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woensdag 04 februari 2009
EmpYrios: The Vision of a Trip in a Parallel Dimension

Interview with guitarist Simone Mularoni of EmpYrios by Vera in January 2009

EmpYrios is one of the myriad-minded symphonic yet ultra contemporary power metal bands hailing from Italy. They surprised me with their debut ‘…And The Rest Is Silence’ and during 2008 they launched their sophomore album at the world, nothing but a stunner again. Even before the album had reached me, it was obvious that talking with mastermind/guitarist Simo happened to be not an obligation but a wish. That’s what happened and you can read all the latest news in this interview with him.

As you know I was impressed by your debut album ‘…And The Rest Is Silence’. What were the results of this release and are you a bit satisfied with the recognition it brought to EmpYrios?
Well, actually the album had a huge impact on the media. Top album in most of the magazines and webzines and great reviews almost everywhere. Obviously the old label wasn’t so big and the sales were too low. By the way the album brought us inside the metal world in the better way!

It was January 2007 when this album came out. Could you play some live gigs to support the album?
Yes, we played some gigs here in Italy, the usual clubs and stuff like that, but we shortly started writing and composing new songs and after then we had the “line-up” problem, so we preferred to concentrate on the pre-productions!

Indeed, some changes happened in the meantime on the line-up front. Drummer Matteo left the band and I think this must have been hard since you and Matteo were friends since a long time. What happened?
Yep! You’re completely right! But you know, life goes on, people constantly change their tastes! Matteo didn’t share with me the same vision about music and direction of the band so we decided together to split up and to continue our careers separately. At a certain point in your life you have to realize that if you want to make music as your daily job you have to separate friendship from the band, right? Anyway, Matteo is constantly playing drums in other bands here in our town and we often meet each other to have some beers, so I don’t think splits are always “bad”!

How did you come in contact with and finally recruit Dario Ciccioni? Isn’t he a drummer with many Frontiers bands? What can we see as his input on the new record in your opinion?
I work in a recording studio pretty known here in Italy and Dario had recorded a lot of albums with other bands there. So we became very close friends during last years and it was quite natural to ask him if he wanted to join our musical journey! He was very excited about that and he learned all the albums in 1-2 weeks and surprised all of us in the studio recording all the drum parts in less than 2 days! He’s an amazing drummer and also a very, very special person and all of that mixed together brought a special “shine” to the album you know! By the way, he joined the band when all the songs were written and completed so he couldn’t change too much in the arrangements, but now we’re writing some new stuff and he’s participating a lot more!

Another thing that struck me is that keyboard player Emanuele Casali is not in the permanent line-up anymore. What happened to him?
Eheheh, actually I’m still playing with him in DGM, my other band! I consider Emanuele the real BEST keyboard player here in Italy (why not, the world? Eheh) but simply the new style we’ve followed hadn’t space for “classic” keyboards. We wanted to try new solutions with electronics and more industrial samples. The other important reason is the distance. Emanuele lives in Rome (more than 400km from us) so it was difficult to rehearse and play live! But we’re still kickin’ ass in DGM and I really hope that our collaboration will last all life long!

Well, you hear the result. Keyboard parts are no longer duelling parts with guitars but restricted to atmospheric additions. Who played those keys now in the studio?
Emanuele is still playing most of the pads and strings on the album. I also programmed a lot of samples and keyboards in most of the songs. But the main role this time was taken by Dualized. Dualized is another friend of us who’s really the BEST one in Italy making electronic music and stuff like that. We gave him one song (the title track) to try out and he returned to us a real masterpiece! So he helped us adding to the album that “industrial” and “modern” touch!

Your words came true: the second album ‘The Glorious Sickness’ is much heavier and darker. Can you tell a bit more about this evolution of the band, already in the pipeline when we spoke in 2007?
It was a natural evolution for us. You have to know, the first album was composed 3-4 years before it was published. So we considered it like too “old”! We wanted to create our style, mixing all the styles we like! For example, why couldn’t I put a death metal groove under a melodic soaring vocal if it’s sounding good?? That’s it. We’re listening to a lot of metal styles, from progressive to industrial to everything else. And we like some things from every music genre so we only try to combine them in the best way possible.

What can you say about the writing process this time?
As always I composed almost all the songs except “A New Dawn” that was written mostly with Sym and some other things. I usually record all the songs with drum machine, some keyboards, bass, guitars and some vocals ideas. Then I give the songs to the guys and they learn their parts! Obviously everyone can give his advice to the arrangement of the songs!

