Kingcrow is the Italian band that rocked Prog Power USA last year in Atlanta. This year they have been invited to play the Friday night after hours show at RoSFest 2013. This band is definitely on the rise and rocking the world. They also have been invited to tour North America with Pain of Salvation this year. So yes, it has been a couple of big years with a great future ahead for this band. I was lucky enough to preview bits and pieces of their latest album 'In Crescendo', last year and I could hear then, that it would be the album that will launch this band big – time. Well, this is their year and I was happy to get the opportunity to interview them again.
Welcome to the Sea of Tranquility, Kingcrow. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule promoting your new album 'In Crescendo' and rehearsing for RoSFest and your tour to take some time out to answer some questions for your fans.
Mark Johnson/SoT - Gentlemen, you did a fantastic, over the rainbow job on 'In Crescendo'! You know I loved 'Phlegethon', but 'In Crescendo' has taken your skills and talents to another level.
Kingcrow- Thank you so much! We just tried to make the album we wanted to make, even if, to say the truth, we felt a little bit of pressure coming from a so well received record like Phlegethon. But we tried to avoid the temptation of making just a copy of that record and made something honest, letting the music go whatever it wanted. The only way to do that, is to put yourself in a vacuum when you're creating, and just try to follow your inspiration. In the end "In Crescendo" sounds different from Phlegethon and maintains some of our characteristics at the same time. It sounds just like that to me at least.
Mark – You know I really wanted to be at Progpower in Atlanta last year. Tell us how it felt to rock US shores and fans. The videos on YouTube are proof that fans really responded well to your show.
Kingcrow- It was a fantastic experience. ProgPower USA is a kind of unique experience, I think mostly because the atmosphere is very friendly…it is like a big family, we met a lot of people and gained a lot of friends there. On the other side the crew is very professional and kind… It was not our best show for sure, we had some problems on the two first songs, some of our instrumentation seemed to not work properly but this kind of shit happens in festival settings.. Anyway from the third song on I think we did a good job and the audience was fantastic! We also filmed the show for a DVD we are going to release this year. So as a whole I think that ProgPower USA is one of the best experience you'd have, both as musician or as a fan of this kind of music. Super pro and friendly at the same time.
Mark – When will the DVD of the Progpower 2012 show be released?
Kingcrow- We are at a good point in the production process. But we're a little bit in a busy moment right now, so we are focused more on putting together the next shows, both rehearsing the new songs and working on the visual aspect… Devilnax is busy with the production of the projections and other stuff. Anyway I think the DVD will be released this year for sure.
Mark – Congratulations on the recent news of your invitation to perform at RoSFest's Friday night after party show. How did that come about?
Kingcrow- We'll be in the USA touring for that period so I think our manager made it work very easily. Anyway, we're honored and thrilled to play at RoSFest, I think it'll be funny!
Mark – Can you release the set list for RoSFest 2013?
Kingcrow- No sorry, we prefer to keep it secret until the show. Anyway it'll be a good selection from the last two albums. We are going to play 1 and an half hours…so plenty of songs will be played. J
Mark – Ok, 'In Crescendo'. 'Right Before'…where did the inspiration for that rollercoaster come from?
Kingcrow- I was workin' around the chorus of the song at first. That's the first part I wrote and then the rest of the song was developed around that. It was not a very complicated song to write compared to the rest of the album even if there is a lot of stuff going in it and it also has some kind of intricacy but I bet a lot of people can't recognize that… because the song has a good flow and it seems to be simple… but there are some nasty odd times signatures in it, for us at least. J
Mark – 'This Ain't Another Love Song'. Ok…so what is it?
Kingcrow- That's one of my favorites. It is a song that has a kind of a new vibe going on, something we never used before. It has also a kind of "alternative" touch and I love the atmosphere and the different mood switches. Diego wrote the lyrics so I can't say if it is about something personal or not, anyway I think the lyrics fit the music so well… You can hear that mixed feeling…the melancholy and the anger at the same time.
Mark – On 'The Hatch', and all of the tracks I hear a clearer vocal delivery from Diego Marchesi. Slower and more precise.
Kingcrow- That's the song that is more connected with "Phlegethon" musically speaking. It sounds a little bit like something that could have been on that record. Anyway, I think Diego did a fantastic job throughout the album because the main difference was that this time, when I was writing the songs for 'In Crescendo', I had in mind his voice… and then we worked hard on the interpretation during the recording sessions. He has a very versatile voice so you can try very different angles on every vocal detail if you know what I mean. Sure it takes a lot of more time to produce the vocals but the result is pretty strong I dare to say. When I was writing Phlegethon we had a different vocalist so when Diego joined the band for the recordings he had to try to use his voice in a different way…and sure he did a great job. But with 'In Crescendo' I think he reached another level. And for me, as a songwriter and producer, it is very interesting to work with him.
Mark –I can still remember hearing 'Morning Rain' for the first time over a year ago, and I could hear the brilliance you guys were composing already. But it turned out even better than I expected. Describe how you developed and wrote the track or any other track on the album. You had to find some inspiration from Queensr˙che's 'Silent Lucidity', eh?
