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Interview with Sleeping Romance


Interview by Roland Oei

Italian Symphonic Metal band Sleeping Romance released their excellent second studio album, Alba, in 2017. Roland Oei caught up with singer Federica (FA) and Federico (FO) (guitars and orchestration) to find out more about the writing of the album.

Sleeping Romance Interview

Can you please describe your music to someone that hasn't heard it before?

FO: It is symphonic metal because we use a lot of orchestration and sometimes we recall some things from classical music and this is our first characteristic and it is metal because we love guitars and it is not the classical style of symphonic metal bands because Frederica does not sing in the classical way but in a modern way and we don't have the use of a growler or a secondary vocalist and that is what most of the bands in that genre do.

Is it hard to mix the classical music with the metal elements?

FO: Well those two kinds of music are really close is some ways. I think metal has some characteristics that are really close to classical music for example the ways that metal guitarists play their instruments because they are strict on their techniques like classical musicians have to be so I think this is the first thing they have in common and then I think something like strings and classical instruments go really well with the distortion of guitars and drums fit in every sort of music so that is why I think classical and heavy metal music can work together very well.

Do you two do most of the writing in the band?

FO: We write all the music parts and I compose the metal parts and the orchestral stuff and I write the vocal lines and then together with Frederica we work on the lyrics so from the vocal line we know what the song is going to talk about and then we start to write the lyrics together. This is how it works.

Can you tell the readers about the writing of your most recent album, Alba.

FO: I recorded it in my home studio. It was a long process. We started recording the drums in September of 2015. The drums were recorded in a studio near to my home town and I work there as a freelance producer and we used the studio for three days to record the drums and then we started recording the guitars in my home studio and the bass and then the orchestra parts, I recorded them using real instruments and I divided the sections into strings, brass and woodwind. I didn't play the instruments but I recorded some other musicians that played them because my job is to be a composer and I work with a lot of that kind of musicians and I we recorded a string quartet four times for each song and a brass quartet was recorded three times for each song and we recorded two woodwinds, a flute and a clarinet and I recorded them in my own studio.

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We also recorded a choir in an ancient church in Italy. It is a church that was made in 1300 and it is nice and closed to the public and the choir is used to practicing there. The conductor helped us with the choir because there were 35 elements; people altogether that sing together in the church and it was really crazy. So we started in September and we finished the record, the voices, in January of 2016. We recorded voices for three weeks and Frederica was in the studio for a month recording voices.

FA: We did different interpretations of my voice because we didn't want the voice to sound too bright and we wanted a darker kind of voice so I tried to work on it even if I am a soprano leggero which means my voice is usually higher and brighter. It is different from soprano drammatico which is a dramatic soprano. The voice is sort of a white voice, bright and very light.

FO: We were looking for different kinds of voices because this album is darker than the first album and together we tried to do something different.
FA: I worked on my body to put my larynx down and use a more darker kind of voice and it was really hard and a real challenge for me to use aggressive moods in singing and thanks to Federico it was a real challenge for me to face this process of interpretation.

So is it hard to do those voices live?

FA: Well I have to work on it but I keep on studying both modern and operatic singing and there is a lot of work behind it.

FO: It is nice because it is a challenge. If you always stay in the way you know then you can't grow or challenge yourself so you need to change and on the next album we will be looking for something new and so who knows.

FA: Of course you have to respect your voice, your instrument, but it is really good to give us a chance to improve and try something new.

What sort of lyrics did you cover on Alba?

FA: We developed Federico's idea. Alba is a real concept album and it is about the story of a young lady going through the darkness in order to reach the sun and give it back to humanity so we have this metaphor, this really introspective trip in which you have to face your monster and your shadows and you have to keep in contact with your dark side and it was really deep for us to write the lyrics so each word is deeply thought out and so I think everyone can see a part of him or her on the lyrics.

FO: The fact is the lyrics do not talk about Alba. Alba is just the name. It is an Italian name that means dawn, the rise of the sun. Alba is a typical Italian name for a girl so we used the name for the sun coming out. The fact is each song doesn't talk about Alba but they talk about feelings, of what she is feeling at those moments of her life and I think it is really nice because it talks about moments that everyone has had in their lives and sometimes, something changes in your life that changes everything and you have to start again to find yourself and that is what Alba is about and at the moment Federica and I were working on the album something happened like that in our lives.

FA: There was a deep change in our lives at that time period and it was inspiring for us to be able to write down those emotions and each song represents a different emotion that we had to develop so you can see the whole picture or you can consider each song individually.

FO: But it is not a fantasy story. That is the point. It is a story that can relate to everyone so that is the point. We started from the point of a fantasy story but we took it to real situations.

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