Daedalus is an Italian act that perhaps isn’t well known to the great masses. I decided to change that when I heard their second album called THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION which has the potential of becoming a ground breaking masterpiece in the bands own genre. Progressive metal is the music of Daedalus and I had the opportunity to speak with guitarist Andrea Torretta.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Promo group pictures by: Claudio Castellini, Franco Pastorino
Pictures also taken from the bands MySpace site.
Hi Andrea, Your new album is called THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION and was released a little while ago. How long did it take to write and record the album?
THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION was released in January 2009, many songs were already written some years before but, due to some line up change, the recording sessions were delayed until Davide Merletto joined the band. Then we worked together on the newest arrangements and recorded the album in a couple of months.
From what I can see the album is a concept album. Is that right? What is the album about?
Every song deals with a different situation where reality and illusion mix up each other in everyday life. In particular the last song ‘Mare di stelle’ is the conclusion of the trip described by all the songs from the beginning of the album. In a way, it could be defined as a concept album.
Was the plan from the beginning that you were going to do a concept album or was it something that happened along the way?
No, every song was written singularly but we noticed immediately that most of the lyrics written had to do with the same main theme, so we decided to focus the entire album on it, trying to propose a more interesting album.
The material is mostly written by bass player Gremo and the keyboardist Spanò; does the rest of the band have a say when it comes to the material?
Yes for sure. Fabio particularly has great composition skills, while Beppe has a great imagination for lyrics. However each member brings his experience during the writing process and usually proposes riffs, dynamic changes, arrangements as well as backing vocals and obviously soloist sections. Now that the band has a solid lineup it’s not unusual that every song grows up from each one’s ideas.
There are also guest appearances from Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth) and Alessandro Corvaglia (La Maschera di Cera) on vocals. Which songs are these guys on?
We asked Roberto and Alessandro to sing the main and backing vocals on “Mare di stelle”, together with Davide. They are really kind persons and talented singers and made this song sound beautiful! When we wrote it, inspired from the Italian 70’s sounds, we immediately proposed a duet and we enjoyed together to play with their different vocal tones. And the result was stunning!
How did they end up singing on THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION?
Roberto and Alessandro are great singers in the prog rock and metal international scene. In particular I met Alessandro playing together some year before. Since the song ‘Mare di stelle’ (literally ‘Sea of stars’) has been drawn on our beautiful city, Genoa, with his characteristic sea, boats and …stars, we wanted to call singers from our country to add grace to this song with Italian language lyrics.
Why did you name the album THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION? Is there any special meaning behind the name?
The album takes its name from the longest track for we think it gives the right meaning of the whole album. ‘The never ending illusion’ could be intended also as the experience of living our everyday life thinking that sacrifices imposed by modern society will determine our happiness in the future. We think nowadays this is the biggest illusion… And there’s more beyond the wall we use to look at.
The cover art-work is made by Mark Wilkinson, what do you think of the cover art-work? Do you think if reflects the music on the album?
Yes, the cover artwork and the lyrics have many figures in common like the wall that obfuscates our sight and lets us see only a fake reality through the window, the comfortable chair where we sit in everyday life or the darkest reality beyond the wall. The artwork continues inside where you can find the never ending wall broken by the same chair as a smash in our wont.
Do you think that Daedalus has developed musically through the years and if so in what way?
We all think that THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION is a more mature album than the first LEADING FAR FROM A MISTAKE: we introduced more classical, jazz and Italian folk elements, we tried to write more catchy songs without loosing technical details and harmonic intricacy. We also decided to reduce virtuous sections moving away for that typical genre, working more on humor and ambient changes, proposing a more interesting and fascinating trip to the listener.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet? How has the media and the fans responded to the album?
We are receiving many wonderful reviews from radios, magazines and webzines and we’re really happy because the album is achieving a good interest from the audience. We also really appreciate all the messages we receive from fans who like our music, after this hard work!
I think the most important thing about a review is that it should analyze the content of the work without prejudice, and it’s what I like to read when a journalist write about us. Some magazine like to define us as ‘clone’ of other bands: well this is the most trite observation they can do, while they don’t speak about the inside of our songs. Moreover ‘prog music’ is such a wide expression that if you used to listen ‘speed-power-prog’ maybe you wouldn’t like the ‘Genesis sound’ for example… so it’s a quite hard work for a journalist to be objective.
You have featured two strictly instrumental pieces on the disc, why?
Well, “Waiting For The Dawn” is a keyboard based song which would create the right suspension for the begin of the album, while “Horizons In A Box” is an instrumental track that sounds over different ambient changes. In this track I play different guitars but here is also a great work of bass and keyboards which create the right atmospheres.