Kingcrow- I love Morning Rain and I'm very proud of it because it is a very complex song from the songwriting point of view and it is listener-friendly at the same time. The way the various themes are used, the interplay between the instruments and the fact that the song is almost all in odd time signatures… it is all very complex but that doesn't show up to the listener. I think it is the most beautiful song on the record and also my guitar solo stands out as one of my best I think.
The orchestration has that kind of Michael Kamen touch that you can find on songs like 'Silent Lucidity' or on Rush's 'Nobody's Hero'… That's also the song that took more time in the writing process and the vocal recording sessions were… difficult. I think we worked something like 3 or 4 days on the vocals at least, trying to find the right way to sing and to catch the mood. But in the end, I know all of us are pretty proud of that song and that's what is important to us. We're rehearsing it right now and I think that that final crescendo will be a very strong moment in our live shows.
Mark – How did you create that keyboard/guitar effect at the end of 'The Drowning Line'?
Kingcrow- Ha! That's curious… you have to know that when I'm writing stuff and preparing demos I use a shitty Casio keyboard because I have not all that hi-end synths and keys Cristian has. So sometimes this kind of limitation pushes you to have a more experimental approach… And that part is an example of that. For that part I was searching for a Rhodes sound or something similar but I hadn't any like that in my keys…so I selected a horrible fake grand piano sound, I plugged the keyboard into a guitar pedal board and destroyed the original sound adding tons of effects. Then I also post-processed the sound in the PC with other stuff and that sound came out. The funny thing is that when we had to recreate that sound with Cristian's synths it was an impossible task…because the sounds were too good and "real"!!! So we used the shitty Casio/Pedal Board/Plug-in configuration.
Sometimes limitations push you to be more creative.
Mark – 'The Glass Fortress' sounds a little like Dream Theater's 'Space Dye Vest'. Was there any influence?
Kingcrow- No at all, sorry J I'm always surprised when someone names Dream Theater as one of our possible influences. Sure we have a lot of respect for them, because they are the most important band in modern prog metal but no one in the band is a fan of them.
I know 'Space Dye Vest', and I think it's one of the their best songs because it doesn't sound that much like a Dream Theater song, to be honest. Anyway I think it's the keyboard sound that can be similar…on the other side I love the work of Kevin Moore in other projects like OSI or Fates Warning.
Mark – 'Summer '97'…yes it was a very good summer for me too. I can relate. What do you miss most about that time?
Kingcrow- Ha! I was 19 at the time, a lot of memories going on. What I miss? Simple, to be a 19 year old guy again. J
Mark – 'In Crescendo' sounds too close to a real life story. How did you create that cool bass-like chord buzz sound?
Kingcrow- The fact is, the album is about the end of youth. We're all our 30s so it's an age when you have that feeling, that you are not a boy anymore but you have entered the adult age. So basically the album is about us, our experiences and experiences of people we know. I wrote the lyrics for that song with Diego and we tried to figure out the feelings of that young girl… it is a powerful image that I hope inspired us to write some good lyrics . So there is a lot of real life in the lyrics but it is not just about our direct experiences.
Mark –What are the band's favorite parts of Rush's 'Clockwork Angels' album?
Kingcrow- My absolute is 'The Garden'. It's such a moving song and it has a very honest quality. Other than that I like 'Caravan', 'BU2B', 'Carnies', 'Headlong Flight' and 'The Wreckers'.
Mark –Will there be a Thundra drum solo in Kingcrow's future?
Kingcrow- Don't think so. I know people usually tend to prefer to hear one more song than a drums solo…at least if your name is not Neil Peart. So we are focused more on adding songs to the setlist at the moment!
Mark – All Italian food is excellent, but what is your favorite?
Kingcrow- Uhm I have a lot…let me think…too much really, I love eating ha hah! I think pasta is my favorite but you know, as you said, we have a lot of good food here. Oh and I love our wines!!! Yeah, the wine is as important as the food.
Mark – Which is your favorite place in Italy/Europe to visit?
Kingcrow- In Italy, I felt in love with the Dolomites area. Used to be on vacation there the last two years and it is one of the most beautiful places I ever been… In Europe I like London and Holland and Germany probably the most. But I think all European Countries are very interesting to visit.
Mark – If you could tour America, where would you want to go first? Besides Atlanta and Gettysburg, PA.
Kingcrow- Oh I'd love to play in New York and San Francisco…and Canada also! I think I'm going to check some of these soon.
Mark –What is next for Kincrow?
Kingcrow- We're focused on rehearsals for the tour right now, and then we have to work on the DVD. Those two are our main goals right now.
Mark – Is there anything else you wanted to say that I did not cover in the interview?
Kingcrow- I just want to say thank you to all of the people out there that are supporting us, attending our shows and buying our albums. We gained a lot of friends in the last two years, and that's the most beautiful part of the job! We are here for them.
Mark –Thank you again for taking time out to answer some questions for us. The Sea of Tranquility wishes Kingcrow much success with the launch of 'In Crescendo' and all that you do in the future. ;^)
Kingcrow- Thanks to you and to the Sea Of Tranquility! It's a pleasure!
(Click here to read our reviews of In Crescendo)