Levi: The arrangements on the new album are amazing, how did you go about the production?
Luca: The production was one of the longest we’ve done. The only other Rhapsody album that took this long was the second album in 1998. At the time when we were composing that one we were putting note by note (the note of the composition into the keyboard), not the computer. So now we like to work with the maximum support from technology.
Levi: The album reminds me of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, I can picture an epic Viking battle happening when I listen to the songs. What goes through your head when you’re writing the music?
Luca: I was enjoying soundtracks to movies like Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t know if it was your age but the movies like Conan and Legend. Lord of the Rings came later, I really loved the production by Peter Jackson, it really represented for the first time in the history of cinema the painter’s war. That was very important to me because when I started creating the saga for Rhapsody, I always related musically and lyrically to those films. I want people to take it in kind of a childish way.
Releasing an album for me has always kind of been a spiritual experience, I always try to use music so you people can know about my life a bit more. I almost died in 1993, it was literally a miracle that saved me from the cancer, I was full of metastasis all through my body, in the doctors eyes I was already dead. My music had always been a hymn to life.
Levi: So surviving death has been your inspiration for making music?
Luca: Yeah it’s always been about transmitting some pure emotion to the people. For me what is important, until my last minute on this wonderful planet is all about transmitting that.
Levi: There’s been an explosion of great guitarist since YouTube. Do you have any favourite guitarist that you enjoy at the moment?
Luca: I wouldn’t say in this moment. There’s just so many to follow you know. My favourite guitar oriented albums of all time, the ones that gave me the will to embrace my instrument. The top three I am in love with are Yngwie Malmsteen ‘Rising Force’, Jason Becker ‘Perpetual Burn’ and the album I define as the bible of sweep picking (my favourite technique) is Cacophony – ‘Speed Metal Symphony’. The connection between Marty Friedman and Jason Becker is something unique. Sometimes maybe I will listen to new albums but there was a kind of magic to those albums. Really when I speak of composition, the way they were composing was so different to what you have now. The change of chords, the change of tonality in the composition, it really made something special.
Levi: For people that want to learn to play as well as you, how much and what do they need to practice?
Luca: My training was very specific, I would not suggest to everyone to do what I did. I’m thankful my fingers have not betrayed me. Take the last year for example. I was composing the new album, I was really only able to embrace the guitar for two months all up. I’m lucky, even if I don’t play for ten months consistently I am still able to play well on the album and for when it’s time to go onstage. For people that want to succeed with their instrument. For me when I was 16 I created the basic technique. From 16 until I was 26 I was playing 8 hours a day, I also lost two years at school, so I would not suggest it for everyone.