Borealis – Purgatory’s GraceMonday, 27th July 2015
Dead Rhetoric: Borealis appears to blend a number of influences in the melodic, power, and progressive metal realms – using heavier tones at times while not sacrificing the hook and groove factor. Is songwriting an easy or difficult process, and how much refinement takes place from initial riff to final recording?
Marinelli: I never find it very easy. We always go through many different versions (of songs), we like to write something that we would like to listen to. Sometimes I don’t see the hook in things and I need something to be a little more catchy. It’s a long process, not as long as the time between Fall from Grace to Purgatory. That was due to other things – for one song it takes us about 2-3 weeks to get things fully finished, or how we want it to sound when we record it.
Dead Rhetoric: You have great management behind you as you embark on more North American tour dates in late summer/early fall with Evergrey. What can the fans expect in terms of a live performance and how do you feel U.S. audiences respond to Borealis in comparison to your Canadian shows through the years – as you’ve also opened for Saxon on a brief 2011 excursion?
Marinelli: Yes we did. Expect heavy- this tour we want to… because our set times aren’t extremely long, we are touring with Voyager and Oceans of Slumber as well – we do have a limited set time. We want to do everything heavy, melodic, and hope that everyone who has not heard of us going in, will really appreciate it. We do have that Evergrey comparison, I think more because we have that heavier guitar tone and sometimes my voice has some similar tones to Tom’s.
When we went out with Saxon, we didn’t have that much exposure in the US. A lot of the people going into it had never really heard of us. The reaction was outstanding, and I think it’s been one of the harder crowds to please over because they are in there for Saxon, and Saxon is a very old school, heavy metal kind of band. Our billing may have not fit 100% but the fans loved it and they bought a ton of merchandise, so we are real excited to see how they react this time around because we are playing with a band that suits our style a little bit better.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you feel the state of the metal scene is currently? How do you balance out the music with the business and promotion aspects and still maintain a sense of cohesion and sanity?
Marinelli: I find the metal industry in Canada is growing. A lot of these European bands that are coming over, they are starting to sell out the venues here. They may be a little smaller than the ones they use in Europe, but I’m finding it’s slowly getting a little bit bigger. The festivals like Heavy MTL and TO are including a lot of the European bands. It will hit the way it has in Europe eventually. When it comes to promotion, AFM is everything to us. We were lacking for a little while on places like Facebook with our promotions, it’s all very new to us and me myself. When they hand me schedules with all these magazines and radio stations they want me to talk to, it’s a new thing for me. I love it and I enjoy it, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do.
Dead Rhetoric: For those long road trips in between shows, what are some of the albums that everyone can agree upon to absorb and appreciate – metal or otherwise?
Marinelli: Evergrey, pretty much their entire catalog. Nocturnal Rites is another band that we all agree with. Even Nightwish, or heavier ones like In Flames, Scar Symmetry, Solution .45. We just love metal, it’s really hard for us to have something we don’t dislike. We are all into similar styles.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you have a preference in terms of studio work versus live performance? And how do you feel about festival performances like ProgPower versus doing your own club/theater tours?
Marinelli: I prefer live over the studio – the studio is very repetitive and it almost feels like work more than anything. Live is where all the enjoyment comes out- even if it’s in front of 20 people it’s still the greatest night. Festivals, I really enjoy- the bigger the crowd, it’s hard to feel the love from them. In a small environment you can almost see everyone on stage. At festivals you sometimes can’t see everyone so you are singing in front of this sea of people. I prefer the smaller shows, or this Evergrey tour, every night will be a blast.
Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see Borealis in terms of a band and following within the next year or two? And as a band do you set particular goals either short term or long term to strive for?
Marinelli: Yeah, obviously a long time goal would be to make a living doing this. As of right now, we make small goals. The small goals right now are wanting to play a certain venue. We started out wanting to play the Opera House in Toronto, because that was the big venue that all metal bands coming through played on. That was the first goal we had, and then we wanted to sign to a record label. So we always make these little goals that are more approachable, and hopefully we can reach that final goal of making a living. That’s the end game- we love it so much, but right now we all have full-time jobs, so this is kind of a side thing. We want it to be our main focus though.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received when it comes to your life or the band?
Marinelli: Never give up. Because we are in our late 20’s and early 30’s, it’s really easy to let life take over with families and careers. I was always told if you love something, keep doing it and never give up. That’s the mentality we are using, we love it regardless if we are making a living at this or not. We get to travel the world and we are doing things that we never thought we would ever be doing.
Dead Rhetoric: What hobbies or interests do you like to pursue outside of Borealis and music when you have the free time to do so?
Marinelli: Sport-wise I am really big into golf, surprisingly. I golf all the time. Outside of playing, I’m a big horror movie buff as well. I love the horror genre, preferably the 80’s slasher movies. Golf is my main thing though outside of music.
Dead Rhetoric: As a guitar teacher, what do you think of the new generation of guitarists – and how do you believe teaching influences your abilities?
Marinelli: I think it’s good. For me, a lot of the students I have are more into the metal, because of my background so they know what they are getting. Teaching helps so much, the kids… the younger people, they are so black and white they tell you how it is. Sometimes they say things that I’ve never even thought of to playing the guitar, the kid could be 12 and he could say something that changes the way I play because I’ve never thought of it that way. The new generation is excellent, especially with the North American music scene, some aren’t into guitar oriented music. They are more into dance music with a little bit of guitar. I always try to tell my students you are only as good as who you look up to. I firmly believe that, I find as I start teaching more and more from the first lesson to many years down the road, their music interests have changed almost 100%. By the end of the session years later they are into Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, or the power metal bands that I love. Maybe they aren’t exposed to it, but they can be guided into the right direction.
Dead Rhetoric: What is your favorite concert memory, purely from a fan perspective?
Marinelli: Oh, I have so many. I guess… one of the first concerts that I went to was a three band bill, Whitesnake, the Scorpions, and Dokken. I was obsessed with Dokken, and I loved Whitesnake with David Coverdale. That was a real good experience as a big arena show. For the smaller shows, I would say surprisingly it was not that long ago. When we played at PPM Fest in Belgium, I’ve never seen Evergrey before and they blew me away. It brought me back to when I first started getting into their music. Now I get to see them every night for 14 days.
Dead Rhetoric: How are the next 12 months looking for Borealis in terms of band activity, promotion, touring, videos, and product?
Marinelli: Right now, it’s just the Evergrey tour. Financially it’s hard to do a ton of touring at our level anyways. We are hoping to shoot a video early next year for “My Peace”, as of right now it’s just that tour. We have started writing for the next album, I’m terrified of doing what we did before being on a long hiatus, I don’t want that to ever happen again. I started writing immediately just to make sure we had stuff finished just so there’s not going to be as long of a wait.
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