jueves, 8 de enero de 2015

Interview with Emiliano Quintarelli, from Rocken Factory (English)

The Rocken Factory, in the studio
Here we go again. We go with the same interview already published -in Spanish- in this site, with Emiliano Quintarelli, composer, bassist and vocalist from the Italian power trio Rocken Factory, together with guitarrist Andrea Resi and drummer Walter Mantovanelli. If you don't know yet about this band, you should get both their first album "Welcome to the Rocken Factory", and the second one, the Rock Opera "À La Revolution!", which came out last September. In our opinion, it is one of the greatest Creative Commons-Licensed albums we have heard so far. So go and get it! We had a very interesting chat with Emiliano Quintarelli, a really nice person. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.

H&F:Hi Emiliano! How are you doing? It was about time to do this interview, wasn't it? 
Emiliano: Thank you very much! Great things take time, so it was worth waiting!

H&F:Well, above all, congrats for your new and amazing album. How are the people reacting to your brand new “À La Revolution!”? Maybe it's too soon to get any feedback, isn't it?
E:The first reactions were positive; however, you need longer to assimilate such a long and “anachronistic” album, so people’s comments may take time. Of course, we have friends and fans who already know the songs by heart! It was a big surprise to see that even people who usually do not listen to hard rock, liked this album, maybe this might to do with the new sounds.
Are you already hitting the road in order to promote this new album?
:We are promoting it in our town. We launched it officially during a cultural event on the 20th of September and we played the entire album. We had images projected on the stage and outfits in 70s-style, like you see in the photos.
H&F:Let's talk about “À La Revolution!”. It's a conceptual album, and yourselves call it a “rock opera”. I'd like you to tell me about the concept behind this album and how it all came about (apart form the obvious thing that it is about the French Revolution.)
Emiliano, dressed up for Revolution

E:At first it was a challenge: in 2009 we had some new songs and we thought it would be nice to have a central theme, which is something you don’t see very often lately. Nowadays you listen to single mp3 and only few people, a part from you of Hardrock, can handle an entire album. We thought we would give our people a real story. We know a lot of past rock opera very well and we started to analyse their structure, to write the lyrics, to think how to put one piece after the other and after three years we had written all the songs. Then it took us one year and a half to record them and six months to mix them. It was exhausting but exiticing.
(By the way, the central theme is a future French Revolution in the 22° century with Louis 19°!)

H&F:It's obvious that you are a progressive band, but sometimes I've seen songs that reminds me more to Black Sabbath or AC/DC's style, maybe that's true more in your first LP (Welcome to the Rocken Factory), than in this last one. Anyway, which are the bands that influenced you the most, and how do you all think that this is reflected in your songs?
E:Yes, you are right. The first album was very sabbathian, direct and rough. For this album we were never happy with our first obvious idea, we wanted to experiment in order to fascinate the people during lives. By writing the songs, we were always thinking how we would play them live. Every song has to lead the concert in a new direction. There are a lot of bands that influenced us (Walter listens to Doom Metal, Andrea listens to hard rock and I love Queen and baroque music). In this album you will find Uriah Heep, you will find Iron Maiden and also an Italian progressive band from the 70s, the New Trolls, as well as their Concerto Grosso where they put together Baroque and Rock.

Walter Mantovanelli, the drummer at the Factory
H&F:Another question about influences: sometimes I see some proto-heavy metal sound, pretty much like a kind of early NWOBHM sound... for example in the song I Am Louis The Nineteenth, or in certain parts of the song Versaille's March. How much are you into heavy metal? [In case you don't answer it in the previous question, because I'm sooo heavy, haha.]
E:Exactly, you have a fine ear! The NWOBHM was a big influence for us and, even if it was not intended, we have some typical maidenian passages – with only one guitar however – in the album. Many people have noticed it during our concerts and we are proud of it! None of the less, we followed very much the mixing of the first album of the Iron Maiden, which is strong!

Well, despite your awesome two albums, you are not rock stars (yet) ;), so we don't know that much about you all. Why don't you tell us about the band, its origins, when did you decide to go on with this and the like?
E: Oh no, we are not rock stars, we act like rock stars only when we are on stage! Outside the stage we are a civil engineer, a surveyor and a professor of philosophy. Andrea, my cousin, and I, used to play in a band and we wanted to impart an hard rock change to our band, Walter was a friend of mine who, at the time, was taking a break from his previous band. We met one evening - because we had nothing to do –and we played without any intend. Our first jam session was exhilarating and after two rehearsals we already had two songs to work on. We were having fun and the band was actually working. Since then it has always been working!

H&F: I have to go with this one: I really do love how the guitars sound, both in your two albums, it is just so authentic, kinda like back-to-the-basic “overdrive”, pretty much like the 70s. Another thing that I really love from your sound is that you can always hear clearly the bass lines, again like the old classics do. Why don't you tell us about that? What's your equipment/line-up and how do you build this particular sound, which I love, in case you don't have notice it yet?
E: Making that sound was like giving birth to a child, we looked for it for days (weeks?) and then we had to mix it. I could just tell you it was a miracle but a friend of us, Angelo Perantoni, was a big help. He has great patience and musical ear. A part of that, I play a Eko Bass from the Seventies and I have a Ampeg amplifier; Walter plays a Ludwig, while Andrea uses a G&L Asat (telecaster-like) for rhythmic sections and a Gibson Les Paul from 2005 for solos, the amplifier is a Vox AC30, with the “aggressive” touch of the SD1 overdrive by Boss.
Andrea, armed and ready  for Revolution

H&F:You've chosen distributing your album to the public with a Creative Commons License. Why exactly? Do you think that's helping you more than in the “traditional copyright” way?
E:This is a nice question. There are two reasons for that: the first reason is that we all have a main job and we don’t expect to earn money by having this fun and then, we believe that only the most famous groups in the world can earn money with copyright, the rest would collect only few euros.

