DANIELE LIVERANI DISCUSSES HIS NEW RELEASE "AN INNOCENT CHALLENCE - PIANO CONCERTO N.1 IN D MINOR"
after having fronted a big number of prog oriented projects such as Genius, Khymera, Empty Tremor, Cosmics and Twinspirits you also released a few guitar oriented solo album, and now a Piano Concerto! How did you come to do this?
Well, actually it's not something that I evolved into after all those prog oriented projects you mentioned, it's more like a sort of come back to my roots which are the study of classic music. I started as a piano player back in the 80s and I fell in love with guitar and heavy prog music only when I was 17, but before that I had a lot of years of classical piano training and I was totaly dedicated to classical music. I found out that heavy prog music and guitar playing was what I was searching for in terms of possibilities to write something and to be creative and give my contribution to music in a more modern and creative way.
The classical world is not that creative and it is mostly dedicated to preservation of traditions and becoming a good and correct interpreter of the old classical composers, so you learn to reproduce exactly what was the various periods of music styles of the past, but there's no room for real experimentation and creativity, at least in most of the classical educational environment I think. So after all these albums, 18 albums, I really felt the urge to challenge myself into writing something that is going back to my classical pianist roots, but in a way that combines the forms of the classical music concertos with some more modern type of approach. I tried to create a concerto for piano and orchestra that would incorporate influences from the progressive metal world where I've been living for the past 20 years, but that would also work as a classical piano concerto in the vein of the late 1800' composers. That is my favourite period speaking of classical composers, I think that late 1800' composers reached the peak of instruments exploration, also I love their intense and romantic way to compose music. So basically, to answer your question, it's more of a come back than and evolution, and probably, after many projects and albums covering progressive metal and hard rock style creations, I probably needed something fresh to challenge me into.
What are your influences both in rock and classical music?
I was extremely influenced by AC/DC and Van Halen at fist, those were the 2 bands that led me to begin to play guitar back in the 80s. In the early 90's I was hypnotized by Dream Theater, and their magical music. They've been a huge influence for me, for most of my albuns that I've been releasing in the last 20 years. I also was very influenced by Mike Varney's guitar players of the late 80s, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman on top of all, but also Paul Gilbert, Malmsteen, Vinnie Morre, Tony McAlpine and many others. Of course Vai was a great influence for me, and in some wasy the fact that he has as well approached orchestra composing has influenced me in the decision of writing orchestral music I think. Speaking about classic, I love Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Grieg, Chopin and expecially Liszt. I think my piano concerto is very influenced by Liszt, He was a pianist and composer that really incorporated all my ideal caracteristics in terms of compositions and piano parts writing. It's just amazing what he did for piano, he was one of the first rock stars in my opinion, he's did something similar to what Paganini did for the violin. He took piano playing to the extreme in all its aspects and was able to enterntain the audiences with the same vibe that might have been a rock concert nowadays.
Is this Piano Concerto something you plan to perform live?
I would love to, it's very hard to find a quality orchestra and chances to perform live music like this, but I'll be always looking around for any possibility that might arise. I have to say that it would be great also to see it performed by a good virtuoso pianist some day, I would enjoy a lot sitting in a theater and listen to the concerto performed by a virtuoso pianist, that might be probably giving more power and quality to the execution than mine. You know, it's music, it's mostly about the composition for me, performing is nice, but the most important for me is the composing and to hear my compositions played by someone else would be really interesting and nice.
All those other bands or projects you have had in the past, are they all dead or will some of the resurface again? and if yes, which one(s)?
I have to say that I'm not involved anymore in any of the projects you mentioned, It was great fun and I'm still proud of all the music that have been released, but ad the moment I am more into writing my own music, in different forms and directions. I'm not active in any band at the moment. Who knows what the future will reserve, but at the moment there's no plans for any resurface or my involvement in any of those projects/bands.
What else lies in the future of mr. Liverani?
I'm writing a lot of other orchestral music in this period, symphonies, other intruments concerts, strings ensembles and even sonatas for many different solo instruments. I don't know how long will last this thread of orchestra music, but probably someday will get back to guitar, I know I will, with another guitar album. Guitar is a very powerfull expression instrument for me, and I know that sooner or later, I will embrace guitar again for a new chapter of my music producion.
Have you and will you tour with any of your bands?
There are no tour planning with any band at the moment.
Of all the projects you have had, which are closest to your heart?
It's difficult, nearly impossible to pick one. The are all children of my fantasy and I'm deeply connected emotionally to all of them. The Genius Rock Opera was a very thrilling experience, working with all those great singers was definitely something that marked my artistical life forever. The bands Empty Tremor and Twinspirits have been a big part of my life, both musically and personally, and of course I'm emotionally very close to those great moments and music we experienced together. I love also the cosmics project, I think it was one of the most difficult and interesting challenge of my musical path. As I've said, difficult to pick one.
The music business is nothing of what it used to be, how do you feel about these things?
I have to say that my relationship with music has always been separated from the music business. I was lucky enough to have the chances to release albums exactly how I wanted to, and to reach many fans in the past, when businness was more active and alive, but now that those years are gone, I don't feel bad about writing music, or consider the bad businness situation as a sort of demotivational feeling, I think it's sad that many great musicians can't make music their main work, and they have to earn a living with other jobs, but that's the way it goes unfortunately, and that said, I always wrote and produced music first as a personal need, passion and fun, and I will continue to do that in many forms and different challenges, despite the businness and commercial darkness that has been killing most of the opportunity of releasing music at a large scale and have profit from it, I'm a passionate musicians first of all, and will alwasy be.
What is the most unexpected fact about you that your fans might not know?
Probably that I'm a retrocomputer nerd passionate, I develop games and program old machines of the 80s for hobby and fun, I think those machines were magic in some ways. I even developed a video game influenced from the Genius Rock Opera Saga for the Apple II computer family and working on porting it also on Commodore 64. I know it's a bit crazy, but after al I'm a nerd guy, since ever.
Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
I really don't know, and don't want to actually, I hope to always find something that challenges me to stay alive and active, and expecially creative. I need to be creative in many different ways, and I hope to always find a way to be creative. It's what keeps me alive. Musically speaking it's really impossible to predict what will happen to my music creation process, I like to surprise myself too, so I really can't tell you what's going to happen.
please feel free to add whatever you think I should have asked
Thanks a lot for these interesting questions, and a sincere thank to Lion Music that has accepted the challenge to release an album that is very different from what usual a Prog Rock label releases, it was great to have the chances to be supported by Lion Music in this experiment and this not ordinary relelase. I hope the fans of Lion Music will give to my piano cocerto a chance and to be able to reach their hearts with this classica orchestra music I've wrote after many years of progressive heavy rock music.