The famous Italian guitarist and composer Luca Turilli has talked to Rock Overdose and Katerina Paisoglou, our correspondent in Italy, showing his eloquent soeech and scientific knowledge. The story of "Rhapsody" and its ending, their tour plans, Greece, Platon, but mostly the debut album of Turilli/Lione Rhapsody "Zero Gravity" due to release on July 5th can be read below in a real music ... overdose.
Rock Overdose: Good evening, Luca! It’s a pleasure to meet you! How are you?
Luca Turilli: Hello to you too. It’s a pleasure for me too. I am fine, thank you!
Rock Overdose: What would you say if we start our discussion with a trip back in time for the readers of Rock Overdose?
Luca Turilli: Of course! It has all started back in 1997 with our debut album “Legendary Tales”. We were very young at that time, we didn’t know anything about music business, there were many difficulties, we even used our own savings. But, in the end, we were very lucky to have a big budget, that gave us the opportunity to obtain the quality we wanted. Even nowadays, when I listen to our first album, although my musical taste has changed, I could say that it doesnàt sound old, thanks to the fundings that we’ve had at that time. A few days before entering the studio, I have created this saga, the “Heroic Fantasy”, which we have decided to use as a source of inspiration for the music and the lyrics of many of our records.
In this way, we have reached 2010, with eight LPs and two EPs and at that point the saga was completed. That was when the differences between me and Alex Staropoli have come out. At this point we took separate ways, Fabio has stayed with them, but Dominique, Patrice and myself have created Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. We have decided with Alex to stop the project at that moment - we have dedicated too many albums at the same subject - because we didn’t want to be destroyed by our own creation. Since I had always liked many kinds of music, for example, the electronic groups like Muse, or Adele, i have tried to “contaminate” the symphonic metal with them. I had always been impressed by the classic music of the movie soundtracks with a strong impact of the guitars. This chapter has finished after two LPs and after about eight years, when we were proposed to to our final tour.
We have thought about it a long time, but personally I thought that it was a good way of celebrating our 20th anniversary as a band and concluding our time together. There were some doubts that came out after many discussions and the known differences between Alex and Fabio, but in the end we have decided to go for it at full speed and close this chapter in the best way. in the beginning we have booked only a few shows at some festivals, but after the huge success, we have travelled around the world with our Reunion Tour and we have done around 75 concerts. Fabio and me didn’t have frequent contact all this time, maybe only some texts for best wishes for example.
In the end, I think that the three of us went on as Rhapsody for a long period of time, despite all our natural differences, other bands get into crisis much earlier than us.
Rock Overdose: What happened when the Reunion Tour came to an end?
Luca Turilli: I wanted to change my music style, leave the metal sound and dedicate myself to the piano, my favorite instrument. I love the acoustic sounds of Federico Einaudi for example. When we saw the success of the Reunion tour, we’ve thought we could create a project of symphonic rock, like Queen.
I had communicated that I wanted to end my metal era in every way and at that moment the promoters saw that I had that thing in common with Fabio. There was also a lot of confusion with Rhapsody of Fire and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, the audience had no idea who these monikers were referred to.
We took the Reunion tour opportunity in order to play our famous metal songs for the last time and after that tour Fabio and me wanted to stay out of that field, but after many reunions with the promoters, which were in disagreement with our choice, we have decided to create a new metal group and name it “Zero Gravity”.
We wanted to use the kinds music that we like and mixed them with the classic sound of Rhapsody for that new project. At the beginning, everyone was glad about that option, but suddenly all the promoters stepped away from us. So, the two of us have started again from the beginning after all these years and we tried to find a way to compromise things in order to get the promoters’ approval. There was also been a campaign of crowdfunding that was fundamental for our project. We have never done anything like it before, there was too much agitation, because we had already made our plans for the new group, but we couldn’t start working on it, but in the end we found a way to compromise things.
We have decided to keep the term Rhapsody in our moniker and add our own names and I have given up to Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody in order to avoid any confusion. We have created a modern logo and we have adopted the mojo “Rebirth And Evolution”. From that moment, we both started our new adventure at full speed, this innovation for us by using progressive arrangements like Dream Theater or vocal arrangements of Queen for example. We gave the title “Zero Gravity” to the album instead of the band in the end.
