Hi there. Congratulations to your new record. I like it very much. Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
Yorick: We do care a lot actually. Even if it might happen that the response is not positive, we care about what people think about our music. We play for us on one hand, yet I think, on the other hand, that all musicians on earth play also for their audience… especially if they write their own music. So when our record has a bad review, we usually discuss it, as a way to better understand us, and to correct our way to make music… And, this should not be perceived as a way to sell us out, but instead a way to became day by day better musician, with humility and passion. Sometimes not all the bad reviews have arguments to support their critic, but this is a different story involving professionalism in the press… but it’s something I don’t want to talk about…
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
Yorick: we started playing together around 2001, but the actual line up formed in 2003. Roberto was the last piece of the puzzle, and we thought he was perfect. In 2003 we produced and released “Promo 2003”, which received, unespectedly, very good reviews around Europe. So we decided it could be a good presentation for us towards labels, and we started seaching. Finally, in 2004 we got the deal with Dragonheart… and I think we got really lucky… and so, here we are, ready to hit the road!!!
What has changed for you since releasing "Mythos" compared to your early days?
Rob – For sure, our experiece coming from our former or other bands has given us the ability and intelligence to live Raising Fear in a different way, more aware of what we want to do. We can work very effectively together both at rehearsals and in studio. Plus, Raising Fear is a pack of well determined people, which rarely can be found in band. This makes easy and pleasing everything, even the sacrifices one is always forced to suffer in such situations.
Alberto: Raising Fear turned to be a very glad surprise, and Mythos is a dream come true, as far as I am concerned. As compared to my previous experiences, the attitude is much more professional in Raising Fear, based on a mature personal relationship and a great chemistry between us. On top of this, we have great fun playing together… that’s the recipe for Mythos.
My favourite is "Fenrir". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
Alberto: it’s one of those songs you write in just one session. The music and the structure were good and worked since its first version… so maybe a lucky strike.
And what about the Opener "Thorr"?
Alberto: Thorr is more the result of the work of almost all of us. We worked on a first idea, that we changed the chorus in something more choral, and in the end we added the two voices guitar theme in the beginning. We wanted it Majestic, because we wanted it as our first impact song. Apparently, somehow we succeded…
Which one is YOUR favorite song from the album and why?
ROB – You’re asking a mum who’s her favorite child, I must say I love them all, I think that the result in the album is what I expected it to be. However, if you want a name, I think “Merlin” is the one that makes it… direct, and effective… you can’t ask for more.
How and why did you choose the album cover?
Rob – It all started when Yorick and I were fancying about the chracters in our lyrics. We had a draft of the cover, but it didn’t meet out desires. So I came up with this obscure character, unknown, a sort of treasure hunter from an unknown age, who travels in space and time to collect pieces of art and relics, in this personal museum. He travels through a sort of stargate… We thought it was a good idea, which I think we’ll take along also in the next albums. I don’t know if you like the graphic rendering of it, but I think it’s not that bad.. as I have read around in the reviews. Details are very clear, and the environment is well depicted…
Your lyrics deal with myths and legends. What is so fascinating about them?
Yoirck: the fascination of the past. It’s all about it, ancient times means mystery to me, and research. I’ve been a researcher in Medieval Studies, and the love for this matter led to the writing of lyrics about the past. Imagine walking through a gallery in a musem… relics, ancient pieces of art, portraits and statues surround the visitors and tell them their ancient stories… that’s the picture behind “Mythos”. It’s not just epic, not just adventure or myth… but a sort of full immersion into the past.
And in the future? Will you write about other myths? There are plenty tales to be retold. Or will you start writing drinking songs or about politics?
Yorick: Actually you are right. There are so many fascinating stories to be rertold. Yet, we want to give them a special twist, so the next albums, will be probably all linked together telling the story of the dim character portrayed in Mythos cover. He’s going to be our “fil rouge”, but the masterplan is yet to be written, so it’s just an idea, and it’s tooearly to talk about it.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Alberto : I don’t have any personal source of inspiration. Sometimes behind a song there is feeling, a state of mind. I usually write music at home, and usually the outcome is a complete song. The second phase of the process involves the whole band, Yorick works as a producer, cuts, rearranges, modifies parts of the song, and writes vocals and lyrics… then the rest of the bands adds their instruments… we do all this both playing or recording thesong on the computer. Some times it’s yorick coming with a song, or part of it, and the whole song is completed all together. The occasions in which a new idea comes up are various driving, working… anything. For yorik I think it’s a bit differnt. He reads a lot, so usually what he writes comes out of his readings.
