Elegy of Madness – Transforming the IntangibleTuesday, 29th August 2017
Combining multiple genres of music isn’t out of the ordinary these days. Recently discovering Italian band Elegy of Madness through their third full-length New Era, it’s obvious that this group strives to attain their own take on the scene through gothic, symphonic, progressive, and even electronic/pop elements. Founded in 2006 by guitarist Tony Tomasicchio, the quintet also contains a keyboardist in Luca Basile who does double duty on the cello – the membership rounded out with drummer Francesco Caputo, bassist Larry Ozen and vocalist Anja Irullo.
Supporting this latest release across mainland Europe and hitting many of the summer festivals that are ever present in heavy metal there, the band took time out of their busy show schedule to answer this interview. All five members graciously gave their thoughts on everything from describing their multi-faceted sound, the work on their most recent video “Apokalypsis”, the intriguing symbolism of the cover art to New Era, as well as working with a clothing company to portray the strongest imagery possible. And prepare to embark on an aural odyssey that can make you think of everything from Nightwish and Dream Theater to Stratovarius and Rammstein – as odd as that may seem…
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Elegy of Madness sound-wise to an average newcomer? Do you think that can be a difficult thing to do considering your multi-faceted outlook and output?
Luca Basile: Elegy of Madness’ sound combines our different existences, listenings, point of views and life stories together with our metal and symphonic music passion. We are part of a new genre called Opera Core that is made of lyrical and pop voice, eletronic elements and a great orchestra. Maybe, it may seem difficult to listen to for a newcomer but it’s not like this.. it’s a very simple listening!
Dead Rhetoric: New Era is the third full-length from the band – how were the songwriting and recording sessions for this album, and where do you see the major differences at this point between this album and your first two efforts The Bridge of Sighs and Brave Dreams?
Tony Tomasicchio: For what concerns the songwriting and recording sessions I can say first of all, that it was really amazing and funny. In each case, transforming our intangible music ideas into something material is really touching. We worked hard on the songwriting with all of the band, with all our Elegy of Madness family: being a family, loving each other is the most important thing to create, finally, a great work. The differences between New Era and the previous albums are of course stronger guitars and rhythmic sections, an epic and majestic orchestra and “pop” vocal parts (that are) easy to hear to.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us regarding the video shoot for “Apokalypsis” – how long did it take, where did this take place and how do you feel about the overall concept and outcome? What are your thoughts on the importance of the visual video medium in today’s marketplace?
Larry Ozen: The “Apokalypsis” video shoot took place in Genova (Italy) by Cesare Bignotti (Eves Production). The location was in a photographic studio inside an old liberty style palace for the band’s shooting while playing the song, and in the country side out of the city with an actor ruling the character of a modern truth seeker. The story of the video talks about a man which may represent humanity that has lost his way.
He runs among the trees without knowing what he is searching for until a sword appears, falling slowly from the sky. That is a pivotal moment for him, because he really understands what is his own destiny, (this is why we used the old greek term “Apokalypsis” that is revelation), what he really ever tried to find out in his life time, a reason why he starts his change. He has to sacrifice himself to become a new man, dying by the sword, to reconcile himself with the Truth, with all natural elements. We are very satisfied about all of the director’s work, including post production, and we think that nowadays a videoclip is very important for a band because, through the net and other media, everyone can reach the people fast all around the world to make ‘em fans, but also to transmit important messages that could make the world a better place.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of the important components that make Elegy of Madness unique or special in comparison to other acts in your genre? As a result, do you find developing new material easy or difficult because of the diversity within your style?
Anja Irullo: Our music combines electronic stuff with epic orchestration, lyrical voices and performance with a pop voice. We think that all this mixture contributes to create a special genre and it seems that people appreciate this. Despite all these different elements, composing is a really funny and easy process for us in which all our characteristics melt together.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about your record label WormHoleDeath and the work that they do on your behalf to get Elegy of Madness out to the world? Do you believe it’s just as important even as a signed act to do as much as you can as artists to promote and push your work through any channels possible?
Irullo: WormHoleDeath’s work is really amazing. They helped us in our growth during these years, both musically and psychologically. They believe in our music and try to do the best to promote Elegy of Madness all around the world. Thanks to this label, we received for example Brave Dreams and New Era Japanese limited edition versions and now a New Era American special edition. We hope to continue working hard with them as we are already doing.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you elaborate on the spiritual and symbolic aspects of the Pierre Alaine Durand cover art for New Era? How did you discover his work, and was it a collaborative process to come up with all the nuances and visual aspects, or did you trust his instincts and ideas?
