This year is very significant for Italian band Rhapsody of Fire. In a few days they will release new album Glory for Salvation, the second part of Nephilim Empire saga and the second album in their new lineup. In this interview you can read about their presence, famous past and also the future. Man, who answered these questions is maestro Alex Staropolli.
Hello Alex. Glory of the Salvation, the second album in the new lineup of Rhapsody of Fire will be released soon. How do you feel about it?
Alex Staropoli: Hello! I feel great! Of course we are all very excited that our fans will be finally able to listen what we have been working on for the last two years.
Nephilim Empire saga
It will be next part of Nephilim Empire saga. Could you tell something about story of the song´s lyrics?
Alex Staropoli: “Glory For Salvation” is the second chapter of this new Rhapsody Of Fire saga.
At this time in the story the hero opens his eyes and realizes the reality around him. Understands that he will have to fight with all his strength to accomplish his goals.
There isn’t a real connection with our daily life or our society but it is a metaphor to propel, to drive people to believe in themselves and to make them realize that every one of us has a second chance, and in order to do so we have to work hard for it.
When did you start to compose it?
Alex Staropoli: I have spent the last two years of my life working on this new album production.
The search for new melodies, new musical landscapes and new elements to integrate in the sound and songwriting was spontaneous. I felt inspired and motivated the whole time. Being able to write epic music for our epic fans it’s always been a privilege.
Music and lyrics
In official materials is listed that your singer Giacomo wrote all lyrics. Was the music composed first and then lyrics or was it vice versa?
Alex Staropoli: The music comes first, it always does. I do create all the songs, program and all the instruments first in demo version, including the vocal melodies. Based on that, Giacomo will work on the lyrics, those are really the final step. I think it’s the best and only way to work for the music we do.
Did also other members cooperate on songwriting process?
Alex Staropoli: Yes! Roby De Micheli and myself, we sit down and listen to all the guitar riffs and guitar materials.
We have and select the best and more appropriate parts. We exchange a lot of files as well. Of course, I do write songs by myself but I also like to work with Roby to make sure we have a great guitar-metal work.
I´m a big fan of Rhapsody of Fire since the beginning and I was always interested how looks the recording process of album where is mixed metal music, large orchestras and a huge choir. Could you describe the recording of Glory of the Salvation?
Alex Staropoli: Combining real orchestra, real instruments, operatic choirs with the energy of heavy metal is really something fantastic. I am in charge of the recordings as well. It’s great to compose and arrange music, and the recording process is an extension of that work.
I personally record all Giacomo’s vocals, all the vocal harmonies, the different choirs and all the solo instruments. Depending on the situation I also record all the guitars. For this production we had to record guitars and bass remotely. The mix was done by Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann and in my opinion it’s the best mix we ever had.
Power, energy, clarity and definition make the album sounds incredible. “Seeb” raised the bar on the mix quality and it’s fantastic, as a composer, to know that your songs will have this kind of sound.
And what about the next album? Will it be a third part of Nephilim Empire saga?
Alex Staropoli: Yes, indeed! I am already collecting ideas and writing songs.
I know that situation in the world is not so good but I give you this question, could you tell something about planned concerts?
Alex Staropoli: We have planned 30 shows around Europe for beginning of 2022 where we could finally perform some of the new songs and reunite with all our fans again.
Are you going to visit Slovakia again?
Alex Staropoli: Unfortunately, no during this first tour leg, hopefully in the future.
How does it look in UK now with COVID 19 situation?
Alex Staropoli: I live in UK since years so I know more about the situation here.
Even during the so called lockdowns in UK we could anyway go out in the nature, do jogging, practice sport outside for example. Sincerely I had to work so much that even being stuck at home on one side was a blessing for the amount of task I had to fulfill.
I’ve heard that many artists said that they could not compose anything during the lockdown but for me it was the opposite.
Are the members of Rhapsody of Fire vaccinated?
Alex Staropoli: I see that lately there is the tendency to ask people about this topic, which basically means to ask about what is the medical status of a person.
I understand that due to the situation it became kind of normal to ask those kinds of questions, but personally, I believe that medical status of a person should remain in the private sphere, at all times.
Could you tell your music story? How did you begin with music and how the Rhapsody of Fire was formed.
Alex Staropoli: I always felt I could achieve something in music, so I persevered into study the piano and play the keyboards for several years as a teenager. My life turned up much more exciting when I have started using a proper computer being able to create compositions and complex arrangements.
The passion for classical, Baroque and film music brought me to a point where I wanted to combine those elements with heavy metal. This band was formed on that basis, also to create original music that was not yet available in the market, surely not in that shape and sound.
What happened that the main members Luca Turilli and Fabio Lione left the band?
Alex Staropoli: Luca and I agreed to friendly part ways. It was not a decision taken overnight, but we pondered out solutions for some time. We both wanted to do something on our own at some point anyway. Fabio left for personal reasons.
No hard feelings, but in my life there is no space for misery, frictions and disagreements anymore. I don’t want to be stuck in the past, I just want to look at the future. We are not going to live forever, so I want to live my time in the best way.
Is it true that Luca invited you to the Rhapsody Farewell Tour?
Alex Staropoli: Luca and I had a formal conversation in person regarding this idea, but we did not agree on any of the terms.
A reunion at that time didn’t feel right anyway and the circumstances were also not right. Luca and I parted ways just a few years before, Fabio and Holzwarth left. It would have not been a fair and correct decision towards the fans to do a reunion that had no real friendship as a basis.
Are you in touch with Luca, Fabio or the other people like Alessandro Lotta, Daniele Carbonera?
Alex Staropoli: Daniele is the only person I am in contact with. We remained in touch since the 90’s.
Is there any chance to reunion with Luca and Fabio maybe by memory concerts or is it absolutely impossible?
Alex Staropoli: I don’t think there is common ground for that.
Giacomo is your new singer since 2016. Did you consider also other singers or was he the first choice?
Alex Staropoli: Giacomo was the only singer I wanted for this band.
We met during the “Into The Legend” production already because I asked him to be in charge of the choirs and bring some good rock singers with him. We got along pretty well and that’s why I offered him the leading singer position when the right moment came.
On your previous album The Eighth Mountain (2019) we could hear the voice of Christopher Lee but he died in 2015. How is it possible?
Alex Staropoli: Neil Johnson, the director of several of our video clips, had made this recording a while ago for one of his movies and it was about the Nephilim. I could not believe it when I’ve heard it. C. Lee narrating something that would have connected 100 % with what we were working on!
Neil generously gave me the rights to use this recording and I am very grateful for it.
You’ve been on stage for a long time, which thing are you most proud of?
Alex Staropoli: I am proud of the love we get from our fans. It’s a great feeling to play live and see how much our fans enjoy and are into it. There is nothing like it.
OK, thank you very much for the interview and I’d like to ask you for some message for our readers.
Alex Staropoli: Thanks for having me here and I wish to meet you all for a concert in Slovakia sometimes!