RHAPSODY INTERVIEW 14.7.2001 Helsinki, Finland.
How are your feelings of the gig?
LUCA TURILLI: The people were great, we didn't expect this much 'cos we didn't know how much we sold with our albums. We din't know what kind of a reaction we could expect. But in the end it was great. But there were some technical problems. I lost my wireless system, then I broke some strings.
Have you been to Finland before?
LUCA: As tourist, but it was 8 years ago. But not as Rhapsody.
I heard you like Nordic countries?
LUCA: I don't know, it's the feeling. It's the magic, the mystic elements that are typical for the Nordic countries. You know Kalevala (Finnish folk-tale), mystic relations? Imagine the Nordic landscapes, these forests, these lakes. These are really what we speak about. So it's fantastic for us to bring these emotions in here.
(A question about some masks), is it some kind of troll or wizard?
LUCA: It's the narrator who speaks about the saga. Who explains what is happening in the lyrics and he's the main character on the 4th album that will be out very soon, released in January. That will end this saga, the Emerald sword saga.
How much have you written for the album now?
ALEX STAROPOLI: Our mini-album is out in September and in January the big album. Some songs are ready.
Will there be another saga after that?
ALEX: Yes. After this 4th album we will do the big tour and then we will produce another story.
Do you like Mötley Crüe and this kind of music, glam? Where did you get the idea for this Hollywood metal term?
ALEX: Not really. Ok it's not connected to this glam thing. It represents good movies we like a lot, cinemas, epic movies. This is the meaning of Hollywood for us.
Do you like gladiators?
What kind of saga are you going to write on the 4th album?
LUCA: Something incredible. The message of Rhapsody is without space and time. So the next saga can be something that speaks, let's say, for me the message of Rhapsody is not connected with space and time. So this saga was located in medieval times. This saga will be more in the present, but with some connection with medieval times. This is what we like, this particular feeling. So it will be a travel, the side psychology of the human being with the defect, the good things human contains inside. The good personality, the evil personality. It will be something very mystic, very influenced by horror movies that we love. Everything, the splatter. You know Dario Argento, I don't know if he's famous in Finland. We love him so much that our dream is to write a songtrack for one of his next movies. Could be that in the future something like this might happen. So the saga will be more serious. So many people didn't understand really what was hidden behind the lyrics of Rhapsody. They interpreted it like the story of a warrior. In a stupid way. This is the story, but behind I put a lot of metaphores and messages. So we wanted to write a saga more connected to us, with all these epic elements, fantastic horror things particularly, but really serious.
There's a lot of personality in your lyrics 'cos it's taken from a saga, taken from Tolkien? Will you continue to do this kind of approach on this kind of saga, to be more like a fairytale?
LUCA: With the new saga I want to create the tension. Me and Alex will try to re-live music, the lyrics in a particular way. Really giving the moments. When there is a moment of tension in the lyrics we want to express it with the music. So we'll come with more like an opera next time, the fifth album. Closer to us, something that everyone can really feel.
Any possibility to get the saga as a novel?
LUCA: This can become a comic.
ALEX: This was the idea we had.
A guy from Iron Savior is trying to find someone to write his album from the book.
LUCA: The comic is a little bit different, find a designer who put all the drama inside. With the first two covers of our albums, the covers are very nice, colourful, but they don't express really what Rhapsody is all about. With this one we changed the designer and now we're really more connected to the lyrics with the covers. There's more impact, more violence, more of what real life is about. Not a stupid story but let's say dramatic moments.
Are you going to write a book about your philosophy for the 4th album?
LUCA: This idea created a classical masterpiece connecting all the best themes of the four albums. Creating this Emerald sword suit in a cd. Then a part should be published in a booklet, a big booklet explaining what the saga is about. Some things people didn't understand till now. But this is one project with so many ideas. Now we will operate this website that's the most important project we are working on. With the new album we want the website already out, for Christmas we want all the people on our site. We want to chat with them, we want to sell things through the Internet, we want to create a really big chain. A really big relation with the fans.
Have you ever thought of putting visual things on stage like dragons or swords?
ALEX: For the 4th album we will for sure do something theatral. We want to offer more. And then we want visual impact on people. So we will have some surprises.
Any other music style you would like to play?
ALEX: For the moment not, because Rhapsody put out a lot of different styles on display.
What music do you listen to at home?
ALEX: Musical movies.
What is your relation with Finnish bands like Stratovarius?
ALEX: The relation's very good. Also with Sonata Arctica. We met them before, it was great.
LUCA: Our best friends are from Finland because from Nightwish we're friends with Tuomas, Tarja and Sonata. We played many concerts with them. And then Strato, we went to the gym with Timo Kotipelto. [Pictured on the right: Luca Turilli and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica)]
There are a few questions from Kotipelto...(laughing from everyone) How much ham is enough in pizza ?
ALEX: Hah, it's never enough!
LUCA: This was a bad moment of the tour. Ok, it was a great tour but there were some moments of... (too much fuzz around to hear this)
Also, how much protein do you use before gigs? (Again, laughing)
LUCA: This one's for Alex...
ALEX: AFTER the gig! A lot.
What do you think of Manowar? Joey DeMaio loves Rhapsody.
LUCA: They're suberb, because they're one of the first metal bands I listened to. The first epic albums like Into glory ride, Sign of the hammer, Kings of metal, fantastic. We love the voice of Eric Adams. [Pictured on the left: A Rhapsody fan with a Manowar-approved plastic sword! :)]
Do you think there's a lot of competition between Italian power metal bands ?
ALEX: It's not really a competition. Basically we don't care so much.
What happened to Carbonera?
ALEX: He just got married.
LUCA: We are still friends.
What's behind the name change?
LUCA: We changed a lot from the beginning. I was the singer in the beginning. It's because we used a lot of classical music, demo after demo, choirs. We became more elegant. The name Thundercross is really power. Rhapsody fitted very well with the tones of classical music that we started inserting in our music.
By Satu Reunanen, pictured on the right with Fabio Lione. Pix by Kari Helenius.