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Daniele Liverani (Genius)

Interview with Daniele Liverani from Genius
by Thodoris Pantazopoulos at 07 June 2004, 10:32 PM

How many artists in the world wake up one morning and come up with an idea to compose a rock opera? I certainly don't know the exact answer to that nor do I know how many of them finally manage to make that personal ambition come true. Well…actually I do know one musician who made it, for sure. Ladies and gentlemen behold one of the most ambitious and tallented musicians from Italy, Daniele Liverani! \[Interview done via e-mail]

First of all, I consider it as an obligation to express my admiration for your latest release and congratulate you for Genius’ 2nd part. It’s a stunning album!

Well, Thank you very much, it’s a great pleasure for me to hear such positive responses…these types of comments give me the strength to carry on! :)

As anyone can see, some things have changed from the 1st part. There are lots of new people added to the cast, many famous heavy metal personalities like Russell Allen, Liv Kristine, Edu Falaschi. Was it easy to approach them? Tell us, if possible, how the necessary contacts were made.

Frontiers offered me, since the first episode, to work with them to build up a great Genius project giving me the possibility of choosing the cast from a list of over 30 great singers that were already working with Frontiers for distribution of recording deals, and that has helped a lot to get in touch with them of course.

So the deal with Frontiers has been really the key that has turned this Genius project into a worldwide interest project that has been able to get very famous singers into his cast. But I also wanted to include some singers that were not in the Frontiers list, Russel Allen, Jeff Martin, Roberto Tiranti, Liv Kristine and Daniel Gidenlow for example were contacted by me directly.

I knew that anyone else would have singed their parts better, and so searched them and I asked them to join the cast and after having listened to the preproduction demo they accepted! Speaking about the first episode I was very excited to have the collaboration of Midnight, I tried hard to contact him and after many researches I found him and convinced him to sing in the project.

To have Midnight back on the scene again is a dream come true form me…and even more in reason of the fact that he sings my lyrics! He’s still a great voice and interpretation like at Crimson Glory times!

I was a pretty hard work to convince Midnight to even think about participating, he’s a very mysterious person…I know that many producers and musicians have tried to get him back at the microphone into heavy metal with no success and I must say that I’m very happy that I did had success in this hard job!

Initially he was very cold and distant, but as soon as he had the chance of listening to the material he changed a lot his behavior and we started to become friends…

I think that the main reason that induced him to accept the part has been the story and the lyrics that he liked very much since his first listen…I could not explain why he’s never accepted to sing in other projects if it wasn’t for this…

Where there any singers who refused taking part in Genius and why was that?

I had some contacts with some great singers that finally didn’t agree to sing in the second episode actually, like Bobby Kimball of Toto, Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, Sammy Hagar…they felt not to be fitting the parts I was offering them…anyway they gave me positive opinion on the music and this has positive in any case for me.

Anyway I’ve been dealing with many singers in the period of the casting and I can’t remember all of them sorry…you can’t imagine how many research I did to find the right voices for the new Genius characters…

I believe that any heavy metal musician would crave for haveing elite singers, personal idols participating in his/her creation (including me). Is that so ideal as it seems or isn’t working with such famous people the easiest thing in the world? Share the experience you had through the whole process with us.

Well, I must admit that I was really blown away when I started to work with these great singers, hearing my songs singed by such great artist is really difficult to explain…pure excitement!

Anyway I was surprised by who it was easy to come through all the phases of the work, all these singers are really simple persons and great guys that really did their best as if it was their own project. Unfortunately I’ve met only a few of them, most of the singers have recorded in their own town. So, the recording of the vocal tracks have been coordinated by me by internet and mail and phone, working in distance…

Basically everyone has chosen a personal producer for the Vocals and recorded into their usual studios locally in their town, I was very happy with this choice because every one of them knew the right person to work with and some of them are also very good producers as well…

It was pretty a lot of time and work to make everything work fine, decide all the formats and speaking to all the producers has taken so much time, and also some problems have happened….but nothing too major!:)

I sent away all the music, the lyrics and charts and I followed all the recording via internet giving the final ok and my suggestion on the recording from my studio here in Italy….

I decided to give very much freedom to the guest singers, everyone would have had the possibility of expressing his style into the character….When I got back all the vocals tracks it took me months to edit and join everything! Every duet had to be perfect and every vocal part would have been in the right place…

The choirs have been done great! Chris Boltendahl has managed to put together the same team of Grave Digger for the choirs and they did a huge work!!! I made some postproduction adjustments and I took some decisions on how and what use or not of the material and versions the singers gave me, but I had a GREAT material to choose on and it was so great time for me!!

Did you encounter any difficulties while assigning the roles to the cast? Were there any thoughts about whether a voice would suite to a role or not? I think Russell Allen is a perfect League Commander!

I looked for the best choice for each character according to their profile in the story! Mark Boals was perfect for Genius, with his high tones and that young-shaped voice; Daniel Gildenlow suited great to Twinspirit32 and his incredible dynamics. Russel Allen is very powerful and was perfect for Dream league commander…

So in general I tried to assign the appropriate parts to each guest singer that has been interested in participating in the opera…trying to choose the right singer for what the Character was requiring. Some contacts of these singers were offered to me by Frontiers; some others have been contacted personally by myself.

