Singer Federica Lanna, bandleader and guitarist Federico Truzzi,
guitarist Nicholas Bonavoglia
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Ulterium Records for setting up the interview
Thanks to Ulterium Records for the promo pictures of the band
Thanks to Ulterium Records for the additional live pictures of the band.
Sleeping Romance from Italy has a debut album out called ENLIGHTEN. It came late last year and since I loved what I heard I decided to get in touch with band members Federica Lanna – singer, bandleader and guitarist Federico Truzzi and guitarist Nicholas Bonavoglia. If you like symphonic metal with female vocals in the veins of Nightwish, Epica and Sirenia then check out Sleeping Romance. The trio and I talked about the bands past, present and future and I also asked Federica what’s it like to be the only woman in the band.
Let’s go back to the beginning. When was the band founded and who is the founder and band leader?
Federico: I started writing music for Sleeping Romance (the first name was Hybrid Resolution) in 2009 during a short period of my life in Rome and I ended at begin of 2012 when Federica has become the official singer of the band. I was back in my hometown in 2011 and Lorenzo and Francesco become members of this band. With Federica we have completed the last songs of the album and, after that, we decided to record Enlighten.
I know that you released a demo and after that suffered the band from drop outs. Who left the band and who joined forces with you?
Lorenzo: Yes, that’s right. After recording our demo, the singer Monica told us that she wouldn’t continue the musical activity with us. Well, we started in two days to look for a substitute and, after many auditions, we chose Federica. Then we decided to add a second guitar player to have a stronger sound, so Nicholas was our choice. Did the changes leave any marks in the songs and the music?
Federico: Yes. We had few line-up changes to be the band as you know. The first line-up (when I was living in Rome) was completely different. For example there was a cello player instead the second guitar. But the greatest changes was made by the voice. The first singer, Monica was a opera-soprano singer and Federica has a complete different voice. We enjoy her because she was singing our song in a new way and, although very different from the first idea, we liked it so much.
Was the drop outs expected or they came as a surprise?
Lorenzo: No, it wasn’t a real surprise. We had some signs during our time with Monica. She was a very good singer but she never gave us the security to be a fixed part of the project and for a band who has to start its activity this is the worst thing possible.
From the beginning the band wasn’t called Sleeping Romance what was the bands name back then? Why did you change band name?
Federica: Federico’s idea of the project was about combining orchestral and symphonic music to rock and metal, that s why we called HYBRID Resolution. We decided the new name with the label because they thought it wasn’t representative enough. Sleeping Romance was pretty evocative, dark and romantic.
Do all the members come from Modena, Italy?
Nicholas: Yes, we’re all around Modena, except for lollo, he’s from Scandiano, near Eeggio Emilia!
Do the members have any special artists or band in common they’re inspired by?
Francesco: Everyone of us has brought his personal inspiration, ranging from musical suggestions: from opera music, soundtrack compositions (Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman, etc..) And winking a bit ‘all kinds of musics starting from the most classic metal till progressive. So I would not speak of bands/ artists that have inspired us but the idea of music itself such as flood of emotions which led us to the writing of this album.
Debut album ENLIGHTEN
Please tell us about your brand new debut album ENLIGHTEN. What are the lyrics about and how long did it take to write and record the album?
Federica: it took almost a year to record it and a lot more to write it. I think Federico did a great job. I wrote four of the eight songs of the lyrics and i must admit that the music was so evocative and suggestive that i didn’t need so much time to write the words of our songs. It came naturally.
Is all the material new or have you used any songs from the demo that you recorded prior to the album?
Lorenzo: We used some songs that we reordered in the demo. “Free Me”, “Finding My Way”, “Soul Reborn” and “Passion Lost” were included in the demo but when we reordered on the disc some parts of this songs were changed and rearranged.
What’s the hardest thing with recording an album do you think?
Federico: When you get in studio recording everything become a great problem From choosing the right instruments you will use to record to play and sing all parts trying to transmit the right emotions. I think the most difficult thing is to get your musical idea in the right way. I mean, when I write music and I produce music usually I work with imagines and music need to represent this kind of imagine. When audience listen to this album create a personal imagine of the music. And my goal is to their imagines are most similar to mine.
The band put out a teaser from the album on Youtube. What did the fans think of it?
Nicholas: The response of the fans were great! I think the teaser is very helpful for a band…specially for a debut album, because you have the chance to listen the”sound” of the band, without (and before)buying the physical copy of the CD.
According to the biography, ENLIGHTEN is a concept album, what’s it about?
Federica: Enlighten has this big main theme – rebirth. We all struggle, we all suffer, we all love and lose, but as musicians we feel the moral duty to give positive messages to our audience. Our songs are full of strength and power and listening to them you can mirror your self and find the will to carry on in spite of all.
Where does the title ENLIGHTEN come from? Does the title mean anything special to you and the band?
