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donderdag 26 januari 2012
MYSTIC PROPHECY: Ultimate Dedication to their Music

Interview with vocalist R.D. Liapakis of Mystic Prophecy in January 2012 by Vera

Mystic Prophecy has always been one of the more interesting bands in the power metal scène, having the nearest approach to bands like Brainstorm, Iced Earth and Nevermore instead of being akin to their German happy metal brothers. In 2009 they proved that vocalist/producer R.D. Liapakis and guitarist Markus Pohl were able to survive the next drastic change in the line-up by releasing the stunning album ‘Fireangel’. Fortunately they equal that top notch quality on ‘Ravenlord’. That’s why we had our next debonair chat with R.D. Liapakis!

First of all congratulations with ‘Ravenlord’! It is a stunner again! Are you satisfied with the result and how are the reactions so far?
Thank you so much for your good words!!! With “Ravenlord”, we managed to make a really versatile album… you’ll find fast and aggressive stuff, mid-tempo powerful songs, rhythmic and melodic diversity. We really believe we've come up with something original. I think there is material that will cover all tastes in the metal genre, plus an Ozzy Osbourne cover, which we played more brutal and gave him the MYSTIC PROPHECY TASTE. Now, the feedback from the fans is already unbelievable. They seem to like it very much, in Amazon we reached Nr. 1 in digital downloads in three weeks amongst very big names in the international rock and metal scene and we are pretty confident that “Ravenlord” is going to enter the charts, as “Fireangel” did, 77th place in Germany… We are so happy about it, and we can't wait to go on tour and play live!!!

‘Fireangel’ was a kind of new beginning with three new members in the band, but fortunately this line-up turned out a winner. Except for the man behind the drums so it seems. What happened to Stefan Dittrich? Then a Claudio Sisto was mentioned… Now I think it is Tyronne Silva, so please can you clear things up about this?
We are pleased to have Connie on the bass, Markus and Constantine on guitars in our band. This is definitely a winner line-up. As for the drummer: Claudio and Stefan helped us for several months through gigs and festivals we had during the last period of time, from that point on they had to go their own ways. It's ok, this is life, taking your places. The new album was recorded with TYRRONE SILVA and he is 100% our new drummer in Mystic Prophecy. He is an amazing drummer and everybody can hear this on our new album.

But ‘Fireangel’ was the first album that hit the charts in Germany. Did it change something good for the band?
Yes it did. When you have "Fireangel" entering the charts, to make a good album and reach the top again takes some rather serious effort and there comes the challenge. Music business is not forgiving at all when it comes to mistakes, especially when not making good songs from a band that's out in the market for such a long time. We have faithful fans all over the world, and they all expect an equally great album as the previous ones, if not better. So, the only thing we focused on for the last two years was making some really good new songs, to satisfy our audience who warmly supported us for the last ten years. A thing we know we achieved with "Ravenlord"!

Former time we spoke about tour plans for October 2009? Did you go on tour that time or did something unexpected happen?
I can't really seem to recall if anything unexpected happened, it's been more than two years, you know. Things are sometimes moving too fast and keeping a tight schedule is almost impossible.

Anyways, you did tour in January 2010 with Stratovarius (great show in Antwerp btw!) Please tell us a bit more about this tour? How do you look back at it?
It was a great time for us. We toured for about a dozen shows as an opening act for Stratovarius, and it really was a blast. We played in venues literally packed from people and we had an amazing response from our fans, who we love so much, plus I had the opportunity to meet and become good friends with Stratovarius drummer Joerg Michael, whom I started a new band with, which is called Devil's Train, and our debut album will be released worldwide on February 17th, 2012, from Edel - Ear Music.

You did some festivals too. What do you see as highlights? Any special memories to share with us?
I think that the most vivid memories are when we see the faces of our fans when we play live: ecstatic ... satisfied ... happy ... full of energy. They are the band's biggest asset; without them we wouldn't manage to keep it together. We owe it all to them, for supporting us warmly for all these years.

Let us focus on the writing process for ‘Ravenlord’ now. I remember that Constantine – at that time pretty new in the band – wrote already three songs for ‘Fireangel’ and turned into huge help for Markus. What about the writing process for ‘Ravenlord’? When did you start writing new songs?
After touring with Stratovarius in early 2010, the band needed some time to write new songs. On this album the songs were written by three people, me, Markus and Connie. Six songs were written by me and Markus, and the other five by me and Connie. Markus has been in the band for the last eight years and knows exactly what is needed for a song to sound like Mystic Prophecy. I personally think that he is one of the top-five rhythm guitarists in the world. Connie is with us for the last three years, but he is unbelievably talented. He plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards... He has a really good voice. He was interested from the very beginning to compose with us. I believe that the new album has versatility and freshness, because more than two people worked on making it. A new, good musician, always adds something fresh to the band.

