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.:Interviews:.

08/06/2008 – Interview with Alex Mele (KALEDON)

The Italian Power Metallers from KALEDON recently finished their newest creation: "Chapter 5: A New Era Begins" (review). This album is a new adventure in their musical history, as they changed their style a bit and replaced their vocalist, Claudio Conti. I already had a interview with Alex Mele back in December (click here) about this change and what to expect from the new album. This time I asked some more detailed things regarding this release and what has happened over the last 12 months or so.

"Chapter 5: A New Era Begins" was planned for release around the end of May, beginning of June, but it seems no real date has been fixed yet, as the album is not for sale yet. However, it seems the band has finally found its style, mixing Hard Rock with Power Metal, to create another solid album.

Kaledon logo

"Chapter 5: A New Era Begins" is out or should be. First of all, how did the recording process go? Considering Giuseppe Orlando was once again behind the buttons, I guess this was now something like "enter the studio, do your thing and leave the studio". Or is that too simple? ;-)

Hi there, Tim. It's always a pleasure to speak with you! Well, making a record with the great producer Giuseppe Orlando isn't an easy undertaking. Even if you are very skilled for your material, he'll find something wrong or something that you can do in a different way or in a better way. This is one of the reason why we like him, and his productions. Making a record with him is very hard work, but in the end the result is fucking great.

Alex Mele - KALEDONWith "Chapter 5" you released another (very) good album. In other words, still going strong since "Chapter 3". What's the secret? Self-criticism? Natural evolution?

Well, except Marco, the rest of the band has been united for a long time and this is the biggest reason for our success. Of course, we also have a lot of self-criticism. With Marco we have found the last 'thing' that lacked in us trying to be perfect. Of course, year after year we have a natural evolution and I think that "Chapter 5" is the biggest proof of that.

Marco has been in the band since a good 6 months. How has his integration been so far? Is he feeling more part of the KALEDON family already?

Of course, man! With Marco we feel good, because he is a very normal and interesting guy. He works a lot and hard. Yes, I really think that he feels part of the family.

Has he had an impact on the songwriting? Or was everything already done?

You know, when Marco joined the band, all the new songs were ready, except "The God Beyond The Man". He helped us here and there with that song. Of course, the intro is composed by Daniele Fuligni. Marco also changed some melodies for the lyrics, making them more apt for his voice.

You told me Marco also plays keyboards. Was "A New Man" the only song where he can be heard as instrumentalist and will he play his part(s) live, too?

Marco played 3 solos on the new album: organ solos in "A New Man", one part in "The End Of The Green Power" and the first solo in our version of "We Will Rock You". About live performances, I don't think he'll play keyboards, or probably just a few little things.

The Hard Rock direction you took now has much to do with your musical taste, right? It's been clear since many years that you're an avid fan of QUEEN and in particular Brian May. Did the others also have something to say regarding this change or was this mainly your decision?

The other guys absolutely love the new material. Especially Marco and Daniele, who like this kind of music. Yeah, I wrote 99% of this album, but together with the band you have now the final result. I mean, I write lyrics and melodies, but the final result is something very different. Especially David Folchitto is always full of great ideas. He often told me "Yeah, cool song, but try to put this thing here or there and the song will be better." He always is right! Therefore, yes, I write, but then with the entire band the song can be finished.

"A New Era Begins"... In my review I offered several ways to interprete the title:
a) Story-wise, Daeniel is now the new king of Kaledon
b) Claudio Conti (vocals) was replaced by Marco Palazzi
c) KALEDON was formed in 1998, so in a way you could consider "A New Era Begins" as an anniversary album.
Which one is the most correct one and is there another reason for choosing this title?

I prefer to speak of fate. I chose this title when Claudio was still in the band. After several months the things has changed and of course we have a new musical direction, of course the band exists 10 years, but I think that the cool reason of this title (except the saga where it has a precise meaning), is the new singer.

Speaking of the past 10 years: any anniversary-related plans?

Ehehheeh, big ideas, but... too easy to reveal. Just wait some more months. :-)

Twilight Of The Gods coverThe cover art for the new album was done by Fabrizio Galliccia and not by Jean-François Le Gac, like you told me back in December 2007. What happened?

Simple, he told us "I have no time for the new cover". Fabrizio is a great friend of Daniele, so this choice was very easy. He made for us a great cover, that is hand made. :-) We really appreciate it.

