Interview date

2 novembre 2010


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Andrea Arcangeli (by mailer)

Could you introduce the band to potential metal fans who don’t know you really well?

DGM are an Italian progressive/power metal band. We started our career in 1996 with an EP called “Random Access Zone”, it was totally instrumental. In 1998, we released our first album “Change Direction”, at that time we received great response from all over the world, that’s why the second album “Wings Of Time” has been successfully released in Japan too. Since the second album DGM's role in the Italian/European metal scene became more important release after release… "Dreamland” is the third chapter and again we were shown great support. We then got a deal with Italian Scarlet Records and since then we have released “Hidden Place” (2003), “Misplaced”(2004), “Different Shapes” (2007), “Frame”(2009) and in these days we’re out with our first official live DVD, SYNTHESIS. During the years the line up of the band has changed a bit, now DGM are: Mark Basile (voice), Simone Mularoni (guitars), Me: Andrea Arcangeli (bass), Emanuele Casali (keys) and Fabio Costantino (drums).

You’ve often been described as a mixture of bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X and Malmsteen. Do you agree with this description? Would you say these bands are some of your major influences?

I agree if we talk about influences, Malmsteen has probably been the first influence of the band, due to the ex-guitar player/founder Diego Reali, he’s Malmsteen’s number one fan. Symphony X are the second main influence, due to the new guitar player Simone Mularoni. These bands have been the heads of this kind of music so it’s impossible not to have been influenced by them. But sometimes peoplel find it easier to put a band in relations with them… you know I think it’s easy to describe a progressive band as a clone or a relative of Dream theater or Symphony X instead of spending a few more words. He he he…

So you’re releasing a DVD to celebrate 15 years of music. What can you tell us about it? Are you satisfied with the result?

Oh yeah, we’re totally satisfied about it. The show has been taken from the Italian Headbanger Fest in Rome. The show was simply perfect, so we’re really happy about the performance, the director did a wonderful job and Simone took care of the sound for the whole product... excellent. The DVD contains more than a live gig... you can find backstage scenes, a little making of of our last studio album “Frame”, the official video of “Hereafter” and a bonus CD with 10 tracks, 8 old songs re arranged and re recorded with the actual line up, and two unreleased songs.

On the bonus CD, you’ve recorded old songs with the new line-up, was it interesting to rediscover these older tunes?

Well, me and Fabio are the only members who recorded the original versions of the songs so it was only interesting for us hehehe... more than interesting we can say hard, hard to forget the original version, after all these years play in a different way and try to change some things confused us a bit. For the rest, it has been simply fantastic to listen to our old songs sung and played by the other guys, these songs have surely been enriched and refreshed by their capability.

Will this be the opportunity to play more old songs live?

For sure this is the chance to play more old songs, we used to play some of the tracks you find on the Synthesis CD, but we put them apart for a while giving more space to “Frame” tracks. Now we can fill the set list with some of them again.

FrAme is probably your best album so far. Do you feel this way? And is it the reason why there are so many songs from that album on the DVD and so few from your earlier works?

Yeah, we really feel that FrAme is probably our best album ever, due to a simple reason: we finally have a really strong line up not only as musicians but as friends, so the recording period has been something really fantastic… as you can see from the little “Making Of…” this makes easier to write the songs and to push out all the good vibrations we had in that period, let’s say this album perfectly reflects a really perfect moment in the life of the band. The reason why we’ve chosen to put most of the new songs on the live DVD is because we realized that every song of FrAme has a really powerful impact in live shows, and we already had the idea of a best of, so we decided to offer the new material played live and the old one recorded in the studio.

There are two new songs on the bonus CD, “Just Like Before” and “The Only One”, did you compose more songs for this release and didn’t use them?

No we only wrote these two songs, “Just Like Before” has been completely written for Synthesis, it’s completely new. We started working on “The Only One” during the recording of FrAme but there was only a couple of riffs, as soon as we decided to release Synthesis, everyone of us agreed to complete that song, in our opinion it’s really good.

Mark Basile is an excellent singer and fits the DGM sound very well. What would you say he brought as a singer?

As you said Mark is really a great singer! Let me say that he’s first of all a great person, a very easy and funny guy, it’s impossible not to work in a good way with him. Then, he’s simply perfect at singing, most of the songs have almost been recorded at first take and it’s not easy for a singer, believe me. As a complete artist, Mark also plays keys, he brought new ideas in the band he’s got a fantastique blues touch, most of the lyrics he wrote have been strongly influenced by his bluesy way.

I also really liked Titta Tani, the previous singer who had a beautiful voice too, what happened with him? Did he leave the band or was he asked to leave? And why?

It has been a common decision, we were tired of him and he was tired of us. Titta is a good singer, but he’s not been a good person with the band, at least in the last period. This is the main reason why we thought it was better that Titta left the band.

Do you find it hard to preserve the band’s identity with so many line-up changes over the years?

It’s not easy indeed, but it’s something we’ve naturally preserved also due to the new members that have completely understood the meaning of the band, the way the band used to write songs, the importance of melody in the music... the essence of DGM. Simone, Emanuele and Mark are great musicians and they’ve totally understood the DGM sound… and they also make it better.

