back!!! My first question is, What happened in these long 7 years? A lot
of fans were waiting for your come back in the musical scene after that
masterpiece with Icon and black roses...
Hi dude. These have been some weird years for me. I left Icon as things
werenít working at all at the time. It was the right band but with the
wrong people. We had way too many problems. Back then I was facing the
choice of whether to keep pushing for Icon to succeed and not earn any
money for the years to come or to go out there and get a job and move on
with my life. I chose the latter. I moved to London after I graduated
and got a job here where I have lived in the past 4 years. Initially I
wanted to work on a solo album but I felt that I lacked the drive to
just do it all on my own and eventually I got contacted by the guys from
Ace and decided to give it a go.
2) Ace of Hearts lineup is made by 2 ex..and 1 actual member of a great
italian power prog band "Secret Sphere"...they're known for their
romantic way to play power metal...How did you get in touch with the new
members of the band?
I was contacted on myspace. Actually I did get several invites but kept
turning them down until Andrea sent me some demos and I thought they
were pretty cool. I recorded the vocals for the song ďMonsterĒ, sent it
over and then we decided to go for the full album.
3 How did you create the songs? Who's the main composer?
The main songwriters are Antonio and Gianmaria. They write the songs and
then I try and fit my vocals/lyrics on them. This albumís songs had all
been written by the time I joined. In the future I might be more
involved in the songwriting process but to be quite honest it canít get
much better than having Antonio and Gianmaria writing songs! They are
4) Didnít you ever play during these years? Have you ever written songs
for a possible future project that now is real?
I stopped playing live altogether. I suppose I am way too shy for
constantly being on stage. I did keep writing songs. I have tones of
songs ready to go and I am currently working on Iconís album (which is
close to completion, Loose Cannon, which is a classic American style
rock band and Digital Ghost, a pop project where I donít sing but write
and produce most songs. I think 2012 will be a great year for me
personally with Aceís album out, Iconís album and getting out there to
play live with Loose Cannon.
5) The new album is a masterpiece...9 songs in which nothing is left it
up to fate..what is the main inspiration of this album?
I think the guys wanted to do some sort of love metal band and that was
the reason why they invited me in the first place. I guess I was very
keen to experiment different ranges of my voice and do something
different from what I had done previously so the result is a bit rougher
around the edges, perhaps closer to Sentenced. I know that Antonio is
heavily influenced by Nightwish, he does love his keyboards. Itís a bit
hard to point out the exact inspiration for this record in terms of
influences as great part of this album was written without me actually
6) Let's talk about the songs...The music is fantastic...never
predictable, full of depth...but now I want to ask about the
lyrics...Sometimes those are an important aspect that can't be
I decided Iíd write about a character who is immortal and feels he has
nothing more to experience as he has been alive for centuries. Each song
is an episode, a card played as if gambling is the only thing that can
make him feel like he can actually lose. It is quite difficult to
explain the whole thing and I donít want to spoil it for you but there
are loads of clues in the lyrics.
7) I notice a brilliant production, amazing arrangements in according to
modern rock but always near to classic lovemetal style...is there
someone in particular who took care of it?
Yes it was our drummer Fede. He is a producer and has worked with many
bands in the past. He is very good at getting the best out of ambiences
and that works really well with this music style.
8) The capabilities of the band...as it happened in your previous project
Icon and Black Roses is to find awesome melodies, there's an incredible
mood in each song...it makes you stand out comparing to a lot of
bands...In my opinion a lot of artists are satisfied of mediocre works
and sometimes they are not able to realize that nowadays it's not easy
to become famous...now you're ready to spread your wings...is there a
chance to get an important label in order to carry on this project for
Believe it or not we did contact a lot of labels and we were turned down
by every single one of them. I always told the guys that we were better
off doing it ourselves. This way we do get some money from our sales,
which is then re-invested in promotion and more material such as shirts,
flyers and eventually the next album. Unless we get a ridiculously good
offer from a label, we are unlikely to sign any record deals at this
9) Which are in your opinion the most interesting rock bands? Finland
goth scene has lost a lot of good bands during these last years...do you
think that this kind of rock could come back again like 10 years ago?
No, not really. I mean things move on and it is hard to go back in time
and do the exact same type of stuff as what was going on back then. I
suppose many of those bands never made it big with the exception of HIM.
I have a feeling that these bands are struggling more and more to
release material as record sales are as low as it gets and the main
labels/music channels are a lot more interested in the big American
acts. I think many had to make a choice between living at the very limit
of poverty or to get regular jobs and release stuff as and when
To be quite honest I donít really listen to that sort of stuff anymore.
I listen a lot to a new band called Beta Wolf and a couple of heavy
metal acts like Nocturnal Rites and Bloodbound. I have been listening a
lot to Adeleís latest record 21 too. I tend to listen to odd songs
rather than whole albums. Most bands only have a couple of good songs
per record, I find that really disappointing. I remember getting
Draconian Times by Paradise Lost and loving every single song in it,
those were the days!
10) Johnny..let's talk about concerts...have you planned to prepare a
live session with the band?
As we donít have a label we depend on the money we make to set things up
like that. It really depends on how much attention we can get from
different countries and if we feel we have a good audience somewhere we
will try and book a gig there. At the moment it is too early to say
where and when that is going to happen.
11) Give us three adjectives to describe the new album...and one reason
to buy it...
Well Iíd say, melodic, catchy and loud! If you want us to record a
second you can help by buying the first! Actually that is quite an
interesting question. For us to be able to record music we actually
spend a lot of money in the making, if we donít get the return, it
doesnít mean that we wonít record the second, but it does mean it will
take a lot longer!
Johnny thank you and see u soon!!!!
by Salvo Russo
gryphonmetal.ch since 2001.
He is based
Italy, reachable at this e-mail address
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