Lorenzo: The title “Enlighten” is taken from the opening song of our album; we decided to use “Enlighten” because it represents a positive message and it’s what we want to give to the audience: what is there more positive than something concerning light?
The cover art-work was done by Felipe Machado. What do you think of it? Do you think it reflects the album well?
Federico: We really enjoy the cover for the album and I think it represent our music in the best way. Felipe Machado because he is a great artist and he made so many cover arts for metal bands. He knows how our music works and which kind of imagines we need. We were looking for something that could represent someone who is reading a book with many different stories. So every songs is like a tale in a book and when you are listening to our music is like you are reading a story. He understood in the right way the mood of our music and he made a really beautiful cover.
Is it correct that you have recorded the album without any back up from a record label?
Federico: Yes, this is correct. I have recorded the album totally free from contracts or without any kind of back up. This choice was made because we prefer to present our debut album with our idea complete free from suggestions or charges from other person. When we have met Emil from Ulterium records he seemed to be completely in line with our vision of music and this is a really important thing to start a collaboration with a record label.
How come you chose to do that? Would you call Sleeping Romance a DIY (do it yourself) kind of band?
Nicholas: Here in Italy we have to do a lot of work by ourselves. luckily, for all the marketing things, promotion and advices we have ulterium records
How would you like to describe what kind of music Sleeping Romance plays? I’ve read the description symphonic metal what do you think of that label on your music?
Francesco: Music is inspiration, feeling, freedom of expression, head and heart. We have blended using the language and rules of Metal. We play symphonic music but ours is a hybrid mixture from progressive to heavy metal and sometimes you can listen some catchy melodies (which certainly gives discomfort to the purists).
What would you like to say to the ones who compares your music with bands like Nightwish, Epica and Within Temptation?
Lorenzo: Obviously our inspiration came from this big female fronted bands, but we tried to add a lot about our musical culture and personal experience so our songs aren’t the copy of other bands’ songs. Everything was written in a very personal way and our personality will be shown in every album we will record.
Your music contains a lot of keyboards and orchestrations but no one is listed on it? Who plays the keyboards?
Federico: I have written all orchestral parts and all keyboards part. When I write orchestral music I write it in the classical way without instruments on a blank page. Now the technologies really helps us because you can listen what you have write in the same moment and if it doesn’t work, you can change it. But I prefer to work in this way because it sound not as a keyboardist but it sound as an orchestra need to sound. When you write music on your first instrument usually you are limited from your technical limits but if you write for a different instrument (for example a violin, or a flute) you can’t be limited from your technique on instrument, your only limit is your imagination.
Did you have any release party for the album? If so when and where was it and did you perform?
Nicholas: No we wanted to do a proper release party in our city theater but after the earthquake in 2012 the theater isn’t available as a choice so we’ve performed a couple of times here in Italy!
We had also two shows during the European tour supporting Theocracy in our hometown Modena and another at Blue Rose Saloon (bresso-Milan)
I’ve seen the song “Free Me” on youtube but is there anywhere you can download the single legally?
Francesco: Yes you can find us on the major digital store like iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify.
The band also released an EPK video on youtube what did the fans think of it?
Lorenzo: I think our EPK received a good feedback by our fans. There are some steps of the promotion activity and EPK is an important part, so everyone who wants can see how the work proceeds in the recording studio.
Sleeping Romance – “Enlighten” EPK Video
Studio, production and mixing
Is it correct that band member Federico Truzzi produced the album?
Federico: Yes, this is correct I’m the producer of the this album. I’m a studio recording owner and I decided to record it in my own studio. I wrote so many things on this album so I waned to have complete control of everything.
How come you wanted him to do it and what’s his strongest feature as producer?
Lorenzo: Well, Federico owns a wonderful recording studio and perfectly knows how to work with a metal band. Then he is the mastermind of Sleeping Romance so he can create the right sound to have the better result. His stronger feature is his deep knowledge of music in every part, but he also has a lot of experience.
The album was recorded in Lemonhead studio, where is the studio located?
Federico: Yes it was recorded at Lemonhead studio if you want you can catch few infos from www.federicotruzzi.com, my personal website where you can catch all info about my studio. It is located in Carpi a little town near Modena in the north/est of Italy.
Truzzi also mixed the disc, was any other member part of that process?
Federico: The greatest part of this work was made by me but all guys from band told me what they think about their personal sound (for example the drum player told me something about his idea of the kick sound, or the snare sound etc). Lorenzo was the most present during the mix he suggested many things and together we found some good solutions for this album.
Do you think that Truzzi are going to produce your future albums as well?
Federico: My compositions and my musical idea is not based on notes, melodies and harmonies but I need to define the sound of each instrument If a guitar has a tone, the bass and drum need a defined tone to work together. Who usually works with metal/symphonic music knows that in really hard to combine them together in the right way, so this process need time. I hope and I think so to be the producer of the next Sleeping Romance album
Personal with singer Federica Lanna
When did you first start to sing and who inspired you from the very start?
