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Titta Tani & Silvio D'Onorio De Meo (Astra)

Interview with Titta Tani & Silvio D'Onorio De Meo from Astra
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 02 November 2006, 3:58 AM

It is a hot noon and I am walking down the road that leads to the Exarhion Hotel (in Athens). I am going to interview Astra about their debut album, About Me: Through Life And Beyond (Burning Star Records). I was a bit anxious because it was my first interview but the guys from the band made me feel like home. I am thankful for this! Anyway, what started as an interview, ended up as a friendly talk. Here's what Titta (vocals) and Silvio (guitar) told me…

So, let’s start with a common question. Can you give us a short bio of the band?

Titta: The band was born in 2001 and released an album in 2006! (Laughs)

Silvio: The band was formed in 2001 by me, Andrea and Emanuele. We went through two lineup changes regarding the vocals, when we finally recruited Titta and last but not least Filippo as the drummer.

How did you decide to turn from a tribute band into a normal band?

Titta: Because I think it’s natural for a band to grow up and mature. The tribute band was a really good jam for us. We were playing a lot. After that, we decided to try to write some original material.

The record is going to be released in a few days from now. What are your expectations?

Titta: We expect people to like the album, like you did (I swear I wasn’t paid for this!). We would also like to spread our music to the Metal audience.

Silvio: We don’t want to end up like many Metal bands around the world that release one or two good albums and then disappear.

If I am not mistaken, the tracks form a story. Is the album based on a concept?

Titta: Yes, it’s something like a concept because when I wrote the lyrics, we saw that every track had something in common with the other ones. So, we built up this story.

So you didn’t plan on creating a concept. It just happened.

Titta: Exactly.

So, what is the concept about?

Titta: Sex! (Laughs) As you see, the tracks are linked. It’s a story about a person called Mr. Bates (I think that’s what they said!).

Silvio: It’s about a human being. About life and emotions. It’s about being born, living dying and resurrecting. It’s not only that, but we talk about death before life.

Titta: It’s like the sex before! (Laughs)

So, the Italian Metal scene is growing fast and strong. What is your opinion about Italian Metal bands? Are there any Italian bands you like?

Titta: There are many Italian bands like Lunarsea. Bands like Lacuna Coil and Rhapsody Of Fire grow more popular very fast around the world, as well as in Italy. That’s just because they’re very commercial bands. This doesn’t mean that we like these bands. It depends on your taste. If you like bands like Lacuna Coil or Evanescence, it’s ok.

Regarding what you said about Lacuna Coil and Evanescence. There are many bands out there that play Metalcore or are fronted by female singers. Something that sells a lot nowadays. What’s your opinion about it?

Titta: I think it’s boring to hear bands that play the same things again and again. For example bands like Stratovarius, Lacuna Coil or Nu Metal. They play nothing new.

Silvio: When you listen to Stratovarius or other Power Metal bands, you always hear the same drum parts and the same melodies.

Titta: If this sells, tomorrow we’ll start playing Power Metal! Today I watched the Sonata Arctica DVD. That’s Gay Metal! We really tried to avoid being into the trend. We tried to create something different and that’s difficult because of the different elements we tried to mix.

Many people characterize your music as Progressive Metal. Do you agree with that or do you have a different name to give to your music?

Silvio: You see we have many different elements in our music like Power Metal, Thrash riffs…

Titta: I think that Progressive Metal is a more general title. We added many elements to our music and we tried to create some catchy lines. I think that Progressive is fine.

When you write a song, are you based on the rhythm section?

Titta: Not always. Hmmm… Next question please! The main structure of a track starts with a guitar riff or a keyboard melody and we play a lot based on that riff. We’ve done a lot of jams. Then, we start to slowly build the song up.

Silvio: Sometimes, we are based on the rhythm section.

Titta: When we have the main riff, then it’s simple. The song comes up easily, like a fart! Sometimes it takes a long time to finish a song. Other times the song can be completed in one day. It depends…

Despite your obvious Dream Theater influences…

All: Nooooooo! How could you say something like that??? \[Laughter]

Which other bands have influenced your music?

Silvio: Ehhh… Iron Maiden, Queen, Angra, Journey. There are also many Thrash riffs. Bands like Pantera or Britney Spears…

Titta: There are many influences in the band. You see I am the dead part, our drummer likes Fusion, the other guys like Hard Rock…

Where do you get the inspiration from to write your lyrics?

Titta: There is nothing in particular that gives me inspiration to write. Maybe sometimes it’s personal feelings, but most times I just sit and write…

Do you have any plans about a tour or any live performances?

Titta: It is very difficult to make a tour or something like that, but we will play some live gigs to promote our album. We played a lot as a cover band and we made a lot of friends so we can play in some clubs.

Silvio: We plan to do many live gigs in Italy and who knows; maybe we can tour around the world!

Titta: We know that next year there’s going to be a very nice festival here \[Athens], so we will try to play live in Greece as soon as possible.

Are there any bands that you would like to play with? Except Dream Theater!

Titta: To be honest, we hate Dream Theater. We played their songs a lot so…

Silvio: We played the songs a lot and we also got into some trouble with the Italian fan club.

How was your experience with Jordan Rudess?

Titta: Jordan Rudess is a very good person. He is the cool guy of the band… He is a very funny guy!

So, I leave the last words to you…

Silvio: Hmmm, buy the CD!

Titta: We just released the CD and I hope that people will appreciate our music.

Thank you, guys!

Titta: You’re welcome!


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