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maandag 07 december 2020
CRISTIANO FILIPPINI'S FLAMES OF HEAVEN: From Classic To Metal

Interview with Cristiano Filippini of Flames Of Heaven by Vera in November 2020

Recently our path crossed with a new Italian multi-instrumentalist who decided to create symphonic power metal albums instead of wandering endlessly through the classical music and opera areas. His first effort under the moniker Flames Of Heaven ‘The Force Within’ is highly recommended for fans of the genre. Thus we had a nice chat with Cristiano Filippini to get to know more about his ambitions.





First of all, you are born and raised in Pesaro in Italy. Where is it exactly?
In the center of Italy, it is a little town in the east part on the sea. It is the birthplace of Rossini, the composer.

You started in music with classical music and opera, isn’t it?
Yes but I have to say that I started with rock when I was 16/17 years old, but in my city it was not easy to find good musicians to form a band. To play this kind of music, you have to be very skilled, so it was not easy and I decided meanwhile, while I was waiting for this guy, I started to make my solo career in symphonic music.

And those three albums you have made before, was it rock or classical music?
It was epic, symphonic music, like soundtracks and Lord of the Rings style. I produced two albums and my music was performed by some Italian very well-known orchestras. You can find some videos on YouTube. For me it was a very important step, because I have learned a lot. Because I think if you can compose for an orchestra, you can almost compose everything because it is hard. Everything has its own character and opera is even more difficult, because you have the singer too. Also this symphonic metal is not easy, but it is much more fun to do. For the moment I prefer this part of my career, I compose a lot of music in these years. I have already composed ten albums, I will just wait to release them, but I think it is going to be impossible in my entire life. I try to release one every two years, I hope so. At least there is enough music. I tried to do the best I could at this moment, but I had to face a lot of difficulties, because it was the first CD, so I learned a lot during the production. I think the next one will be faster, easier and cheaper. With the same results of course.

For this one you did the production, but for the mix and the mastering you went to Finland. Can you tell something about this adventure?
Why do you make an album? For me it is to have a sound, like my baby. So I want the best for him. I grew up with music from Germany, from Sweden, Finland, the United States, England, and just one or two bands from Italy, like Rhapsody. For my album I wanted a special sound. The best I could, I tried to mix the powerful of Swedish production and mix and the warmth and epicness of Italian style. And I think it worked. It was not complicated to work abroad with these guys.

What was your impression of Finland, because that’s totally different from warm Italy?
I went there in September of last year and because of the covid-19 situation we lost a lot of time, but in September it was okay. A bit colder than in Italy, but I have to say that it is a perfect place to work, because it is not very chaotic like Italy. Still it was fine to stay for three months to compose it, but then I needed to take a break, to experience the Italian summer. It is a little bit too peaceful there, too calm and I think that is the reason why in recent years a lot of Finnish bands got the success. They really concentrate on music, without many distractions. They are very talented people.






How did you meet the singer, Marco of Temperance fame, because a singer is also very important for a band?
When you produce an album like this, you have to find a perfect feat in every player, in every musician and of course the singer is very important. Marco did an amazing job. Every step in the production has to be top quality. From composing to mix and mastering and the video clips.

Are you also in charge of the lyrics or did someone else wrote them?
I wrote the lyrics and Marco, the singer, helped me a bit, but for me I think that it would be very good if someone could help me with this stuff, because I think that my talent is to compose music and even though I can compose lyrics, for me is that much more difficult. I can do it, but I would be much faster if someone could help me with the lyrics. In the same time that I can write lyrics for one song, I can compose music for ten songs. I can write pretty good lyrics, but we can improve. Every band can improve, it is not easy to find the right words that can fit with the melody.

Did the band ever play live already?
No, we did not play because this is our first album and due to covid-19. If we receive an interesting offer and we have two or three albums, we will see how the reviews go and the interests. For the moment I am very satisfied, because I got a lot of positive feedback and everybody says the same. Good compositions, very good singer, good orchestration, good playing. For me it is very important, because being the first CD, it is important to get in the market, in the metal scene in a right way. I know that we need time, much patience, but I hope that we started with the right thing.

I found out that there are two additional keyboard players on the album, while you play keyboards too. What is their role?
Yes, because I recorded almost all the keyboards in my studio, by myself, but for the solos… I composed those solos too – I don’t have in my studio the gear that I needed, because we needed very expensive, vintage, analogue keyboards and synthesizers like moog and these kind of things. These guys have a studio with those machines and gear. Alberto recorded the keyboard solos and the sound is very good. We also recorded the piano in his studio Yamaha C6. I must say that recording the piano was one of the most difficult things in this production, because it needs to be tuned almost every day and it is very expensive to do it, almost 100 euro every time. I have to find solutions for this, because I think I wasted 500 euro just to this kind of stuff. It takes an hour or an hour and a half to tune the piano and you have to do it almost every day. If you play at home, you can do it once per month, but to record the album we had to find almost a perfect tune and it is very complicated and super expensive.

What can you about the plans for video clips?
We recorded already two video clips. Very nice. We released the first one on the 23th of October and the second on Friday 6th November. You can see them on YouTube.

What struck me: even though you are a classical trained musician, I think the orchestral and symphonic parts are very discreet, very good integrated in the total metal music…
I do a lot of interviews and many people told me the same thing. The orchestra is nice, but never too much, because I think that after all these years, I understood to emanate this monster. Because the orchestra is a monster, right? I don’t like the way most metal bands use an orchestra, because I don’t want to hear the orchestra with a little bit of rock. I want to hear metal with orchestra that only comes in at some moments. Sometimes very powerful, but not prominent. I can say a lot of bands just use gear and not a real orchestra, but I am very happy that you said the same thing. I think that the symphonic parts only come when I need to do it. I only want to use the orchestra when you need an atmosphere or a sound you cannot do with any other instrument.

Was there a certain reason why you called the band Flames Of Heaven?
Yes, there are two reasons. I chose this name: one, a musical reason. Because I created this sound which is a mix between power metal of the nineties when a lot of people used the word ‘flame’ and this mix with hard rock from the eighties when people often used the word ‘heaven’. So it is a mix. Also because I am a believer, but this flame is not the flame of hell, because there are also the flames of heaven. Fire and flames do not only destroy things, in this case it can fight the darkness, also in the human heart. Overall good things, not negative.

I expected already that you were religious, because it is said that you have played in churches…
About the churches has a different reason. If an orchestra plays not in theatres but in churches, it sounds way much better, many churches have a lot of good acoustic reverb.










Geplaatst door Vera op maandag 07 december 2020 - 13:08:08
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