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Ten Questions with...

ELEKTRADRIVE

Forming in the mid-1980s, Elektradrive became one of the premier Italian hard rock acts, until they dissolved after their album 'Big City' in 1994.

The band reformed in 2004 and started working on a new album:  Living 4 was released in early-2009 and has received excellent reviews not least from GRTR!The band are featured artists for April 2010 in our Ten for Ten promotion.

The band's guitarist and co-songwriter Simone Falovo answers the questions...

Elektradrive

Could you tell us what are you currently up to?

At the moment we are moving in Italy up and down, to play live in more cities we can; we have also an idea to shoot our first official video clip, referred to the song "Dirty War of Bloody Angels". We just get an idea of the video story, because we can tell you in advance that it will be done in a military wrecker depot, so you will see us between all kinds of military trucks, airplanes, helicopters.

Could you take us through the songs on the new album 'Living 4'

Usually our songs, come out from a riff or from a melody; so this was for "Living 4", but this time, using the PC to record all our ideas and song projects, we have a big help in refining all the songs as far as the arrangements and production are concerned.

So, prior to putting down all the definitive tracks, we had a lot of time to think what the final form of the song should have been in the album.

The first song that came out was the title track, and the draft remained exactly the same as the one we wrote the first time; even for this album was crucially important for us combining good and suitable lyrics, with what the songs melodies expressed.

And we feel we succeeded in that, we reached what we want to say through all the album tracks; unluckily, in Italy there are very few people who listen to English lyrics in rock music, this is due to the lack of that language awareness, but I can tell you there was a lot of work behind the lyrics.

Anyway, it was a very long process, because me and Elio passed through personal troubles during the work of the album, so this caused a lot of delay in the issue...but we are really satisfied of the final result, especially because we were the producers of the entire work

Elektradrive

What made the band want to come back and do another album? Why did the band seem to stop in the mid-90's?

The album title stands for "living for...something" and in our case "that something" stands for the music: even during the time we were out we kept on listening and playing and writing music, we have a strong passion for it so...at the moment we start to write something together, we felt that we could not stand without taking out our name and putting out again a new album.

We all believe that we went out in 1994 at our best moment, but everyone in the band knew that we were bored of each other, so all the thing - sadly - stopped. Coming back live it's not easy for us, because many young people don't know who we were at the time, sometimes for us it's like we were a new band...

Elektradrive

'Big City' had some great reviews but did grunge bury the album as melodic rock became out of favour very quickly? Do you have any plans to re-release your earlier albums with bonus songs at all?

BC was very well reviewed by all critics, but that was the time when grunge was raging throughout the world, and we were buried by this trend... then, that album had some kind of pop flavour in it, our big mistake was to think and work on it without having a major deal... here major companies wants (now it's the same as 15-20 years ago) only "replica copies" of major singers/artists with Italian lyrics ... and we could not and cannot be those...we are different musicians with a different nature and style.

Moreover, I must say that in Italy musical trends and genres are fundamental for listeners... iwhen we wrote a song we know we have lot of blues influence, such as the way of playing and singing, and the overall intention of the song, but sometimes we are not going to meet those who usually listen to metal, that is the genre from we come... it's a lack of being 360 listeners like we are...

Anyway we have plans of re-release our oldest albums, even if sometimes it's so damn hard having to do with small and old labels, for what we signed at the times, but we believe we will do something soon with DUE and BC (Over the Space - the debut album - was re-released in 2006 by the original label without our permission, although we have a special edition ready with bonus tracks of the Overdrive era), and we have some interesting bonus tracks to put inside...

Elektradrive

What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?

Obviously it was in Los Angeles at the Roxy Theatre in 1990; we decided to leave for the U.S.A. with almost only the guitars and keyboards as our luggage.

We wanted to play there. Really an adventure for us, but it came out as one of the best and amazing experiences the band ever had!

We found the gig in only three minutes, the time it took for the theatre manager to listen to the opening track of Due and decide we could play there... then, it was great being on the stage of one of the most important "rock live temples" in the world and a good challenge having to do with local professionals, but we gained a lot of praise for our live show from the people who was there.

You can see one track of that show on youtube, because there was a friend of us who took all the show with a camera. Unforgettable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDIh97pVp1M

Elektradrive

How hard is it to get a decent run of live shows? Any plans for festivals this year?

We don't know outside, but actually here (in Italy) it's getting harder than ever to find a decent run of live shows, because there are a myriad of cover bands that saturated the live clubs, and it seems that if you don't play major music of a major artist, and you play your own music, you are not noteworthy.

We are playing much more than our past, but sometimes it's not easy to find clubs, the club owners prefer cover or tribute bands... in our case, being many years out of the scene, has not been on our side, but we are doing the best to close more gigs than we can...

Anyway we are going to play in Milano a festival with Gamma Ray as headliners in July.

Was there a big scene of Italian rock/metal bands in the 80's? Are there any up and coming bands you'd recommend?

Elektradrive are part of the New Wave of Italian Heavy Metal, born in 1983.

In that year, we participated in first italian hard/heavy compilation, called Heavy Metal Eruption.

It was not so much a big scene like now in the early days, but there were tens of interesting bands, and we were among them; so we are considered pioneers, because there were not yet fanzines or dedicated magazines, and great part of the promotion was done only with indie radio stations and through word of mouth from band to band, from fan to fan...

One of the bands that I liked more and with whom we have a sort of friendship, was Steel Crown. They had a lot of power and determination in their music, and I like to recall them as a pure and genuine hard rock band with a foot in the classic heavy rock; we know that they just reunited, and are playing together again.

Elektradrive

Have you seen an upswing in the interest in metal and rock over the past couple of years? Has the internet helped get your music out there or in some ways e.g. illegal downloads has it made matters worse?

With the web, you can reach thousands of people on the instant, especially thanks to the social networks such as Myspace and Facebook, so it is a new free and quicker way of promotion that didn't exist when we started in the 80's and 90's... on the other hand, artists not major like us with small or indie labels had a lot of loss from what was the natural resource, to sell records... now for everyone the only way of approaching the music is only with downloaded MP3, and it is a disaster.

This is not regulated, but we know that for the corporations it was much more convenient to sell phone/DSL connections (regularly with monthly bills for X years) to millions of users, rather music like an original CD...

As a paradox, this phenomenon prevented the growth of musical culture between common listeners...often you have hundred of kids who download entire discographies of semi-unknown artist (to them), but then they are not to going to listen... :-(

Elektradrive

Who are your musical influences and why?

Our musical influences start from Beatles, Who, Led Zep, Hendrix, D. Purple, B. Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Queen, Free, then Van Halen, AC/DC, Mr. Big, Winger, and the fantastic King's X - then we listen to prog like Yes-Genesis-ELP-King Crimson, then we are great fan of F. Zappa-Todd Rundgren-E. Winter - but we listen also to soul-r'n'b-black music, like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, A. Franklin, M. Gaye...

We really don't know why, but we know that we really liked them and these names are foundations in modern music (rock and not).

Message for your fans...

Just open your minds and let the good music meets you... You can't judge or decide that you don't like any kind of music and songs, if you didn't try to let her in ... just put away your eye blinkers and your heart will open to other kinds of music you think you are not familiar with: you will discover new melodies-harmonies-rhythm so you will be able to increase your knowledge of the music vocabulary...

 


Interview April 2010 Jason Ritchie.  All rights reserved.

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