Interview conducted May 7 2019
Interview published June 27 2019
Luca Turilli: "I think in a few years nobody will
even ask us anymore about Rhapsody Of Fire."
Well, the story with different incarnations
of Italian metallers Rhapsody seems to go on forever and on July 5th Zero
Gravity (Rebirth And Evolution) by Turilli/Lione Rhapsody is out. Metal
Covenant met up with guitarist Luca Turilli
and singer Fabio Lione in Stockholm to listen
to their reflections on the band's new effort.
Tobbe: Zero Gravity is your first record
together in quite some time now and yet, was it just like before when
you started the writing process for the record?
Luca: You know, this time was kind of particular,
because we were not expecting to start together again after the farewell
tour. So I even had to use songs ready for other projects and arrange
them in the Rhapsody way. But in the end it was great for us, as we
wanted to propose something new compared to the past.
was just amazing, because it gave us the possibility to have a wide
variety on the album, artistically speaking, and this is possible thanks
to Fabio's voice of course, that allows this, because this is not possible
for many singers. In the beginning we were thinking about not even continuing.
Tobbe: Yes, you told me that in March last
year. You told me due to legal stuff you couldn't continue.
Luca: You see. But at that time we were really
thinking "Okay, let's stop.". I was supposed to do other projects
and Fabio was supposed to do other projects in any case. But then we
thought that the tour went fine and that we would maybe make a project
together, like a rock project in the style of Queen, you know. So that
was the idea. Nothing related to Rhapsody or whatever. But then, the
pressure, the success of the tour, all that, a lot of requests, and
we were still saying "No, we feel it's not fair to go on.".
But then, more pressure and then we said "Okay,
we can reach a compromise.". At first even not with the name Rhapsody.
We were thinking about using the name Zero Gravity. So this was the
first idea. A new band, you know. But then we discovered that the promoters
were not really enthusiastic about the idea. You know how the market
works. They want something that is already giving them some income.
So the only possibility, really, was to use the
Rhapsody name. But with our names on top and we changed the logo to
get a modern impact. We do really what we like to do now, and that's
why it was good for me to also take a few songs from another project
that really fit with Rhapsody and fit with Fabio's voice.
(Fabio:) It's a kind of evolution. Like we say
"Rebirth And Evolution". I mean, it's not really the same
music as before. I think it was fair to ourselves and to our fans, because
we said from the beginning "We want to go on doing something different.
If you like the idea, follow us. If you don't like it, that's okay.".
When I listened to the record the first time, or even the second time,
I was thinking that it was a very varied record and was wondering how
the fans would perceive this newborn style of Rhapsody. Aren't you even
worried a little bit?
Luca: No, we just released Phoenix Rising and
it's a song that has some connection with the past. And everybody loved
it, so we don't feel at all worried. (Fabio:)
The record is a bit far from what we did before. But from the other
side, if you don't start a new band with a clear message immediately
But for sure it's possible that we can lose some old fans.
(Luca:) But normally, this is a transition, like
Nightwish passing from Wishmaster to Once. Of course, they changed a
lot. In our case I don't think it's so drastic, because there are songs
like Phoenix Rising and Zero Gravity that can be liked by the old fans,
and why not Decoding The Multiverse? So it doesn't feel so drastic compared
to many other bands.
Tobbe: What kind of new stuff, that you
have never done before, have you brought to this record?
Fabio: We have some ethnic elements; Indian and
Tibetan instruments, percussions and even voices. For sure we have some
progressive elements; more than before. I mean, even in the past we
had some songs that were more progressive in a way, but for example,
the song I Am is progressive more in the Dream Theater style, which
is kind of far from the old Rhapsody style. Then we have more Italian
In the past there are some Italian songs, but
I think in this record you can feel a little more of the opera touch.
Not only regarding my vocals, but also Emilie Ragni for example, who
was singing with me in many songs. Then we have some pop metal. I was
really happy about the song [D.N.A. (Demon And Angel)] with Elize Ryd
and also this song is not really in the style of old Rhapsody. But it's
a fantastic song and we are really happy about it. So in the end there
are many new elements, you know.
(Luca:) Also we have never used a saxophone before.
We could not do it before of course, due to the saga, you know. But
now we have unlimited possibilities and this is the greatest thing for
this band. Now we only have our own limit, as I like to say. (Fabio:)
And the guitar sound is really different.
Yes. It's another world thanks to Simone Mularoni, the engineer. Me
and Fabio produced the album, but he was working as an engineer at Domination
Studios in San Marino and he made a miracle with the guitar sound. With
Angra, Fabio has had a guitar like that, but I myself have never in
my life had that sound.
(Fabio:) And the way that Luca was playing keyboards
is also different. It's more modern in a way. So the variety in the
record is really, in my opinion, big. And there are some Queen influences.
There are some parts where I think people might think about Queen. So
in the end I think this record is different and not boring and this
is something great for us because it's what we love and we hope that
it will be the same for the fans.
Tobbe: In your opinion, how much of this
record could be considered classic Rhapsody?
Fabio: Well, 30-40 percent. We didn't choose
the easy way. We could make a record with 40 percent new stuff and 60
percent old, but that's not what we like to do today.
