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Rhapsody - A Magical Conversation
This week, Rahpsody’s first live album will be available in stores. On this album, the band is able to perform the songs of their latest studio album to the fans. A review of this live album is already online on www.metalrage.com and last Friday I had the honor to speak with singer Fabio Lione about this upcoming live album, the upcoming tours and even the next Rhapsody studio album.
 
Next week, the first live album will be released, are you exited about it?
Yes, of course, because it is actually our first live album. I think the band has become more mature throughout the years and we wanted to reveal that to the people with this live cd. We recorded the album in Canada, where we actually gave three shows and we were surprised to see the reaction of the fans, because it was really like Europe, where we are kind of used to great reactions of the crowd. There were almost 2000 people which gave us an incredible feeling. That’s why I’m also trying to speak in French at the concert.
It is actually funny, because we did not know that the album would be recorded in Montreal, because we had three shows in Canada. But it became Montreal and the crowd was responding so great that we decided to dedicate the name of the record to these people.
 
Ok, well I’ve heard that back in 2002, there were also plans made for a possible album and the show in Tilburg even got recorded. Is that true?
Yes, that is true. During the tour of Power of the Dragonflame we’ve made the recordings then for the show in Antwerp I guess?
 
Well, I thought it was in Tilburg, but it doesn’t matter.
Yes, it could well be Tilburg. But anyway, we still have the material from that show and we will probably be using that for the first upcoming DVD of the band that will probably be released at the end of the year. It will contain a lot of old stuff and also the recordings that we didn’t actually use after we had played the show in Tilburg. But we’ve been saving them.
 
And will the whole show be present then, or just some highlights.
That’s not decided yet, but we will sure include them. We’ve been out for a long time so we also have some other interesting things to put on a DVD. But now, after nine years with the band, we thought it was time to show the people what we can do live, especially because we’ve never released a live album before.
 
Thank you, my next question is about the keyboards on the live album. Was it hard to arrange the songs of Symphony of the Enchanted Lands pt II since like 70% is done by an orchestra?
Well, we have used the orchestra on Symphony of the Enchanted Lands pt II for the first time, since it is very hard to have an orchestra on every album. And it is also hard to have an orchestra live on stage every time we’re playing. But on the live album we used the keyboards in a way that you could still here the orchestra. I mean, people can hear that we are not faking, it’s not fake but it’s real. It is one night from the beginning until the end of the show. Because we were able to have such strong instrumental parts, the sound is more aggressive than before, it is full of energy and the response of the people reflects that in a way I think.
 
And how was the response to the fifth song, Erian’s Mystical Rhymes, because it is a very long song. Were you able to keep the attention of the audience since it’s a very long song, and maybe even some other long songs you played during the tour?
Well, we see it as a sort of challenge, and it is even longer than on the album with a bass solo and a drum solo at the end of the song. We thought of playing two or three songs instead, maybe Holy Thunderforce or something, but the result is actually very good. The next time we’ll probably change it, because we want to change the set the whole time. Especially when the live album is out now, the crowd doesn’t want to see the whole set again and again, so we change it.
On the next tour in Europe, in March and April, as another part of the tour with Manowar we’ll change it thus of course and probably we won’t play Erian’s Mysical Rhymes.
 
So then you will also play a set of about 60 minutes?
Yes, that is true. And after the tour with Manowar, we will probably be performing on some festivals and from October until the end of the year, the two bands will separate and we will be doing a headliner tour in at least all the countries that we haven’t been so far during the tour with Manowar. So than Rhapsody will be on the top if the bill with one or two supporting bands as well and we will play a longer set then.
 
Ok, than I’ll expect you to come to Holland for sure. But why did it actually take you so long to go on tour after the release of the latest record, since most of the time the release and a tour are combined?
Well, we were really busy with promoting the album and the new management. We split with Limb and we are now with SPV so we also had to deal with a different structure. And since we didn’t play live since 2002, going to new countries is exciting and we wanted to be prepared for playing live. At this moment, I think we are ready to play everywhere in the world, so after the tour with Manowar we’ll have a big tour of our own.
 
Does that mean that you’ll go outside of Europe as well?
Well, I can almost say for sure that we will be going to Japan, since that has been a very important country for us. So, I think we will go outside of Europe as well but Europe will be visited as well for sure.
 
There are currently three members enrolled in a solo project. Of course Luca is, Alex and yourself. Can you tell about what’s happening with that?
Well, Luca has just managed to finish his solo album which will probably be released this year. Alex is also working on it and me then. I managed to complete seven songs until now and I think it will be released somewhere next year. This year is certainly reserved for Rhapsody. I can probably do the recording this year but the release will have to wait until next year.
 
And will it be metal orientated?
Well it will not be metal orientated. Of course it will contain some metal influences, but I think it is important that you are not copying something you have been doing in another way. I have another background than metal, so the album will contain some opera influences for sure. I’m influenced by a lot of different music than just metal, for instance U2 and Queen. But I hope that people will like it. Right now, there are so many things going on with Rhapsody that this is the most important thing. It is nice to have something of your own but this year will be totally Rhapsody.
 
In recent interviews, I’ve heard that you have already made some recordings for the next Rhapsody album. Christopher Lee seems to have already recorded his parts. Can you tell something about that?
Well, if we wouldn’t have been busy writing new material, the new release will probably be taking place somewhere in 2008 and that is very late. So we are trying to continue our work with it and maybe for the upcoming tour with Manowar, we are about halfway and hopefully the release will be taken place somewhere at the end of this year.
 
Wow, that is pretty soon.
Well, it is, but it’s the way it goes. As for Christopher Lee, that was a construction that we really liked and it worked out pretty nice. So, we try do keep doing such kind of things since the result is nice.
 
Since you took a lot of time in the studio for the recordings of Symphony of the Enchanted Lands pt II and since you are a very special live band on stage, would you either consider Rhapsody as a live or a studio band?
Well, through the years, a lot of people actually think of Rhapsody as a studio band, since we use a lot of things that you have to do in a studio but with this first live cd I’ll hope that people will also think of us as a live band. We’d like to change that attitude since it exists. The people think of it in a certain way, so we think it is time to change people’s minds, in a new era of the band.
It is true that we haven’t been on tour that much, but I hope that people will see that this year we are able to perform a lot, as a support and as a headliner so they will think we can be a good live band.
 
Ok, than I actually come to my last question. Since Rhapsody has been related to so many other things, beside the music like a role playing game, a card and computer game, books and a whole story behind the cd’s, what does the name Rhapsody mean to you as the middle of this whole construction?
Well, that’s actually a good question. The word came from the Greek language, which presents some kind of a classical escape. To me, I would describe it as a crazy, fast way of playing, like loobedoobedoobedoop. (Fabio tries to cope a fast, high guitar loop that goes upwards) This is how you can describe it in terms of the old Greek definition.
To me, it also has some kind of mystical themes, like mystical sounds, it’s even magical somehow. This represents almost everything we do on our albums and on stage, so I think it is somehow a fast way of going through certain phases, with the mystical and magical themes that Rhapsody has been coming up throughout the past years.
 
Well, that was actually my last question. Do you have anything to say about the live album or about this year for Rhapsody?
Well, I hope that people will like the live cd, because it is a very important one for us. It’s out first time we have this and we try to make people understand what we have to offer as a live band.
And I also hope that people will try to come and see us and believe we are worth listening to and watching. And I hope we can satisfy the people by coming up with the next year in which we also be a headlining band.