Hello Luca. First of all, thank you for your time to do this interview! You - Stamina - have your second full length album out called 'Two Of A Kind'. Was the debut album, 'Permanent Damage', successful and what are your expectations for this second album?
Our debut album 'Permanent Damage' was released by a small independent Italian label in late 2007. It gained stunning reviews both in Italy and abroad, so we decided to record and release a second album. We don't have big expectations, these are very difficult times for the music business because of the illegal downloading. Of course, we hope that our album will be appreciated by the fans of this kind of music.
For those who don't know Stamina, can you tell them about its origins and explain the band's name?
We need “stamina” to play this kind of music, both physical and mental hahaha, that's why I named the band this way. It all started back in the summer of 2001, when I was 1seventeen years old. I wanted to form a band to play my own songs and so I started auditioning musicians. I made lot of phone calls and I put a lot of advertisements on various magazines. It took me about a year to find the right guys, except for the keyboard player (Andrea Barone) who joined from the very beginning. We released two demo cds: 'The Demo Songs' in March 2003 and 'Here To Stay' in July 2004. Both demos gained good reviews, so we decided to record the debut full-length album 'Permanent Damage' which, as I told you before, was released in late 2007. In May 2010 we finished mixing and mastering our second album 'Two Of A Kind' that was released on October 8th by German label Ice Warrior Records.
To what music and/or bands did you listen when growing up and which guitar players where your great inspirers?
Guns N' Roses were the first to impress me. I was eleven years old and one of my sisters played me some records by them. I know that this could sound strange, because I play a completely different style, but that's the truth. After about a year and a half, in March 1996, I went to New York on holiday with my parents to visit some friends. That's where I met a guy called Sam Fasolino who gave me a present before I left: it was his own copy of the album 'Odyssey' by Yngwie J.Malmsteen. As soon as I came back to Italy I listened to the album and I was completely blown away. So I stopped listening to Guns n' Roses and got interested in melodic hard-rock/neoclassical-metal stuff. Other bands that I listened a lot when growing up (and still do nowadays when time gives me the chance) are: Europe, Royal Hunt, and Symphony X. My favourite rock/metal guitar players were/are: Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, John Norum, Mike Romeo and others. But I also love some jazz-fusion masters such as Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola, Frank Gambale and Brett Garsed.
With Stamina you try to make a kind of music that is a melting pot of rock, metal, funk, fusion and blues. The band's style can be defined as melodic hard-rock with some progressive-metal and fusion influences. A near perfect mix between Europe, Royal Hunt, Yngwie Malmsteen, Brett Garsed, Symphony X, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Kansas, Dream Theater. Where do you, as the songwriter of the band, get your inspiration from?
I get the inspiration to compose from my life, probably I try to use music to express myself. I don't know really… As far as I remember, I had the intention to compose and play my own stuff from the first day I picked up the guitar. You know, most of the guys start playing because they want to learn the songs of their favourite bands, but it was different from the beginning for me. I wanted to listen to good bands and good guitar players only to understand how to write a good song, not how to play note by note their songs.
With Giorgio Adamo (who quit Mind Key this summer) you have a very good and powerful vocalist, so why the collaboration with Kenny Lübcke and Henrik Brockmann? Don't misunderstand me, I enjoyed the vocal performances of all three on 'Two Of A Kind'.
Danish singers Kenny Lubcke and Henrik Brockmann have always been in my “list of favourite singers” since I was sixteen. It was during that time that I got to know Royal Hunt and heard their fantastic voices. It's really a dream come true for me to have them singing on my songs as special guests, I still can't believe it! Sometimes life is great...
On the album are two versions of 'Too Tired To Live', one sung by Adamo and the other one by Lübcke. What was the reason of that?
Well… it's a funny story, because Kenny wasn't supposed to sing lead vocals on 'Too Tired To Live' at first. I had in mind to ask him to sing lead parts only on 'Maker Of The Universe', which is the other song sung both by him and Giorgio on the album. I asked Kenny to arrange and sing backing vocals on four songs: Eyes Of The Warrior', 'Heart Of The World', 'Maker Of The Universe' and 'Too Tired To Live'. On this last one, he found the lead vocals parts sung by Giorgio that I had sent him too “high ranged” and too. I don't remember exactly what he said. Anyway, he had some suggestions for me to improve the lead vocal parts, so he recorded his version to make me understand what he meant. I was so blown away by his performance that I immediately decided to put his version too on the album as “bonustrack”.
I mentioned in the review of the album you must be a little genius. The compositions on 'Two Of A Kind' are well arranged with heavy riffs, breaks, nice intermezzo's, choruses and tempo changes. Apart from aforementioned bands it sometimes reminds me of arrangements by Queen. What do you think of that and how do your songs commence?
Thank you very very much for your compliments! Well, I have to admit that even if I appreciate Queen I've never been a huge fan of them. But we put a lot of backing vocals and choirs on this new album, so I understand why you mentioned Queen. I usually compose starting from the main vocal melody and it can happen anytime, not only when I'm playing guitar or keyboards. Often the melodies come to my mind while I'm doing other things (driving, taking a walk, looking at a beautiful girl etc. etc.)
One could be fooled by the fusion like intro of 'Maker Of The Universe' but after the turn it unfolds into a real good song with a kind of seventies feel, including the organ (keys?). I was surprised and wonder where you got that (such) idea(-s). Did you or anyone else in the band listen a lot to seventies (hard) rock?
Yes, I like fusion and seventies progressive rock music, and so do the other members of the band. So it happens that I put in my songs some influences coming from this kinds of music.
For this second album you switched to Ice Warrior Records. Were you, or the band, not satisfied or was there some other reason?
Franko Sturm of Ice Warrior records made us the best offer this time, so we decided to sign for his label.
What is/are your favourite song(-s) on 'Two Of A Kind' And can you explain why?
My favourite songs are 'Too Tired To Live', 'Eyes Of The Warrior' and 'Heart Of The World. I don't know exactly why, I just like them a bit more than the others.
So, a new album out and a new label, how about performing in the rest of Europe, is there a change we get to see Stamina on stage in 2011?
It would be great for us to perform live in the rest of Europe, but we still don't have a booking management so I think it's quite difficult at the moment.
If the opportunity would arise to go on tour with a big name, which one would that be?
I would love to go on tour with Royal Hunt!
What is favourite album of 2010?
Royal Hunt “X”; great music, great performances and great production!
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview. Is there anything left you want to say to the readers of Lords Of Metal?
Thank you very much for this interview! I would love to inform all the readers of Lords of Metal that it's possible to listen to some songs from our new album 'Two Of A Kind' both on YouTube and our MySpace page. Our cd is on sale in the Netherlands through the following websites:
www.sonicrendezvous.com (THE NETHERLANDS)