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Saturday, August 9, 2014

INTERVIEW: CRISTIANO TRIONFERA OF FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE TALKS ABOUT GUITARS, LIVE RIG AND EVERYTHING ELSE


Fleshgod Apocalypse is one of the most creative, technical and all around quality bands in today's extreme metal, and without any doubt they are the most unique looking ones too.
I reached my friend Cristiano Trionfera (actually I'm friend with all of them from before the band started) to ask him some juicy guitar question, here are his answers:

GuitarNerdingBlog: Hi Cristiano! Introduce yourself to our readers, tell us your story!

CristianoTrionfera: Hi there! It's Cristiano, lead guitarist of the band Fleshgod Apocalypse. I started playing guitar at the age of 11, 21 years ago, and since then it has been probably the most important aspect of my personal and professional life. It took a long time to find the right conditions to develop professionally the musical career, also because I'm italian and my country is not exactly what you would describe as an easy environment.

GNB: Tell us about your career. We know you've worked in many projects in the last few years, and the two most important ones are obviously Fleshgod Apocalypse and Promaetheus Unbound.
Which are the moments that you consider your career highlights? Which are the artists that influenced you the most? Is there still some collaboration that you'd wish to do?

CT: I've been playing with bands for many years, but I could never really say things were concretely taking their way into the pro world before Fleshgod. Promaetheus Unbound has been my childwood (musically) and my school, other than what I consider a great experience made with some of the best friends I have had and have. I can probably consider as career highlights the first moment I started writing music with an actual lineup that could play more complex stuff, with Promaetheus back in the days. That moment when you realize you feel the urge to push yourself and the others further and beyond your ability and knowledge; then the moment when we started Fleshgod and we had a meeting where we decided what we wanted to do and how we wanted to make it; the day we changed lineup with Fleshgod, taking Tommaso at the vocals and putting Francesco Paoli at the drums; then there are moments that I remember, like signing a record deal, playing Manhattan for the first time, going to places I would have always wanted to go, but as a musician: America, Japan, China, South Africa, Australia and so on.
The influences have been many and from a lot of different aspects, I can randomly point at some like Rammstein, Morbid Angel, Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, At The Gates, Megadeth, the Beatles, Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler, Rossini, Verdi and Vivaldi, Michael Jackson and John Williams.

GNB
: You're a very talented guitar player; tell us about your love for this instrument, how did you learn to play it and your favourite models!

CT: I've always been fascinated by music since when I can recall. My father is a musician too, so I had the chance to have instruments around the house since when I was a baby. I started studying classic guitar at the middle school for 3 years. During that period I discovered the love for the electric guitar, rock and punk music. Once started the highschool I left the classic studies and started focusing on my own music. It all took a little while, also having guitar classes for 3 years, studying different styles and taking me where I am now pretty much.
My favourites models are my Overload Guitars custom Raijin signature, Les Paul custom wine red, PRS santana III.

GNB: What do you think about the state of the music business? What are your thoughts about today's underground and mainstream music scene?

CT: Everybody knows the music industry is living a big crisis. Every day we face difficulties that most of the times depend on the lack of financial support for the whole system. The problem is that 20 years ago, the people that worked into this business could count on sales that disappeared today and most of them have no idea how to deal with it. The thing to do now is to adapt and be smart to be able to survive. Unfortunately it is true that most of the business going on in this industry is not about the music, but it's normal if you consider the fact that the fans and the audience in general treat the product as something free and of public domain, which I'm not necessarily against as a concept, but as a musician I suffer this situation greatly as well. The thing is: I don't complain for this, but try to find my way of making a decent living out of it anyways using all the possibilities.
People sometimes complain about the live shows, the merchandise, the fund-raising campains (wich I totally disagree with), but they just don't take in consideration that things have changed and sometimes the passion for the music is unfortunately not enought to bring it on. This applies to both the underground and the mainstream scenes, obvioisly with due proportions and with the basic thought that all this being said, without the music (the quality one) not even a point of this discussion would happen, so even if it's tough today, we still need to refer back to the music as the main thing here.

                             
       


GNB: What do you think about the digital music distribution? And what about the file sharing? How do you think the music business will evolve in the future?

