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The band Shining Fury from Lucca, Italy, was formed in 2001 by drummer Ross Lukather (Death SS/Labyrinth/Athena), who wanted to write fast and melodic songs. I let bassplayer Alessandro Cola (also Strange Illusion/Nightmarish/No Quartet) read my review of their debut album "Last Sunrise" (just released by Metal Blade) and asked him some questions about the band and the album that he answered with a lot of enthusiasm :)
Hi Marlies! I'm Alessandro, bass in Shining Fury!
First of all I really like your impressions about "Last Sunrise"! You know, we're still a power band and we still like to do songs as "Broken Hopes" and "060501"! But we also like to do experiments as on "Snake's Game" (hope you like the bluesy touch eh eh eh!) or "Declaration Of A Cheat"!
I do, I do!! :) You must be very excited on the verge of the release of your debut album (January 12th). How are the reactions so far?
Well... we're not in our skin! When Metal Blade told us (some months ago) that the album will be released on the 12th of January we began a kind of countdown and believe me, every day was a year! It's our first album (except for Ross and Francesco) and many thoughts glimpsed (and still glimpse) in
our heads! We hope for the best!!!
Would you say it's a typical Italian power metal product, and if not, how would you say it differs from other releases?
I don't know what's the typical italian metal sound! We have Labyrinth, Rhapsody, Domine that are completely different one from another! We only try to do the best metal we're able to do, with all our influences that go from jazz 'till death! I hope these elements could be well welcomed by fans!
I read you've spend months adding stuff in the studio, was that out of discontent or did you just have the luxury of making things more perfect?
The producer of the album is Freddy Delirio, a great friend of mine and of the whole band! He helped and supported us until he first was satisfied! So we had the privilege to remain as long as we (HE!) wanted in the studio and perfected the whole work!
I'm sure the fast euro-power style is what you guys want to do, but I believe it doesn't do justice to your musicianship and vocal talent compared to a more traditional and darker song like "Snake's Game" or the ballad "Memories" . When I hear those songs I'm blown away by the them and esp. by Francesco's fantastic soulful voice. How do you feel about that?
Francesco is a great singer, I've never seen someone sing with such simplicity; and to think that he recorded all the songs with choirs and second voices in 4 days! Incredible! I noticed him, playing with a Deep Purple cover band in a little club and as you say, he's more relaxed on this kind of sound than in a power-metal band! But this will not be a reason to change our music proposal! I don't mean to do the next album identical to "Last Sunrise", indeed! The more different it could be, the better for us! I would like to develop our music keeping tight our metal trademark!
Are you planning on doing more of those type of songs (or maybe even ones with a more progressive angle) in the future?
We're working on the songs that will take part of the next album and even if there will be typical metal songs, we're trying, as I tell you, to work out other solutions.
Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process and the influences of the separate members? Does everyone participate in writing?
Everyone write songs in the band. Sometimes we elaborate a song when we're all together and sometimes a single member takes the complete song and we arrange it together. Ross likes metal, funky and hard rock; Tommy loves better prog metal bands as Symphony X and Dream Theater; Francesco listens to a lot of funk and prog bands; Toniello loves hard rock and all the NWOBHM; I love blues, rock, funky, etc. Obviously metal is the first influence for everyone. It was not simple to put together our music thoughts in the beginning, but I think we create a pretty sound!
Where do you get inspiration from for your lyrics? And BTW, where did the bandname come from?
Lyrics are all by Francesco and they're about everyday-life. About women, and life-events. "Last Sunrise" is about a jet-fighter pilot who drops bombs on innocent people for he thinks of himself as a kind of angel of death send by divine justice... a very current theme now-a-days!
The name Shining Fury came out one night when we're drinking together in a pub; we needed a name and we started a stream of good and bad ideas... Shining Fury was the best, do you like it?
Yes, I like it, it makes me think of a prancing white horse, something like Shadowfax in The Lord Of The Rings ;)
The song "Memories" stands out the most on "Last Sunrise". It has a very unusual intro and the song itself is very emotional. Is there a specific story behind it or is it "just" another love song?
