If you have listened to pretty much any top melodic rock release of the past decade you’ll notice they all have one thing in common, Alessandro Del Vecchio. Whether he is writing, performing, or producing, no one has been as prolific as Del Vecchio. This time he is back fronting his own band, Edge of Forever, as they release their new record Seminole.
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws.com Conversation with Alessandro Del Vecchio –
On his interest in Native American culture – Well, first of all, I’ve been a lover and passionate about the Native American culture for years. Obviously, nation by nation, they have differences, but the general philosophy, this big link and bond with Mother Nature and our planet and the universe really makes sense to me. To me, it’s the most concrete spiritual and ethical philosophy that’s ever been. I always use the lens of that philosophy to give a different output for the world to change because nowadays, life isn’t easy and there are so many things that are not right in this world that we should go back and learn from our history on what is right and wrong and what we should and we shouldn’t do. To me, the Native American culture was the last philosophy, and I don’t wanna say religion, but spirituality, that’s the right word, was the last spiritual philosophy that was linked to the real core of life, which is the simple circle of being born on this planet and trying to do something good without hurting our home too much. But we’re going the other way, especially nowadays, because hurting our environment, animals, other humans were just killing our human community with our own hands, we’re burning a house and we don’t even realize it. That’s what Native Soul was starting to grow into. But Seminole is more like a concept album because it’s more like a story. It tells different stages of our struggle that we call life, and at the end, the results change the name from struggle into simply the circle of life and our walk into this wonderful journey that is life. 1:20
On telling a story with Seminole – That was our main goal because we wanted to tell a story. Nowadays, the music that’s in the mainstream forgot about sending messages. So at times, you have that there’s lyrics, there are really stories. We lost the storytelling power of music, which was why music began in the first place, to tell a story. Not to make a criticism (current) music, but I know what it means to write lots of lyrics because I have to be prolific on that side as well, but for Edge of Forever, I want to create a little niche for our listeners where they can grab a positive message and hopefully we’re able to plant a seed in their souls and just twist and literally shift the paradigm that we’re living through. We live in this paradigm where everything is evil. You buy organic food, you think you’re doing something good, but you’re buying it in plastic, and plastic is polluting the planet, and the farmers that are working for your organic food are underpaid and exploited by this big system, which is what the economy of the world is today. It feels like there’s a paradigm of doing wrong, which is what I talk about in the “Seminole” suite, shift the paradigm of doing wrong. We feel like every time we’re doing wrong, but there’s always a positive side if the action is really coming from the right place, and we have to learn to go back to the right place within ourselves and get back to the core of real values of the human community. 4:22
On pushing musical boundaries with this lineup of Edge of Forever – I push my band boundaries way more with them than any other thing that I work with because I know the bond that we have when we’re together, we make music together. If you listen to Hardline, you can hear that Marco Di Salvia is a phenomenal, fantastic drummer on his own. Marco has a great story of being a fantastic guitarist and producer. If you know Nik (Mazzucconi) as a bass player, he has been working with Ian Paice and Carmine Appice being one of the best players that we have over here in Europe. If you think that you have some of the best musicians, literally some of the best musicians, it’s like the right cards in Poker. You don’t have to play safe because you have to accommodate the musicality of the musicians, but you can really push the boundaries, and we’re pushing ourselves and we’re pushing each other. I try to write something that’s even more intricate and they come back with arrangements that are even more intricate. Now, after two albums together and the gigs and all the time that we spent together, is that whatever I write, when it gets into the combination of the four of us, it’s elevated to a level that we never know when we start. Because when we start working on arrangements and we see the songs come alive, we really hear the difference, we hear what our bond can really create, and that’s inspiring for me to write even better, and it’s inspiring for them to arrange even better to work out of the box. If you play Native Soul and Seminole back to back, we’re still us as a band, but in my opinion, you can really tell the growth. We’re more concrete in our result, we’re more focused and we sound even more like ourselves, but the arrangements, the playing, and everything is just elevated because there’s a great band behind everything. It’s not just me writing songs and the band follows what I do. I wouldn’t be able to get to that level just by myself, and that’s why I always praise Aldo, Marco, and Nik for being fantastic, phenomenal bandmates and players. 7:11