The last track on the disc is an Italian piece called “Mare di Stelle”. Why did you choose to feature an Italian song on the album?
We liked to introduce more Italian folk based elements in this album, drawing inspiration from the sounds of 70’s prog-rock Italian bands. Although this is a completely acoustic song, I think it doesn’t sound so different from the rest of the album.
Are there any plans on taking on the US market?
The album is distributed mainly in USA and Europe by Ryko and SPV, so you should find it easily in the stores.
Are you gonna try to make it in the rest of Europe with this new album?
We’d love to play our music out of Italy where the prog metal scene is more important, but we need heavy resources to schedule a tour. At this moment I can advance that we will play in November at the 10th anniversary of our label Galileo Records in Swiss.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Daedalus plays?
I think our music is a fascinating trip over different atmospheres, with complex harmonic textures but simple and open melodies to obtain an ease listening. We like to take inspiration from different styles as jazz, classical, metal and electronic music, combining all of this in our songs.
In the bio you say “This time we composing more mature and polished songs with greater accuracy and attention to details” what do you mean with that?
Well, first of all we paid more attention on the arrangement details, we called professional classical musicians to record some sections and we used quality technologies for the realization. Then we invested more resources on mix, master and production to obtain a modern sound and a really professional product.
Do you have any favorite tracks on the album?
I think my best song is “A Journey To Myself’ because it represent very well our sound and what we want to play.
You recorded the album in Daedalus own studio, are you the only ones that uses the studio or does other acts also record there?
In our studio we recorded all the songs; even if each band mate has his technical skill I generally follow the preproduction as sound and mixer tech. Sometimes it happens that I use Daedalus’ studio to record and produce other bands.
Where is it located?
We’re in Genoa, in the north-west part of Italy, near the sea.
The disc was mixed by well known ex-Helloween, Masterplan member Roland Grapow. How was it to work with Grapow?
Roland is a very kind person, really professional besides a great musician. His warm welcome and liking made pleasant the mixing sessions and thanks to his studio our songs now sound really modern and powerful. He gave us also many precious advices for the future with his great experience.
Do you know Grapow from before or how did he get involved to do the mix of this album?
We were looking for an experienced studio to mix the album so we contacted some of the most important musicians in the scene and Roland was helpfully available to work with us.
Did any of the members participate during the mixing process?
Yes, Davide, Fabio, Daz and I had the opportunity to work with Roland in the latest mixing sessions.
And the album was mastered by another famous guy. Dario Mollo, how was it to work with him? Do you know him from before?
We knew Dario Mollo thanks to his experience and because he mastered some of the best Italian metal bands. His work has been very accurate and we obtained the perfect result in just a couple of days!
Do you think that you’re gonna continue working with these guys in the future?
Working with Roland and Dario was great but I can’t tell you at this time, let’s see when the new album will be ready.
How come you inked a deal with ProgRock Records? And were there many other labels that were interested in signing with you?
We sent many demos and received some contractual proposal but the professionalism of Galileo Records, a small Swiss label, affected our interest. Galileo and ProgRock Records work together to produce their respective bands, so we had the opportunity to be produced and promoted both in Europe and USA.
Do you see any problems or difficulties with that PR aren’t based in Europe?
No problems since ProgRock and Galileo work strictly together; we think there’s a beautiful relationship between us and these labels since they really believe in us.
Earlier on you were signed to New LM Records, what are the main differences with being signed to PR and to your old label?
Unfortunately New LM Records didn’t offer a good distribution; both Galileo and ProgRock seem to offer great services of promotion and distribution and better guarantees.
In the booklet there are a number of labels listed like Audioglobe, SPV, Ryko and PR. Are the rest of the labels distribution labels or what?
Galileo Records and ProgRock Records are our production labels, while Audioglobe, SPV and Ryko are international distributors.
Is the album released worldwide today?
Yes, if the album isn’t in your best music shop you can (tolto always) order it from the distributor or buy it from our label’s internet shop.
For how many albums are you signed for at PR?
We signed only for THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION. When the next album will be ready we’ll evaluate to continue to work with them.
When was Daedalus formed? Who is the band leader?
Daedalus formed in 2000 from an idea by Fabio Gremo who proposed to Beppe Spanò and other past members to set up the band. The actual lineup was formed during these years due some change; actually we have Fabio Gremo (bass), Beppe Spanò (keyboards), Daz La Rosa (drums), Davide Merletto (vocals) and me Andrea Torretta (guitars). There’s no band leader since each member takes care of different aspects of the band and each one is essential for the band to exist. We are good friend too, so this is the main reason.
You have been inspired by Queensryche, Arena, Dream Theater, Rush and Iron Maiden. Which one of the bands do you consider being the main influence in Daedalus?
