A Tragic Tale... Simone Mularoni Tell's More.
There's some great bands that have come out of Italy over the years, bands like Labyrinth, Eldritch, Rhapsody or Rhapsody of Fire, Vision Divine, White Skull, all pretty much in the same vain as Symphonic Progressive Metal or Power Metal and now we have DGM.
DGM started out as a instrumental band back in 1994, but it soon became clear that their music as it was strong needed a singer. The band released a instrumental EP that featured Diego Reali (guitars), Maurizio Pariotti (keyboards), and drummer Gianfranco Tassella, and later on found singer Luciano Regoli.
In 1996 the band released their debut mini CD 'Random Access Zone', which was received in the local press and national Italian press with positive reviews. In 97 the band released their debut album 'Change Direction' which featured new drummer at that time Fabio Costanttino.
The band were on the up and were soon signed to Scarlet Records, in which they recorded albums such as 'Wings of Time', 'Dreamland', 'Misplaced' and many more. The band changed line ups and as funny as it may sound there's no original members in the band left to this day, but the name carries on and with the current line up the band are stronger now then ever before.
With bands current line up consists of Mark Basile (vocals), Simone Mularoni (guitars), Emanuele Casali (keyboards), Andrea Arcangeli (bass) and drummer Fabio Costanttino.
Their current new album 'Tragic Separation' released through Frontiers is an awesome album mixing Progressive Metal with Power Metal, a great mixture of Symphony X, Evergrey, Kamelot & Eden's Curse, style metal that works really well for the band. There's certainly a lot of Mike Romeo style playing by guitarist Simone who is one hell of a great guitarist.
I managed to have a chat with Simone to talk about this amazing band, to talk about the beginning of their career as this is the 1st interview I have done with them. Here is what Simone had to say, in the meantime check out their new album and whilst you're at it check out their previous albums. Sit back crack open a beer and play some DGM as you read this.
It's nice to speak to you Simone, I'd lie to start by asking you are you a permanent member of 'Redemption'? I ask you this as I am friends with Nick.
"Yeah it's nice speak to you, thanks for the great review. To answer you're question, I did play on the solos on the 'Art of Loss' and 'Long night Journey into Day', I did all the solos on those records, and I toured with them 2 yrs ago. We are talking about me doing the next record, but I am so busy with producing and mixing albums and busy with my band right now. For me right now it's probably best I just be the guest for the band."
Now let's talk about DGM, when you think about it there are no original members left within the band, so why did you keep the name? Did you think you should of changed the name?
"Well right now it has been the same line-up for about 15 yrs so it's probably the longest line-up the band has had. Before I had joined the band they were changing line ups on every album, expect for the main guitarist Diego who is a close friend of mine. So when I joined the band the bassist and drummer were pretty much there from the beginning and it was 3 guys doing it for fun and they did an instrumental EP and then the real band started.
So when I joined the band they never thought about changing the name, they just changed the guitar player. Today when we think about it we think maybe we should of changed the name, as it's a completely new band with a new style and production and new songs. It is hard to change the name when you build a foundation over the years and I think it would be strange to change it now after 15 yrs, so we just kept the name. I am a big fan of Deep Purple and I have followed them with different line-up changes but I just care about the music, that is the most important thing to me."
You joined the band back in 2005 and recorded the bands next album 'Different Shapes' in 2007 , didn't you think of changing the name to 'DSM', (laughing). So when you look back at the early albums before you joined, which one is you're favourite album and why?
"Yeah that might of worked (laughing). I think one of my favourites is 'Hidden Place' is on one my favourite albums, it was released on Scarlet Records, I did 3 albums for the band, and I think 'Hidden Places' its more Progressive and I think Diego was looking at it as a more progressive release. I am like 7 yrs younger than the rest of the band and they were in all the magazines and playing lots of festivals. Me joining the band was like joining Metallica (laughing). The band had just played 'Gods of Metal' with Whitesnake and Motorhead, and for me joining a band like that was like been in heaven.
We basically play a lot of new songs because we have so many albums out now it is hard to pick a lot of songs. I do like 'A day without the Sun' from 'Hidden Places' I also like 'Save Me', 'Living on the Edge' from the album 'Misplaced'. All the magazines didn't even know I was in the band, the fans knew I played on the last 4 albums."