On writing for so many projects – I need to have a target when I write. I’m not able to just sit down and write a song, that doesn’t really work with me, it works sometimes, but not at the level, I work with. I have to have a target, have a singer in mind, have an artist mind, and kind of follow the inspiration of that moment because I’m working to the target. Without that, I’m not able to channel my inspiration from scratch. I’m not one of those songwriters with 10,000 choruses on their voice memos or thousand’s of lyrics that they’ve never used. I’m not like that. I’m not whispering melodies, “Oh My God, I just wrote a song!” I’m not like that. I have to be in the studio, I have to feel the work that I have to do, and I have to get into the right mindset, thinking about what kind of lyrics that artist would want to say, first of all, and what the genre, the atmosphere, and the nuances that I can tailor over what the artist is known for. That’s always my starting point. I always start with the artist because I want to write for them. When I write for them, I’m not putting myself first. It’s not mine. Even if I’m an essential part of the work, I’m still behind the scene, and I want them to be confident on doing something that they know that’s been tailored to them. 10:44
On how he keeps ideas fresh – Last year I participated on over 170 songs. Not just writing alone, but maybe writing part of the melody or party of the lyrics with my team. We worked all together as a team on over-170 songs, and the only way that we can make this work is to be organized and go like, “Okay, we need one song for artist X and we need 10 songs for artist Y”. So that we can really concentrate and also be able to jump from one artist to another, still keeping everything sounding right in our vision. I’m not just a rock writer, when I could write anything, I could write a pop song, I’ve been writing pop songs, dance songs, and I’ve been doing so many things outside of the rock world that if I wrote without a direction, I wouldn’t be effective and productive in the right way to stay in the business, still having fun and making it right. It has been proven because of the results we’re getting that it’s a system that works. It takes lots of tries sometimes, because obviously when you’re writing for a lot of artists, the target sometimes is a little smaller than we think. But at the end of the day, this vision and this way of working has been proven to be effective, at least for us as a team for the last 10 years. I think it’s the best way, first of all, to keep myself sane in this business of writing so many songs, first of all, and to challenge ourselves, every time that there’s a new artist, then I go like, “Okay, we need to write for Giant”. Obviously, that is an even bigger task because you have to keep up with legacy and everything, but it really helps going like, “Okay, at least we know it’s a wider range, but we know where to have direction”. And then I just focused on, first of all, on the general atmosphere and the theme that we wanna talk in the songs, and I try to be as distant as the cliches of our genre and try to write meaningful lyrics. Sometimes some artists just don’t wanna get to in serious matters because that it’s not what they’re about. When I wrote for Michael Sweet for the Sunbomb record with Traci Guns, I never wrote a Christian record, but I really wanted to give Michael something that could reflect his vision of life. I went back to the Book of Revelation in the Bible, and I had to study for a week because I wanted to write a concept about the Revelation Book, but I had to start the book again to be right. That is a mirror of what I do. I wanted Michael to feel comfortable in getting my songs and go like, “This feels like something that I would write”. The blueprint that I gave him was comfortable for him, and it felt right to him as a singer, as a Christian singer, first of all. 13:40
On working with Jeff Scott Soto – Well, first of all, watch out because we’re gonna come out with a new record, with Jeff and we even topped our last album together. That’s gonna be something that you will enjoy if you liked the last record. Jeff is the perfect example of the collaboration that I love to do. Jeff is a prolific writer and a great lyricist, one of my favorite lyricists of all time, and we work perfectly together because I just write the music and I send him the music and he has an open door on combining my talent and his vision so that it’s still sounding like a Jeff Scott Soto record but with a different, new twist. The best thing about writing with Jeff is that we’re fueling a fire for each other, and he’s like sending me examples of what we could write or what we could take as a reference, and then what I send him back is something that maybe is challenging him on writing something that’s in his comfort zone, but not too much. I think it proves that we can do great things. Honestly, the Spektra album came out so much better than we thought. I’m still amazed at what a great record we did, and what a great singer BJ is, and what a great opportunity also for Jeff and I to write something for somebody else to not just Jeff and prove to ourselves that our songs are not just JSS songs, they are songs we could basically deliver to anyone in rock and probably even beyond. 19:03