I read Genius’ story and I found it really interesting and enjoyable. Can you tell us a few words about it so that anyone who reads us can get into it?

Genius is a rock opera trilogy that will include a total of 33 songs (11 for each episode). Even if the total duration of the Opera is about 4 hours of music for 3 CDs, the whole story concept refers to a dream experienced by the main character, ’Genius’, that lasts only 10 minutes!

It’s known that dreams are often creating a time-stretch effect in our minds, so that a 10 minutes long dream can be remembered as a day long story…In fact, these 10 minutes of Genius’ dream have been described in 4 hour of music! But we are not talking about a regular dream like all humans have always  experienced…In this 10 minutes Genius goes too far and discovers for the first time all the secrets of human’s dream creation…

At 7 o’ clock on a typical Monday morning (exactly the 20 of December 1999), his alarm clock near the bed starts to ring as usual. While he’s slowly getting awaken, listening to the sound of his old clock, he finds out that its bells are playing a strange but repetitive sequence of beats.

Genius is a smart Heavy Metal drummer and suddenly starts to imagine that strange sequence played on a snare drum…as a drum fill.

While his imagination is following that pattern he feels very strange and falls asleep again, feeling like attracted from his pillow.

After a few seconds he starts to dream and he finds himself in front of a big golden gate, suspended in the air, where 2 women (Doorkeepers) seemed to be waiting for him.

Initially he doesn’t understand if what’s going on is only the result of his dreaming or if what he’s experiencing is something much more important…

Then he slowly realizes that this strange dream has connected his mind with an alternative reality…Genius has been attracted and wrongly admitted for a sum of casual circumstances into a strange and apparently non sense parallel dimension.

Later he’ll discover that that place is an alternative world where human dreams are created and conducted. To best enjoy this opera you should have a brief explanation of some basic concepts of this alternative dreams creation world: This parallel dimension is organized in many kingdoms, one for each continent.

Each kingdom is ruled by a King. The whole group of the kingdoms is called Dream League and is leaded by the supreme Maindream, the most powerful character…

The Kings involved in these first episodes are King Mc Chaos (European dreams kingdom) and King Wild Tribe (African dreams kingdom).

Each time that a human starts to sleep, an entity called ’Twinspirit’  is created for him by the Dream League and sent into one of these kindoms (depending of the continent where the human dreamer lives).

An ID number is assigned to this Twinspirit to be recognized from all the others.

This number is also the ID number of the dream that will be conducted by the Twinspirit.

In fact, when Genius gets caught into that dimension, is identified with ID n.33 by the doorkeepers, and wrongly exchanged by a regular Twinspirit.

This ’Twinspirit’ is responsible for the conduction of his assigned human dream fantasies.

His existence starts when his human owner starts to sleep and ends at his awake.

Its duty is to create all the fantasies that his assigned human will dream about during his sleeping session, using a sort of multimedia equipment that is provided to him by the Dream League.

At the end of his life (the end of the dream) he sends to his human owner mind all the memories of the dream that he has recorded into a multimedia support build inside him, of course if he has time to do this transmission.

If the human awake is very fast sometimes this can’t happen. That’s why sometimes dreams are not remembered by the humans…All these Twinspirits are created and sent into a sort of dream’s factory, fully equipped with consoles ready to be used for the dream’s conduction. This place is called ’’Twinspirit Land’…Each kingdom has its ’Twinspirit Land’ where all the Twinspirits can perform their job during their short life.

So…Genius is actually dreaming and laying in his bed that morning for those intense 10 minutes… but during that unusual dream he has the chance of entering that unknown alternative world and meet the Twinspirit that is conducting his dream (his ID is n.32 in fact it’s been created just right before Genius arrival, right after he started to sleep and to dream). This meeting creates a sort of incredible paradox…He’s dreaming of being exactly there, in front of his assigned Twinspirit that can’t believe to see his human owner in front of him!

It’s from that meeting that Genius will understand what’s going on…and also the reason why he was been attracted and admitted there. The strange repetitive sequence of beats that his clock is casually ringing that morning is exactly the same sequence that all the newborn Twinspirits usually uses to knock on the gate of the European Kingdom as a sort of password to be admitted!

Being a drummer, Genius starts to dream of snare hits that follow that clock sequence and this sound arrives to the European Kingdom Doorkeepers that exchange it as a newborn Twinspirit knocking at their Gates…As soon as the Doorkeepers open the kingdom gates, and attract Genius a magic link between reality and that alternative dreams creation world is activated. Genius’ sleeping mind is attracted and captured into a Twinspirit entity identified as n.33, starting to link his dreaming to that parallel dimension and experiencing everything exactly like a regular Twinspirit!