I think the new album has a perfect balance between shorter thrash-like heavy songs and a bit longer with an epic feel one can find in classic rock. Do you agree on that?
Yes I would agree on that. We all have influences from the old Bay Area thrash era, as well as lots of 70's and 80's classic rock, but the thing is, we consider ourselves as evolving musicians, and in order to maintain interest and keep our fans intrigued by our musical vision, we have to surpass our level every time we make an album, but also, everyone can see that Mystic Prophecy has a very strong identity as a band. We think of the new album as a part of developing as musicians and composers, a new chapter
for Mystic Prophecy.

I notice an absence of your rougher vocals (hm.. semi-grunts I mean) except in the bonus track. Any specific reason for that?
I believe that my voice cannot be considered as "not aggressive". If "Die Now", "Endless Fire" and "Cross Of Lies" aren't vocally rough, then what kind of vocals are? I think there are lots of heavy-rough vocals on the album, but it's also crucial to sing in a versatile way, so you can avoid doing the same things all the time and make your listeners start getting bored.

Lyric-wise the previous album has a kind of pessimistic view on this world (well, I am afraid you are right), but can you go deeper into the lyrics of ‘Ravenlord’?
Let me tell you some things about the lyrics on "Ravenlord". We have eleven songs and each one represents a warrior, who takes place in the last battle. The Ravenlord is the above all and, of course, the only winner of the battle. Death ... Each warrior has his own perspective of the battle, and they describe it in their own way. One fights for his faith, another is a mercenary and does it for the money, one other is a natural born killer and wants to quench his thirst for blood. If you look, even these days everything is still the same, for thousands of years war prevails for the same reasons as I mentioned above, nothing has changed and the only true winner in the end is Death...

Is there a kind of theme/concept and what was the reason to call the album ‘Ravenlord’?
Yes, as you probably notice it is a concept album and it pretty much has to do with the lyrics. My previous answer should cover it, I really believe that making it a concept album gives a more solid image.

In 2010 you celebrated you tenth anniversary. Please tell our readers: how did you celebrate it?
Let me see... champagne, beer, more beer, and then some... hahahaha, I really think that there is no better celebration for us than keeping the passion for making great music, and sharing with our fans in concert.

Why did you choose to cover ‘Miracle Man’ of Ozzy?
One day Markus told me that he did "Miracle Man" in another tempo. I listened to it and liked it a lot, because he gave the song some more aggression and rhythm. I believe it's rather boring to make a song cover and not change anything. Of course, the original always sounds so great, but you just have to do something different in it, to make interesting, in your own way.

Who did the artwork and can you tell a bit about its symbolism?
The album's artwork was made by Jonas Kawalek, a true artist in graphics design. Jonas is amazing in his work, you can clearly see it on all the albums he's done. We have worked together during the last years for Mystic Prophecy and we always have great results. He's definitely a part of our team. The image in the front cover is just a symbol for the Ravenlord...
death incarnated... the only winner in all wars...

Are there plans to make a video clip?
It's not actually in our future plans to make a video clip for a "Ravenlord" song. On top of that I believe that if a video is to be made, it should be perfect in its everything and a perfect video clip costs a lot of money, as much as a scheduled concert tour. So, we prefer touring hehe. That way we are closer to the audience, and they can make their own videos from our concerts and post them on YouTube.

I found some tour plans on your website and fortunately you will play in Belgium as well! So please tell us about the upcoming tour plans for 2012?
We are happy to be playing around Europe during all April. We also have confirmed shows for ProgPower USA. We have lots of invitations coming in, but first we have to check and confirm before we announce them. Just stay in touch with us and visit our Official Website, where you can see the band's activities.

What are the rest of the plans for the near future?
We strongly believe that touring and playing live is the most important thing a band should do. You have to stay in touch with your audience. We have the best fans in the world, and we will always be trying our best to keep them satisfied. Besides that, our goal is to stay focused and make great music as we always do.

If there is any news I forgot to cover, feel free to add it here…
No, I think that we have covered everything, but I would like to emphasize that everybody who knows Mystic Prophecy and watch the band's career they know that we always show our best on every new album, actually better every time. For us, quality in song-writing and sound is absolutely crucial, and there's not a chance that we let our fans down with any musical experiments. The new Mystic Prophecy album has got balls, power, melodies, fast and mid-tempo songs… anything a metal fan needs to be happy!

That’s it for now, guys! Thanks for your time and see you in April in Belgium! Good luck with all your endeavours and best wishes for 2012!
Thank you so much for giving us the chance to speak with you again!!! See you on tour very soon!!!

Geplaatst door Vera op donderdag 26 januari 2012 - 15:57:09
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