The young guys of Aphelion from Treviso (North Eastern Italy) have recently made talk about their album "Franticode", launched by Lizard Records. They appear as pyrotechnic performers of a "heavy-prog-fusion" at a high adrenaline level. Their very professional job and the mixing made by Derek Sherinian made us decide for a thorough analysis, following the review we already published. Here are the answers of the band to our questions.
Can you tell us how the band was born and your history?
The story so far is pretty lengthy but not so rich in events. We started in late 2004 with a different line up ( we had a different drummer at that time) and in January 2005 recorded our self-produced demo CD “Demonstructive”. These two tracks work has been very well-acclaimed by almost all the italian and international press. The band started to make a search for a label or someone interested in co-producing the full-length debut album as the creative fire was burning more than ever inside, and after more than 100 copies of Demosnstructive delivered all over the world we signed for the italian Lizard Records. We spent the following two years writing down music, practicing, struggling and sweating in the rehearsal room, along with a new drummer.
So after hiring Derek Sherinian at the mix, we entered the Majestic Studios in Venice and recorded our debut full-length album under the flag of Marino De Angeli, one of the best studio technician and artistic producer in Italy, in December 2007 / January 2008. The album was released in June 2008 and is still on promotion stage.
How did you meet Lizard Records?
We got in touch with Lizard Records after hundreds of demo Cds sent all around the World. The label and the producers told themselves to be pleased to enter into a collaboration with the band as the music and project were so good looking and prominsing. After a little bit of biz adjustments we signed for Lizard Rec. in 2008.
And how did you meet Derek Sherinian?
Since the beginning of the journey we wanted Franticode to be as coolest as possible and after sending the demo tracks thru e mail to Derek, in august 2006 he told himself to be available to mix the record as he liked the music so much. We scored!
What did you feel working with a such famous name and how were your relationships with him during the working process of CD?
Derek is da man! Absolutely. He gets that right attitude, that “American taste” we needed, and you can hear this by listening to the album. His ideas came so crystal clear during the mix stage and everything went through so well as he has been so professional and creative and in the meantime able to develop the sound we were looking for the final result... big time... Derek's a great deal...
How were the “Franticode” songs born and how was the songwriting process?
We had been working SO hard on the record. We spent hours in the reharsal room trying to put the ideas together and trying to develop our own sound. We worked to create music with the features to whip up enthusiasm and emotion. We wrote down the material both individually and by jamming. Then we spent a lot of time on the arrangements and tones and sounds choices, that one of the most important aspect of the kind of music we played on Franticode.
You aimed at a thing that unites progressive, metal and fusion elements. Why you did this choice? And do you think there is a target for “Franticode” album?
I don't think "Franticode" can be named under a precise file of genre or style. You can call it progressive but not as you mean, for example Dream Theater progressive, we are so less “melodic” and so much more “sick”. It 's not pure jazz and it is not metal at all – yeah, you can hear distorted sounds and some heavy shots, but that's not enough to call it metal. "Franticode" sounds so hybrid… and I think it is an interesting point...we developed our stuff and didn't care how it was gonna sound. You can hear a lot of different influences but everything is so Aphelion-ish you can't never tell... In the end you could say it's kinda like an instrumental progressive/heavy fusion CD... but with tons of surprises.
It needs certain technical skills to play this kind of music. What is your “relation” with your instruments and what is your learning path of them?
We are not technique-nerds. We focus onto the groove, the timing, the piece of music first of all. No matter how we get to it. Yeah, technique helps you to achieve your goals but it's not the only weapon. We have to worry about how to make the song sounding cool and full of our souls. At the same time it is important to be prepared, it is fundamental to know what you are doing while you are performing or writing a piece of music 'cause it helps to get a clear vision and make the right choices. So it is important for us to grew up daily both as performer and musicians as well.
In the end, an inevitable question: what are you planning for the future?
Our goals would be to get the greatest coolness and awesomeness as band that means playing a lot of live gigs to promote the record and trying to get a new deal for a future second release. But all of this looks just like a dream in the country we live in. There is not space to play live, no opportunity to get a gig, no ways to make people know our music and band, even if we are on promotional stage and can show the collaboration with Derek Sherinian and give info thru the web and magazines and radios to the people. We cannot have the due feedback. We are so discouraged about this. It's kinda frustrating. By the way we still hope something could be given from the heavens... Thanks for the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our debut record.