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Interview with Daniele Liverani

Daniele Liverani is an Italian multi-instrumentalist who put together an amazing conceptual project called Genius. I had the honor of reviewing the first of three CDs. I was granted an online interview with Daniele and here's what he had to say:

Ron Fuchs: Daniele, what are your musical backgrounds?

Daniele Liverani: I started to play piano when I was a child (at 6) attending a local classical school that gave me all the theory and armonic notions, then I self-approached guitar at 16 (1987), applying it all the classical notions I learned from classical piano experience. In 1993 (at 22) I won a national contest as Italian best guitar player and I won a payed trip and stage at GIT school in LA.

I stayed there for a long period, attending lessons from many of the biggest guitar player of the scene...it was there that I put together the lineup to record the my first solo project album 'Viewpoint' that would have been published only later by Elevate records in 1999.

I also studied bass at 24 and drums at 25, I always had a great love for both classic and quality rock metal music and for all the instruments involved in it....

Even if I did many demo tapes and music projects since back in 1987, I can say that my official recording career starts back in 1997 as keyboard player and composer with the first release of my progmetal band Empty Tremor 'Apocolokyntosys', released in europe by Pick Up/Risin Sun and in Japan by Fandango records.

Then in 1999 I released by Elevate records my first solo guitar record 'Viewpoint' (recorded during GIT period 1993/1994), a sort of progressive guitar oriented instrumental project with some cool musicians like Julio Mathis at drums, Joey Vera and Ricky Wolking at bass (4 tracks each)...

In early 2000 I recorded and produced for Elevate Records too the second album with my band Empty Tremor, 'Eros & Thanatos'...one of the major efforts with this band!

I also have a second solo instrumental album ready to be released called Daily Trauma since 1999 in my pocket.

This album is the first musical experimentation back in early 1999 after the meeting of me and Dario Ciccioni, the incredible young talented drummer that has been playing also into the 3 episodes of Genius Rock Opera....it's a like a sort of prologue to the 3 episodes of Genius and it contains a lot of idea and basic athmosphere that have been developed and expanded into the full Genius rock opera trilogy production.

I'd say that the meeting and the initial jams with Dario are probably the main reason of the beginning of all my Genius project thred, I felt that I and him would have been able of doing a lot of good and inspired music, our styles, tastes and feeling was so perfect during the creation and the jams!

This 'Daily Trauma' album will be released after the Genius trilogy by Frontiers too...cause it's also very connected with Genius concept.

I also recorded and produced a record with Steve Walsh called 'Khymera' to be released at the beginning of 2003, Also there I played guitar, bass and keys, Dario Ciccioni (Genius Rock Opera drummer) played drums...

I write sometimes for some Guitar magazines, but unfortunately I have not enought time lately and this is happening not so often at the moment...

Anyway this Genius rock opera trilogy has been basically getting me busy since 1998 in all its phases of creation and preproductions of story, characters definition, music and lyrics! It's something that I always worked on also during other projects development (Empty tremor & all the other projects)

R.F. What are your musical influences that helped you in creating "Genius: A Rock Opera"?

D.L. I always loved Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats, even if they are very different type of thing comparing to modern Rock Opera like Avantasia, Ayreon, Nostradamus, and Genius too...of course, I think that those were the real first steps talking about Rock Opera and Musical production.... I must really be devote to those early musical cause they really created something new about rock and opera production.

I've listened and enjoyed also to all the newer operas like Avantasia, Ayreon and Nostradamus...that I consider great masterpieces and big efforts that has given to metal music a great quality music...

Anyway I'd say that Genius Style is not near to any of these Operas, I basically tryied to create something origina and to experiment as many styles as possible inside Genius music...I tryed to use different styles of music according to the story requirements point to point...and also there's a lot of progressive influences inside.

R.F. How did you choose the musicians and singers for the "Genius: A Rock Opera"?

D.L.Basically I submitted my idea to all labels of the world heavy metal scene..Frontiers records liked the concept and the overal project planning I exposed to them.

So they offered my to work with them to build up a great Genius project giving me the possibilty of chosing the cast from a list of over 30 great singers that were already working with Frontiers...you could imagine my emotion! It was a great time to deal with all those singers for the casting...probably the best part of the production! But I also had some wish in terms of singers, I wanted to include some singers that was not in the Frontiers list, Oliver Hartmann and Danilel Gildenlow and the great Midnightwere contacted by me directly.

I knew that anyone else would have singed their parts better, and so searched them and I asked them to join the cast and after having listened to the preproduction demo they accepted and Fronters was happy too with this!

To have Midnight back on the scene again is a dream come true form me...and even more in reason of the fact that he sings my lyrics! He's still a great voice and interpretation like at Crimson Glory times!

R.F.I noticed this is "Episode 1, how many more "Episodes" are you planning to produce?

D.L.Genius is a rock opera trilogy that will include a total of 33 songs (11 for each episode).

Even if the total duration of the Opera is about 4 hours of music for 3 cd, the whole story concept refers to a dream experienced by the main character 'Genius' that lasts only 10 minutes! It's known that dreams are often creating a time-stretch effect in our minds, so that a 10 minutes long dream can be remembered as a day long story...

In fact, these 10 minutes of Genius' dream has been described in 4 hour of music!

R.F. Very impressive Daniele, so what musicians & singers will be featured on the future "episodes", mainly "Episode 2'?

D.L. We are just planning the recording of the second episode and deciding who's gonna sing the new characters coming in... Of course you can expect Boals, Gildenlow, Wetton and Midnight on the next episodes..They are the main characters of the story and they will continue their character voice in the next 2 episodes...

Anyway we still have no idea on who's gonna sing the 4 new characters at the moment....but you can expect big surprises! Thanks a lot for your interview!

~Ron for ProgNaut.com (November 9th, 2002)

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