Artist: Gianluca Firmo

Date: 5 April 2019


MM - Hi Gianluca, thanks for taking the time out to take part in this interview. 
Its my pleasure, thanks for asking me.    


MM -This is your first solo album so why now release as solo record?
- Because its a different style to the work I did with Room Experience.  I like to write songs with different styles and I wanted to do something different. With Room Experience there is a different vocal with David, he has a more powerful voice and is perfect in everything he sings, so the music has to go in the same direction, while I have a voice that isnt as powerful and doesnt have such a range, I wanted to try a different way of song writing. 

MM -There are a lot of different elements to this album compared to Room Experiencebecause David Readman has a very distinctive David Coverdale type of voice and your vocals are completely different? 
Thats the main reasons why the albums are so different, because the song writing is the same, the songs are pretty catchy, but the way you sing a song makes all the difference.


MM - So how long have you had this idea to do a solo project? 
Actually being a solo artist is where I started from.  I used to write songs for myself and my friends and everyone around me and I used to sing them. The idea to move away from singing the songs myself was when I started working on Room Experience.  The producer Davide Barbieri said wed rely on a more powerful singer, to release the record, but from the start I was a solo artist. 



After releasing Room Experience I was already working on the second record and the guys from the label here in Brescia asked me to release a solo record.  So I was more than happy to do it.  Even though David is a better singer than me, a good singer always adds something to the songs.  When you sing your own songs, you know right away where you want to take them.    


MM Yeah David Readman has a very distinctive vocal and to take on your own vocals is a big challenge, but of course it gives you a bit more control over the album as well.
Yeah, in fact the idea with this album was to get rid of all the compression.  If you listen to the album is quite low on volume, it sounds more punchier, bombastic, or whatever you want to call it.  Its just more relaxed, because I used almost no compression because Im pretty tired of hearing albums that are over compressed.  It kills the dynamics in the music.  So I wanted to try that as well and I think with my vocals being not so powerful, they had a role in that.  I could let the instruments live more.  


MM It sounds more organic.  It doesnt seem forced in any way.  Its a more natural album
Yeah it keeps the sound like a live recording and I like that thinking.  It's not the only option, yes I like the compressed albums with Room Experience 2, it will sound like the first Room Experience did.  It's not that I dont like that way, but with this album I wanted to try something different.  I like to listen to different styles of music.    


MM - So did you write all the songs intentionally for this album, or did you have some older tracks you wanted to include on the album
It was about half and half.  Half of the songs were already written and the other half were written for this album .  It was just a matter of choosing what songs.  This is why there is such a variety of styles on the album.    


MM Thats what I love about the album, its not all one level, there are a lot of different aspects to it.  It has multiple layers which keeps you as a listener focused as you dont know whats coming next. 
Yeah that's right.  Some people like that, but some people dont.  If they want to listen to a rock album they want the same feel throughout.  You never know what people expect.  I knew what I wanted to do with the album and thats why I did it that way.    


MM For me thats the whole point about solo albums is to make them different from what youre known for, or in this case, it would just be another Room Experience album, which you dont want.  You want the solo record to be personal.  You want it to be about you.
Yes it's more personal for sure, because I have been in control on everything on the album, right from the start, from the sound to the interpretation of the songs.  It might be good or not, but its what I wanted to do for sure.  

MM - I just love the likes of 'No Prisoners', 'Cowboys Once', 'Cowboys Forever' and Didnt Wanna Care', but are there any songs on the album that you are particularly proud of and that has a special meaning to you
I like them all, actually I think my favourite song is 'Shadows and Lights', that nobody cares about (laughs).  I really love this song.  I dont know why, its just a more relaxed sound that I like, but still powerful in many ways.  It just keeps the balance and I love the solo, which isnt mine.  The guy who did the guitars did a great job with that solo.  


MM So how did the guys working with you on the album get to be involved with yourself and the album
They are all guest musician who work in the area here.  A couple of them are working with some big names and with artists here in Italy on the Pop scene.  


