MARCO DE FRANCESCO discusses his new album THE WIZARD (Lion Music 2015)
Please tell me a little bit about your musical background, your main influences and what you have been doing prior to this release.
- My musical influences are based on guitarists, which I define “historic”, such as Gilbert, Satriani, Vai, Petrucci, Timmons. I began studying their techniques, because they’ve always been a huge inspiration for me, with their nearly unique way of doing music; in these last years, before dealing with this album, I tried to find my personal style that was the closest to my ideas and my taste, I searched for my sound and, in general, my path.
Please describe the music of your new excellent album "The Wizard"
- This album has been conceived in order to reach people’s feelings without using words. I think that exciting people only with music it’s a big challenge, but it’s an extremely temptating challenge that I’ve been wanting from the first note of the album. What’s more it’s been imagined for a wide audience, that isn’t expecting 9 equally intense tracks, but that will be amazed at the end of the CD even at its versatility. It’s been conceived not to be boring!
Please tell me something about each song on the album.
1) NUCLEAR ALARM : sooner or later it comes the time for everyone to awake and raise his voice up at the world. Now…the alarm’s ringing, time to go!
2) EL DORADO : El dorado is for everyone who has a burning desire, and has just discovered the way to reach it.
3) SUPERNOVA : My aim was to perform a piece that could express how incredible unexpected, unforeseen and spontaneous situations can be…such as the astonishing majesty and power of a supernova.
4) THE WIZARD : The whole album starts and develops from this song. Come and meet the wizard…once you’ve found him, this creature will drive you into his world and your perspective on things won’t be the same anymore.
5) SECRETS : Too many times we are incapable of expressing our feelings with words, sometimes because we’re scared, sometimes because they’re too intense. Secrets is all about my biggest and deepest feelings, told in a handful of notes.
6) NIBIRU : My fascination for the ancient legend of Nibiru inspired this song. It tells about a population of travellers of the cosmos, coming from far away. While you’re listening to this song, you just have to close your eyes and hear what they have to tell us…
7) GOLDEN SILENCE : There are some times in our lives when nothing seems to happen around us nor looks like is about to. Suddenly everything changes, and we realize that destiny was working for us so that we could live that “golden” silence before the turning point.
8) MOONSONG : Many pieces of this album refers to stars and planets as if my ideas were catched by the gravitational field of celestial bodies. Glance up at a starry night, when the moon seems to look at us so closely: you’ll find out that it’s impossible not to let your mind fly away…
9) MEMORIES : We often hide a memory and pretend it never existed for self-denfence but the wish to remember a few particular times of my life helped me writing this song, as the intensity and the magic of some moments can be told just through music. Any word would be unnecessary.
10 TWO DAYS AFTER DISASTER : Nuclear Alarm was just the prelude. Here is everything that comes after, arising from the awareness of being able to break through limits and reach objectives you’ve never thought about before. This song is here at the end of the album, in order to seal the story of this trip through melodies, with a plot made of notes that tell about my life. Till now…
Please tell me what equipment you used to record this album.
- It has been recorded with my two Ibanez prestige and one handmade acoustic guitar, built on my needs from the luthier Mario Pistella. For all the guitar sounds I used “mamapickups” and “essetipicks”, two brands I proudly endorse.
For what concerns the amplifiers, I used different models in order to obtain exactly all the sounds I had in mind, to be more precise I used a rack system composed by Mesa/boogie Quad preamp, Engl e530 preamp, Vht 2:50 power amp, Peavey jsx head, and Mesa boogie 2x12 cabinet; plain-spoken all the uncountable pedal effects that we guitarists like so much!
This instrumentation is the same I use during lives.
Do you perform live?
- I regularly perform with Neurosphere both in Italy and abroad; e.g. we recently went with Entombed A.D. on their tour in northern Europe, in December 2014, while we have other concerts in program as headliners in Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.
Do you plan to perform the music of "The Wizard" live?
- I absolutely do! I already formed a band and we’re working hard and looking forward to playing live and also supporting some famous and successful guitarist, why not?
Are you a member of any band ?
- In addition to this solo project, I’m currently the solo guitarist of Neurosphere, an Italian metal band. We already produced an album (Megantereon) and now we are laying the basis of the second one.
What was your goal with making this album?
- When I started writing the first pieces of the album I told myself that this would have been the first step for bringing my music out of my room. Now that this work is completed, I’m even more convinced I have to do that, to play live as much as possible and try to make my music get everywhere, because I’m sure there are many people out there that will appreciate my songs.
How do you feel about the guitar oriented music scene of today?
- Today guitarists only try to impress, trying to insert in a lick or in a solo as many notes as possible in the weirdest way possible. Each musician tries to grab listener’s attention by proposing something difficult to play and that’s natural, but in any case the only things that remain to the audience are the feelings we pass on, and those should never be missing.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
- My aim is to grow musically more and more, in 5-10 years I hope I have found the key for gaining appreciation from as many people as possible and I hope to be definitively in the world of music.
In what way do you think your album is different from all the other instrumental guitar albums that are out there?
- As I said before, what’s different between me and other instrumental artists is that while they try to astonish the listeners playing as many notes as possible, as fast as possible (the well-known, nonsense shred); I try to leave them something instead, to affect the audience not only with furious solos (that are surely not missing in my album!), but also with arrangements, so what I do is basically trying to arouse their feelings with every single note of the album, without using words.
How much time to you spend practising and rehearsing music per day or week.
- I practise daily for 3-4 hours, in addition I have band rehearsals at least twice a week. In my opinion is important to keep practicing and constantly updated, the world of music evolves so fast that if you slow down or you think that what you can do is enough, you risk to loose yourself!
Do you think that music will survive the current "everything for free" mentality and do you think that people in general care?
- My personal opinion is that this is a big problem, but still there are persons who appreciate and support our work, and this makes me be hopeful for the future. Musicians of course will always fight against the closing out of music and for the recognition of merits and rewards.
What are your future plans?
- I will try to promote and play my album in all the ways I can, and I’ll start writing more songs for a new work as soon as possible, with one aim: attracting and bewitching magically the listeners with my music. That’s what is all about!