CT: As I just said, things have changed and it's not that easy to say if for the best or for the worst. The digital distribution is probably the only way the industry has to fight the file sharing and the download, but of course you're still offering people to buy your product while they can have it for free, to a certain extend it will never really work. I think that the internet has been the biggest revolution in the modern world. I'm not one of those who say that downloading the music is a bad thing by itself, but I do believe it should be right to buy not only the music, but what an artist has to offer. It's like recycling: you know you should do it and if everybody would do it, the world would surely be better. Well if even half of the people that download music would support the artists, then art would be much safer. Don't come to me complaining cause I'm offering you to buy my t-shirt or hat or wine or sunglasses, as you won't buy my music. That being said, I think that a lot of artists you can find around nowadays wouldn't be there without internet and file sharing, so it is definitely also a good thing and I would be an hipocrite if I said just the opposite.

GNB:  Let's talk about live music! Which have been the best gigs you have ever played? Do you consider yourself more a live musician or a studio one?

CT: It's really difficult to say what's the best gig I've ever played. There are some shows we have played that have been so much fun for us and the crowd and I think those ones can be considered the best ones, since having fun and enjoying your time is in my opinion the point of it. Playing places like Costa Rica, Mexico, Japan or Australia with a lot of people coming for you and having a blast are for sure to put into that category. Montreal is another example of a place where you can have a great time. The super big festivals are great too: Wacken is probably the best example; although I remember as the most emotional ones the first time we played Manhattan at the Gramercy Theater in 2010, the Fillmour in San Francisco and the first time in West Hollywood at The Wiskey a GoGo because of the vibe of the places and the importance historically. Playing on the same stages where the bands you grew up with and who made the history of music is definitely someting.
I think I consider myself more a live musician nowadays and that's probably because the live part is so important in the actual scenario.

GNB:  Tell us some funny story: which one has been your best/funniest experience as a musician? And your worst one?

CT: One of the experiences I remember has been most fun is when we found ourselves, the whole band, in a cage into a safari in South Africa with baby tigers and we have been able to play with them and pet them. Another good one is when we had to play for the first time in front of important people which could help us in our carreer, the stage was weird and we were nervous, so obviously as soon as we walked on stage in the most epic way possible, Tommaso fell cause of a hole on the stage. Fortunately he wasn't hurt. The worst one, on the other hand, is probably something that happened to us some years ago in Russia, when the bad organization of the tour put us in a situation where we've been practically arrested because they thought we wanted to import our equipment in their country, so after crazy situations (believe me, pretty crazy) we had basically to get out of the country as fast as possible and find safety back in the EU.

GNB: Since many readers or our blog are interested mainly in the tecnical side of the guitar world, can you tell us your studio and live equipment? Can you tell us about the recordings of your latest album?

CT: We recently changed our live equipment in order to be able to carry it with us all the time and have our same sound everywhere. We used to use peavey 5150's on Vintage Cabs (V30s) and I used to boost and wet the solo sound with a Boss ME70 in the head fx loop. Now I use a POD HD pro and that's it.
In the studio we obviously use simulations for the preproductions and usually Peavey 5150 on V30 cones Cabs on the actual albums. Except for Oracles, which was Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, all our records have been recorded using Peavey 5150, always boosted with a Tubescreamer.

GNB: Is there any advice that you'd like to tell to our fellow guitar players?

CT: Well nowadays you have so many choices, it's difficult to find your own sound. I very much believe it's not about the guitarist anymore, at least not only, but mostly about the music and ensemble, so choose keeping in mind that you have to sound not only good, but right on what you are doing.

GNB: What does the lyrics of your songs talk about? Do you think that on a song it's most important the lyrical side or the musical one?

CT: We put out concept albums and every time we pick up a story, we try to read the reality we live in and analyse the fears and troubles of men throughout the developement of the concept itself.
In the genre we play, the extreme metal in general, most of the times it's the musical part more important than the lyrical part, but the fact that a song or an album, if not a band, can be recognizable from what they talk about is very important and the more you get in touch with a larger fan base, the more you realize people understand the message you wanted to send with your music and lurics together. I think the two parts are equally important.

GNB: The interview is over! Tell us about your latest album, projects and tours! Thank you very much and we hope to see you soon live!

CT; We're still working on the promotion of our latest record Labyrinth and we'll soon start to work on new material. We'll be touring still untill pretty much the end of the year. We have an italian run finally in October and we can't wait to perform our show in our home country, then we'll head up to europe with Insomnium.
Thank you very much for the interview. It's been a pleasure. See you very soon!
Cheers






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