I knew them because they are from my area, so when it wanted to do this album, I started asking them if they were available to record with me, and they were all pretty happy to do that, because it gave them a chance to work on an album which is the music they like the most.  


They already have been in contact asking if Im ready to do a second album, first the new Room Experience then maybe thing about the second solo album.  

The drummer Daniele Valseriati is from Tragodia, which is a metal band from here in Italy, the other guys the Bass player Nicola Iazzi played a couple of gigs with Hardline, but hes more know when he used to play with Embryo.  The guitar player Mattia "Noise Maker" Tedesco, hes the one who plays the Pop scene.  



MM - So whats the story behind the title track 'Rehab'
Because the song came first, I wrote it about being in 'Rehab' from your normal routine, you know you do the things you do for a living everyday, and when you get a chance to do the things you love this for me is 'Rehab'.    So when I had to choose a title for the album I thought it was good one, the meaning of 'Rehab' without passion is a horrible thing, because I am the singer and songwriter I wanted to make the album I wanted to make.    


MM - What influences your lyrics?  Do you take life experiences and put them down on paper?  Does your art reflect your life? 
I think everyone who writes or who is an artist, your work is some reflection of you life, not necessarily in the first person, it may be sometimes it's just a dream, or you hear about something or someone and you put it down in words.    


MM When I listen to the album I can hear a mixed variety of influences from Country to Hard Rock, to AOR, so are these the kind of genres you listen too? 
I listen to all them and I listen to lot more.  I like to keep my range varied.  If I listen to some Metal, then I have to listen to some Pop, then some AOR and then to some Blues.  So I keep my listening range very wide.  The most difficult part is to give them a direction in my song writing, as you want to give a little of everything to make the record you want, but keeping it sounding cool for everyone.  I know if I put this record out for our kind of audience, I want to do it my way but at the same time I need to set a style that will be listened to.  



MM I thought the song writing for this album and the song writing for the Room Experience album were both on par, it was just the different styles that make this album stand out for the Room Experience. 
So you prefer this one?  
MM Yes. 
Im happy to hear this because this isnt a common thing.  People will either listen to AOR or Hard Rock, so if you move away from that they arent happy.  But Im very happy to hear you like this album.    


MM So what is the Italian rock music scene like a the moment and how did you get involved with Street Symphonies Records
Because the guys from the label are from my home town, so it was quite easy for them to contact me and see if I wanted to do a solo record.  They got to know me from Room Experience and they wanted to have someone on the label to put our an AOR/Hard rock album, so they asked me if I wanted to do this.  It was easy because they were from my own town of Brescia.  Also the producer of Room Experience Zorro started a collaboration with them and created a new label, which is actually Burning Minds Music Group, which is four labels together following different styles.  So it was easy for me to tell them yes, I would like to work with them. 


Even though Frontiers is one of the biggest labels in Italy it's not for me. They work really hard and they are great.  They are almost a major label, but I dont have to time to be that professional artist because I still have my day job.  I did sent them the complete mix for the Room Experience album, but when Andrew from asked me to release the album with him, I was more than happy to do so, because I know hes a fan and it's more my level.  

It doesnt make sense to me if you are someone who is just starting out working in this business to try to compete with the bigger artists, because you are not on the same level.  


MM I think it also puts a lot of pressure on you as an artist, when youre signed to such a label, because people then expect the album to blow everyone away.  
Yes I agree.  This is my passion, it is not my job.  I wanted to do the album I wanted.  

MM So what other projects or album are you working on at the moment? 
At the moment Im working on the new Room Experience.  We are currently mixing, again with David Readman on vocals.  We are looking at releasing it in July, but more likely September.  Also Im working on another project with some guys here, they asked me to write some songs.  Ive also starting to put things together for the second solo album, but it still has a long way to go.  I have the songs, it is just a case of choosing the right ones and working out who will be involved with the production and everything like that. It won't be next year, maybe the year after.    


MM Well thank you for taking part in the interview, it's been a pleasure.  I can't wait for the next Room Experience album and I wish you well in everything you do.  
Thank you Barry, it's been a pleasure.  


Interview by: Barry McMinn




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