1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
FL: For our latest album Mythmaker we decided to sign with a new label, Kolony Records; it’s a really proficient metal label and I’m a huge fan of some bands signed to them, like Be’lakor, To Cast a Shadow and Secrets of the Sky. This migration has been a big step forward for us since Kolony is a really focused label with a solid vision and has already displayed highly effective strategies in the never quiescent music business. We are tightly cooperating to push Tragodia way further than we ever could in the past 17 years!
The promotion for Mythmaker started almost three months away from the release date; the response is quite positive according to the reviews.
2.What can you fans expect from the new album music wise, once it is released?
RT: We like the melody, which is always the central guideline in our music, led by a huge, deep rhythm session and for that reason the listener can feel this mix that makes our sound very up-to-date. That’s the reason why we chose the album to be mastered at Sterling Sound Studio, New York, to reach a modern and harder sound.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?
FL: Lyrics in metal albums very often pass unnoticed, either because we are generally more “focused” on the musical side of things or because they are conceived to just complement the music. In the case of Tragodia lyrics are really important and it’s always been like this, even in the very early days. I think that it was our first vocalist, Giovanni, lying the very foundations of Tragodia’s lyrical world. As years rolled by it was me taking over the task of writing lyrics, but I think I brought my own ideas and images into a domain which had been there since the first demo-tape in 1998! Both the music and the lyrics on Mythmaker are “epic”: they tell stories - or paint drawings, when there’s no proper narrative structure in them - relating to past times. We’ve always been heavily influenced by the classical age and especially the ancient Greek world, with its myths and literature playing a big role in the project and happily tying in with the music. Themes such as decline, decadence, the fall of human societies through the ages mean a lot to us as well; I would say that we are keen on a decadent way to being epic; we sing more about loss and failure than victories...
Many tracks on Mythmaker both title and lyrics wise are freely inspired by some ancient Greek myths and dramatic and epic literature, but in the past we’ve been influenced, among others, by Romantic literature as well. Poetry itself is a highly relevant lyrical topic for the band.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Tragodia?
FL: The meaning behind the word Tragodia is ‘tragedy’: that’s the ancient greek word for that (it literally means ‘ode of the goat’). The main reason why several years ago ‘Tragodia’ was chosen as the band’s name is that it reconnected us to one of our main sources of lyrical inspiration, the ancient world and its set of mythological accounts and awe-inspiring history. We always had that world in a corner of our mind, even if we went developing a broader lyrical domain, centered around the idea of the past per se, both on a personal and a more general level. It’s hard to think of Tragodia without bearing in mind this strong connection with the past, be it mythical tales from the greek archaic and classical age, or the metaphor of an all consuming force which erases mankind’s dream of grandeur and immortality: while we might consider Tragodia as an epic band, the only glory we sing about is that of time and decay.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
RT: We played 2 years ago in Hamar, Norway, and I think it was one of our best show and personal experience, cause the audience was awesome, so excited, so welcoming, and in that occasion we met one of the best band we ever played with, To Cast a Shadow, that nowadays I define more than friends.
Another great gig was Vacchen Festival, Rogno (BG), Italy, last summer; we played with the Italian power/prog metal band Vision Divine in a great place between the mountains and we found a powerful positive response from the people.
When we play live we try to do our job at best; we give all the energy we have, enjoy ourselves and hope all of this can reach the people facing the stage. Playing well is the first target, but I think you have to “entertain” people, with all your capabilities and all your heart.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
RT: We are working right now scheduling shows abroad, especially in Germany as we think it is a key market here in Europe in terms of visibility for a band like Tragodia. We just had a cool show last week-end (October 19) in Passau, Germany and we will be in Munich, Germany on December 20. We’ll also be playing a show in Innsbruck, Austria on December 21th. Plus we have a couple shows in Italy in November / December. Then we plan to have several shows around Europe in early 2014, we’re working hard to make this possible.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of progressive metal?
RT: We see that from the beginning of the promotion of Mythmaker, the people participate and respond like never happened before; reviews and interviews 2 months before the release date, constant increase of facebook followers; we hope that Mythmaker will be the first page of a new chapter in Tragodia’s career.
Many people contact us in private, sometimes they want to buy some merch, sometimes just to leave a feedback or to ask some info about the band, the lyrics, etc… and that meaning a lot for us and gives us the strength to hold on.
8.Are there any other musical projects going these days?
RT: Yes, some of us run side-projects: I (Riccardo) recently finalized “Divided Line Theory”, an instrumental solo album following the path of John Petrucci, Jeff Loomis, filled with some acoustic and progressive inserts; Francesco is the mastermind behind the atmospheric black metal project Ogen; Ogen released “Black Metal Unbound” in 2011 featuring our drummer Daniele V. on the drums.
Our singer Luca M. will be the voice of the progressive project “Dissonant Silence”, that will be released next year.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
FL: I feel we evolve in a very natural way with each release and there’s definitely no formula that we try to replicate. What we do is trying to mix the different musical background that each band member carries along into a new musical offering: this usually turns into something very magmatic and highly unexpected. Sometimes we just want to please ourselves and try to find different solutions that might raise the musical excitement within the band to a new level.
We can hardly think of a band that might sound that similar to Tragodia; I guess it has something to do with our tastes in music ranging from classic heavy metal to early Norwegian black metal, just to name a couple, and they way they are all merged into what Tragodia is nowadays.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
FL: We had no idea we would end up writing an album like Mythmaker. We just let creativity take its course and every musician that joined the band through the years contribute their skills and ideas. We started as a doom-goth band, heavily influenced by black metal and some of the amazing avantgarde bands that were around in the Nineties, just to slowly progress into what we are now. It’s been a really interesting and exciting evolution, at least for us!
In the early days the keyboard was the very main element in the band, referred to the Gothic scene of that period; with the release of our first full length album “The Promethean legacy” and the consolidation of the lineup, we always focused more on guitars and solid sound, arrangements more electro than symphonic, less rich in tons of accessories.
The versatile and recognizable Luca’s voice most of all defined the topical genre who strayed far from gothic.
Some of us are huge Nevermore supporters indeed. I guess the guitar riffing could sometimes remind of Nevermore, or the very fact that we have mainly clean vocals built upon a very tight and modern sounding rhythmic session. There are many other bands that played a big role in our musical background: we’ve always been a huge fans of the british doom-goth bands of the Nineties, especially Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, but also Katatonia and other great Scandinavian bands: I feel that you can still perceive some features of that sound in Tragodia, though heavily diluted and merged with other elements.
11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
RT: Some of us like so much walking in the mountains, in the woods, take inspiration from nature, but also we like movies, some sci-fi classic saga, like Aliens, Star Wars, etc… and of course eating and drinking together; is there anything better? J
12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
RT: Huge thanks to you for kindly letting me introduce Mythmaker to your readers: give Mythmaker a try: you might find it interesting; and please feel free to get back to us anytime to share your feelings about it; that would be much appreciated!