Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Interview with Alfredo Martinelli of Italy's La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Alfredo Martinelli of Italy's La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore. I want to thank my friend Glenn from Mintotauro Records for not only making this possible, but for turning me onto this epic progressive rock/heavy metal band in the first place! Be sure to keep an eye out for my review of this band's innovative self-titled release and you can find La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore online by heading here. Enjoy! 

Andy-Hey there, Alfredo.  Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your band “La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore.”  I don’t speak Italian, and I’ve tried to come up with a translation of your band’s name into English.  What I come up with is “The Time-to-Steam Workshop”.  Given your bands progressive leanings, I imagine your band’s name is a nod to your country’s vast contribution to the prog-rock scene.  Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with the name, and what it signifies?

Alfredo-I came up with the name for the band. In between developing musical ideas and organizing the band’s activity I suggested two band names: the second one was "La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore". Even if it's not a commercial/marketing rule-based name, it has the capacity to make people ask and think about it. Our musical approach is not common; we are something different from the norm, and we want to spread it out a bit. Moreover, we employee numerous different conceptual approaches that we think you’d find interesting. The Workshop (La Bottega) is something like "art and work", based on the concept of the Italian Reneissance, populated by Italy's  old masters, and a time when everyone was a significant part of the entire work. The present and future time (Il tempo) is a constant in our album. It's an important concept of life that flows. The Steam (Il vapore) is that natural element, deep as much as we can see it. It is able to generate strong forces, able to move trains, industrial machines, and, in the same time, to slip into each and every fissure.

Andy-On to the album.  “Il Guerriero errante,” or “The Wandering Warrior.”  Can you shed some light on the story that’s told for us? 

Alfredo-"Il Guerriero errante " tells the story of a samnitic warrior, who receives the responsibility to escort a Lady, engaged to the King, to the King's residence. The journey is characterized by adventures, ambushes and many events. Warrior and Lady bonded immediately, they are united by a strong sentiment and at last they fall in love. The King finds out about the secret relationship between the Lady and the warrior, instructs a Janara (samnitic witch) to avenge him with the damnation of the two lovers. There will be romance, adventures… but for all the details, you just have to listen to our CD.

Andy-As I mentioned earlier, Italy has made a vast contribution to the progressive rock scene.  Can you tell us how Italian prog rock has influenced you as a musician?  What are some other genres of music that have influenced you?

Alfredo-We are influenced by tons of genres and kind of music, as every prog band should be. Our influences could be summarized with Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Porcupine Three, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Osanna, Epica, and so on. So genres like Prog Rock / Metal as a base, but also Epic, Orchestral, Folk, Psychedelic, Fusion and more.

Andy-Tell us about the band.  How did you form?  How long have you known each other? How did you meet? How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

Alfredo-I was looking for musicians to help transform stories into music, so that's where it all began. During the meetings we talked about the contents of various chapters and then we wrote the music and lyrics. A little bit later we added all the other members of the band. Most members already worked together in other projects, so we were all friends. Our artistic peculiarity is that our sounds, rhythms and arrangements are articulated and essential elements, with unusual lyrics.

Andy-Tell us a little bit about your experiences in the studio.  What were some of the challenges in recording such an intricate album?

Alfredo-The final recordings were so intense and needed concentration, which is why the final result of our work is characterized by honesty and consistency. At the same time, it wasn't easy to organize everything and contain costs. We considered our financial resources and managed everything firsthand. Edoardo Napoli from EPN studios of Genova oversaw the final mix and mastering, and he did a very good job, considering a great problem for us: work remotely. The power of Internet!

Andy-And finally one last set of questions. What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?  Do all members of the band contribute to the song-writing process?

Alfredo-As regards the process of writing songs, there's not a fixed rule: inspiration is like a beautiful woman, who never announces her arrival. Certainly mys story inspired our music arrangements, but lyrics and vocal arrangements were made after the musical parts; these are peculiarities of our work. In our band all the members participate in the creation of arrangements. Alessandro did a great job for the production of this album.

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