LABYRINTH - INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - Feb.2005 - CHRIS GALEA.
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TEN YEARS, TEN COMMANDMENTS, TEN QUESTIONS
It’s been a hell of a decade for LABYRINTH. This Italian band has been through several important line-up amendments, changed record label 3 times and has seen itself compelled to take quite a number of awkward decisions. Not only has the band determinedly moved on but here they are in March of 2005, about to release their 5th album, the eclectic: “Freeman”.
There’s guitar-shredding and melody, there’s several tempo changes but the fact remains that it’s difficult to describe the band’s music. From “Piece Of Time”, the debut release, to the 1st official album: “No Limits” (which had featured Fabio Lione, now Rhapsody’s lead voice) on through the excellent “Return To Heaven Denied” and to the conceptual E.P. “Timeless Crime” followed by “Sons Of Thunder” and “Labyrinth” albums – the band has often consciously taken decisions to change its music.
At the dawn of a new album, and (I dare say) era, I ask guitarist/founding-member Andrea Cantarelli (previously known as Anders Rain) ten questions.
THE FREEMAN COMETH
1. Having heard the promo for “Freeman”, I had the feeling that this time around you’ve put a lot more thought into the songs. For example the songwriting has a smoother flow although there are both furious and calm moments in nearly each song. Do you agree? Would you label LABYRINTH’s current musical direction as ‘progressive metal’?
“Well, I think we have simply found the right way to put in our music, the characteristical musical elements of the band, I mean melodic and calm moments, furious moments, progressive parts, speed parts.
I think the songs are really “easy listening”, and I think the current musical direction is simply to write songs in this way.”
2. Although I don’t have the lyrics for “Freeman”, they sound very intruiging. Could you briefly explain the meaning of the lyrics to your favorite songs in the new album?
“Well Freeman is also my favorite song of the album. The groove is great, the chorus is so great, and I love what I have played with my guitar under the melody of Roberto (Tiranti – lead vocals).
About the lyrics, what we speak about is the condition of the band, just now. We feel we are free to write music without boundaries, playing only what we really feel, without fear or thinking too much of the business (aspect). The verse of the chorus “There is a place for every free man, Who wants to stay out of the flock? Don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but I still sing my song, until I have the strength to carry on”, explain in a perfect way what we mean.”
3. In the photo-shoots for “Freeman” band members are wearing straight-jackets. Is there a particular reason for this? Is it ironically linked with the title of the album?
“This kind of image is linked to the main theme of the album: to be a freeman. But as you can imagine, is not so easy to be it. Sometimes, to be free, means to make really difficult choices, and the people can think you’re going crazy…
Maybe it would have been easy for the band, to make another “Return To Heaven Denied”, but just now (that) is not what we really want. We have chosen a really difficult way, and we are proud about it.”
4. I think that together with bands like RHAPSODY, LACUNA COIL, and DOMINE, LABYRINTH helped put Italian metal into the global map. But do you think there weren’t good Italian bands before the late 1990’s?
“I know, the imagine of our country, I speak about the musical scene, is linked especially to folk / pop artists as “Eros Ramazzotti”, or ”Laura Pausini” for example. But here in my country, especially during the 70’s and 80’s, a lot of rock, progressive or metal bands, have made a really good work. I speak about bands like “Strana Officina”, or “Fil Di Ferro”, for example, but also about progressive band like “Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “P.F.M” and much more.”
5. Is there such a thing as ‘Italian Metal’?
“No, I don’t thing so. All the bands here in Italy, play music in a really different way. I don’t thing we can speak about a kind of music called ‘Italian Metal’.”
WITHIN THE LABYRINTH
6. All (well, most) bands say how important fans are to them. But how much do you enjoy interacting with fans?
“I have started to play, just for fun, just to have a lot of people in front of me, (while) playing my music. To interact with the fans, is one of the stuffs I prefer as a musician, it’s really fun for me. You must play on stage, write albums, thinking ever to the fans. You must have a lot of respect giving all the times 100% of yourself. A band is nothing, without fans, and we can’t forget this.”
LABYRINTH have quite a versatile vocalist in the form of Roberto Tiranti (previously known as Rob Tyrant). About 2 years ago, he even found the time to work on a musical: “The Ten Commandments”. So I ask Andrea a question concerning the band’s attitude towards music in general.
7. In “Freeman” besides obviously Metal, I personally sensed influences from Classical music, Jazz and even Soul (sometimes Roberto’s singing reminds me of Glenn Hughes). Do you listen to any music outside of Metal?
“Well of course. I love to play Metal, but I’m also a musician at 360°, as the other guys of the band. We also like to listen to and play different kinds of music from Jazz, to Soul, artists like Sting, Dire Straits, Enya, and (many others) are a big influence for the band.”
8. LABYRINTH have traveled quite a lot now (Japan, China, South America, etc…). I suppose like any tour these were very hectic, but what do you feel when returning home and suddenly facing a slower lifestyle?
“Well in effect it is a big problem. The day before you’re on stage, playing your music in front of fans. The day after you’re in your office in front of your chief…. We are under the risk of schizophrenia…ehehehe. Seriously, it’s not so easy to live in this way, but music is our passion and we can’t live without it. Maybe this is the price we must pay.”
9. Although I’m from Malta, I am conducting this interview on behalf of a U.S.A.-based webzine…….are there any plans for a North American tour?
“We hope so. But as you surely know, is not so easy for a band like Labyrinth to sell a lot of copies (of C.D.s) in North America, and without good sales, is not so easy to play live. We hope to improve this with the new album. I mean, some songs like “L.Y.A.F.H.” are more near to the tastes of the people from U.S.A. We have also made a video for this song, so something could happen this year - we hope so.”
WRAPPING IT UP
10. Do you have any message for readers of www.maximummetal.com?
“I want to say to the readers, the new album of the band could give you really good sensation. I hope to meet you soon, somewhere, sometimes. Thank you for your support. Stay Heavy and Take Care.”
“Freeman” is out on Arise Records on 4th March 2005.
Chris Galea [MetalKnight] - email@example.com
Roberto Tiranti - Vocals
Andrea Cantarelli - Guitar
Mattia Stancioiu - Drums
Cristiano Bertocchi - Bass
Pier Gonella - Guitar
Andrea “MC” De Paoli - Keyboards
Piece Of Time [E.P.] (1995 – Underground Symphony)
No Limits (1996 – Underground Symphony)
Return To Heaven Denied (1998 – Metal Blade)
Timeless Crime [E.P.] (1999 – Metal Blade)
Sons Of Thunder (2000 – Metal Blade)
Labyrinth (2003 – Century Media)
Freeman (March 2005 – Arise)
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