crazy ,but we know it’s not gonna be like that, specially in Countries where we’ve never been before. No problem at all anyway, we know we’ll have to work hard and we do not have any "rock star attitude" at all. We can play in front of 100 people like if we were in front of 20.000.We always gave our best to any single show we did and this is the only way to improve as band. I think the best to us would be to have a tour together with another very well known band so to have more audience, of course.
How would you describe Vision Divine’s unique trademark compared to
other Italian Power Metal bands? Are so somehow proud of being the
founder of the Italian Power Metal Scene? Ahah, this is a good question. I don’t know what to say, honestly. I just hope that when people outside will listen to our album they will at least consider the fact that as you said I’ve been the real founder of this movement here, so at least we are not copying anybody! I cannot control other bands or labels of course so I’m not responsible for what other people do. We just can look for ourselves and I even think that with this new album we are moving from this music that too many bands are coping at the moment. Of course I am proud of what I realized so far in my past, but at the same time I’m somehow ashamed when I see so many good bands doing nothing to improve their own style. I know things are getting difficult for newcomer bands from Italy outta there, and under a certain aspect I’m even happy about this, because finally this could put an end to all this. Of course I know things could be difficult for me, too, but at least as I repeat I hope some people (and mags writers) will at least remember who I am and what I did so far.
MP3s and music downloads can be a benefit for "smaller" bands. Please tell me your honest opinion about mp3, file-sharing and downloading music.
I hate the way it’s going. I totally agree with people downloading some songs to check the album they are gonna spend their money for. But hey, let’s be serious, now people are really stealing albums to the bands and to the labels.
I know there are too many releases at the same, but you are not forced to buy everything! Just download something and choose what you like the most, this is ok and Metal Blade for example ALWAYS give you some mp3 to listen to before the release… But if people continue like this I’m afraid there wont’ be much left in a close future, and maybe soon these assholes won’t have anything else to download, other than big bands stuffs and Britney Spears. Every album costs MONEY to the label and to the band, if people are intended not to pay anymore for what they listen to, how can they expect things to continue?
OK Olaf. That's it. Thank you very much for answering the questions very detailed and honest. I hope to meet VD very soon on German stages.
The final words are for you… Well, I don't try to be original. Many thanks for this interview and I really hope there will be a chance to us for coming to Germany for some show. To those who didn't hear of us before I would like to invite them to take a listen to our new album, I’m sure they won’t be too much disappointed! Ciao!