Have you ever thought of doing the early songs with today's technology and the current line-up? Re-recording them?
"Well we did, there is an album called 'Synthesis' which is older songs re-recorded through Scarlet Records in 2010 which is a video and there is also a 'Best Of' CD with that. There are 9 songs completely re-recorded on that release."
Moving on, what was you're 1st instrument as a child? Was it the guitar or another instrument?
"Well I started out playing the keyboards a little but I started playing guitar later on in life when I was 16 yrs old. My father plays guitar in a band and he loves bands like Queen, Deep Purple, he played in a 70's Rock band and I was always into that kind of Rock Music. My dad was a big fan of Eric Clapton, Queen and I love them and know all those songs. I would play the guitar for 6 hrs a day. My father had a Fender Strat copy and he sold it to buy a real Fender and we ended up sharing it and now I buy stuff and I give it to him. I have 2 strats now and which I play live.
I once saw a video of Steve Via and I couldn't find a Ibanez guitar in Italy so I bought an Fender here which was a little like Richie Sambora's guitar, kind of a signature one and played that for about 5-6 yrs and then I started to play more modern guitars and now I have gone back to Fender guitars, I use Telecasters now."
Which guitar plays have inspired you?
"There are so many out there, but when I 1st started it was Blackmore and Yngwie, I was obsessed with them and I can play all of their songs now. I later on went into guitar players like Steve Via and Joe Satriani and the big break for me was when I discovered Mike Romeo from 'Symphony X'. He was mixing Neo-Classic music with the more heavy Pantera style and he has been my main influence in the last 10yrs. When I turned 34-35 I listen to more guitar players like Steve Lukather , but I don't have a favourite today, I love them all.
If they can write great song and are melodic then I love them all. If I had to pick one then it would be Yngwie Malmsteen, he still gives me Goosebumps. (Ed: Have you ever met him?) No that is y next dream to meet him, have you met him? (Ed: Yes twice I have interviewed him, he was ok with me). I would love to produce one of his albums for sure or mix it. I have seen him live 4 or 5 times but never met him sadly ...yet!! "
I noticed that you have done a few albums as the guitar player, what bands have you helped out? Also what bands have you either produced or mixed their albums?
"Well I have done some work with Michael Romeo and I am working on his next album. I also mixed the Ray Alder album. I have been helping bands like Sunstorm, Lalu, Lione/ Conti, Empyrios, Redemption, Sweet Oblivion, and many more bands. I recently recorded the new 'Rhapsody' album and Secret Sphere album."
When you look back at the albums you have recorded with DGM, which one would you say is you're favourite and why?
"Well I would have to say 'The Passage' because it was the turning point in my song writing and my career. The song son that album are so complicated and it is strange that I wrote them. A lot of people like 'Frame' and 'Momentum' and they were more like Symphony X style, heavier and more faster songs. Nowadays I am liking the lighter songs, and I am not saying we are becoming an AOR band, far from that. I like more of the melody and the catchiness of the songs.
I have a lot of respect for the fast style songs but nowadays it is become more challenging to write more slower songs, with double bass drums the song on guitar is now. With the slower songs you have to think more and it's more of a challenge to create that type of song. 10 years ago they were all pretty much fast songs."
There is one thing I have noticed about Italian bands, they seem to be very Symphonic in their song writing, is it your way of culture for bands in Italy to write Symphonic style songs?
"I don't know really, a lot of bands that I record seem to have the Symphonic element about them. I think the Classical roots are so much in Italian history and culture, we have a lot of famous composers from the past that are Italian like Rossini, Vivaldi, Bellini and many more. Maybe it's some kind of DNA that we have in Italy. When I talk to people in the U.S. they have a lot of arena bands like Journey, Kansas and here in Italy we have Classical or Folk music so that is why I guess we write more Symphonic or melodic stuff. "
So who's the biggest Rock/ Metal band(s) in Italy?
"Well I think Lacuna Coil', maybe 'Fleshgod Apocalypse', 'Rhapsody of Fire' when they were one band, and maybe 'Labyrinth'."
Now let's talk about you're new stunning album 'Tragic Separation', why the title for the album?