H&F: Are you really into the “free culture movement” or it is more a thing about “let's jut spread this stuff on the web and see what happens” I'm not judging, eh? It's just I'm curioua.
E: This is the real Revolution!
Music must be free and must circulate as much as possible! If I have to ask for permission to play someone’s song, you probably give up very soon. Many musicians are afraid that others copy their music. We would be happy if someone played our songs! Provided they don’t do it to earn money and that they quote the source!
And then again: For a less known band like we are, it is very useful: on youtube you find some American videos with our songs as background music and this is just wonderful!
An ideal world for us would be if professional musicians earned money by making concerts and gave their music free or, like we do, against a free offer! I buy very few cds but I can give a lot of money to see a nice concert! Share and play people!

H&F: In my opinion, À La Revolution! is a far greater album, more ambitious, than your first album, even if the latter was as well amazing, as I told before. So congrats! Which changes do you think separates this new LP from your former one, released four years ago, besides the last one being a conceptual album ?
E:We like to listen to live music. When we listen to new bands, we like to imagine how the song will develop and will end. We don’t like songs, which begin and end in the same way. That’s what we had in mind when we made our songs. After writing the starting riff and the verse we did not make do but we looked for some unexpected developments. In this way people listen for hours to songs they hear for the first time. This is a great success!

Fabiana Zanoletti did great singing
H&F: I like the female voices, by the way. Even if they are not around for the most part, there is a fucking awesome song where it get more protagonism, which is Money Can't Build This World. How about all that? There were no female voices in your first, Welcome to the Rocken Factory, album. 
E:Fabiana Zanoletti is a young friend with a dark rock voice who did a great job for this album, I agree! The original idea was to find a different singer for every charachter of the opera booklet (the King, the Tailor, the Rebel, the Narrator ecc.) but at the end I sang all the male parts of the opera and we decided that Fabiana would do at least the female characters. I hope we will work again with her in the future.
H&F: One of my favourites songs from your new album is “How Many Times”. It is, at times, so “Pink Floydish”... and it get me goosebumps...
E: It was the first ballad for Rocken Factory! It is true, you are right again! You find a bit f the early Floyd and for this song we had Silvano Zago as special guest. He is the guitar player of an other band in Verona, the Bullfrog, which I can only recommend. In this song we had a well known singer from Verona who plays only keyboards here, Matteo Turra and a great friend for backing vocals, Enrico Grendene.

H&F: Let's go with crazy questions... when will you guys get to Spain and do some shows? I would be delighted to see you at stage!!
E: Ha ha ha! Let’s make a deal: if you find two or three dates in your area in the summer we will come for sure! We love Europe and we love Spain!
Emiliano, playing Luis XIX

H&B:Maybe a more sensible one: are you touring just in your country or did you get some shows abroad already?
E:Unfortunately we don’t have a label or a manger and we have to look for dates in the free time, this is very difficult. We are trying to tour in the north of Italy and in the meantime we try to prepare differente setlist for our concerts (one with the entire album and the other with the best of the two albums)

H&F: How is it going for rock in Italy? Can you live from your music or it is just the same shit as here in Spain?
E:That’s a sore point: Here in Italy people tend to listen only to tribute bands and cover bands. There is lack of curiosity and only few bar keeper put some effort in choosing the bands. Ironically they realize at the end of the concert that they did sell many beers! It is difficult, however, to convince them in advance… So, like you said, the same shit like in Spain.

H&F: Speaking of which, can I buy your music? I mean, is there a physical release of your albums (CD releases)? Because I'd like to get your music in CD format.
E: Of course! And it is a great cd to hold! If you want to have our album as cd with booklet and lyrics you can write your address to rockenfactory@gmail.com, and we will send it to you. As I said before, we don’t want to earn money but for delivery and for the price of the actual cd, cover and case we ask for 10 Euro via paypal - walter.mantovanelli@gmail.com.

H&F: Just name your favourite song form the album, so we can air it on our “radio” -provided that it works properly-, we've got some problems with it lately, but, anyway :D
E: Very difficult question! Our most famous song is The Tailor. But maybe our title track is the song we are most proud of. Also Sewing for Love…Anyway, it’s like choosing amongst the sons!;)

H&F: Well, I don't want to bother you with more questions. I really thank you for doing this with us. Is there anything more you want to tell to our readers?
E: Be curious and listen to new music! Share and use our music like you wish, share it with friends! Then again, like our facebook page in order to be always up-to-date: we have already new projects and ideas that we are looking forward to recording and playing live!

Credits: Interview by Hard&Free (CC-BY-SA). Photos courtesy of Rocken Factory.

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