All these bands influenced very much our style, I could say Dream Theater just because they are the undisputed milestones on prog metal music scene, but which prog band doesn’t have such influence? You may easily find some Queen recall on choirs or solos for example…
Where does the band-name come from and does it mean anything special?
Daedalus was the father of Icarus and the architect who designed the Cnossos’s labyrinth. We like to think that our music is rather complex as a labyrinth but easily solvable just following the Ariadne’s thread.
During 2002 singer Brunetti and drummer La Rosa joined the band, what happened with the former drummer and singer?
I joined the band just some year later, I know they left the band due personal motivations; we have still a good friend relationship with them.
Your debut album was released in 2003 and was called LEADING FAR FROM A MISTAKE. How did the media and fans respond on your debut?
The first album was well welcome from the media about all over the world, but as I told it didn’t have a good distribution. However that album permitted the band to make some good gig and finance the new album. Our fans never let us lonely and we have to thank them very very much!
The band has had many line-ups since the start, which members is today an original member?
Actually only Fabio Gremo (bass) and Beppe Spanò (keyboards) come from the first line up.
You and singer Merletto joined Daedalus in 2004/5, have you been involved any other acts besides Daedalus?
Yes, first of all we are musicians, and then most of us would like to make music our first job, so often we have side projects to keep on playing. I work also as sound mixer for example.
How did you end up in the band in the first place?
They were looking for a new guitarist who could play 7 strings guitars, while I recorded a demo cd of prog music some year before, so they asked me for an audition and were well satisfied.
Have Daedalus played a lot live during the years?
Yes, we’ve played a lot live in these years and sometimes we have had the opportunity to share gigs with some relevant artist. At this time we’re keeping on promoting the new album, so new live dates are coming out!
How did your fans greet the new singer Merletto? I know it’s hard to change singer.
We’ve been in trouble for many years before we met Davide. Now we are really satisfied: he has great skills, a beautiful voice and can reach well both high and low tones. Moreover he has great capacity to interpret our songs with theatrical perform and this is just what we were looking for. The fans seem to be really satisfied with this choice because they understood his great talent.
Why did it take you so long to release this album? I mean your debut came in 2003 and this new album is your second one.
As I told you we’ve spent some years before we met Davide delaying the recording process of the songs.
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?
I think here in Italy at this moment because we are making some good promotion thanks to Nadir Rock agency. We hope to play live all over the world soon to spread our music as much as possible.
What have the members been up to in between the release of the albums?
Between LEADING FAR FROM A MISTAKE and THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION we had some lineup changes on vocals due to the search for the definitive singer. Now we are really happy with Davide.
Do you think that this current line-up is a solid one and a one that will last?
Yes for sure! Now we have the opportunity to work hard together and we are planning the work for the next years. I really think this lineup could keep on the good work.
You have a MySpace band page do you what do you think of MySpace is that a good way to do promotion for the band do you think?
Yes, I invite all the readers to visit our MySpace page at www.myspace.com/progdaedalus where you can listen for free some of our song! I find this platform very useful to maintain and create new contacts. I think also that today there are too many bands who can free promote their self in this way, so the listeners have to do an hard work to select what is good or bad or useful.
Are there any plans on going out on the road now and do you have any festival shows booked for this summer?
Yes, we have some gig booked every month until November at this time, please keep an eye on our MySpace page to know, we’ll announce the dates from time to time.
What’s the climate for metal in Italy today?
Italy unfortunately doesn’t offer many opportunities for metal bands; we hope to obtain a good interest in the rest of Europe and USA to make some good work out from here. However both Trevor from Nadir Rock agency and our labels are doing a really great work to promote us with also some interesting gigs.
When can we expect to find the next Daedalus album out in stores?
We’ve already written the songs for the third album, now we have to study and record them, so I think 2010-2011 would be a realistic approximation.
What are the plans for Daedalus now?
We’re going to keep on promoting our work for the whole year, we’re thinking about a video clip maybe too. In the meantime we’re going to keep on working on the new songs.
Give the readers three reasons why they should go out and by THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION?
You should buy THE NEVER ENDING ILLUSION because it contains great songs and different atmospheres, from classical to jazz or heavy prog metal; because if you like refined prog this should be a great discovery for your collection and because you’ll love to discover Daedalus’ music!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions, I wish you all the best in the future and are gonna close the interview with asking you if you have any words of wisdom for the readers and fans out there.
Really thanks to you for this beautiful interview. I’d like to remind all the readers our contacts on www.myspace.com/progdaedalus and www.progdaedalus.it and I hope you’ll find our work really interesting. See you soon in some live date!
More info about the band