Interview with Frank Caruso
Interview conducted by Bruce Dragonchaser
Date online: February 11, 2007
Italy has always been a rather vibrant place. Over populated with traditions, swaps of tomatoes, and trembling towers, the cultural boot heel of Europe is home to many dazzling institutions. And a personal favourite of mine is their exuberant brand of power metal. Releasing five albums to date since the metal rush of 1997, spidery power rangers Arachnes have moved out of the shadow of metal overlords Labyrinth, and onto a plateau of originality, progression and opulence. Bruce Turnbull caught up with guitarist extraordinaire Frank Caruso to discuss their latest release, the mighty "In Praise of Science".
Hello Frank, it's great to speak with you. Thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions for the Metal Crypt. Sporting a rather interesting name, and having a penchant for all things eight-legged, I have to ask: what has this whole creepy journey been about?
Thanks for your congratulations! I'm very happy to be here in the crypt. Yes, we're really satisfied with everything. We've our own philosophy, it's really simple: we always believe in what we do, not caring for the trend, and we really care for the emotions of our audience. So we've always had the sensation that the last work has something more than the former, and this, for us, is a very important input.
Your sound owes a lot to the Italian power metal scene, but the varied use of keyboards deviate from the style. Is this intentional?
"In Praise of Science" is an album essentially of progressive metal - which has always been one of our characteristics - but this time we've really stressed this aspect. It felt like a legitimate process. I could say that the fundamental difference from our last album, "Primary Fear", is this new direction. But then it seems to me this time everything is smoother, we've worked hard in the phase of editing and this is really a product of our hearts; a sure labour of passion.
The new album, "In the Praise of Science" is fantastic, and I have to say, it's by far the most accomplished work in your career. It sounds more organic than the first four.
Thanks! Again, it's more progressive and we have fundamentally taken our characteristics to the extreme. In effect, it is not easy to classify yourself and this means that we have probably invented something. I think we have to play and create, take everything you know to make it work.
How would you describe Arachnes to anyone unfamiliar with the band? Are there any songs in particular that you think represent your sound?
Our music has always been affected by many trends, both for everyone concerning the band, and for the other settings in which we work. It's inevitable: we work for television and the theatre, and there you had to get used to pass from rock to classical music, from fusion to new age and so on in a single moment. All this experience leaves a sign, which is really positive for us; it's a manner to enlarge our lexis. It's like speaking many languages. I think Arachnes' music in this moment is a mixture of prog-power metal with hard rock and classical allusions. One song in particular? I don't know…it's like asking a father what's his best son!!! I don't think there is a better and a worse one, probably there are songs that you reflect yourself more than in others…it's pretty simple. This is possible if at the base there's an honest and sincere mood of working, which is what we are constantly trying to do.
You and your brother (Enzo Caruso, vocals and keyboards) are incredibly talented classical musicians, and with the underpinning orchestrations and neo-classical interludes this is extremely apparent. How long did both of you study?
My music training is classic, very classic! I graduated in Sachra Musica; after piano and taking organist studies, I've studied Gregorian Chant and direction of choir. My concept of music is classical, in the real sense of word, in the structure and for the distribution of musical parts with use of counterpoints. Enzo is a very good jazz piano player, and like all the big jazz players has a classical education. His musical culture is enormous.<|p>
What do you think of the current progressive/power metal scene? Have you any favourite bands from the genre?
My favourite bands…I don't know… maybe Rainbow! But it's not power or progressive metal. As for the current metal scene...Its very hard, we have to be ourselves. If you are the bad copy of others the cases are two: you want to try a formula already tested, or you don't have anything to say. In both the cases the result is that you are not saying nothing new. Each of us are original, and so to be original is much harder than we believed in the beginning.
You guys have been around in one form or another since 1987, yet with "The Goddess Temple" not coming out till 1997 you missed the big shift in interest as heavyweights Rhapsody and Hammerfall burst onto the scene. How do you feel about that, do you think you are owed some long due success?
I think that the name "ARACHNES" is more popular in Asia, after 5 albums and 2-sub licensed in Japan, we are better known there. It's not important for me the "success", but only to create the best music!
You have a solo album coming out. Tell us about it.
It's the result of many years of work in which I've written not only for Arachnes; I think that for a guitarist it's important to write freely, without considering vocals or melody lines, and just play simply for pleasure. In this moment of a big recession of our discography, I've decided to publish an album I made purely for fun. "Kaleidoscope", is the musical equivalent of the word; it's a collage of a lot of "colours", light and shade, black and white. If you guess that every kind of music could be a colour, for example the blues is blue and metal is red, the result would eventually be a Kaleidoscope. This is the idea; a whole use of many music styles, from blues to power or from prog to neo-classical! On the web you can download some free samples at www.arachnes.it/kaleidoscope and www.myspace.com/francocaruso
What is next for Arachnes?
We prefer not to make predictions, and after all it's even difficult to find the time to make them! We are always busy, besides from the band; we work with a lot of composers for Mediaset group. We like it and we want to carry out everything. Enzo composes also for other artists, he works in jazz field, and both Enzo and I work at didactics. Making predictions is a waste of time. But one thing is sure, our fans shouldn't worry: we'll continue to make albums; we have still a lot of things to tell. On our web site www.arachnes.it you can find an unedited MP3 to download free. On short term also the videoclip we've done for the fans. At the moment I am working on songs for the new Arachnes album, but also, there will be a "best of" in 2007, possibly 2008. We celebrate 10 years of Arachnes soon, so we want to at least commend that with a release of some sort. We have a lot of good songs, and they would make a good collection.
Lastly, if you weren't playing music, what would you be doing with your life?
Music is my natural way of speaking. For me everything has its own musicality. Enzo has the same feeling; he may compose a song, for example, after a day spent in mountain, and in that song you can find the synthesis of the emotions and of the perceptions of that day Just like me; music is simply his nature!
|Other information about Arachnes on this site|
|Review: Parallel Worlds|
|Review: In Praise of Science|
|Review: A New Day|
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