Alex Staropoli of Rhapsody Of Fire
Interview by Mark Abell
Rhapsody Of Fire, an Italian symphonic power metal band, just released INTO THE LEGEND, which takes individuals on an emotionally involving journey.
The introduction track, “In Principio,” begins with clinking swords and howling winds, and quickly crescendos into a baroque choir projecting a tremendous wall of sound with the intensity of an approaching army. “Distant Sky,” builds on the momentum of the introduction with Fabio Lione’s furious operatic tenor which embodies a take no-prisoners, hard charging tempo sans backing chorus. “Into The Legend,” is textually and textually rich in the narrative that it weaves. It conjures up feelings of a prince that must draw upon deep inner strength that has been long suppressed in order to rule effectively. The message empowers and uplifts. It imbues in listeners feelings of personal confidence, adequacy, and resolve. “The Kiss Of Light,” opens with a Renaissance reverie replete with harp with run-time of 16:45 that flies by quickly.
In short, ITL proves to be a rich and dramatic composition which inspired me to approach ROF’s leader, Alex Staropoli, about his approach to recording the album.
What was the first album you ever purchased?
Ronnie James Dio – Intermission. I think I started listening to really good stuff at the time! I saw Ronnie on stage at Wacken years ago, from the backstage. It was just incredible…
What was the first concert you ever attended?
Scorpions – World Wide Tour. I was really young. It was quite an experience to see them live. At the time I was wondering what was going on in the backstage and what secrets were hidden behind the scene. After almost 30 years I’ve got to meet them and have Rhapsody Of Fire open for them in Rome and Trieste in 2015.
What was the first show you played?
I think it was in Erfurt – Germany with Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius back in 2000.
Can you tell us more about the Italian metal scene?
I don’t know much about the Italian metal scene actually. Trieste, the town where we live is at the extreme north-east side of Italy. That makes us far away from what may be considered the ‘musical center’. Fabio is in touch with many Italian bands, (though) I don’t. I prefer to isolate myself to better concentrate on music and compositions for Rhapsody Of Fire.
How has the Italian metal scene changed with changes in the economy?
On one hand, it is easier to record a music album due to better and more affordable equipment but on the other hand, there are so many bands and the fans can not buy everything. This clearly makes many bands struggle.
What other symphonic metal bands should we check out?
I have no idea, I have not listened to metal in years (in order) to keep myself clean from interference.
What’s next for the band?
We are planning our touring activity right now. We will be playing shows in Asia and Japan at the beginning of March, later this year we will headline in Europe, Canada and Latin America.
Rhapsody Of Fire are ready to play anywhere at any time.
What are your thoughts on Lemmy Kilmister’s and David Bowie’s legacies?
Lemmy was a musician who was himself at all time. I never had the chance to see a show unfortunately but I know that the amount of energy Motorhead delivered was really high and unique. What I find disappointing is that I see many people looking at him and support (his and others) use and abuse of alcohol, smoke and drugs. I don’t think that’s cool nor I don’t think excesses makes a rock star. David Bowie wrote so many great songs in his long career. Before listening (to) metal I was into pop and rock as well. I am happy I could enjoy those styles as well from the 70’s to the 90’s.
Has ‘Into The Legend’ been received the way you intended?
Absolutely! Reviews are amazing, we entered into the charts, fans love it and are writing enthusiastic comments on the net. It’s rewarding, especially having worked so hard for more than two years. A few days ago we just played at 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise and in Mexico City in front of thousands wild fans. That was a real injection of energy!
Was there anything that got in the way of recording ‘In The Legend,’?
Nothing did stand in our way. The entire process was smooth and extremely inspiring. Of course, for such an epic production I had to create a “legendary” plan to keep everything together. It was a blast.