"Well our drummer Fabio Costantino who also write all the lyrics for the album and all the concept behind it, so he was trying to tell the story about the character and his life from the beginning to the end, the journey through his life and the 'Tragic Separation' is the middle of his journey. This is a subject that Fabio could do more into detail, I am more of the music writer and producer. We had a few titles in mind for the album, but this one done at the end of the recording."
How long did it take to record this album?
"It didn't take that long to be honest. I did all the instruments at my place, bass, the drums, and guitars and then the Covid thing happened. It took about 2-3 months to complete. Mark did the vocal lines, the rest of the guys are too lazy (laughing)."
Are you happy with the way the album has turned out?
"Yes I am very happy with the way it turned out. The only bad thing is that we never had the chance to play one single show to promote the album and that sucks. So like every week or so there are more than 20 albums coming out and it is hard to keep the interest of the people who listen too you're album. We couldn't wait for the pandemic to be over, it was done like 8 months ago so it had to be released ASAP. I know people love the album so that is a good sign."
What songs from the new album stand out for you? Also did you have any special guest on this album?
"Well I really like 'Flesh And Blood' because it is more melodic and has lots of elements in it and it still has lots of heavier parts too that do sound a little like Symphony X. We didn't have any special guest on this album this time around, we just did it ourselves."
Is the album selling well for the band?
"I am not sure, I always have to wait 6 months after its release to find out how well it is selling."
What's it like now been on Frontiers? I know back in the day they were signing more AOR/ Hard Rock, nowadays they have signed much heavier bands like Primal Fear (now back with Nuclear Blast) Vanden Plas, Pretty Maids and many more bands.
"I think we were one of the 1st of the heavier bands they signed and back then we asked them fi they were sure they wanted to sign us as we had heavier roots and they seemed to like us and wanted to sign us, so we went along with them and yeah things are good between us. When I was growing up most of my heroes were signed to this label like' Toto', Journey, Kansas, Whitesnake and many more acts."
So when you say you are a big Whitesnake fan, who is you're favourite past guitarist?
"It has to be John Sykes for sure, he's amazing (ED: I agree, loved this playing in Tygers of Pan Tang), yeah he was also great in Blue Murder. Without Skyes it has to be Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai. I also like Doug Aldritch."
How long is the deal with Frontiers?
"Well our deal is for 2 more records, then we will see what happens."
You're last DVD I believe was recorded at the ProgPower in Atlanta, is that correct?
"Well the last DVD was recorded at ProgPower yes, but it also contains a like show from Milan, which had different songs on it to make it more interesting, but the encore I think have the same songs on both shows. I did all the producing and editing for the live shows which took a lot of time, but it came out great with the end results."
What is you're opinion on bands doing these online live streaming shows due to lockdown, do you think there a good idea and would DGM do one?
"Well we did think about it a while ago, but we don't live in the same area, so it would be hard to get together and record a live stream show. We are not a big band that can afford to do a big production, so it would be stupid in my opinion to play a small fake gig in a small club when we had this super nice full production live DVD that came out 2 years ago.
So since we have to wait we will just write new songs that is the only thing we can do. I my spare time I am busy recording and mixing albums and also writing new ideas and songs for DGM. It would be nice to have a double album for the next album but these are just ideas for now."
Do you have any new songs wrote for the next album?
"Yes I have 3 songs wrote so far, the 4th song is in the making and I am now collaborating more with my keyboard player Emanuele and he is a great song writer too, so I asked him why don't we write more songs together? So the stuff will be a little more different, otherwise it will be me repeating the same riffs over and over again, this is something I don't want to do.
I need fresh inputs from other people. So when I have finished write and recording heavy song I don't want to listen too them when I get home. So I don't play the guitar an dafter a while the passion comes back and I need new ideas."
What are the possibilities of DGM actually touring this year, do you think it will happen?
"I really don't know, every time I see light at the end of the tunnel then something bad happens. I know we had a few shows booked for the next winter and some festivals but it's all in the air."
Well Thanks for the interview Simone, best of luck with the album sales, and I hope to finally see DGM or maybe work with you someday as part of your crew. Do you have anything to say too the fans reading this?
"Yes, thanks to the fans for their support, and thank you Jason for the interview was nice speaking to you. Please all keep safe in this difficult times we are in."
Thanks to Simone and Gary @ Redsands.