[Davide] Hello everybody, I am Davide Ronfetto, guitar player.
[Andrea] And I am Andrea Rampa, singer.
[Davide] We are the two leaders and main composers of Rustfield, a newcomer progressive rock/metal band from Torino, Italy. We formed in 2007 and, after some demo self-productions, we recorded our debut album, Kingdom of Rust, that was released on December 6th 2013 by the German label Massacre Records. The album is featured by some special guests such as John Macaluso (Symphony X, ex Y.J. Malmsteen) on drums, Federica De Boni (White Skull) on vocals, and Douglas R. Docker (Docker´s Guild, ex Biloxi) on Keyboards.
2.A couple of months back you released a new album, how would you describe your musical sound for those that have yet to hear the music?
[Andrea] I would describe our music as a hybrid of heavy metal, progressive, electronic and psychedelic music. In Kingdom of Rust there are different atmospheres mixed to create a very peculiar sound. You can listen to fast and aggressive heavy metal riffs entwined with electronic programming but also to calm interludes led by smooth synths and acoustic guitar. Sometimes also some classic instruments, like contrabass and classic guitar, perform on the songs. So, we can say that the whole album shifts through different moods song after song, giving to every of them a special and somehow unique atmosphere. We think that this characteristics are making our album special, letting it to sound different from many other releases, on the other hand it is not an easy album but needs more than just two listening sessions to be deeply understood.
3.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
[Andrea] We explore many topics across the album, some songs tell stories, others are about thoughts and feelings, some others are very metaphorical and do not have an explicit meaning. There is a sort of main topic about “rust” that often appears in many songs, even if it is not a concept album. Rust is interpreted as a state of mind of human thought and behaviour´s decay, a sum of falsehood and hypocrisy that somehow rules the civil society in which we are living in. The album opener, Among the fields of Rust, is about this topic and highlights the differences between a rusty and decaying city and a wheat field caressed by a fresh breeze. Waxhopes, the second track, tells Icarus´ myth seen from the point of view of Daedalus, his father. The myth is not considered in terms of moral of a son who disobeys the father´s will, but in terms of the sorrow Daedalus felt for the loss of his son. Despite Daedalus was a very wise man capable of many scientific wonders, he couldn´t save his son´s life. The Secret Garden is one of the most metaphorical songs in the album, it tells images without giving them a real meaning. The song tells about a solid fortress that stands out far away, where the desert meets the sky. Inside of it, a secret garden full of plants, flowers and fresh waters, is guarded by two mysterious men. Run with Me is a song about human behaviour and thoughts regarding mortality. High Waters, the last song, is about life changes, life is metaphorically represented by a sail boat that navigates along the coast following well known routes. Then, a sudden storm approaches blowing the sail boat far away from the coast forcing it to navigate on high waters, where sailing acquires a totally different meaning.
[Davide] Three songs are connected both by music (very electronic and played in the same guitar tune, drop C) and lyrics, creating a trilogy who can be considered as a mini concept. The topic is compromise seen in three different forms. On the first song, Burning the Air, the compromise is the one done when giving up peace for war. On the second song, Sacrifice, is compromise in humans relations. The third one, Social Contract, is about the compromise that everybody has to do in order to live in society with other people. Love Moan tells the tragic story of a mother who decides to take away her own life and her daughter´s one to protect them from the dangers of the world, it was inspired by true stories happened in Italy some years ago. Losing time is very metaphorical, the lyrics describe a dialogue between oneself and one's best friend about all the time lost chasing each other in life's and the relentless passing of time.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Rustfield'?
[Andrea] Well, in the beginning it was just “Rust”, due to what I told you before, but soon after we discovered that a Finnish rock band already named that way. So, due to the fact that our music was evolving to this kind of multi atmosphere sound, we decided to add another word to the name. We were searching for a word that could inspire an atmosphere in contrast with “Rust”, that is a metaphorical symbol of decay, so we decided for “Field”. This second word, a metaphorical symbol of calmness and serenity, represents the other side of what our music is. Rustfield is the melting pot of this two metaphors and best represents the melting pot of our music.
5.So far you have done both acoustic and electric shows, how would you compare both of them?
[Davide] That´s a good question! Well, due to the fact that in our songs electronics and programming play a very important role, it is impossible to recreate that sound with acoustic equipment only, so we had to rearrange the songs! That was very cool because we could create something very different from the original pieces and give them a new shape. Nowadays we just performed an acoustic duo show with vocals and guitar but, hopefully, in future we will perform “Kingdom of Rust” entirely acoustic. For this sake, the contribution of Alessandro and Luca Spagnuolo, our bass and guitar player, will be essential. They both have a classical music background also and both are graduated at Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi di Torino, Alessandro plays contrabass in many orchestras and Luca is a classic guitar teacher. Their touch is clear in a song like Love Moan which is entirely acoustic except for a clean electric guitar solo. The demo version of that songs was featured by keyboards but when we started rearranging the song for the acoustic version we liked it so much that we wanted to keep it that way on the album.
[Andrea] Regarding the electric show, keyboard´s programming is once again very important characteristic of our music, but is very hard to performed live. There reason is that most of all times we obtained those sounds by over layering many instruments and sound effects. The sound we created is more like a programming than a classic keyboard style. I play keyboards and I sometimes do on stage but it would be nearly impossible for me to create the same sounds we had on the album, so we decided to elude the obstacle by creating backtracks that we can play on a computer on stage with us. The same computer plays a metronome track which is synchronized with backtracks´ tempo changes and rhythm. We are all equipped with ear monitors so that we can play synchronized with the backtrack. All these devices were not so friendly at the beginning but they are needed by bands as us where the electronic sound plays a very important role. Porcupine Tree a Pain of Salvation do something like that in their shows. Using this system we can perform on stage the same electronic sound that you can hear on the album. So, as you can see, the acoustic and the electric show are very different!