We wanted to make music that we really like, since music has become a hobby nowadays. Even if we end this project after releasing only one album, at least for once in my life I would have done what I really wanted.
Rock Overdose: Listening to the album makes everyone realize that you and Fabio have a great collaboration, even if you haven’t been in contact for a long time, musically speaking…
Luca Turilli: Yes, it’s the kind of music i call “music of impact”, but nowadays the right term would be “hybrid music”. My first contact with the soundtrack of Matrix movie has changed everything for me. We have talked a lot and have decided to add ethnic music and new instruments in our sound, some of them have never been used before, because they were not suitable for this medieval kind of music that we were doing in the past. We have taken elements from music of countries like India, Tibet, Mongolia, there is also an oriental kind of music.
Rock Overdose: We can find all your scientific knowledge in your lyrics, you talk about psychology, geometry, quantum physics…
Luca Turilli: I discovered yoga seven years ago, the meditation has changed my whole life. I realized that by adopting the method that the monks of Tibet use for breathing, you stimulate my nervous system, you start having some mystic and paranormal experience, that until then you have already read about it in books.
You find out that there is a multidimensional reality that you have never seen before. Your spirit works in a specific kind of way and the mind indicates you to use logic, so the final result is a combat, you start having doubts about everything and this is the cause of a thirst for knowledge, you want to know everything about science, the spirit, the psychology. There are the main subjects of our lyrics, we define this as “thirst for knowledge” and we have talked about them a lot, since we also think that every person at some point in life starts having doubts about his own existence.
Even the saga’s subjects in the past were useful as a filter to talk about the same subjects in an indirect way, not so directly as in this case. In the end, all the artists are interested in the same kind of questions in their subconscious, in a more or less explicit kind of way, according to Jung.
Rock Overdose: Let’s talk about the song “D.N.A.” with the guest vocals from Elize Ryd…
Luca Turilli: In this song we have managed to represent the two sides of the subconscious in a perfect way, with Fabio at the obscure part and Elize at the pure part of it. Everything is based on the theories of Jung in psychology.
Rock Overdose: Speaking about these subjects in a direct way in an album could be a reason for the listener to find some answers in many own questions in life, so it could be a way to enjoy great music melodies but also use the lyrics as a way to gain knowledge…
Luca Turilli: We have always offered that kind of possibility with our records. Even when we were dedicated to the saga’s subject, even when most people thought it was a fairytale, the fantasy elements are based on archetypes. Fiction has a very huge success worldwide, for example in the case of “Game Of Thrones”, mostly because fantasy is a very big part of our subconscious.
Rock Overdose: This new record contains many classic, modern and oriental elements. The title track is in my impression the most impressive one, even though there are great songs like the tributes to Leonardo Da VInci and Giacomo Leopardi that can’t be ignored by the listener…
Luca Turilli: The title track is very special for us, the official video clip for that song is going to be published soon. It represents all kinds of elements that we want to have in our music. We have published two lyric videos until today. In this track we have folk and Indian music, we use the sitar and we also used a more commercial intro for it.
Fabio sings in a very intense way, we have insisted a lot on that part. He is very good at his part, but in the studio we have looked for the best interpretation possible for every phrase. We also have the symphonic part in the verse, the chores, the Rhapsody style chorus, the great solo by Dominique that reminds me of Hans Zimmer music and my own contribution with my guitar sweepes and you can also hear me play the piano. So, you are right, this song has everything.
The fact that every journalist picks a different song as his favorite makes me happy, because it shows we succeeded in the field that we have pointed out the most and that was the variety of sound. We had received more money than expected from the crowdfunding, so we were able to make the video clip and have some guests in order to achieve variety. You can hear the saxophone in the song “I Am” for example, an instrument that we have never used in the past.