The Japanese version of "A New Era Begins" contains not only a bonus DVD with video and photo material, but also two bonus tracks: "Neon Knights" (BLACK SABBATH) and "We Will Rock You" (QUEEN) (speed version). Two questions:
a) Why those songs? And have you asked for a reaction from both bands?
b) How come Europe doesn't get any 'bonuses'?

a) Simply because in Japan people love QUEEN and BLACK SABBATH, so this probably will help us in raising our popularity.
b) Because Europe doesn't ask for any bonus material, ehehehh. We like to do covers and probably one day a cover album will be possible.

Monica Ward makes a guest appearance on the new album. How did she get involved and why did you choose her?

For the song "A Wounded Friend" David told me that a female voice would be a nice addition. I agreed and asked him who he would suggest. And he told me a friend of his, her name being Monica Ward, and added that she was the Italian voice of Lisa Simpson. Trust me, it was a great experience with her. She sang very well and the song turned out to be a great one.

Especially since "Twilight Of The Gods" you've played a few more gigs, including at Headbangers Open Air. What were the best moments for you/the band? And what did you learn for the gigs to come?

For all of us it was great. The German people loved us and our music. It was great experience, also at the Agglutination metal festival with GAMMA RAY! In this kind of situation you always learn something, starting with the stage presence, ending with living together as a band.

Also, it seems you don't play that many gigs. Are you too busy with non-band matters or do organisers prefer to pick bigger acts?

We are a band with five albums and a little history on our backs, therefore if organisers don't pay, we don't play. :-) Very easy. Organizers would like to have KALEDON play for free or for a beer, but this isn't part of our plans. That is the reason why we play only at big events.

Did you record certain gigs for future bonus tracks or a possible live album?

Why not? Maybe, but yes, a live album is one of our future plans, but not before "Chapter 6".

Kaledon band picture 2008Any tour plans for "A New Era Begins"? I mean, a real tour with, for example, two other bands?

Perhaps, but we are working on it right now. Also for this you'll have to wait. :-)

The deal with Hellion Records was extended for "A New Era Begins". How satisfied are you of their work? Do they promote you enough? What exactly is their role regarding KALEDON?

Well.. you know, these days there isn't a label that promotes a band in a great way. Of course for now we are satisfied about Hellion Records, but we expect more things from them. We need REAL promotion to grow. We need more radio presence, we need more magazine presence and of course we need more live situations.

Considering the evolution you've gone through the last few years, how has this influenced your popularity? Has your fanbase grown in Italy and abroad?

Our popularity increases day by day, we have fans in every part of the world. Fans that love us and our music. This kind of reaction gives us strength to go on and trust me, we have a tons of things to do.

Northwind Records had plans to release a Best Of of your first three albums, yet I haven't seen any signs of this. Was this plan abandoned when you left the label? Plus, would you have had anything to say in this, like choosing the songs, layout, etc...?

Northwind never did anything of what they said. The Best Of was just an idea, but wait until after "Chapter 6" and you'll have a big "Greatest Hits". Shhhhh, don't tell anybody, ok?

You've got a book coming out: "La leggenda del regno dimenticato 1". This probably is the story that can be found in the booklets, right? What makes this book different from the booklets?

This is the first of 3 books. Indeed, it's the tale behind our music. In the booklets you'll find a summarized version, but the story is the same. Very soon the book will be available in English, too, so everyone can read it.

Since April the first two albums are free to download. Has Northwind given back the rights on those releases or have you always kept those within the band?

Northwind gave us nothing, but we can accept that the first 3 albuma are unavailable on the market. Therefore, for now, this is the solution. Our lawyers told us that we can do it, because rights end after 5 years. "Chapter 3" will thus soon be downloadable as well.

2008 has started well and so far many very interesting albums have come out. Did you manage to check out some of what this year has offered so far? And which albums are you looking forward to?

I'm really waiting for the new albums of REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE (Tolkki), METALLICA, QUEEN and JUDAS PRIEST.

I could go on and find other things to ask, but let's keep that for a next time, shall we? ;-) Once again, many thanks for taking the time to reply. Good luck with "A New Era Begins" and all the best to you/the band. As usual, the last (un)holy words are yours to add.

As I told at the beginning, it's a pleasure to talk to you. You and your webzine are really welcome and I hope to talk to you soon, well, I hope to meet you soon! Bye and...

MAY THE DRAGON BE WITH YOU



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