Interview With Stephan Forte

As we all know Progressive Metal has become a big this right now with the likes of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, among others. Now there's bands like Stormwind, etc as well as Adagio, which features front man David of 'Pink Cream 69', and ex Elegy drummer Dirk. Adagio have released 2 albums to date and their brilliant catchy tunes and soaring vocals makes this band a worthy band to check out especially if you like Yngwie Malmsteen & Symphony X. The bands latest offering 'Underworld' is a superb 2nd release that captures Neon Classic Metal with prog elements, a truly awesome release. Check out the interview below by Stephan Forte.

My 1st question is, when did the project first get together and who formed the band?

"The First album "Sanctus Ignis" has been released in March 2001.At this period, It's true that it was more like a project as all the composition were done when I've recruited the musicians. I've formed the band ."

Has the line-up been the same since it was started?

"No, the initial keyboard player was Richard Andersson (now Time Requiem) and the drummer was Dirk Bruinenberg (Elegy).Now we have two permanent virtuosos in the band: Kevin Codfert on Keyboards and Eric Lebailly on drums."

Who else did you have in mind for this project/ band besides the members you choose?

"Before "Sanctus Ignis" this band was supposed to be a collaboration between Vitalij Kuprij and I, so I went in Philadelphia to record the first demo with him, but then, we've stopped due to personal disagreement's.

How did you hook up with the singer from Pink Cream 69, I believe he is from England, where abouts? Also how did you hook up with Dirk from Elegy, also is he still in Elegy? (tell him I said hello he knows me). What about the other members where did you find them too?

"I've met David at a Pink Cream 69 gig. As Dennis Ward is in the same band and was producing the "Sanctus Ignis" album, he gave him the demo which he liked and we decided to make the band together. About Dirk, I knew him from before. No, he's not in Elegy anymore. When Richard and Dirk left, I've recruited Kevin. He came to one of my master class and gave me an instrumental demo with him on keyboard, I've blown away and called him as soon as I get back home. About Eric the drummer, he used to play with Franck the bass player, and as I've already seen him play, 4ive asked him if i was interested to join Adagio and so he's now the drummer of the band."

What band are you in besides this one?

"Adagio only."

Why the name Adagio and what does it mean? Did you have any other names, if so what were they called? Does the bands name reflect in the bands music?

"The name Adagio is a reference to classical music, it means a slow tempo, but it's also the movement that represents the dramatic musical aspect the most to my opinion, so .... "

Who are your influences and do they also reflect in the bands music?

"I have a lot of different influences in many different styles of music. Maybe the biggest are classical, with composers such as Penderecki, Messiaen, Bartňk, Mozart, Satie and many others. John Williams is probably my main influence as far as the orchestration is concerned. For the metal side, Dream Theater (Awake and I&W period), Dimmu Borgir, Fear factory and  Messhugah are some of my favorite bands."

How many demos has the band recorded, and what songs were on them? Were they sold to the public or were they just for label use only?

"We have 3 demos but they were just for the label."

What labels did you shop the demo too? Why did you go with LMP and why did you leave them?

"LMP was interested by Adagio so we did the deal with them for the world, except for France and Japan. As the promotion and distribution was quasi in existent I decided to cancel the deal before the 2nd album."

How did you hook up with NTS? Are you happy with them and how long is the deal?

"Olivier Garnier from NTS was familiar with my previous instrumental works, and asked me to compose some vocal stuff, I did the demos, and he signed Adagio on NTS."

OK so lets talk about the bands debut album ‘Sanctus Ignis’, why the title and where there any other names for the album? What does it mean? I guess it is Latin right?

"Yes, it's latin. It means "Sacred fire", the thing that makes you surpass yourself even when everything goes wrong, the fire inside."

Who did the art work and what other covers did you have in mind?

"Isabel de Amorim, who also did the Angra "Rebirth" cover. I wanted something referring to a dramatic image of religion."

What songs from that album stand out for you and why? Are there any least fav trax, if so what are they and why don’t you like them?

"The String less violin", "Second sight", "Seven lands of sins" and "In nomine..." are my favourites. The weakest is probably "Sanctus Ignis", but i don't really know why, it's not a catchy song in my opinion."

Where was the album recorded and by whom?

"Both "Sanctus Ignis" and "Underworld" have been recorded in Germany at the house of audio studios with Dennis Ward."

Did the album sell well and what sort of press reviews did you get?

"Yes, I've been really surprised by the reactions of the press and the fans. It has sold a lot more than I expected, and most of the press really appreciated the album...that was a great surprise!"

To me it is very Symphony X influenced, do you agree? What do you think of that band as musicians and as a band in whole?

"Michael and I have similar influences, so it's natural that some people can find some common points in our respective music, but I don't think "Underworld" sounds like Symphony X at all. Just listen to "Next Profundis", "Mirror stage" , "From my sleep... to someone else", honestly, i don't see any Symphony X in that."

Did you tour for that album, if so who with and did you play any festivals?

"No, we had to cancel the shows due to business reasons, but we'll tour this time in February in France and later this year in Europe and abroad. "

Ok so lets talk about the new album, so why the title and cover? Does the cover and artwork reflect in the bands music?

"Yes definitely. This album is pretty dark and reflects my mental state in which i was during the composition process. The cover is not very catchy, but i wanted something representing the music vibe before anything else. "Underworld" means the darkness inside the mind."

Where was this album recorded and are you happy with the  end results?

"In house of audio in Germany .Yes, I'm very happy with the whole production and sound."

How do you see this album as a progression from the debut?

"A lot more personal, darker and more progressive. More aggressive too."

What songs stand out for you on this album and least favs and why? I notice that the song ‘From My Sleep..’ has a certain element of Black Metal in it, who's idea was it to have the blast beats and Black Metal music are the beginning?

"I like all the songs but my favorites are "From my sleep" and "Next Profundis".I wanted to have some black metal vocals on some parts as I'm listening to Dimmu Borgir and some extreme stuff a lot at the moment."

Are you planning on touring for this album, if so where and who with? Who would you like to tour with within reason?

"Yes we'll tour with "Underworld". I don't know with which bands yet."

Do you plan of doing another project, if so what style will it be?

"I'd like to do an instrumental solo album. It will be very guitar/shred oriented and pretty extreme and dark, much more than Adagio !!!!"

Thanx for the interview, do you have anything to say to me and the fans?

"Thanks a lot for your support, I truly hope to see the fans soon on tour, and that they will enjoy "underworld" as much as we enjoyed composing it! Thanks again"

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