Lyrics from the first album were written by Silvio and bassist Sym. What about this lyrical concept?
“The Glorious Sickness" is based on a concept story written by Sym, it's the vision of a trip in a parallel dimension where the world is enslaved and every human feeling is banned. The whole humanity lives blindly and hopelessly their existence, they're living in an endless dream, unable to wake up by themselves. Our main character is a terminal patient, taken to this new world to awaken the minds with the horror of his sickness and his terminal sacrifice.

Vocal-wise there is much more variety and harsh vocals. I like that! Is it all Silvio doing these diverse vocals? How did you come to this change?
Eheh glad you liked it! No actually on the album Sym’s doing all the growls and screaming vocals! Also Silvio recorded some stuff! It’s just “evolution” I think… if you go for an heavier style you are moved to come up with different approaches, like for example tune down guitars and use some growls here and there! But I think EmpYrios will always be more in the “melodic” side you know?

Where did you record the album, maybe some stories about the recording process… Did you use an extern producer?
As always I recorded the album in my studio here in Italy! As I previously told I work as a daily job in a recording studio so it was a quite easy choice for this album. Finally I could make an album 100% in the way I loved! You know, when you work with other bands you have to consider their tastes about some sounds and choices. While this time it was 100% “Simone”! I did the engineering, I did the producer, I did the mixer and I did the coffees! (laughs) It’s always quite stressful taking all these responsibilities all together but I love to follow every little aspect of the albums! Stories about the recording process… well the most funny thing I think was the “speed” while recording! 2 days of drums, 1 of bass, 2 of guitars and 4 of vocals! I think quite a record for a metal album! (laughs)

Are you planning some gigs or even a tour to support ‘The Glorious Sickness’?
Yes! We did 4 gigs here in Italy at festivals and clubs and they’re all gone great! People loved the new stuff! We’re planning a lot of other dates during this year and maybe a little tour in Europe after the summer!

And what is ‘The Glorious Sickness’? Why did you choose this as title? Was it as difficult as the previous time to come up with a title?
The oxymoron "glorious" and "sickness" it's so real, that is in front of our eyes every day: our world and modern society is falling downwards so deeply and it seems that the only turning point available is to reach the very bottom, where everything is so black it can’t get any darker and from there we can only raise. Thus, experience a glorious sickness and start something better from scratch. This time the first thing that came up to our minds was this album title and the idea behind it, we found it really cool and fitting the music, so we wrote the whole concept on that... we're sick, gloriously sick!

The first album came out on Burning Star Records, now you are signed by Scarlet Records. Can you tell about this label switch and the reasons? It must be handy to negotiate with a label in the same language…
Ahahah yes! It’s a lot easier to speak with the Scarlet guyz! It was quite an obvious choice… Burning Star closed his activities one year after the release of our album and as I did an album with DGM with Scarlet Records I ask them if they were interested in EmpYrios! They listened to the pre-productions and then you go! We’re very proud and happy about Scarlet! It’s the biggest metal label here in Italy and Stefano and Filippo (the owners of the label) are simply great guys to work with!

Did Silvio do the artwork again?
No, he was too much busy with his activities during the time of the artwork, so we went with Davide Nadalin of Nerve Design who worked with a lot of big bands like Nile, Vision Divine, Extrema and so on! I think he did the perfect job representing graphically the mood of the album!

Last time ‘Ael’ was a diverse track and Simo sang it. Did you do some vocals again Simo?
I did some backing vocals here and there! But this time Silvio didn’t want me to sing again! Ahahah I thank him for that! It’s a lot better that I play only guitar I think! You know, it was an experiment with that song!

What are your plans and hopes for EmpYrios for 2009?
The plans are basically to kick ass and to spread the EmpYrios word everywhere! So to play live gigs more than ever and in the same time to write the new one soon!

Simo, you also play in DGM, another favourite band of mine. What are the plans for the coming year for DGM?
Thanx firstly! We have now a brand new singer, Mark Basile, the best one in the DGM story I have to tell you…. We have a brand new album coming out on 23rd February always on Scarlet records and be sure, this will blow you away!

Let us hope that the second heaven you meet when walking to paradise (EmpYrios) will be as prosperous and more as the first one…
Yes….. you’re very poetic!!! I have to remind this one….

What are your other points of interest in life besides music?
Personally, I’m completely overwhelmed by music… when I’m not playing I’m recording and producing some bands, and when we’re not involved in music we basically like to have fun, drink some beers and hang out! But always thinking about the band! 

Geplaatst door Vera op woensdag 04 februari 2009 - 01:51:04
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