Luigi Soranno talks about his symphonic power metal project ARCANE TALES, the challenge that has been to release six albums a year recording all the instruments by himself
Interview by Cristóbal Torres
ARCANE TALES is an Italian Symphonic Power Metal project commanded by Luigi Soranno, who is in charge of singing, playing, recording, mixing and publishing all the music.
After releasing four demos between 2008 and 2012, ARCANE TALES made their glorious debut in 2016 with the album: NEW HOPE BRINGER. Since then Luigi has released one album a year; the most recent is TALES FROM SHARANWORLD, which was released in February.
The ARCANE TALES sound is heavily influenced by the glorious RHAPSODY of the late nineties; only, unlike that legendary band, ARCANE TALES does not deal with alignment issues and has maintained a high level since its inception.
We contacted Luigi Soranno himself to tell us about the history of ARCANE TALES; how he records all the instruments and what motivated him to work on his own account. This is what he told us.
To start, could you please recommend two songs for all Power Metal lovers who are about to listen to the new Arance Tales album?
Luigi (L): First of all, I would like to thank you for the time and space that you give me. In fact I am going to suggest three, which are the three singles that have been released: “Wall of Shields”, “The Banquet” and “Winter Symphony”. Still, to all symphonic Power Metal fans I highly recommend listening to the entire album because it really is worth it.
You started as BLACK RAVENS in the mid-nineties, what happened; why did the group disband?
L: Well, the first lineup was born in 1996 to play covers of bands like METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN and other rock bands (Italian in our case), just as almost all new bands do. Then, in 1998, something happened thanks to the discovery of a new band called RHAPSODY, so the influences of our group slowly changed.
I started to compose our own songs in a new way, so I also changed the name to ARCANE TALES. After that I also started writing my own fantasy saga and a few years later in 2001 we released our first demo called TRIUMPHANT STEEL.
However, in 2002, the band ceased to exist for various reasons; I think the main one is that I was the only one who took the project seriously.
What motivated you to continue ARCANE TALES on your own?
L: In 2003 I left my small town in southern Italy and went north to Verona, a choice dictated by fate. In those years I had a lot of time to develop the saga and write many songs.
It was something that went hand in hand with the band. The saga inspired the songs and vice versa, so after 3 or 4 years, I already had a lot of material, so much so that I could even have written a book … and I did! Yes, I also started writing a fantasy book, and unsurprisingly, it became more and more personal.
Did you ever consider the possibility that ARCANE TALES had more musicians?
L: When I arrived in Verona I tried to find other musicians, but my search was in vain, so after a while I decided to do it on my own. Of course I would have liked, and still would like, to play the music of ARCANE TALES with a real band; but at this point I feel like it’s been a long time for something like that. Maybe in another life, who knows.
Was it easier or more difficult to work on your own compared to those days when you work with multiple musicians?
L: Well, for me, working alone has been and still is very good. I can compose and write what I really want to write without any problem or commitment.
You’ve released an album a year since 2016, a truly incredible pace, have you noticed a greater openness or greater popularity as the years go by?
L: Of course! The simple fact of being a “known” project in a world full of thousands of bands or musical projects is something very rewarding for me. I like to take note of people’s views and their constructive criticism year after year. It’s something that encourages me to do my best next time.
Is your creative process still the same from the beginning or have you found new ways to compose throughout all your albums?
L: Inspiration is something that cannot be described. At some point you start to write something that in the end you don’t know if it could be good or not. Most of the time it’s good for me. I think this is something relatively personal. Anyway, in my case it is still something that I cannot explain to others, I prefer the songs speak for me.
Have you had the opportunity to perform live with session musicians or has it all come down to studio work?
L: Well, I had some experience with other musicians in the past; but nothing relative to the ARCANE TALES project. I really like to compose in my studio, behind the computer. I think my place is there when I want to create something magical.
How did you learn to play various instruments and what do you consider to be your main instrument?
L: My dad is a music teacher, so I think music runs through my blood and it’s in my DNA. I am a pure self-taught in everything I do. My favorite instrument is the guitar, and the voice, of course! But I have a real passion for drums and orchestra. Obviously I use virtual instruments (I’ve never hidden it) for the orchestrations and rhythm section, but I can play drums (not at Portnoy’s level, sure) and bass.
Do you also take care of mixing and mastering your records or is there someone who does that job?
L: Yes, I take care of the whole project from the beginning to the end; also the covers and graphics of the different albums.
With five albums behind you, how much do you think the sound of ARCANE TALES has changed or evolved over the years?
L: I think the main thing that is evolving is production. The way I compose is always the same. In the last 2 years I have tried to go deep into the production aspect and I think that in this last album you can hear a lot of improvements.
What is the imaginary that you narrate in ARCANE TALES, is each album a story or are all albums part of a larger story?
L: Over the years I developed my own fantasy saga called: Sapphire Stone Saga. I have also been able to publish 2 books about it here in Italy in 2009 and 2013. The songs on all my albums are inspired by the events of history, but they are not in chronological order, in this way I feel freer from the limitations that history may have.
In the specific case of TALES FROM SHARANWORLD, what is the story we find in it?
L: Same as previous albums. Several “stories” of the saga set in Shàranworld.
Are there already physical versions of the album or is it currently only in digital format?
L: All my albums are also available in physical format and whoever is interested can contact me directly.
This is a question that I ask many bands and I am very interested in your opinion about it: Italy has produced many high level bands in the last ten years, but why have we not been able to see another band with the scope and popularity of Rhapsody or Vision Divine in that same period of time?
L: There are many valid bands here in Italy, many of them from the same period as Rhapsody or Vision Divine (Labyrinth, Secret Sphere, Eldritch and many others). I just think that nowadays times have changed for the whole world of music, but I can assure you that there are great “new” Italian bands that are increasing their popularity, a name in all Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Before closing, I would like to take the opportunity to ask about Kim’s Over Silence, another band where you sang. What is the current status of the band; are you still active and with plans for the future or did it all stop with the launch of CARPE DIEM?
L: It was a nice experience and a great memory from my past. I can’t tell you more about that, because I don’t know more. I think the project was stopped indefinitely.
Thank you very much for your time, but above all thank you for your musical work! Is there anything you want to add for readers?
L: It was a real pleasure talking to you! I hope to satisfy more and more people with my music. I would like to tell you to support metal in all its forms, always, and that we are more united with each other. Thank you again and see you next time!