Ozen: The New Era album, as the lyrics can show, is full of symbols and philosophical connections so, when we had to think about the artwork many ideas came to mind until, surfing the net, an image shocked everybody. We came across this in Pierre Alain Durand’s digital works, and among them all, there was a picture representing an amazing set of symbols enclosed in a beautiful leaden background. It was exactly what we wanted to represent on the front cover of our album, just a few changes and it was ready for us!!!
We don’t know exactly if the meaning which Pierre Alain wanted to give to his artwork coincides with our point of view, but we are sure that the cover reflects what we really wanted to express about New Era. Let’s watch the picture: the hand of Gaya (mother nature) seems to give something and, at the same time, to get something from humanity. There is a pyramid, in the middle, that looks like a portal where a man seems to enter and, at the same time to exit, and it represents the alteration of age cycles of light and obscurity. There are animals, birds and trees, sea waves and storm clouds to emphasize natural elements next to an upcoming disaster. But humanity’s hopes are represented by the light in the middle of the cover, the light of a new era, as we defined it in the album.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Elegy of Madness in terms of your live performances, what do you hope the audience gets out of your work on stage that may be different or unique in comparison to the studio output? Also, what have been some of your favorite shows or festival memories with the band?
Tomasicchio: Every live show is an important moment in which we can communicate with people through our music transmitting all our feelings. It’s a very touching experience. Of course, we have to play reproducing as much as possible the album sound and I think that live is better. For this reason, we decided to play with two guitars (one more than the album), to have a stronger and massive sound. We have a lot of good memories about our live shows, but I think that the best experiences were as opening band in great festivals like: Exit Festival in Serbia (Arkona), Zobens um lemess in Latvia (Amorphis), South’s Cheyenne Festival (Lacuna Coil) and Dream Rock Event (DGM).
Dead Rhetoric: Looking from the start of the band until now, do you believe you are at the point you want to be career-wise, and how do you define success? Are you conscious of your fans expectations versus what you want to be satisfied with personally as musicians?
Basile: Spreading our music all around the world is our success. We will leave a trace in this world, we have something important to say to the people. Of course, we hope to live from our music because it could be another great satisfaction. But, as I told you before, we are already satisfied (with) our work and I think that only this aspect will bring us to create great music that is what our fans want.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve recently signed a clothing deal with the UK company Sharpe Design. How did this come about, and could you discuss the importance of imagery especially in heavy metal? Will you consistently evolve or change themes and stage gear based on the output of Elegy of Madness?
Irullo: Sharpe Design clothing is a great UK company and the founder, Jay Sharpe, is also a nice and lovely person. They believe in our music and project and when I wrote to them with my request, they immediately say “yes”. Their clothes are amazing and I feel happy to wear them on stage. Imagery is really important, in every musical genre I think. In our case, it is part of the music and represents us and what we are trying to say to the people. A special look could represent strength, purity, and fight for example. We will always change themes and stage gear because all of us evolve day by day.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you personally deal with setbacks or failures in life? Can you think back to a time where you failed at something (either yourself or in the band) and how you were able to learn something that made you better or stronger as a result?
Irullo: I grow up in this band, every day. I was only 17 years old when the band was created, I made a lot of mistakes and so many things changed. They helped me to face some of life’s difficulties and they are part of a great transformation that led me to become a woman and maybe, a better and stronger singer, composer and author. Now, I have to learn a lot of things so my research won’t ever end.
Dead Rhetoric: What activities or hobbies do you like to engage in when you have the free time to do so? How much time do you spend pursuing your music/career goals in comparison to having to hold down day jobs to support yourselves – and do you have the support from friends and families when it comes to Elegy of Madness?
Tomasicchio: I don’t have much free time in my life: I have my EoM project and my company. Music is a part of work for me but it will always be a leisure at first. I love spending my time with my family, with my 2 year-old daughter and my wife that believe and support Elegy of Madness. I like video games very much, especially the oldest, but now I am much too busy to follow this passion.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the metal landscape in Italy these days? Do you believe there is a good variety of musicians, styles, bands, promoters, venues, and enough fan support for the locals just as much as the international tours and festivals that have developed?
Francesco Caputo: There are a lot of talented musicians here in Italy, a lot of good metal bands, but there is not enough support to help them growing up. It’s not a simple reality, there’s way too many bands (that) prefer going abroad where there are more possibilities in terms of open air festivals or live clubs in which you can easily play. We hope that something will change in our country (soon).
Dead Rhetoric: What would you say the next six to twelve months look like for Elegy of Madness in terms of shows, tours, videos, and promotion? Has work begun on the follow up effort – and if so what can the fans expect?
Caputo: Our New Era tour is continuously updated so I think that we will soon be on stage in other European countries. You can follow our official website or Facebook page to know more about that. Now, we are working on a new acoustic version of the song “Nobody Cares”, part of our New Era album, with another official videoclip. We will do all the best and we will never disappoint you!!!