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Interview - Luca Sellitto (Stamina)

Interview with Luca Sellitto from Stamina
by YngwieViking at 11 March 2014, 2:43 PM

Implementing the ragged nature of Progressive Metal, the Italian STAMINA issued their third album “Perseverance”, via My Kingdom Music / Power Prog. YngwieViking had a chance to have a conversation with Luca Sellitto, the band’s sole guitarist, regarding the new album, the band and the future…

Hi Luca, First congratulations and big applause !!! I think that your new upcoming album “Perseverance” is one of the highlights of the early beginning of 2014 , as a fan of STAMINA’s music and Melodic Metal in general , It was like honey for my ears…What will be your words to describe it?

Thank you very much! It’s not easy to describe music in words. I think “Perseverance” is a deep and intense album, full of good melodies, strong riffs and tricky arrangements.

Can you first tell us about yourself, your background as a musician…Your past or actual involvement in other bands  ! I want to know everything…Go !

I started playing classical guitar at 11 and got my first electric one year later. One of my sister’s friends showed me some chords and scales, but I had to figure out a lot of stuff by myself in that first phase. Later, when I was about 15, I started attending a guitar course at the Music school of my town, which is the School I work at as guitar teacher nowadays. A great guitarist called Carlo Fimiani was my teacher there for about 4 years, I owe him a lot. In 2003, when I was 20, I started taking rock/fusion guitar lessons from another great  guitar player from Rome, called William Stravato. I used to take lessons once or twice a month until 2006, then I decided it was time to keep on learning on my own and record albums.

I formed my first band when I was 16. It was an instrumental neoclassical rock band, we sucked ahah. In 2001 I formed Stamina and from 2004 to 2005 I’ve been in an instrumental fusion band called “Junk Food”. We recorded a demo, but we disbanded soon after the recordings. I’ve done some studio and live session work for local artists through the years and I’ve recorded guitar parts for a few songs by extraordinary Danish singer Kenny Lubcke, who also appeared as special guest on the previous Stamina’s album “Two of a kind”.

In my review for the superb & up lifting new album “Perseverance”, I wrote that the album itself and the musicians that plays on it , are very astonishing , far from the cliches and revealing an unique personality …What is your feelings about this quote?

Oh man…that’s the kind of compliment I like the most. We always try to avoid clichés and sound unique. It’s not easy, but that’s what we strive for.

I also states that your  influences are obvious ,  but also , that you managed to improve this strongly impersonated style by increasing their spectrum with some new highly promising elements to this keyboards driven Neo-classical Rock style by adding this unexpected & unusual Fusion/Jazz Rock lead-guitar playing color…Again , please what is your feelings about this quote?

Yes, that’s right! When I was about 17/18 years old I decided to broaden my horizons, in order to develop my own style. I didn’t want to sound just like another Yngwie clone, nobody can be better than him at what he does.

So, Jazz/Fusion phrasing begun to catch my interest, because it sounds like you have infinite options on every kind of chord and you can add so many interesting colors to your soloing. That’s why, although I’m a rock/metal musician, sometimes you can hear some jazzy lines in my solos, with “outside” stuff here and there, which sounds a little bit unpredictable in our musical context.

I think that STAMINA’s new release is a huge step forward , exultant and very refreshing even fascinating at a point that finally the music of the band sounds very original and addictive  , revealing an unexpected creativity , how do you wrote those great songs?

Thank you very much again for your kind words! I don’t know how I write songs; I just let the music flow. I often compose when I’m not even playing, it can happen anytime. Melodies come to mind and I start creating an image of the song in my head, with drums beat, guitar riffs and everything. Later, I sit down and record some demos for the other guys of the band.

The Playing level seems pretty elevated, how do recruit your fellows musicians?

It wasn’t easy to find the right guys in my zone, it took me some time. Fortunately, I’ve had Andrea Barone on keyboards since the beginning (2001), we started the band together. In summer 2011 our long time bass player Roberto Chiumiento left the band and was replaced by Lorenzo Zarone. I’m very happy with Lorenzo, he’s an open minded bass player who can play all the different bass parts included in Stamina’s songs, from continuous sixteen notes bass groove, to fast runs unisons, to funky slap grooves etc.

What about the turmoil concerning the changing in the line-up .Can you introduce to us the new Players? Tell us especially about your Lead Singer’s related Hassles?

We were finishing recording the album, when drummer Enrico Canu joined the band. Two studio session drummers, Mirkko DeMaio and Alessandro Beccati, had already recorded all drums parts and did an amazing job, that’s why Enrico doesn’t appear on the album’s credits. But he’s already been on stage with us in various occasions and we are very happy of having him on board! His drumming is tight and powerful and, along with Lorenzo on bass, we really have a killer rhythm section now!

About the lead singer… Giorgio Adamo left the band in September 2011, due to his career in the world of Musicals, so we recruited a very young singer called Jacopo DiDomenico as live session man for the “Two of a kind European tour” 2012.

When it was time to record vocals for the new album, we didn’t have an official lead singer, so we decided to invite various special guests, including Giorgio and Jacopo.

Can you please tell us how did you convinced the guest-singer-crew that is formed by Nils Molin (DYNAZTY), Maria McTurk (ROYAL HUNT) , STAMINA’s exLead Singer Giorgio Adamo and the Legendary Göran Edman to be such an important part of the new CD?

