Interview with Daniel Liverani By Jason Brown
Italy has it's fare shares of Power, True and Progressive Metal acts, some of which are good and some bad. Empty Tremor are one of the better bands, in fact probably the best and this band deserve the right to be on this Website. With the release of 3 studio album this young band look most certain to be the next Dream Theater, and with the band touring Italy with Dream Theater I am sure they have gained more respect from the fans and Dream Theater. I managed to put the following questions to Daniel about the band and to find out more about the new album 'The Alien Inside'. Whilst were talking about the new album, why don't you check out Daniels solo album Genius also on Frontiers Records.
OK Daniele, 1st of you could you tell me when the band was formed and by whom? Has the line-up until the new album remained the same? If not who replaced who?
"Empty Tremor history begins in 1994 in Italy . At first the young talented band was called "Noise Pollution". The musicians was between 12 &16 years old. They made " Metallica, Guns & Roses, Pink Folyd, Led Zeppelin and even Dream Theater cover Songs very well. In early 95 the Band changed their name to "EMPTY TREMOR" introducing definitely some changes in line up. The older musician Daniele Liverani (24 years old at that time) casually noticed these young musicians in a local small concert and decided to join Empty Tremor as keyboard player because of their potential. The former singer De Paoli Davide left the band and Matteo Babini joined the band . At the end of the summer Liverani led the young band to a professional Demo Tape, 1st version of "APOCOLOKYNTOSYS" was issued that met a great success but no deal came. These songs have had completely different lyrics and vocal melodies written mostly by the singer Matteo Babini. Also there are some changes in the arrangements in the final album version."
"So in 1996, they worked again on the APOCOLOKYNTOSYS project, and changed their singer. Matteo Babini left the band and Giovanni De Luigi comes in. The 2nd version of "APOCOLOKYNTOSYS" have been self produced by the band itself. Then, some Labels contacted the group and to discuss about some possibility of deal. The deal was signed in August 96 with Pick Up Records for Italy and in early 97 with Rising Sun Records (Germany) for Europe and also with Fandango Records in Japan. The result was the Official Release Of "APOCOLOKYNTOSYS". Empty Tremor have reached great reviews with their awesome masterpiece "APOCOLOKYNTOSYS" and soon a fan base was builded all around the world. The band were described as "the new generation of prog metal" and they were compared to prog gods like DREAM THEATER, SHADOW GALLERY, LEMUR VOICE and SUPERIOR to name a few. In 1997, the band have given important some festivals and concerts in Italy. They also opened a show for ROYAL HUNT. During these concerts, Empty Tremor also played some new songs (mostly instrumental tunes) and received great reaction from the audience."
"THE EYES OF UNIVERSE" organization was formed in January 1998 as The Official Empty Tremor Fan Club base in Germany. The band continued to compose great music during the 1998 and 1999 years and released another killing album called "EROS & THANATOS" at the beginning of year 2000 for the label Elevate records, reaching the SPV distribution for Europe. This album went 'Album of the month' into the Italian 'Metal Shock' magazine and gained a lot of great reviews all around Europe... More maturity and a more personal sound got the interest of all the press and the fans of the progressive metal circus. The band promotes the album with a lots of concerts and local festivals, opening also for Malmsteen in 2001 in Brescia. The singer Giovanni De Luigi leaves the band in Autumn 2001 as a personal choice to follow his solo career. The new recording deal for Empty Tremor with the Italian leader label Frontiers Records comes at the end of 2001 and gives to the band a new great impulse and energy to complete a great new album."
"So Empty Tremor continue to compose new explosive material and to grow up his musical chemistry during all 2002 and 2003 working on the new album 'The Alien Inside' and searching for the right new singer. After the collaboration of Daniele Liverani with the singer Oliver Hartmann (former At-Vance) for the song 'There's a human' of his solo project 'Genius Rock Opera episode 1', Liverani offers to Oliver to enter Empty Tremor band and to sing the their new album. After a test period, Oliver Hartmann agrees to the offer and finally Empty Tremor found an impressive and extremely talented lead singer for their new album. As soon as Oliver Hartmann enters the line up, the new album is soon completed with lyrics. Oliver vocals performance gives to the new material an incredible power and expressively...making Empty Tremor sound even more credible and bombastic than ever."
Did you all meet up at a music college or school?
"Well, actually not, we all lived in the same town, I met the guys back in 1993 when they were performing as Noise Pollution..."
Who are the bands influences and how do they reflect within the bands music? You have a lot of Dream Theater within your music, do you agree? Do you also think it's hard to create your own style these days as everything has been done now? Is it hard for bands like you to create a new style?
"I think that Dream Theater has been a great influences to all of us since the beginning But we all listen to many styles and artists and not only Dream Theater...Oliver has done a great interpretation, and being the style prog metal, it's easy to compare the result to Dream Theater... since there are not many band out there that are successful in real prog metal style.. I think it's definitely difficult to be very personal nowadays...but it's important to try to be original as much as possible in my opinion...this is the only way to be recognized as an artist."