6.Out of all of the shows that the band has played so far, which one did you enjoy the most?
[Andrea] The album release party, of course! It was a very special night because, after all the years spent working on the band we had our first album out through a label like Massacre Records! It took place at Maison Musique in Rivoli, Italy, a beautiful and famous venue with a wide stage that let us to bring on all our equipment in order to perform Kingdom of Rust in its entirety and exactly as it was recorded. So, beside electric guitars, bass and drums, we had keyboards, acoustic and classic guitars, contrabass and a big piano, played by our friend Douglas R. Docker! After playing to some festival where we had only 30 minutes to perform, it was great to have a stage dedicated just to us, with all our equipment on it and with no hurry to take away the stuff in five minutes after the show. It was a wonderful and unique night because it is not easy to carry all that equipment on a stage and to make a good sound check for instruments that sound completely different one to each other.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new release?
[Davide] Not yet but we´re working on that. We really would like to tour, we´re waiting eagerly to make people seeing us performing on stage. We strongly believe in our music and, even if Kingdom of Rust is our debut, we think that there are good songs on it so we would like the audience to have their own opinion of our work. Moreover, playing live is the most fulfilling experience for a musician so I hope to realize this dream as soon as possible. Nevertheless these are very hard days for music business, especially for newcomer bands as us that have to invest a lot of money to tour without having any economic feedback! So, we are working in that direction but, due to logistic and economic problems, I don´t know when we will realize it… let´s hope for the best!
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of progressive rock and metal?
[Andrea] In general I feel very happy, we received a lot of good ratings from many webzines and magazines, we scored 8/10 on many of them. Of course somebody disliked the album because it was, in their opinion, too varied, like a mix of too many different moods together. The irony is that this characteristics is the most appreciated by the reviewer which gave the album a high rating! Well, we knew this since the beginning, our style is not so common and could be like or disliked. Not everybody like this melting pot of styles but, for those who like it, I think that they could find our album very interesting. The good thing is that most of all the reviewer appreciated that we tried to create something quite original and different from the common cliché of progressive metal. By the way, on the “Press” page of our website (www.rustfield.net) we´re collecting every review, article and interview about the album so that everybody can have an overview of the feedbacks and read some of them in many languages… that´s the power of internet!
[Davide] Anyway, due to the so huge amount of new albums produced every year, and the big lack of record sales, it is not easy to understand to what extent the prog followers liked the album. We do not have yet a fan base because we are a newcomer band so that´s one more reason to tour, to let people know who we are and receive feedbacks from them after the show. Until now we can say that, in general, we always received good feedbacks from every audience we performed for.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
[Andrea] It is a little bit early to say now. We never stopped composing even if we had to dedicate every effort to Kingdom of Rust so we now have a handful of new songs. They are standing by at different levels, some of them just need lyrics, some of them need the final arrangement and some of them have just riffs. I´m quite sure that we will not do a sort of Kingdom of Rust part 2, so probably the next album will be shorter than 70 minutes. I think we will continue to explore electronic and psychedelic music, both fast aggressive songs and calm mellow ones. Anyway it is too early to say, now we want to focus on live activity.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
[Andrea] Well, going back to the roots, my heavy metal background is in and power metal, but I don´t think that so much of that kind of music is in Rustfield right now. I listened to a lot of Blind Guardian, Helloween, Iced Earth and so on. Nowadays I still love that kind of music but I am not updated with the latest releases of those bands. Regarding progressive metal I love Dream Theater, even if I prefer how they sounded in the 90s. Then Fates Warning are a band that I love so much, everything they did since the early nineties to nowadays is great, I think they are one of the best bands around in progressive. I love also OSI, and I think that their use of electronic programming could be an influence for a part of our sound. Before starting listening to metal, I was fourteen years old, I listened to a lot of Pink Floyd, I love them a lot still now and, in my opinion, they are the best rock band ever existed. A lot of their mellow and psychedelic sound was a source of inspiration for Rustfield, even if we are heavier than them. Regarding progressive rock, I listened to a lot of Moody Blues when I was a child, because of my father, he is a hard core fan of that band! Then the early King Crimson and some albums of Yes. I also love Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits but this has nothing to do with Rustfield at all! Regarding electronic music I can tell you some names as Boards of Canada, Jean Michel Jarre. Nowadays I am listening to a lot of Anathema´s new albums, they are a great band and they are in a state of grace now, creating excellent music!
[Davide] The bands that most influenced me are Pink Floyd, early Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, OSI. Beside metal I like listening to Italian folk music, there are many remarkable artists in that music scene.
11.Do you have any non musical interests?
[Andrea] Yes, beside the musical activity I am an engineer… Well, it would be better to say that beside engineering I a musicians, due to fact that Rustfield is an activity that does not give me the daily bread but, you know, that´s just a small detail! ;) My background is aerospace engineering but I am interested in science in general, applied and academic. Moreover I am interested in martial arts, I am practicing a kung-fu traditional style since thirteen years, even if in the last months I did not have so much time for training. I also love cinema.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
[Davide] Yep, thank you for this interview and thanks to all the people at home who dedicated a little bit of their time reading it. Come visit our website (www.rustfield.net) and check Rustfield´s facebook page to listen to some of our music and get informed with the band´s latest activities. We hope to see you all face to face on the road as soon as possible. Ciao!