Luca- Well, I suppose the main reason they accepted to sing on the album is because they like the stuff. We are very pleased with the result, there are so many great vocals on our new album, the level of the singers is very high. Göran Edman is my all-time favourite, I’ve been a huge fan since I was a teenager, so you can imagine how much I feel honored of having his fantastic voice on two songs.

Where do you come from, as far as guitar influences are concerned?

I grew up listening to Yngwie, Vinnie Moore, John Norum, Kee Marcelo, John Petrucci, Nuno Bettencourt, Michael Romeo. Later Brett Garsed, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse, Mike Stern, Frank Gambale, Al DiMeola…I tried to steal something from everyone of these giants and I still do. But I’m not a guitar fanatic, I prefer to focus my attention on composition and music in general, rather than just on guitar playing.

Which are the new guitarists that impressed you lately?

I don’t listen much to new “guitar heroes”, I prefer to listen to bands… Mattias Eklundh’s playing is interesting, I only discovered him a couple of years ago, I like his personal way of playing.

Do you think that the technical level , the complexity of some song structures or the Progressive parts in your music can be a block for some listeners , do you keep this aspect in mind while composing , or did you just get the inspiration flows !

Honestly, I think we are quite a easy listening band, compared to other modern progressive/melodic metal acts. Our vocal melodies are catchy, we have hooks and it’s easy to remember the songs after 1 or 2 listening sessions. Of course, I’m conscious that there are also instrumental parts and some progressive/fusion passages in some of our tracks, but we always try to sound melodic and immediate even in those parts.

As a band from Italy, with a plethora of band out there, what do you think is the Metal scene in your country?

There are some good bands, but the environment isn’t good and there aren’t many occasions for metal bands to play live. We are a pop Country, the real rock tradition is not in Italians’ genes.

Do you think that the success of RHAPSODY OF FIRE as an example , it’s a curse or a blessing for an Italian group that want to break big onto the international market ?

I don’t think it’s relevant, you have to do your own thing and find your own way.

Are there new undergrounds bands that we have to reckon with in the next years? Maybe some new acts that you want to produce by Yourself ?

No, sorry. I don’t know a lot of new bands.

Did you plan on touring in Europe?

Yes, of course! One of our labels, My Kingdom Music records, is arranging our next European tour. It’s supposed to start in April/May, we will reveal all the details as soon as possible. We’ll probably play Spain, Germany and north of Italy.

What do you think of the state of the market today! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illegal?

Every kind of legal purchase is good, all the rest is shit! Illegal downloading is a big problem, I can’t believe a lot of people thinks it is good for bands. There’s no good in seeing thousands of people “stealing” your album, when you’ve invested a lot of work and money in it.

Tell us what we have to expect from your side in the future to come?

More music and concert, hopefully for a very long time.

What is the last CD you have bought ?

Royal Hunt “A life to die for”

Please let us know your Underground Metal TOP 5 ?

XSaviour- Kaleidoscope
Misha Calvin- Evolution
Glory- Crisis vs. Crisis
Stratosphere- Fireflight
Elegy- State of mind

Please let us know your All time TOP 10 ?

It’s a tough question, but let’s try:
Yngwie Malmsteen /Odyssey
Yngwie Malmsteen /Fire and Ice
Yngwie Malmsteen/ Facing the Animal
Royal Hunt/ The Mission
Royal Hunt/ Clown in the mirror
Andrè Andersen / Changing skin
Europe/ The Final Countdown
Jens Johansson/ Fission
Symphony X/ The Odyssey
Cornerstone/ Arrival

Now it's time for the Chinese portrait aka Le questionnaire de Bernard Pivot , which is inspired by Marcel Proust but This questionnaire is probably more familiar to English audiences as the one that journalist James Lipton asks at the end of  the TV show "Inside the Actors Studio."

What is your favorite word?

Buddy! :-D

What is your least favorite word?

Hate

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

A beautiful girl

What turns you off?

An evil action

What’s your favorite curse word?

Fuck!

What’s sound or noise do you love?

Electric guitar

What’s sound or noise do you hate?

Electric guitar (when out of tune)

If not Yourself , who would like to be ?

Yngwie Malmsteen…or Arnold Schwarzenegger

What’s the profession would you not like to do?

Every profession different from musician or music teacher.

Who would like to see on a new bank note ?

Me :-D
If you reincarnated as some other plant or animal , what would it be ?

A lion.

If God exist , what you like to hear him say at the gates of Heaven ?

“Come in, bastard! Beautiful chicks are waiting for you!”

I want to thank you for this interview and wish you the best of luck with the new album and on the musical path ahead . Anything else you want to share with the MT’s readers out there?

Thanks a lot for this great interview! I’d like to invite all your readers to visit and “like” our official facebook page: www.facebook.com/staminaitalianband or our website- www.staminaband.net and listen to our music. We’ve also released a video clip for the song “Higher”, it can be watched here:
 
 
Anyone interested in getting a copy of our album directly from us, can write to my email address: lucastamina_at_libero.it

I will also start giving guitar lessons via Skype very soon, so anyone interested can get in touch.

All the best!



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