With a blistering new album under his belt, titled Dragon Fire, Italian keyboard virtuoso Mistheria is ready to make his name known in the progressive metal world. Featuring a slew of superstar guest musicians, Dragon Fire is certainly one release here in 2010 you won't want to miss. Sea of Tranquility's Scott Jessup recently caught up with the keyboard maestro to talk about the new album, influences, and future live plans.
SoT: Hi Mistheria, and thank you for this interview.
Mistheria: Hi Scott! It's my pleasure to talk little bit with you about my new album "Dragon Fire" and something else.
SoT: John West, Mark Boals, Rob Rock, Titta Tani, Lance King, George Bellas, Neil Zaza , Roger Staffelbach ,Emir Hot, John Macaluso and Alberto Rigoni that is quite a list. You must have been over the moon to have all these people appear on your album?
Mistheria: Absolutely yes, I've been over there! All musicians involved on "Dragon Fire" are totally amazing musicians, but first of all, they are great friends of mine and I won't ever finish thanking them for their awesome job. Song by song, I've been always hundred percent satisfied and, often, they over passed by same expectations.
SoT: How pleased were you with their contributions? The reviews I have seen are all very positive.
Mistheria: "Dragon Fire" would not have been the same without them. Their contribution has been decisive to achieve that sound and performance qualities. Yes, definitely reviews are very positive, some enthusiastic and I'm really glad about it.
SoT: Had you previously recorded with any of these artists?
Mistheria: I did, with some of them I've recorded albums (Rob Rock, George Bellas, Neil Zaza, Roger Staffelbach, Emir Hot, John Macaluso) and played live as well (John West, Titta Tani, Neil Zaza, Roger Staffelbach, Emir Hot, John Macaluso). Instead, on "Dragon Fire" I have opened new collaborations with Mark Boals, Lance King and Alberto Rigoni, and I'm really delighted of it.
SoT: How hard was it to complete the album with so many guest appearances to organize?
Mistheria: Working with such amazing musicians nothing is hard, everything is easy and quick! All of them, as I said you, delivered the best performances in the shortest time. Sometime, they gave great ideas as well improving songs more and more. Each of them interpreted the songs in the best way, with feeling, passion and emotion.
SoT: Who would you like to maybe work with next time?
Mistheria: Honestly with everyone! In the reality of things, with some of them there are already projects planned in the future both live and studio. Usually, when I start a music collaboration it never stops and continue over the years … I'm really proud of it.
SoT: Can you tell us about your musical background and other recordings?
Mistheria: I am a classical trained musician; I graduated at Italian Music Conservatory as "Organist and Composer". Generally, I had a lot of experiences both as composer and performer in the Prog, Pop, Theatre, Soundtracks, Rock, Classical, Metal, Orchestra genres. In fact on 2004 I released the Metal album "Messenger of the Gods" and on 2007 "Solo Piano", a Classical/New-Age work. After "Dragon Fire", the new album of the Classical series will be released, next year. Concerning my job as session musician, I have many recordings in different music fields. I like to test myself each time; I like to create new music mixing all my experiences, emotions and inspiration.
SoT: What style of music do you prefer to perform or just listen to?
Mistheria: I love to perform and listen for both Classical and Metal music. Also I like to perform Pop music, when it is really well done and as I did for many years in the past. I like to listen for Jazz music and generally any kind of music, because I believe that all music of the world can give something to each of us, some ideas, suggestions, emotions that we can than "forge" in our own music, creating always something new and different. It's really important to not snob anything because everywhere it is something hidden to discover …
SoT: Will you be putting a band together for any possible live performances?
Mistheria: A "Dragon Fire – miniTour de force" is going to be scheduled. I'm working on it, putting together ideas and musicians for a series of concerts. In the last time, I always performed as soloist, now I feel to really play live again with a band promoting my new album. To put together the band is easy, I've to work more with agencies to plan the tour that should happen the first half of 2011.
SoT: Are you involved with other projects or bands, or could you see yourself maybe joining or starting a group?
Mistheria: I'm in the Roger Staffelbach's "Angel of Eden" band, we released already an album (The end of never) and we're now working on the second one. New studio projects are planned, with the guitar player Emir Hot and Italian singer Titta Tani with which I already collaborated both live and studio. I like to collaborate with musicians and bands but I'm not going to start any of my new bands. Mistheria is my name and my own project-band; I love to make music and albums in this way, involving and working with great musicians and to share experiences and collaborations. When I write new music, sometime I think to some musician, sometime to another one and so on, getting ideas just thinking to a specific singer or guitar player. Having a regular line-up might "limit" my inspiration and ideas and, maybe, make my music too confined.
SoT: If you could put together your ultimate band who would you select to perform with?
Mistheria: I would love to perform live "Dragon Fire" in the same way it's recorded, with the same guest list for each song. That could be perfect! I cannot chose differently because I spent a lot of time to choose which song assign to the different musicians/singers. At the end, as many reviews also noticed, I think that my choices have been right to give to any guest the best place for their performances, I mean to express themselves in the best they could. So, I would love to keep it on stage. Hopefully, one day …
SoT: As far as other keyboard players who would be in your top five? Is there someone who you think is a real standout?
Mistheria: Here my top five in the Rock/Metal genres: 1. Jon Lord and Keith Emerson – 2. Jens Johansson – 3. Jordan Rudess – 4. Vitalij Kuprij - 5. Matt Guillory.
SoT: Lastly what's your album of the year for 2010?
Mistheria: Honestly, this year I've been so busy with my new album production that I didn't have so much time to listen for other artists/bands releases. I recently bought the new Yngwie Malmsteen's album "Relentless" and I want to mention it because despite all critics and accuses to clone himself, Yngwie continues to write great music and to perform with so much passion, in the same way I like.
(Click here to read our review of Dragon Fire)