Tobbe: It was in the late 90's you did your
first record and now it's 2019.
Luca: Yes, how can someone even imagine that
an artist can do the same thing after such a long time, after 10 albums,
about the same thing. Bands like U2 can have a career over 60 years
and write about whatever they want, but we were connected to a saga.
The colors are always the same, you know. You can change the arrangement,
but it's always related to the saga. You can go from one flute to another
to change the sound, but there's always a flute playing renaissance
melodies. You can change the melody, but it's always the same style.
Tobbe: But could you actually make a record
like the first one [Legendary Tales, 1997], if you would try today?
Luca: No, I could not. It would hurt my stomach,
you know. I don't feel it, you know. And you can never make it better
than the original. Maybe someone says "Let's hope they make another
Emerald Sword.", but Emerald Sword is already existing and the
other will be a copy and will never be as good as the original.
When I look at the album cover I see more future and when I look at the
old covers I see more past.
Luca: This is very important to say: It's not
science fiction, you know. It's just modern. The artwork represents
the metaphor of the meaning of the concept of the album, but it's a
coincidence. You know, next album might have a cover in a totally different
style. It's not like we're making a science fiction saga or things like
that. I think it's clear. We have a song about Da Vinci [Arcanum (Da
Vinci's Enigma)] and Amata Immortale is about [Giacomo] Leopardi, the
famous poet. I don't know if you know anything about him. He was very
famous in Italy.
Tobbe: Da Vinci I've heard of
Luca: Da Vinci, yes. [Laughs] It's now 500 years
since his death, so this is an important moment to celebrate him. One
of the greatest geniuses of mankind. It's a song about, you know, Dan
Brown, the movie, the secret codes hidden by Leonardo himself. These
special codes, these numbers, these things. He knew everything about
the secret societies at the time. It's also the mystical aspect of Leonardo,
because through his art there's magic, you know. Something incredible
came out from his hands. We interpreted the art of Leonardo as kind
of a portal to another dimension in some way.
Tobbe: During the interviews we did last
year and the year before that, you both told me that you were never gonna
play the old songs again. What will you do now?
Fabio: Oh, that's a good question. I mean, of
course we have to play some old stuff, because we have a new record
of, let's say, one hour, so if the band needs to play two hours, in
this moment we are forced to play old songs. I think we have many songs
in our records that can fit somehow with this new style. But for sure,
a lot of songs we will never play on stage again.
(Luca:) Yes, of course, the ones that are not
really related. I was surprised, honestly, now when Fabio says this,
just how many songs that could honestly fit with songs like Phoenix
Rising and Zero Gravity. Take a song even from the second album Symphony
Of Enchanted Lands : Riding The Winds Of Eternity was already
progressive at the time.
Tobbe: It would also be hard to play the
entire new album live.
Luca: Yes, that's not possible. There's kind
of a rule, that we told the manager, that there's always, like, 3-4
songs that you have to play, depending on the set. On a 90-minute set,
maximum 5 songs from the new album, and the rest have to be a percentage
of very old songs, and then the ones in the middle of the discography.
We have Rhapsody, Rhapsody Of Fire, Luca Turilli's Rhapsody and now Turilli/Lione
Rhapsody. Can you do anything else to complicate this even more?
Luca: About Luca Turilli's I already did something
positive: Luca Turilli's Rhapsody doesn't exist. But this new one could
be the definitive one, because we didn't want to do that, as we told
you before. So this is the last thing possible under the name Rhapsody,
And this is a new band, so that makes it less
confusing, in the sense that everybody now will know clearly that changing
subject, changing image, changing concept, changing logo will be the
difference. Before, my logo was modernized, but now it's another thing;
another imagery, another graphic concept. So everything is different.
From the artwork you understand the difference immediately. So now it
will be very clear and not confusing like in the past.
Tobbe: Have you listened to Alex's [Staropoli]
Rhapsody Of Fire record [The Eighth Mountain] that came out in February?
Fabio: Two songs. (Luca:)
I haven't listened to that style in 10 years. I listened to just one
song because I wanted to know what they had done. I was curious, you
Tobbe: Both bands use the name Rhapsody
still, but you guys have the original singer and is that what actually
counts the most?
Fabio: Maybe yes, but I think it's just a matter
of time probably before the fans will realize that we play different
music. We are two really different bands. We have the same word, Rhapsody.
We use that word, but we are completely different now. And it's weird
that in one of the bands there is the original guitar player, founder,
composer, singer and in the other band there is only the original keyboard
player and the band that is trying to do something new is the first
of them. This is, in my opinion, a funny thing. It would be more logical
if it was the opposite.
(Luca:) With that being said, we wish them all
the best. There's no competition. There were some fans that were trying,
Like the soccer teams, you know. But they will understand
very soon. I think in a few years nobody will even ask us anymore about
Rhapsody Of Fire.
Tobbe: Could you do a one-off gig with Alex
or is that door forever closed?
Fabio: It would not make sense. But no, for
many reasons. His taste is completely different from our taste today.
His vision in music, what he likes
I don't have any contact with