Dropshard’s Silk album release interview
Dropshard is a very clear sounding alternative/prog band with careful mixing. I especially like their instruments soundings and mixing approach that encourages the listener to raise the stereo volume to the MAX!! Be sure to check their material at www.dropshard.net
Welcome to Art Rockin’ Magazine! Could you please introduce Dropshard and its members for our readers?
Tommaso Mangione – Hi! It all started when we were about 15-16 years old. We (Sebastiano – guitars, Alex – bass and Tommaso – drums) were at the same school complex and we started to play together, just for fun. At the time Tommaso was playing keyboards, but soon he discovered his love for percussions, so he started to play them later in 2004. In 2005 we started to play live with the name of Antares, but after some changes in the lineup we changed name in Dropshard, just when we started playing some original music live. Sebastiano was composing a lot of music at the time, but we were a lot less experienced at the time so we recorder some tunes that we stick in our first demo, DSI (2008), and later in DSII (2009). But we never had a proper singer, so we started searching it, and we finally found Enrico, and things started to shine! We’ve done a lot of gigs in 2010, and started to work on our first album, Anywhere But Home. We were all involved in the making, and finally have the opportunity to create this has been one of our most exciting moment! Then we won 3 days of studio recording at a musical contest, and we take this chance for recording the album. And that’s it! A dream come true! The album was a modest success, and for a band born in some classrooms, it wasn’t bad at all!
Of course you tour outside Italy too. But could you explain us a bit about the music scene in Olgiate Molgora?
Tommaso Mangione – Well, Olgiate is really a small town with nearly no musical activity at all! But it is located north to Milano, so the entire area is full of festivals and places where you can listen to live music. Unfortunately, today nearly all of the local manager want to hire a band only if it brings a lot of audience, or if the band wants to money: a lot of young bands do this, they don’t need money, they just want to play and that’s OK! But we’re working on our project for 7 years now, and we think that it is way bigger that a hobby now, so we need someone who can help us grow to let our music take the right way.
I like the electric guitar solo sounds a lot. What effects/amps you have used for recording it on Silk album?
Tommaso Mangione – In ‘Silk’ our guitarist Sebastiano plays an Ibanez Jem555 with an effect board connected to an Engl tube combo speaker. We recorded the sound with 3 different mics placed in 3 different positions, and we combined them to achieve the sound that we wanted.
Could you explain about the composition process of Silk? Where the ideas of songs came from?
Tommaso Mangione – We started composing with this idea in mind: every song would represent a psychological state in form of a physical place in a city. So we choose a mental hospital for personality disorder (Cell 342), a bus stop for the fragility of inspiration (Insight), an airport for quietness (Seat) and so on. Usually Seba starts to compose the song, or the core of it. If the composition goes far enough we take it and improve it, we make it grow to a more coherent state and Enrico add some lyrics from everything that the song inspires him. For exemple, “Memento” was born that way. “Eyes”, instead, was born from an Enrico’s idea, and originally was going to be only rhodes and vocals. “Maya” was born simply from the introductory tune: at the beginning it was going to be a long proggy song, full of signature changes and stuff, but we soon discovered that it wasn’t mean to be like this. So we took the essential parts and rewrote it in the way it is now.
What are the themes in your lyrics? How you write them?
Tommaso Mangione – Usually Enrico write all the lyrics on the music, and than everybody give suggestions and ideas to improve them; obviously the music can change to fit the lyrics, so a meticolous work is needed to balance words and music.
In this new work the words are becoming very important and often they play and are interwoven with the music, sometimes even going according to it to strengthen a common concept (such in “Less is More”). In other cases, the text is different from the music to enhance the meaning of the words themselves (“The Endless Road”). In any case, the words are never ends to themselves but are a foundamental part of an ongoing balancing act with the music, as if these two were the lines of a drawing in motion. The themes we face are numerous: from the madness of “Cell 342”, the memory in “Memento”, through love (“Eyes”), reflection (“Tied Together”), rebellion (“Perpetual Dream”) and emotional disorder (“Maya”). All the songs can be traced to various emotional and existential states.
What is your practice routine? How much time the band members spend together?
Tommaso Mangione – We usually found once a week (twice is there is something big on the way!) and spend 3 to 4 hours playing the old songs and improve our skills on it. A song is supposed to be ready when everybody knows what all the other 4 members are doing!
Could you explain about Silk’s art cover? Is it original art?
Tommaso Mangione – Of course it is! We came in contact with this really talented girl (Regina Carbonara) and we talked together about the ideas we had in mind for the artwork. She gave us some sketches and we liked it so much that we choose her immediately! Everything on the ‘Silk’ cover comes from her hands, and we’re very grateful to her. It is an essential point of focus when you first approach the album.
What are your thoughts on mainstream music? How do you see the road of a high quality sounding band like Dropshard toward “top charts”? Do you find it possible?
Tommaso Mangione – Yeah, it would be our dream (how could not be that??)! When we started doing muic together our goal has always been experimentation, but not in the way many listeners imagine. We wanted to reach pleasant results through unconventional ways, and we think that with ‘Silk’ we have succeeded in that! For many listeners, our works may look too much ambitious, and this is what we are: ambitious.
Where our readers can buy your music?
Tommaso Mangione – On our website (http://www.dropshard.net/store/) you can find nearly every digital and physical store that sell our albums, like Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Progmegastore and more.
I see you publish your music on Bandcamp. What do you think about free streaming? Don’t you think it may decrease your sales?
Tommaso Mangione – No, at all. We are a band that is seeking for fans and music lovers, and for a band like us free streaming is a way of giving the opportunity to those who do not know us to listen to us. We are confident that if they like us they are encouraged to support us. It’s always hard to trust in someone you don’t know, and if people knows who we are, the will trust in our music.
What do you see as the next step in your music career?
Tommaso Mangione – We are rehearsing a lot in order to take “Silk” live in 2015, maybe in an European Tour… and a third album is on the way!
Thanks for you time!
(*) Salim Ghazi Saeedi is an Iranian composer and guitarist mostly known in avant-prog and rock in opposition genres. www.salimworld.com