What other names did you have before Empty Tremor? Also why the name and does it reflect within the music?
"The band started in 1993 as Noise Pollution, then for only a short period was called Dr.Faster, the turned out into Empty Tremor definitively. The empty tremor name came out as a sort of conceptual negative view of nowadays society...expressing a sort of shiver in the void.. a lack of contents and value of human relationships that in the last period is really becoming more and more evident."
How many demos did you record before your debut album? How well did they sell? Also what trax were on them?
"We recorded a demo back in 1995 that was the same music of the first album and was called APOCOLOKYNTOSYS like the album itself. The songs were a little longer that the official album and had other title and lyrics and also another singer...the titles were: The 1st vesion "APOCOLOKYNTOSYS" demo tape has had the following tracks:
- De Magia Veterum (which become later "The Eyes Of Universe") - Theater Of Drama (which become later "Rules Of Time") - No More Fear ( This song has never been released) - Apocolokyntosys (which become later "Apocolokyntosys") - Alone In The Dark (which become later "The Message Keeper") - Afterglow Forever (which become later "Running Rusty Rails") - Prisoners In Chains (which has been separated later the songs: "Middleman" + "Slice Of Life") - Marvel Of Insanity (which become later "Screaming Loud The Sins Of The World")."
How serious did people take you in Italy before your debut album was released? Did you get a lot of support from the Italian press?
"Well, it was hard at the beginning, like for all the newcomer band of course. We worked hard to send demos and create the contacts and after some work finally we got some exposure on the magazines...I must say that the press supported us since the beginning and this has been very important to lead the band to the fist contract in 1997."
So beside Rising Sun, what other labels did you send your demo too? What made you sign to Clemen's label? Where you happy with them @ the time?
"We sent Demos all over the Europe at that time, and we got a response from some of them. We decided to sign with Rising sun and with Pick Up Records for Italy cause it seemed to be the best options at that time...then a lot has happened and most of the situation has changed."
Could you tell me a little bit about the debut album, why the title and cover? Did you have any other titles and covers for that album?
"Well the name of the first album came suddenly and I don't remember any other name...the titles of the songs were different in the demo version as I already told before...The demo cover was a very simple back and white cover...you can find it my web site www.danieleliverani.com at the personal biography section if you are curios...he he!!"
Where the songs wrote as a team effort and do they still continue to be written as a team?
"At the beginning probably I was more in the center of the creation process, but as the other guys have grown the songwriting has become very balanced and everyone is really giving his ideas and creativity to the band. We really act as a real band now."
What songs from that album stand out for you and why? Do you have any least favorite songs if so which ones?
"I like very much the songs "The Eyes Of Universe" and "Rules of Time" from Apocolokyntosys I think these songs are very inspired and well written."
Where you happy with the way it turned out? If not why? How long did it take to record it?
"We had a great time to record the first album, and usually it takes a lot of time for recording everything. I must say that I'm very happy about the final results...even if of course each time we went back in studio everything has came out better because of the normal evolution of the experience."
Did it sell well for a debut and did you get music promotion and press reviews?
"We were really happy about the promotion and the press of APOCOLOKYNTOSYS, and it sold a lot for being a debut album. The reviews were almost all very positive and this gave us a lot of energy to go on."
OK so now lets move onto the 2nd album, why did you leave Rising sun and how did the deal with Italian label Elevate come about?
"Who else did you approach to release the 2nd album and what went wrong with that contract? Did the label go under? We had no offer for the second album from Rising Sun, cause it seemed that they wanted some more power metal oriented music from us and we did not accepted. We decided to be honest with our fans. We did some shopping and found a contract with Elevate records with the distribution of SPV for Europe and this seemed ok for us. The label did a good job but unfortunately they closed and so we were with no label again after the release of the second album."
So why the title and cover for that album and did you have any other titles and cover in mind for that album?
"Also this time there was no working title for the second album. 'Eros And Thanatos' came out suddenly and the concept of the title is referred to love and dead...the most extreme and opposite feelings of live...All the songs of the album are telling about this basic concept."
I noticed that this album has 2 front covers, what was the concept behind that?
"This two covers are for express love and dead...this dual concept has been reported also in the artwork of the booklet. So you can choose the cover you want...depending on the humor you are at the time you listen to the record!"
Were you happy with the end results of the recording for that album?
"Yes, very happy...I think the sound is very clear and powerful and the mix well done."
What songs on that record stand out for you and why? Were there any least favourite songs and why?
"I like particularly "Lost in the past" and "Y2k".I'm very in loved with this two songs cause I think that they are very inspired and original both in music and lyrics melodies and words."
How do you compare that album to the debut album?
"I think it's a remarkable step ahead...definitely. I think that the songs are more mature and there's a lot more instrument skills from everyone in the playing."
How long did it take to record?