"Memories" is about a love story of Francesco. I like that song, it has a great "crescendo" and Francesco is superb on it! Even the idea of the soprano sax! Nobody expects it, in particular on the first solo, where people wait for a refrain!
How did you end up covering a song like "Rosanna"? Do you in general like bands like Toto a lot, or just this particular classic? Or maybe it was because of the name (Steve Lukather vs. Ross Lukather)? ;)
We all like Toto but the idea to do that cover was born as a joke! We like to remake songs and make them sound as a Shining Fury track! We had a lot of fun rearranging it and I think it's a lot of fun even listening to it, don't you? We had a really good time in studio when we recorded it, we laughed on
every passage! And Francesco at the end of the song sings as a clown with all those second voices! (No relationship between Ross and Steve! Only the same name).
You have several guests on the album. Can you tell our readers a bit about them and how that all came about? Were there others you asked but didn't or couldn't do it?
The guests on the album are all great friends of us! Morby (Domine) did the "Return to Heaven Denied" tour with Ross in Labyrinth and put the second voice on "Snake's Game"; Martin and Terence (Eldritch) played with Francesco some years ago, Martin played with me on the special of "Snake's Game" and Terence sang with Francesco on the second stanza on "Declaration Of A Cheat"; Robert Lukather (Ross' brother) played the soprano sax on "Memories". I guess Oleg Smirnoff is not a guest 'cause he plays on the whole album... he's a kind of sixth element and I hope he will play again on the next CD! We didn't call more guests.
I've already asked about your influences, but what bands are actually in your CD-player a lot?
At this moment Francesco is surely listening to the last Dream Theater album, Tommy (and me too) is fascinated by the last Rage, "Soundchaser", Toniello.... I don't know, he's too eclectic, Ross maybe is listening to some hard rock bands, I listen now to the new Led Zeppelin live "How the
West Was Won", "Dance Of Death" and "Soundchaser".
What's the metal scene in Italy like, besides power metal? The only bands I know play some sort of epic power metal but as far as I know Italy has always been a good country for traditional heavy metal as well.
We have a great metal scene, but sadly it's only in the underground! For example, here in Lucca we are about 10.000 people and there are 30/40 metal bands! Maybe 35 are awful but there are a lot of people who love metal. In spite of it, labels don't pay attention to metal bands (in fact we send our
demo-cd abroad, not in Italy); we only have little labels without money that do this work only for passion! It's very frustrating!
You all have been, or are, in several bands. Is there someone you played with that you would love to play (or write songs with) with again?
I had a band 7/8 years ago and we played something very interesting: when nu metal was not a fashion and nobody spoke of it (even we didn't know nu metal bands), we started playing in a Pantera way and we developed our sound in something never heard before, something like Pantera meets Korn and Chemical Brothers! Sadly that band split up because of personal problems, but I would like to do new songs with those persons!
Are you able to live off music (the band, lessons etc) or do you need to have a regular job as well?
Here in Italy it's quite impossible to live with metal music! I work in a pub in the evening, Ross is a plumber, Toniello sells motorbikes and Francesco and Tommy work in a storehouse.
I haven't read anything about tourplans yet, is there something in the works? What would be your dream tour?
Well, at the moment no tour plan is ready yet, but we hope to do a lot of gigs! I would like to play with Iron Maiden, only to thank 'em! I bought my first bass when I was 14 looking at Steve Harris! I would like to thank him in particular.
What's in the future for Shining Fury? Are you going to enjoy this album, tour or play on festivals to support it? Or are you already making plans for a next album?
I told you we're making the songs for the new album and we're hoping to go on tour with some well-known band!
I wish you all the best for 2004 and thanks for the interview!
Thank you very much for the opportunity you give us, I hope to see you someday somewhere when we'll go on tour! Bye!
submitted by Marlies 17.01.2004