Secret Sphere

Interview date

Février 2010


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Aldo Lonobile

First, could you introduce the band and your music to the French audience?

OK, the band Secret Sphere was founded back in 1999, and we are a Power Metal band with different elements, not only Heavy Metal but also melodic elements, hard rock elements sometimes, thrash riffs. We’ve done five albums so far, and right now, we are recording our sixth studio album.

Which bands would you say had the biggest influence on you?

I would say Helloween, Dream Theater and Angra.

Who are your favourite musicians today?

I think they are the same. Personally, I am more involved in Hard Rock music, I listen a lot to bands like Dokken, Skid Row… but I also love Megadeth, you know. A band that I really love these days is Kamelot, I think they’re the last band that brought something interesting to Symphonic Metal. They’re a great band.

What band would you die to tour with?

Well, for the kind of music Secret Sphere plays, Gamma Ray was definitely one of the options… and Helloween too. But as a musician (not considering the band), I would love to tour with Megadeth. But the audience is different, I’m not sure it would be a good thing for Secret Sphere.

How did the opportunity of touring with Gamma Ray present itself?

It happened thanks to our label manager. She contacted Gamma Ray management and proposed the band for the tour and they’ve decided to give us the chance to follow the band on tour. So, it’s really thanks to the labels, alone it’s really difficult, you have to know someone…

Your music has evolved from album to album and became more and more symphonic and complex…

Yes, I totally agree with that. I usually compose all the songs, and my purpose since the beginning was to start from my influences, and then I wanted to add more and more different styles… You know for example, I’m not a fan of the typical Power rhythmic section with open strings (he mimes it), I prefer playing more riffs as my influences as a guitarist are closer to musicians like Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine ! That’s a part of the evolution of Secret Sphere, I think we really improved our rhythmic section, we’re heavier now. We like symphonic stuff, but we always start composing as a heavy metal band you know, so: riffs, drums and then we add some symphonic stuff. I think we also bring many hard rock elements in our mid-tempo songs… but when we play fast, we play metal !

Is the next album going in the same direction? What can you tell us about it?

Well, it’s not so different from our last album actually. Maybe some songs are heavier but the balance between metal and symphonic will approximately be the same.

What is the concept behind "Archetype"?

No concept for the new album. This time, all the lyrics deal with personal experience. On "Sweet Blood Theory", we wanted to write about vampire novels and create an atmosphere that would be related to that theme (thus the Danny Elfman influence in the symphonic parts). For "Archetype", we’re totally free to follow our desires and there will be different atmospheres and type of songs: fast tunes, heavy tunes, one song will be very very hard rock (more than in the past).

With a sixth album coming soon, is there a possibility for the band to tour Europe as a headliner or co-headlining with another band?

Well, I think there are some countries in Europe where we can probably co-headline… For example, we did a headlining show in Spain last year and it worked well but I don’t think a complete tour as a headliner is yet possible for us. The Gamma Ray tour is a great opportunity and every night, the audience seems really happy, so I hope the name Secret Sphere will be a bit bigger at the end of the tour. But we probably need one or two more tours with big bands like this one before we can tour by ourselves…

Have you got any plans for a DVD?

Well, we talked about it. I’m not sure, but maybe next year, in 2011, we could record a concert in Italy… Wait and see.

I was wondering something, you’ve got a video for "More than Simple Emotions", do you really think metal videos are useful today? I mean, they cost money and it’s not like they're all good or get broadcast a lot. Do you believe they're still an efficient way to promote a band?

In a way, I agree with you. Our video was really a low-budget one, so we didn’t lose money. For me, the biggest promotion for a metal band is tour. So I think bands should really invest money in touring and then, when they’re more famous, maybe it’s time for a video. For example Within Temptation or Lacuna Coil, they’re used to releasing high-budget videos but they are names, you know… Today, you don’t need so much money for videos, that’s why maybe there are so many of them…

What are your best memories on the road?

Well, the audience is always my best memory. Since we began touring, I’ve always had the image in my mind when at the end of the show the people have their hands up. The first cool memory I bring back with me is the people, and of course, some fans we meet here and there…

What are the other Italian bands you like or admire?

I love DGM for example. Labÿrinth of course, and there’s another Italian band that I really like these days: Elvenking. Do you know them?

I just know the name but I actually never listened to them.

Well you should, they have folk influences but there’s a lot of metal too. They’re very good.

Your artwork for the last album "Sweet Blood Theory" is quite unusual for a metal cover.

The purpose was to create something that looked like Tim Burton’s artwork for movie posters, people melted in drawings, real people and paintings. Well the result is not exactly as I pictured it in my mind, there are some things I don’t like on that cover… It’s quite close though but yes, we wanted something original and close to Tim Burton’s posters.

What were the reasons for Paco Gianotti (guitar) and Antonio Agate (keyboards)’s departure?

Paco was not very much into metal music anymore so he decided to do something different. Antonio is still in the band but only as composer and arranger but his day-job, which he decided to stick to, does not allow him to go on tour but he’s still in the band.

Do you all have jobs besides Secret Sphere?

Yes, I am a product engineer, Andy works in the chemical industry… we don’t live from our music, it’s very difficult. But hopefully, one day…

There’s an album in your discography that is quite different from the others…

Yes, the third one.

Exactly, "Scent of Human Desire", it’s interesting but differs from the melodic power metal that defines the band. What do you think of this album today?

I think it’s a very good album. With that album, we can say, we’re Secret Sphere, we play Power Metal but we can also play different kinds of music. At the time, I was a little bit bored with the power stuff, it was the boom of the Italian power metal scene and I wanted do to something a bit different…

Do you think it helped the band or on the contrary that it prevented the band from getting more famous?

It actually helped us getting the deal with Nuclear Blast. And more surprisingly, it’s also one of our best-selling records… some old fans criticized it but we also got new fans.

You started at the end of the 90’s when downloading existed but was not as important as it is today. How have you felt the consequences of this evolution on the music world through the decade?

For promotion, the Internet is really something incredible, you know. Through the web, you can become famous, it’s amazing. So we use it a lot. We don’t take care so much of our personal website but we really take care of facebook, myspace… I think it’s more important today to have a nice myspace page than a good personal site. When people want to know about a band now, they usually look for myspace… So, to promote the band, I think it’s really the best way. Now for a medium band like Secret Sphere, it was definitely easier ten years ago than it is now. It’s getting more and more difficult to get a record deal. We have a decent deal but we still have a lot of work to do by ourselves.

One last word for the French fans?

I am really really happy to be back in France. I have many friends here and it’s nice to be able to come back. I hope we can deliver the same shows we did the nights before, the tour so far is great and I hope you’ll enjoy the show. It’s great for the band to be here, we haven’t had the opportunity to come for many years, the last time we came in France, it was for a couple of shows back in 2001 !

Thank you, I wish you all the success you deserve.

Thank you, it’s really nice. Ciao!