Federica: I started singing when i was a child. I grew up among Disney soundtracks and my fathers cds: Pink Floyd, Queen. Enigma, Enya… i used to sing both Bohemian Rhapsody and The Sleeping Beauty, so i can say that both Freddie Mercury and The little mermaid inspired me
Do you play any instruments?
Federica: No, unfortunately
Are you classically trained or self taught?
Federica: I studied opera-singing for 3 or 4 years a long time ago, then I had to stop because it was too expensive for me at that time. Now I’m studying with a good speech therapist and I’ve recently started to work with Michele Luppi too.
Have you been a part of any other bands before joining Sleeping Romance?
Federica: yes, of course, but nothing significant
I really love you effort on the album and think that you sing with great passion. Are you involved in writing any of the songs? Is it easier to sing and relate to lyrics if you have been a part of the writing process?
Federica: thank you so much. I’m really glad to know it. As i said, i wrote most of the lyrics and Federico’s music was really inspiring for me at that time. I’m a writer, so for me was really essential to give my contribution to the lyrics first of all. I need to feel what i sing.
What’s it like to be the only female in an all male band?
Federica: In general, it’s really funny. I feel like: The princess and the ogres they could be so rude sometimes ha ha. But it’ s one of the reason why i like spending time with them; it’s not boring at all.
Label and management
Was it hard to land a record deal and were there many labels that were interested in signing Sleeping Romance?
Lorenzo: We had a lot of proposal by musical labels so it wasn’t so hard to land a record deal but the most difficult thing was to find a label that really believed in us. I think that Ulterium Records was the right choose for Sleeping Romance and this label gave us something great not only artistically but also humanly.
You chose to ink a deal with the Swedish label Ulterium Records, are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and album so far?
Nicholas Yes, of course we’re very happy to work with ulterium! Personally, I’ve seen a lot of work from the label, and this can’t be more motivational!
Do you see any problems in the fact that the label is based in Sweden and the band in Italy?
Francesco: While there is a great distance the way the label work is the most professional we have ever seen. We are really glad to work with the staff from Ulterium!!
Is it possible to download the album legally? If so where?
Federico: Yes, you can find Enlighten in the most important digital store as iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify etc..
Is the album released world wide? Are there any interest for the album and band in Asia and America?
Federico: The album was released in America on 3rd of December and I think we had a good answers from the audience. Many fans write to us on Facebook and we have done few really beautiful interview from the other side of the Atlantic ocean but honestly I don’t know much about the interest in Asia, we are waiting for their answer
Are you currently working with any booking agency?
Federico: In this moment we are working only with Ulterium records and together we are trying to get the best for us. We are collaborating and we are searching for shows.
There’s not much info on the bands website, who runs it and isn’t it time to make it more current?
Federica: ops, sorry, we agree. Our fault.
Is the band active on Facebook and other social forums?
Nicholas: Yes, we have an official facebook page and an official website! We love to keep in touch with our fans and fanclub, they’ re our family outside our country!
The band has been out on a shorter European tour with Theocracy how was that? Where did you do your best show?
Francesco: It was a very positive experience, well over what we imagined! We are very pleased to have shared this tour with fellow travelers, the Theocracy band. It’s have been more than one show worth mentioning but a few are the Brainstorm Festival in Apeldoorn, in Modena, our hometown and our sat show in Prague.
Were the fans of Theocracy nice to Sleeping Romance?
Lorenzo: Yes, they were very kind with us despite we were a completely new band. Thecoracy is a great reality and its fans can only be great people!
Are there any plans on touring more in Europe or in Scandinavia during 2014?
Federico: Now we have 3 live shows confirmed for the 2014 but I’m pretty sure we will have good news for this year! Two shows in Italy and one in Austria (this is our first time in Austria and we are really excited about that!) but we are working for something more. Playing in Europe and traveling to playing music is one of the our primary goal for this year.
Any scheduled shows in Italy or at festivals during the year?
Nicholas: So we’re playing on 22th of February here, in Italy at Borderline and we have more shows to be announced. We and the label is also planning some shows.
How would you like to describe a live show with Sleeping Romance as?
Lorenzo: Our live shows are set in the best way so musical part is very important but also the visual component is critical. We try to transmit energy to the audience and our choreography and moves are organized to obtain this energy, but it’s a very hard work!
Are you currently working on material to next album? If so when can we expect to find the next Sleeping Romance album out in stores?
Federico: I think is a little bit early talking about next album. We have started working on one but for now we prefer doing our best for promoting Enlighten!
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered the music of Sleeping Romance yet?
Federica: that if I wasn’t me and if I listened to Sleeping Romance for the very first time i would like them a lot
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
Federico: We would like to thank you for your time and we really hope to meet you on stage soon as possible!
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