Interviewed by JP
What does Lunocode mean?
Lunocode is a wordplay between the russian word Lunokhod (actually the first radio controlled rover to land and explore the moon, in the ’70s) and the english term "code". Combining the two words togheter we obtained Lunocode, similar in pronunciation but with its own meaning (something like "lunar code" or similar, depending on personal interpretations). We liked the idea to have a name that is similar to or references something else but had a strong personal character like only a "newly created" word could have. For me, Lunocode is related to exploration of space, to a time in which man, with his intelligence, reached the goal of starting to explore a world other than the world that gave birth to him. This theme opens up a vast plethora of philosophic reasonings and I think this perfectly describes our music and the themes behind our lyrics.
Where did you get the idea for the band name and why did the band change the name from Anima?
I was watching a documentary on tv about Lunokhod space programme at evening. In those days I was searching for a brand new name for the band and as I enjoyed very much the story of this probe, I started thinking that Lunokhod was a good starting point to create a new word. Some days later Giordano came up with the idea to write Lunokhod as "Lunocode" and I and the other guys liked the idea very much.
At the time we were going to publish our first official EP and we were bored of the name "Anima", because we thought it didn’t represent us, our music or our attitude anymore. It’s been a fresh start for the band, a "rebirth", so changing the name was a natural choice.
I noticed the packaging of the new album is gorgeous. How important is presentation in this modern digital age of instant downloads?
First of all, thank you for the "gorgeous", I’m very glad. I think packaging is a very important thing, if not to sell more mp3s, definitely for artistic reasons. Every band publish a cd, but not many bands publish a cd with a beautiful artwork or booklet or package. A poor booklet, absence of lyrics or absence of an "artistic vision" behind the packaging of a Cds has always bored me. I like very much letting the music run on my stereo and at the same time follow the lyrics on the booklet and watching photos, drawings or other artworks contained in it. For this reason I’ve put a lot of effort to create a nice artwork for the Cd and for this reason we will try to do even better for the next album!
What are some of your main musical inspirations?
Personally I like very much Queensryche, Anathema, Pain of Salvation and Fates Warning…but I also like very much Rainbow (Dio era), to name a few. However, inspiration, for me, comes mainly from the reasonings I do when I read a good book or I watch a great film or documentary.
How did Olaf Thorsen get involved?
We asked him, with the help of Spider Rock Promotion, our label and promotion agency, to play a solo on our song "Indifference" and he liked the idea. He is a very kind person! I’m very glad he played on the album!
Tell us a bit about your studio (Anima) and some of the basic gear you have and use to record.
We spent some time gathering the right equipment to record our own albums. I personally engineered the album (Celestial Harmonies) and mixed it. We have RME and Audient audio interfaces, legendary SM57 microphones (used mainly for electric guitars, tom drums, percussions and flute – yes, flute -),some KSM32 mike for drums overheads, acoustic guitars and vocals, a pair of Oktava ml-012 for charlestone, ride and, again, some acoustic guitars. We used Adam A7x as studio monitors (great monitors!!) and a normal pc with nuendo as a DAW. It’s very simple and relatively cheap equipment but we are happy of what we have. I think more than equipment the thing that really matters and makes the difference is experience. After having recorded and produced a full length album, I gathered much experience that will help me raise the bar for the next album, even using the same equipment!
The center-piece of the album is the epic suite, "The Origins Of Matter And Life’ . Can you tell us about the lyrical concept? It’s very unique. How did you come up with the idea for using the character of Albert? Did this piece take long to write and record?
No, it didn’t take a long time, because when I have an idea, it progressively develops and transforms very quickly inside my head. Ideas start to spin and usually in a couple of days I have developed everything to a point where you can just sit down and write for 3 or 4 hours without problem knowing exactly where you are heading and what you are doing in detail. I developed the entire story with a "human" as the main character but, after that, I realized that it could have been more interesting if I replaced the character with Albert II, a Rhesus Monkey, putting the story in a precise time. This gave me the idea for the last dialogue between the two space flight controllers and the dramatic turn of events in the end.
The Origins of Matter and Life tells the story of the creation of the Universe…one universe, at least. It is based upon the idea that the act of thinking and the act of creating are very strongly linked togheter, being the latter a direct consequence of the first. The story unfolds from what we could describe as a "mistic" experience of our character that, somehow, achieves consciousness and sees the creation of the universe from nothingness. He understands that someone is actually creating the world, someone that is a Cosmic Architect, but he can’t understand who this entity really is. Our character then explores this new world and, in the end, he understands that the universe originates inevitably and naturally from the mind and thoughts of a being who does not necessarily know that he is creating something with his thoughts. He also understands, in the end, that this being is actually he himself and that the new universe is made of his own thoughts crystallized into matter and energy, atoms, molecules, DNA and every other building block of matter and life. This is the very short summary but, being the entire concept much more deep and complicated, I posted a few posts on Lunocode’s blog (http://lunocode.blogspot.com) to give readers some in depth view of the suite. I recommend, if someone is interested in knowing some more about this theme, to check the blog. There you can find everything and also some references to books, movies and other things that gave me inspiration.
Why do you think Italy the global leader in Progressive / Power Metal?
I think Italy has great bands that really deserve much more attention than they actually get. Unfortunately, it’s a very difficult thing to start a band in Italy, especially a rock or metal band, because here tv or big media are not very interested in (rock) music and so everything remains somewhat "underground", even if outside Italy maybe is highly considered. You can listen to Italian pop artists on the radio or watch the last musical reality show on tv, but only in rare occasions you get something different than that. It’s a pity, because I think Italians have a very particular style when comes to writing music, especially for writing beautiful melodies that, in a genre like Progressive or Power, are very important.
Do you have any touring plans in the near future?
We toured East Europe in April, supporting Theatres Des Vampires and we played wonderful venues in Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Turkey, Hungary, so for now we have only a few dates on schedule for this summer, I think some festivals. We are also working on acoustic arrangements of some of our songs, maybe we will be able to play something very special next summer or autumn!
How can people learn more about you and your music?
First of all you can join us on Facebook by clicking the "Like" button on our official fan page: http://www.facebook.com/LunocodeFan. Doing this you will receive updates and news from us. Then you can visit our official website www.lunocode.com. On our website you can order and purchase your copy of Celestial Harmonies or Last Day of the Earth in cd version or be redirected to iTunes or other stores if you prefer the digital download. Finally, if you like the songs and the lyrics and you want to go deeper in their meanings (that is the thing I hope, because lyrics have profound meanings to me) you can visit the official blog http://lunocode.blogspot.com. If you search for live show recordings, samples or similar you can search youtube in general or our official channel (http://www.youtube.com/lunocode) or www.myspace.com/lunocode. We have also a Google+ profile, a ReverbNation and LastFM profile, a Twitter account and if you want you can also add me on facebook (my profile is https://www.facebook.com/perseo.mazzoni) so…I think you can find everything you want!
Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thank you for having read this interview, I hope you enjoyed it! I also hope to meet you on facebook so we can talk about music or everything else. Thank you for the support and thank you to Metal Rules for the very interesting questions! It’s been a pleasure for me to answer them!