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Francesco Tonazzini (Shining Fury)

Interview with Francesco Tonazzini from Shining Fury
by Grigoris Chronis at 19 April 2006, 3:31 AM

After five years of existence, it's a good thing Italian Power metallers Shining Fury still keep it up with splendid releases, such as their latest Another Life album. On a - somehow - different basis than the 'usual' Italian Metal style, Shining Fury seem rather capable of gaining a good amount of reputation/recognition with this release. Guitarist Francesco Tonazzini was eager enough to talk about the band's past/present/future and I was happy to confirm the impact of good music (even) upon our days.

Hi Francesco! What’s your impression on Shining Fury’s latest release, Another Life? The album hit the stores in mid-January 2006, so I think it’s quite ’calm’ now to have a more ’clear’ view.

Another Life is going well, even if today is very difficult to sell thousands of record with Power Metal music. You know… the big names sell less and less and if you are not one of them, it’s hard to carry on. Our last album has been well appreciated in countries like Portugal and Belgium. Here in Italy people suck and usually listen to stuff like Dance and Pop music. Unfortunately the Metal scene here in Italy is not so big… even if it’s better than before.

It took quite a long time to release your new album, I think. A year? Was it that hard to come up with good ideas (Laughs)? Really, who writes the music and lyrics in Shining Fury?

(Laughs) Yes, we have spent a lot of time to create Another Life but remember that three of the original five members have changed. I wrote Colours and Experience with Ross \[Lukather - drums] during one of the first rehearsals… you know, it’s hard to write music with strange people (I didn’t know Ross before joining Shining Fury). Well, the music is written by me, Ross, Andrea and Federico while the lyrics are written by the singer, Francesco Neretti.

The album’s sound is - in my opinion - adequate for this kind of music. Are you 100% satisfied with the production?

I totally agree with you. We are 100% satisfied because it sounds like a Power Metal album - and this is what we were looking for Another Life. There is a lot of stuff that I don’t like in the sound, but you know, they are not so important with the final result and they are my own preferences. However, with this album we had the opportunity to work with a well known producer, Achim Kohler. He is a great engineer and has done a lot of work for bands like Primal Fear and Brainstorm.

Another Life is released via the Metal Blade label. I guess we’re talking about the European division (based in Germany), right? How did you come in touch with them in the first place?

I don’t really know this kind of stuff ’cause I joined the band almost one year after the release of the debut album. However, I know that Ross met Michael of Metal Blade Germany during the European tour with Labyrinth back in 1998 (Ross was playing the drums for Labyrinth).

Are there any plans for your new CD to see the light of day in America too?

I don’t know… I’m waiting for the answer of Metal Blade U.S.A. The first album was released in America, but over there this sound is not so appreciated…

My first impression of Another Life came out - believe it or not - before even putting the album into my CD player. The band’s name itself ’guided’ me into what I was going to hear. Even if I’m fond of some ’classic’ Italian Power Metal bands, I was happy to see that Shining Fury are not that much musically related to this specific style. So, how did you get together in the beginning and - secondly - how did you decide to follow this exact Metal ’path’?

I believe so. The sound of Shining Fury is a mix of our musical influences… as I told you, everybody writes music in Shining Fury. I think one of the characteristics of Shining Fury is Ross’ drums. I have a background pretty distant from Power Metal. I usually listen to melodic stuff, but you know, Ross told me Hey I have to release the second album with Metal Blade; the genre’s Power Metal. Will you come in? (Laughs) It’s been pretty difficult to refuse. There was no planning about the sound before writing new material and  Another Life is our path.

It seems that some members walked in and out of the band during its 5-year career. Still, this does not seem to be a bad situation for the band, witnessing the members’ chemistry in Another Time. Really, was it that hard to come up with a proper lineup?

No. The guys in Shining Fury are very friendly and there’s always been a strong friendship between us from the first time. We usually spend a lot of time together after the rehearsals.

Ross is the founding member of the band, isn’t he? He has played with some known bands in the past (Death SS, Labyrinth and Athena to mention a few) and obviously is a skilled skinsman! Were these facts the motive for you to join Shining Fury?

Yes - Ross is the founding member. I was really motivated to accept joining Shining Fury, because Ross is a high skilled musician and I have learned a lot of stuff since the first time we met.

You may disagree with my point, but I think that Italy’s Metal scene - especially the Power Metal one - shows some signs of decadence. Of course, many great ’underground’ Metal bands do not ever turn up to be known abroad, so you must have a more ’solid’ opinion on what’s going on in Italy’s Metal scene these days.

Yes, now I totally disagree (Laughs)! I think that the Metal scene now is better than before. Now there are some Italian bands that are quite big in the world: Lacuna Coil, Rhapsody, Vision Divine etc.

Shining Fury - with Another Time - tend to step on the elite of Italian Metal music. Really, are you getting along well with the other Metal bands? Not only the Power Metal bands, but also the extreme Metal bands or (any) Hard/Glam Rock bands? My point is: does one band help the other(s) even if not in a relevant music style (I hope it’s not that bad as in my country…)?

I’m sorry but I think here in Italy it’s the same situation as in your country… I know some Hard Rock bands like Harem but usually a musician doesn’t care about other bands. It all damn sucks.

Returning to Another Time, how would you like this album to be remembered after e.g. ten years? Which ’side’ of yourself does your participation here represent? Anger? Hope? Optimism? Fury, maybe (Laughs)?

Anger.

If I had to choose some tunes out of your newest release, I’d stand by cuts like The Haunting, Eternal Fight or the same-titled opening track. Really, which are your favorites?


Yes, these are our favorites, ’cause they are the heavier tracks of the album, but don’t forget to check Dr. Jekyl And Mr Hyde. It’s of course my first favourite!

Well, speakin’ ’bout Shining Fury on stage: what are the current touring plans? You must be organizing some dates, I guess! Don’t forget: summer Metal festivals are on the way!

We are planning some shows here in Italy but I don’t think we’ll play in any summer Metal festivals.

Would you describe yourself - or the band, in general - as indoor or outdoor musician(s)?

I’m an indoor musician… I’m always locked in my room playing and studying music (Laughs)!

Germany must be the Mother of all Metal festivals worldwide, in our days! You know, the same way Britain was in the 80’s. On the other hand, Italy’s Gods Of Metal Festival (plus last year’s Tradate Fest) feature great Metal bands. How possible do you think it is for Italy to capture the throne of the ’Metal-iest country in the world’ (Laughs)?

(Laughs) It’s pretty difficult, I don’t know… I hope one day the Italian Metal scene will be as strong as the German!

I think the fans are quite responsible nowadays, for where Metal music’s heading to. I mean, you see bands like Iron Maiden still giving 10,000-20,000 sold-out shows while mediocre - related to the 80’s Metal monsters - bands like e.g. Primal Fear or Royal Hunt cannot fill a 1,000 capacity venue. In the present years of Internet mania, file sharing & music transfer, how ’bright’ do you think the future for Metal music is in general?

Well… In my opinion the future of the music is very bright. I hope that things will change sooner or later. Of course for Metal music the future is more than bright. With Internet things are changing and we are going into a new era. There are too many bands and labels and today it’s pretty easy to record an album. There are too many variables to consider but of course we can’t carry on with this situation.

Fransesco, thanks a lot for your valuable time. One last question: An ancient Greek poem reads: How would you recognize greed replacing creation in your life?. Well, what’s your answer?

Drinking a lot of beer!!!



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