Fireworks Magazine Online 68 - Interview with MainStreet

MainStreet: An interview with Mauro Guarnieri

It has been five years since this Italian five-piece have released an album, and 'Second Chance' is aptly titled, as it is MainStreet's second effort. With a brand new line-up and having that DIY attitude, Bruce E.J. Atkinson explores both the very creative side of MainStreet and their business side as well, with guitarist Mauro Guarnieri...

Mainstreet Interview

Let's begin with a history of the group...

MainStreet consists of Andrea Delsignore on vocals, Ivan Garbuio and Mauro Guarnieri on guitars, Antonello Colamonaco on bass, Ivan Belloni on drums and Pietro Venezia on Piano/keys and arrangements and were born in 2003 in Milan, Italy. We began as cover band, so nothing new about that, but we tried to be as original as possible; we played (and still play) Danger Danger, Firehouse, Hardline, Tyketto, Johnny Lima, Gotthard, Journey, just to name a few.

At the time of this interview, we are celebrating the release of your second album, aptly entitled 'Second Chance', but MS is different from the group of five years ago...obviously in line-up but what about with the music itself?

This is absolutely true. I believe that MS, with '...Chance', found their own way to Rock. Our debut, 'Back To The 80's', was a derivative work with strong 1980s Hard Rock influences, '...Chance' maintains an 1980s verve, but is more personal and orchestral as well, with big keyboards, guitar riffs but also violins, cellos and contrabasses. We were looking for Melodic Hard Rock songs and sophisticated orchestral arrangements with tracks as catchy as possible and with classic AOR taste. We hope to have reached this goal and we hope to convey to the listener some good vibes.

Venezia is credited with the arrangements of all the songs, who are the principle writers?

Venezia has been an essential figure for '...Chance'. He arranged all the songs, he wrote the scores, he co-produced with me and Danilo Di Lorenzo... Ivan and I started with a clear idea of what '...Chance' would be; a Melodic Rock album with something more. I think Pietro wrote a great soundtrack and I think this could be one of the best "soundtrack summaries" of our life. Also Belloni and I wrote the music for the album and we also wrote the lyrics together with Nicoletta Bosio, Ivan's wife and an author here in Italy. Di Lorenzo helped us to find the glue for our ideas!

Understanding that it has been five years since your debut, how much time was given for writing this collection of recorded work?

'...Chance' has been a great journey, in fact we faced a lot of good and bad "adventures" and life's highs and lows. We started to write for '...Chance' in late 2009 and we had the songs played and arranged for the pre-production in 2012. We had a problem...we had to find the other guys to play with, live and in studio. Fortunately we found a great replacement for the original members in Delsignore, Ivan and Colamonaco. We studied and played mostly in the recording studio, rather than in our rehearsal room because we had to maximize the time to finish this work. It could be a more professional approach but at that time we couldn't do better...

'...Chance' is so lush in its production and performance. Will this be difficult to re-create on stage?

'...Chance' is a great work of arrangements and mixing abilities, there are something like two hundred and fifty tracks to manage in many songs.... Live we are going to play with Pietro for the first dates and with Daniele Bignotti (keyboards) who will help us live and will be a new band member. We reached a good sound compromise for the live experience. I think we'll be more "in your face" but without denaturalizing our studio work, so energy, melody and big airy keys.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

Do you think you have accomplished everything you set out to do on this release?

I think we have no regrets; we played best as we could and we took the time we wanted to do this. The main reason we play is because we have a great passion. Some of us plays or teaches music professionally but all of us are playing for a living, without music we could not live at all.

It seems that you are, again, releasing this relatively on your own, right?

Yes, we are a fully "auto produced" band, without any pressure or external influences. It's hard to do this because we're living in this society where most of the time music has to be free or maybe downloadable for free. It's not easy for bands like us because you'll face a lot of expenses without any economic return. This doesn't mean we expected to become rich (ha-ha) but just to find some funds to invest in our music to produce a new work in an affordable time.

Do you feel that having the internet progressing the way it is, that this gives you an advantage over your own music and the way it is presented to the world?

Actually it is possible to record a full length album in your room at home and with a 'click' go to Youtube, to iTunes and so on...the most difficult thing is to let the world know that you exist and that you are, like other billions of bands, trying to say something. The internet is a great media to reach the world and the best way to be presented to the world is sites and magazines that speak about this specific music genre, and the curiosity to find and listen to something new. That most of us are over forty and we keep the curiosity we had when we were teenagers; we were looking for vinyl of bands that in Italy were very difficult to find and we read about this in magazines, most of the time not Italian magazines, we travel around the world to see concerts by these bands. We'd like that this curiosity could be present nowadays. Business a lot of time is no equal to quality.

You certainly have a unique style and your interpretations of AOR music is a breath of fresh air. Where do the members take their influences from, as I hear not only some Melodic Hard Rock and orchestral movements, but also some Progressive elements?

Thank you! We like music 360°. Our first choice is AOR and Melodic Rock from the past till today. Belloni is a big collector of 1970s Prog music, Pietro has a strong Classical background, I have a strong British Rock background, Garbuio is an 1980s Rock boy, Colamonaco has Modern Progressive knowledge and Delsignore is so versatile that he plays everything from The Beatles to Ronnie James Dio. I think the most beautiful thing of artistic performances is that everyone can put in his own experience and this is different from person to person so the result will be different and original.

The lyrical content is also top drawer, and rather personal in some songs, was this intentional?

We try to give great importance to the lyrics and Bosio did a great job. I think there is an interesting contrast between the fresh, airy music and intimate, dark lyrics. When we write we'd like to give food for thought. You can find lighter lyrics in 'Its Name Is' but you can also read something more personal in, 'Prayer' and 'Love Can Hurt You So Strong', about daily life, 'No Way', or about madness 'What To Believe In?'. There are no rules in writing a song for us, sometimes music dictates the words, other times it is the music which follow the lyrics...

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