Rock Overdose: We can read the name of the great Sascha Paeth among the guests…
Luca Turilli: This collaboration was not planned from the very beginning. We were very close to our deadline and a few days before starting mastering the album, we still had some parts that were not recorded for our bonus track. I had the idea of contacting Sascha, even if he was on tour with Avantasia. He has recorded the bass guitar parts for that song in four hours in his hotel room, it was a very friendly gesture.
He has also given us the chance to get to know Santiano, a band with a huge success in Germany. So at the very last day we had received all the acoustic parts from them and in this way we have completed “Oceano”, one of Fabio’s favorite songs, together with “Arcanum”, because he sings in italian in a light tenor tone, even if he maintains a more commercial style in order to make the songs good for everyone.
Rock Overdose: You have studied this album on every detail and this includes the cover art as well…
Luca Turilli: We were more careful because we didn’t want to make a “science fiction” cover. I have asked Stefan Heilemann to do it, because I have worked with him in the past. You express your ideas and he makes the miracles happen. We wanted to create the phoenix, the female angel that represents our personal intercourse through life, death and rebirth from the ashes will take us to the next level of conscience. The futuristic city in the back represents the material part of our existence.
Rock Overdose: I know you have already scheduled some live shows, for sure a festival in region of Reggio Emilia. Do you have any other plans for a bigger tour already in mind?
Luca Turilli: We have scheduled only these four shows in festivals for now, in Spain, Italy, Hungary and “Monsters Of Rock” in Czech Republic. We didn’t want to do many shows for now, because our setlist will include many old classic songs, since we didn’t have enough time to prepare to play many of the new songs. In autumn we will be in Stockholm, Helsinki, Asia and in the end we will travel to Australia for the first time in our career. The true headlining tour will start in January with a setlist full of new songs and we will tour around Italy, Europe, South America and the rest of the world.
Rock Overdose: Let’s hope that we will have many more albums from this new project and people will appreciate “Zero Gravity”...
Luca Turilli: We always put our heart and soul in what we do and we are waiting for the response of the public. From a journalistic point of view, the album has been accepted in a very good way, we have received positive reviews. There are also many fans that are tired of our classic music proposals of the past, so maybe there will be some people that will appreciate the new proposal.
Rock Overdose: The new album will be a positive surprise for the fans, but anyone that has followed Luca Turilli’s career through the years knows that he is a multidimensional artist…
Luca Turilli: First, we prefer making the music that we really like, for our own self respect. Second, even if we wanted to make music similar to Rhapsody of Fire, it wouldn’t have been right to enter the field of our ex-colleagues or maybe try to copy them.
Maybe all fans that dislike any kinds of change will understand in the end. Many important bands had come up with new music proposals, but people reacted with boycottage. This is a normal reaction, but there are also fans that understand the reasons and accept the desire to change and there is always the possibility that other people get to know you as an artist by listening to your new material.
I always advice the artists to use the heart and mind while creating music and pay less attention to other external factors. We are very happy to see that many old school fans accepted our choice for a new start.
Rock Overdose: What do you think about the international music scene?
Luca Turilli: I listen to all kinds of music with the exception of the blues, that has never been my thing, you know? I have discovered Myrath lately on youtube, I like bands that prefer experimenting themselves, like Rammstein, that have no boundaries. Nothing surprises me as a musician anymore, only the bands that try to innovate. All the rest sounds already known to me. I have used all kinds of tones in my career. The only way for me to go on making music is to use new arrangements and new instruments.
Rock Overdose: Now that we have ended our interesting, outstanding and original discussion, what are your hopes for “Zero Gravity” and the future of the band?
Luca Turilli: We are all satisfied with the final result. It’s not so easy to let people know about a record full of variety by giving them samples. I hope that this new album will stimulate people’s fantasy and also be a source for inspirations for questions in life. We start the European tour in January, I know there has been a contact for a show in Greece, but I know nothing for sure. I love playing in Greece, mostly for what the country represents, the nature, Plato, geometry and the particular instruments, like the bouzouki!
Rock Overdose: Thank you very much, Luca! Good luck with everything! I will see you very soon!
Luca Turilli: Thank you very much, we will see you on the road really soon, good night!
For Rock Overdose