He is really looking like a Twinspirit, but the problem is that he’s not a real Twinspirit with built in experience on how to conduct dreams of a Human. There is no dreaming human assigned to a Twinspirit ID n.33! He’s only the mind of a dreaming human into a Twinspirit entity that doesn’t know anything about how to conduct a dream and how that world was working! Soon as Genius would be arrived at his console in the Twinspirit Land this would be noticed by someone. Nothing would be appearing into his console, and into the console of his assigned Twinspirit n.32 there would have been the exact view of his eyes!

This dreams dimension was born at the same time of human appearance in the real world, but has progressed a lot faster and has reached a level of evolution up to 100 times higher, so it’s easy for every entity of that dimension to enter into human reality if it would have wanted. As opposite, it would be Impossible for a human in normal circumstances to enter their dimension…

But one of the main rules of Dream League is that all humans must be kept unaware of this mechanism and of this dreams dimension, to prevent safety and privacy of dreams…could you imagine if all humans could know how to get into that alternative world and interact with their Twinspirit like Genius is doing? Every human could have been entering that place and maybe learn to conduct their dreams by them self! The Dream League secrets and prestige would have been violated forever!

When the Twinspirit n.32 realizes that the entity he has near to him is not a real Twinspirit but the mind projection of his human owner ’Genius’ that is dreaming of being there into a looking like Twinspirit, he knows that many problems would happen into the European Dream Kingdom (and especially to its king: Mc Chaos King) if this was discovered. What is happening is strictly prohibited and very dangerous and the European king would be considered responsible for this crime and charged with severe punishments. Genius is breaking a basic rule with it’s presence in that place!

Even if his Twinspirit knows that what is going on is something not allowed he could not avoid himself to conduct the dream of his owner…and his owner is dreaming of being there in that moment! Genius is obviously discovered.

Twinspirit n.32 suddenly becomes wanted by the Dream League Force (The police of the Dream League). They need to terminate him before he would have the chance to pass the dream memories to Genius at his awake, so that he would have not remembered that particular Dream and reveal to the whole humanity what he has learnt about dreams creation process and especially how to enter in!

All the dangerous adventures caused by the presence of Genius into this dreams creation world…, the meeting with his assigned Twinspirit n.32…, the friendship they developed during their adventures …, the anger of the kings of all the Dream’s kingdoms and especially of their supreme leader Mr. Maindream against King Mc Chaos, that is considered responsible for the dangerous crime of having allowed a human into his European Dreams  kingdom…, the research of a solution to all these troubles by Genius and his Twinspirit n.32…

These will be the main thrilling content of the whole Genius trilogy…Will Genius remember this dream and reveal to the whole humanity all the secrets he learnt after his awake? This is the basics of the Genius concept.

The last few years, more and more rock operas seem to appear, like Aina, Ayreon, Garry Hughe’s personal one, Star One and of course Genius. Aren’t you troubled by the fear that the audience might be suspicious about these releases? Can Genius survive the competition?

I think there’s the space for everyone in the music world to express his own music and not competition, I admire and like very much all the other operas that have been released lately and I absolutely don’t feel any kind of competition with those artists…the quality of my music can be judged by the fans that have the chance to decide to buy it or not, and this is not depending on how many other operas are on the market in my opinion.

Also I’m not worried about anything when I release an album because I think that every project has a personal story and a personal style and to the listeners that will appreciate the music this will be clear in my opinion. I think that the more good music is released the more is available for fans that can chose what they prefer, acting with freedom. I make music to express myself basically and that’s why I’m not worried about any kind of competition and that’s why I like to listen also to other musicians that do the same thing I do in projects like Ayreon, Avantasia, Nostradamus, Aina, Missa Mercuira and all the great bands as well out there.

What is your vision about the 3rd and final part of the trilogy? Except for the predictable ones, have you decided which people will participate? Will there be a major surprise as far as the cast is concerned?

Of course the two main characters, Genius and Twinspirit32 (Mark Boals and Daniel Gildenlow) will continue the saga, but for the rest of the cast expect new great singers. I’m not sure if some of the old singers of part 1 and 2 will reappear on the final episode, but surely there will be a lot of new exciting guest singers for new characters appearing. Basically you can expect for episode 3 a great final, and a great surprise of the story…I’m trying to make it sound more impressive as possible…to give the right emotion to a final step of a great trilogy that has been keeping my busy for more that 6 years…

Is there any possibility metal fans will see the Genius’ cast gathered for some live shows? I know it sounds crazy and tremendously ambitious but it would be at least magic!

It will be of course difficult to create a show with all the original Genius guest singers, it would really be another dream come true for me! Anyway I’m prepared to put together a reduced cast and a band and I’ll definitely tour if the sales will be good enough to get the interest of the business in having Genius Trilogy on stage….it would also be great to make a video or even a full film of the story….maybe Steven Spielberg at the direction…wouldn’t it be great? Well let’s do one step at a time…now I’m concentrating on finishing the last episode 3.

Daniele, the final words belong to you. I should thank you once more for the great music you deliver us!

Let me express my gratitude and my devotion for your interest and support!!! I hope that we’ll get in touch again for the next Genius episode! A big hello to all Greek music fans…you’re all great! :)

All the best,

Daniele Liverani


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