Yorick: correct indeed.
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
ROB – It was my first time at New Sin with Luigi Stefanini. I have to admit that his reputation is absolutely deserved. He’s a great professional and a wonderful person. I think that the most amusing moments were when we were all together.. and even more… for example, when we had to record choral parts we invited some friends that, even if singers in other bands, didn’t have the tiniest idea of what they where there for. They didn’t know what they had to sing, or how. The climax was when two girls came to sing in Charon and Montezuma… they were very embarrassed with all those rude and metal men whatching at them singing together… quite intriguing… hehe. Yet the result was perfection in the songs.
How would you describe your own music?
ROB - …heavy metal! There is no other way to descibe it. I let other people putting labels. We have all different styles and different tastes, but what is evident is that we all love playing metal… so again, I would say we just play heavy metal
How do you create your sound? Which equipment do you use?
Alberto : I love loud and heavy guitars, so it’s been years already that i mostly use Mesa Boogie amplification and Gibson and Ibanez guitars some of which I personally customized, to have heavier sounds.
Yorick: I am more German as far as sound is concerned, I only use Engl heads, and Ibanez or ESP guitars. No effects, just as rough as it can gets… The mixture of Alberto’s and my sounds is what you hear on the album, but what you’ll hear more distinctly live… and don’t forget about the great support that Frana gives to the all thing, his Steve Harris Precision Fender is something so characteristic, like a British accent to a normal german speaking.
Please tell us something about your process of songwriting.
Alberto: as said earlier, there is no specific way. We just bring the stuff at rehearsals, and try to get the best of it. It might be a whole song, or just a rough idea… we work together, and give the matter a shape we like.
What are your musical influences in your opinion?
ROB: Even if we have all different tastes (from Metallica to Judas Priest, from Savatage to Mercyful Fate) I think that the metal from the 80s is what mostly can be seen as our main influence. The bands of the Bay area, the German bands like helloween, grave digger, accept, and of course the NWOBHM. Beside these bands, one can put anything, prog metal, power, doom… anything… the outcome will always be Heavy Metal how ever.
We'd like to know something about your background in making music. How did you learn to play, what are your experiences and which musicians are your main technical influence?
Alberto : I learned by my self, like all teenagers playing along popular bands. I have always admired musicians like Van Halen and Malmsteen, you can tell you’re listening to them by just a couple of notes, which means they created a very personal style a trademark. On the other hand, I have to admit that my main influences are the couple from Queensryche, Andy La Roque, Dimebag Darell (R.I.P.) and the couple from Mercyful Fate.
Rob: As a singer, I have a classical background, I was in some choirs in my youth. Later on, I decided to study in depth with a teacher my technique, and that helped me a lot to develop my personal style. I like very much expressive singers, rather than screamers. I think that technique and talet must serve expression, otherwise the singing will always be cold. My main influences are Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Rob Halford and Carl Albert.
Yorick: when I was a child I approached music playing the flute. I studied for three years, but then rock got me, so I bought my first electric guitar, and I started playing along records: Iron Maiden, Saxon, Scorpions and Van Halen. After a while I started going to school, and I learned the very basis of the instrument, but as almost all young kids, I goto bored of exercises… I needed action. I started playing in bands, but when the chance to record an album was close… I decided to go back to a teacher. I studied for a couple of years with Alex de Rosso (with Dokken recently). My top favourite guitarists are Malmsteen, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert and above all Criss Oliva.
What do you think: How will Raising Fear sound like in let's say five years? Is there a masterplan?
Alberto: We aim at keeping doing what we love: starightforward direct heavy metal. Hopefully in five years, we’ll be still doing that, but with more experience… so maybe we wil be able to do it better.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Alberto : everything by King Diamond , Mercyful Fate , Nevermore ; Pantera , Saxon , Queensryche , and Nightwish .
Rob - Hammerfall "crimson knight".
Yorick: Brazen Abbot “guilty as sin”, jorn Lande “out to every nation”, circle to circle “watching in silence”, and anything by brainstorm and blind guardian.
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
Yorick: yes!! I do love concerts. Recently I’ve seen Europe… well unexpectedly they played loud and hard. Perfec show… full of power and emotions. I’m sure going to see them again.
What makes the difference between Raising Fear and other Power Metal bands?
Alberto: somebody told we are the missing link between American Power and German Heavy Metal. What I think is our trademark is a mixture of power, thrash and a bit of prog. We now it’s a dangerous mixture, because we mix ingredients for different target of listeners, how ever, I think it’s what makes us “special”. So there will always be people who love us, and people who hates us, because there some sort of integralism sometimes among the metallers…
However, we’ll always try to do what we like, and what our fan want from us, which in the end will be heavy metal!