Are you going to tour to promote “Synthesis”? Can we hope for a concert in France? Some of us have been waiting for years!

It’s not easy for us to arrange a real tour, in Italy there aren't any serious booking agencies and we have to provide everything by ourselves. At the moment we’re waiting for some answers, and we’ll be in Belgium on the 11th of December and in Sardinia here in Italy on the 18th of December.

Has work on a new album already started? When will we be able to listen to a whole new DGM record?

Well, it’s really too soon to talk about a new album, we’d like to promote Synthesis for a while, give people time to listen and enjoy the last DVD… maybe next year we’ll start working on a new one.

You seem to become more “metal” and less “progressive” from an album to the other, how do you think your style will evolve in the near future?

It’s true what you say, DGM style underwent a strong revolution with Simone on the guitar, his sound is more fresh and young if compared to Diego’s. They’re both great guitar players but they have different styles, that’s why we changed our sound to a more metal one. Also the way to write the songs has changed, Simone writes almost 98% of all the material and he has a more straight visions of how song has to be, he finds the right way to put melody and metal together with no many useless progressive stuff... ahahahah.

It seems DGM had jazzy influences on earlier albums, and even on the track “Not In Need” from your last record. Do you enjoy Jazz music and would you like to put more of it in your music?

Yes it's true, especially on "Hidden Place", almost everyone of us likes blues and jazz, you know the world of music is really big, it’s impossible not to put influences of your background in what you write. I think in the early years we wanted to try something different, sometimes it worked, sometimes not... nowadays we know exactly what we want to play and how to play with our influences in the songs. "Not In Need" is a perfect example of what I mean, it is a Rock/blues song at the end, it has a funky riff and slapping bass… bluesy lyrics… but it’s a metal song.

15 years of music, what are the things in DGM you are the most proud of?

I’m proud of everything that has been made by DGM talking about music, and I’m really proud of the friendship between all the members. DGM has always been considered a big family and it’s not easy to find a band with this kind of relationship inside. Everyone of us respects each other as an artist but first as a friend, it is a more mature way to live the music. This is maybe the thing I’m most proud of.

What band would you love to tour with?

Oh well… there are many… mmmm… let me think, surely bands such as Symphony X, Kamelot, Ark... just because they're closer to our style. But there are really too many of them…

I saw you at the PPM Fest in Belgium a few months ago. How did this festival work for you?

The fest was simply fantastic. More than 6000 people and a perfect organization, nothing to say... it was just an amazing fest for DGM. We really had a lot of fun and all the staff has been extremely kind and professional with us, a kind of perfection that is not usual for most of the festivals.

You will return to Belgium in December for a smaller version of this festival called PPM Fest Event for the occasion. But this time, I understand you will be the headliner. Will it be a different show? Will you have more time?

Yeah, it’s a smaller version of the PPM Fest, the show will have some differences for sure. We’ll have the chance to play something from the Synthesis best of CD, and maybe some other surprises, we’ll have a lot of time so we’ll have fun.

Have you been contacted for the 2011 edition?

Not yet, but we’ll surely discuss it directly in December.

Simone Mularoni, your guitar player, is in another band called Empyrios which will also be part of the bill. Can you tell us more about this band? Will Simone play with them in December?

Not only Simone will play with his band, but also Emanuele (keys) will play on the same bill with his band called Astra. Both of them will play with their bands, this is thanks to the management of the fest which was totally impressed by Astra and Empyrios and tried to make something useful in calling all the bands for one single show. It’s also best for us 'cause we’re all friends and it will give us the chance to have fun all together, ehehehe...

Are you or other members of DGM involved in other projects?

As you already know, Simone has his own band called Empyrios and Emanuele has his project called Astra and many side projects. Mark is involved in a band called B.R.A.K.E. and in an acoustic duet for some gigs during the week. I’m involved in a band called Solisia and since last winter I’ve been involved in a band called Airlines Of Terror too… and many other side projects… as you can see almost everyone of us has different ways to express his own music, ahahah...

You recently participated to the ProgPower USA XI. How did it turn out?

We simply received a message in which they invited us to that fest, the rest has been another amazing experience so far. ProgPower USA is probably the most important fest for the metal scene and it's something you can’t easily forget. The management took care about everything in a very professional way, the crowd has been really hot… most of them were waiting for us so we couldn’t disappoint them, ehehehe. Simply a great fest...

The Italian metal scene seems quite dynamic these days. What do you think of it? And what role do you think DGM plays in it?

In my opinion, Italy has always been dynamic for the last 20 years. A lot of bands were born and died in the underground, great bands that didn't have the chance to come out of this country. In the last period, people outside started having a look at what is happening in our country and recognized the music quality Italian bands are capable of... Nowadays, DGM has an important role in the Italian metal scene, we are surely one of the most quoted together with other names, many bands are taking us as an example in progressive power metal, and I’m really satisfied to know about it. To finish, let’s say that in 15 years I can say we have reached the “Olympo” of the Italian metal scene.

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