"t took almost 3 months...and some additional arrangements sessions later."
Did it sell well and did you get a good response from the fans & press?
"We had very good response also this time, even if this album has sold a little less that the first. The marketing period was very problematic for prog metal music and we suffered a little of this situation."
OK so why did Giovanni leave the band and are you still friends?
"Giovanni De Luigi decided to dedicate himself to his solo career under another type of music and so he left the band for this decision. We are definitely still good friends and we respected his choice. He's pretty much more into melodic commercial music then the rest of the band and his tastes has been driving him to that direction finally."
What other singers did audition for his replacement and didn't you pick the 2nd best replacement?
"We basically did a lot of research but with no actual audition, cause it's very clear even if you hear a singer singing whatever he sings, if he's the right one for your music. Oliver Hartman seemed to us to be the perfect singer for the new empty tremor era and we are glad that he accepted."
Where did you find your new singer? What band was he in before your band? Are you and him happy working together?
"Oliver Hartmann was singing with At-Vance and he worked with me for the Genius Rock Opera epside1 in 2002. I met Oliver Hartmann when he sang a song on genius Episode 1 called "There's a Human".
"I was sure that Oliver would have been perfect for Empty Tremor and I asked him to sing in the new Empty Tremor album that was about to be produced for Frontiers records too, but he already had a band so I didn't asked him anything at that time. When I heard that Oliver split with his original band (At-Vance) I contacted him and we met in Frankfurt and I offered him to sing in the new Empty Tremor Album "The Alien Inside". At first he was not sure, and he didn't say me a complete yes...he just told me that he was interested in recording some demos to test his voice and style in the new Empty Tremor material... So step by step the friendship was growing and after some demos Oliver accepted my offer to sing the new album of Empty Tremor. We all are amazed by his performance...he's absolutely incredible and gave the right power and majesty to the songs. I think he's one of the best singers around, and having him on the new Empty Tremor album makes me really proud. Also he's a great guy, very professional and friendly at the same time. We all feel very lucky."
So tell me how the deal with Frontiers came about and will this one last longer than just 1 album?
"I was contacted by one of members of Frontiers staff, since they were searching for new artist for their roaster and I was very happy to work with them for both my personal projects like Genius/Khymera and also for Empty Tremor."
Are you happy with them and are they happy with you? How long is this deal for?
"We all are very happy...the collaboration has lead us to a great friendship and I hope that will last as long as possible and that will be a chance for growing for both us and them. At the moment another album is scheduled for the next year."
So why the title and cover and were there any others in mind?
"The first song "The Alien inside" and the last 2 songs "The love I've never had" and "The alien outside" are strictly connected as a sort of partial concept album. So it's the same concept talking about a double personality disease that everyone of us suffer in these new society...sometimes we are not the only one that decide of out acts and behavior...there's an alien part of out personality that is very influenced by society that acts on behalf us and lead us to different and wrong choices. That's the reason for the name of the album "The Alien Inside".
"The first song is a first discover of this alien part of us that slowly appears...in the final song this alien part becomes visible and takes control of the mind, it's like a revelation to ourselves that we are not often able to act as we would... The love I've never had is telling about probably the causes of this disease, a person that has not received love, that has lost his guide since he was a child....all of course is a metaphore and should be intended in a more general human dimension... Anyway everyone can give his own interpretation to the lyrics, I use to write very poetically, so that many interpretation can be given by the listener..."
What are the songs about on the new album? Which are your fav and least favs and why?
"I like the song "I found you" and the song "The love I've never had" best. I think these two tunes turned out great cause the intensity of the lyrics applied to the music seems perfect to me."
Does it bother you that you are still getting compared to Dream Theater or are you happy about that?
"I think it's normal that every band has a main influence on another older band...it was the same for Dream theater and their fathers Rush. At this point of our career I feel that the comparison is not so appropriate anymore in my opinion...I think that with the new album especially Oliver Hartmann gave a lot of originality to our prog metal sound...just listen to the great choirs he's arranged, it's something that you don't hear in Dream Theater usually...Anyway I'm not bothered by any comment.. I just listen them and I try to understand from where they are generated....this is very important to grow as a musician and a producer."
How long did it take to record and are you happy with the end results?
"We all are very happy with the new Album, it took a long time in different session...almost 3 months in a period of 1 year approximately."
How do you compare this album to the 2 previous albums?
"I think it's more mature again...and a step ahead in terms of Originality and personality. The sound has changed a little bit and Oliver has changed a little the direction of the band of course...but it's still empty tremor!"
So when will we see the band on the road? Who with?
"I'm working right now to set up some good shows as soon as possible even if there's nothing confirmed yet."
Does any of the band members have any solo CDs released?
"At this point only I have other solos projects...all the rest of the members are working only in Empty Tremor actually."
Do you have anything to say before we finish?
"I want to thank you for the support and I hope that The Alien Inside will give you positive and good emotions! I hope to see you out there one day for some great shows!!"