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
Alberto: there are a lot of bands active in my town. It’s a very stimulating underground, even if many of then, being young kids mostly, play nu metal. However I wouldn’t be able to name any of them.
ROB – My town, milan, is probably one of themost active. I’ve been in themusic since the 80s. Since then so many things have changed. There are so many musicians and bands that the space to play around has become very little. Too few venues, even if the qulity of the music has gotten much better… weird paradox indeed.
What about the Italian Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
Alberto: The Italian Metal Scene is still improving. There are a lot of very good bands, many of them unknown, and many of them quite popular even abroad. I am thinking of Thunderstorm, Eldritch, White Skull. We always tend to be friend with each other, but sometimes I realise that some people would do anything to have a bit of fame, even turning their back to friends, which makes me very sad. Yet in metal fame has quite a relative meaning so it’s a very poor war.
How important is it for you to play live on stage?
ROB - Playing live it’s our main goal as musicians. It’s the flame that starts the fire of passion for music, it’s adrenaline, it’s people contact. We think that our performaces give the audience all our best, give the true emotions we live, while writing and playing our songs.
Live it’s a way to be in touch with your fans, it’s a way to show yourself flesh and blood, and tell them you’re real, and your music is real.
To us, live experience is everything, and hopefully we might be able to be also in your country to let you see what I mean.
Please tell us something about further Live activities.
ROB – Thanks to our booking agency we have planned a quite interesting promotional tour around Italy. We’ve some ten gigs so far booked, plus a couple of Summer Festivals, still in Italy. However, we’re looking forward for the album to come out, so after the fans response, we’ll plan some gigs around Europe, to thank whoever has bought our album with a strong and powerful live act.
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
ROB – yes. Actually, there is one question in my mind, that keeps tormenting me.
I wonder if sometimes there is a sort of control on the professionalism or ability to judge of album reviewers. Sometimes I have the feeling that reviews are not something critical yet constructive, but just an act of self redemption or of violence… but it’s just my opinion.
Well... it seems that now our roles have changed for a short time and I am the one who has to answer. I just can speak for my own and a bit for Metalglory, of course.
First of all a review is always influenced by the musical affection of the one who writes it. You will certainly not get a good review about a Black Metal or Metal Core album from a True Metal Fan like me. If I have to judge something like that I would never give more than 6 or 7 points out of 10 because I don't like that stuff in general. That also means that I am no expert in this kind of music and so I do not have the right to rate it. The control mechanism at Metalglory is the distrubution of the CDs by our chief editor to the reviewer who likes the related style of music. He assures the professionalism of our reviews this way. And you can bet that I am an expert in True Metal and Power Metal as well as Björn Springorum is in Black Metal or Warmaster in Death Metal (just to mention some examples). Of course each of us is not that narrowminded. I am just talking about the main professions.
Another thing is that you are confronted with so many music nowadays. Each European village seems to have its own record company. Each record company tries to sell its newest band as the new revolution. Most bands who have a record deal have a certain level of musical competence thinking of the ability of playing their instruments as well as the ability of writing good songs. So in my opinion this is not enough anymore to get a major ranking in our reviews. There has to be more. Lots of good bands have a lack of charisma in my opinon. And in a lot of well written and played albums I miss a certain kind of magic. This last kick that makes you shiver or cheer. Even for some so called Metal experts it is hard to give a fair judgement to the hundredth Melodic Power Speed album within three months. Just because it gets boring in a while.
And a last thing: I have to admit that sometimes the journalist is carried away by his enthusiasm. But this can happen in both directions. I have written some rextremely good reviews as well of which I think I would not write them that good again.
There is always the danger that a writer uses is articles more to profile himself than to talk about the music. If this gets too far the journalist has to be stopped by the chief editor. Then you can discuss the facts, and if you cannot agree with each other you will have to part. This is another control of professionaliism. And this has also happened at Metalglory just a few months ago.
But all this control of professionalism brings the danger of restricting the freedom of press. So it is a kind of tightrope walk.
In the end I would say that most of us writers are still fans. We talk about music, we argue about our favourites and we live and die with our heroes as well as any headbanger in the first rows of the concert hall does. A musician who is confident with his work should not take a bad review too serious because I bet he will get enough good ones as well. That at least is my own experience of some long gone days as a bass player in some stupid long haired Heavy Metal band.
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best whishes to you all. Any last words?
YORICK: We are ready to come to Germany, so.... spread the word!!!