Adagio from France is a good progressive rock band with four studio albums and one live album on their conscience.
I caught up with their founding member Stephan Forte for the full Adagio story.
What are you up to these days ?
We’ve just finished our European tour supporting Kamelot, it was great ! I
am currently finishing my instrumental solo album, I hope everything will
be done this summer. And then I will start composing the 5th Adagio album.
When was Adagio born, by whom and how was your formative years ?
First album has been released March 13th 2001. In the beginning I was
doing instrumental/shred oriented music. An A&R very interested in the
stuff sent me to Philadelphia to record a demo with keyboardist Vitalij
Kuprij, we were supposed to do this band together. In the end, after three
weeks, we decided it was not a great idea, we were having a lot of artistic
disagreements, and so I fully composed and recorded the first Adagio album
“Sanctus ignis”, with some musicians I liked such as David Readman on
vocals Dirk Bruinenberg on drums, Richard Andersson on Keys and my long
time friend Franck Hermanny on bass.
How did you get your first record deal ?
With the same A&R mentioned above, Olivier garnier, who launched Adagio
and really helped the band during the early years.
Your first album was Sanctus Ignis from 2001. Please tell us more about
At that time, I was really into Neoclassical/progressive metal, and I
think this album sounds a lot like the influence I had at that time. I
still like it of course, but it is not really representative of what we’re
doing now. Some songs are really complex and long, such as “Seven lands of
Sins” or the instrumental “Niflheim”
Your second album was Underworld from 2003. Please tell us more about this
Underworld was a very ambitious album. I wrote all the scores for it to be
fully played by an orchestra. Unfortunately, it was financially impossible
and we had to do it with samples. I’ve just hired a full choir ensemble
which is already bringing a lot more life to the music. This album is very
personal, I was n a very dark state of mind at that time, and did a big
introspection, I wanted to explore the darkest corners of myself. That was
a very demanding experience, but I’m really glad I did it and been able to
transcribe it into music. This album is the most complex of Adagio, songs
like “Next Profundis” or “Underworld” represents a lot of work.
You changed style from the more symphonic sound on your first two albums
over to a more metal orientated sound on your two more recent albums. Was
there any reasons for this change ?
Firstly because we wanted to have more fun on stage. Playing “Next
profundis” live for example requires a lot of attention, and we definitely
cannot do anything else but focusing on what we’re playing. Then, it also
reflects the evolution of our tastes, I’m mostly listening to Metal these
days, and less progressive stuff. Still a lot of Classical music, but I’m
more into Lamb of God, and Devildriver right now than Dream Theater. I
think it is also due to the fact that since Kevin and I are taking of the
production duties, prod and mixing in general has become a very important
part of our concern. And we’re both very big fans of Colin Richardson and
Andy Sneap’s work You also released a live album in 2004 called A Band In Upperworld. Please
tell us more about this live album.
It’s the last concert we’ve done with David Readman. It has only been
released in Japan so far, and I think it’s a cool way to hear different
version of the songs from the two first records.
Your third studio album was Dominate from 2005. Please tell us more about
That marks the start of Adagio straighter musical direction. The growls
were more present, the structures were more “song” oriented, and I was
thinking Live when composing it. I think that’s the album I like the less.
I like the songs, especially “Children Of the Dead lake” and “Dominate” but
the mix, mastering and production sucks…
Your fourth and most recent album (from 2009) is called Archangels In
Black. Please tell us more about this album.
I think with his one, we finally found the exact direction. It’s dark,
heavy, shred, it has all the ingredients that defines Adagio 2010. So we’ll
keep up in that direction, but of course now trying to make it sound darker
Both Underworld and A Band In Upperworld is being re-released these days.
Please tell us more about the changes from the original albums.
Band In Upperworld re-release is simply because it has never been released
outside Japan so far, and we thought it would be cool to have it out in
Europe. For Underworld, we wanted to have a new artwork, the previous one
was definitely ugly as hell J there are some bonus track, one is an
unreleased demo version of a song composed for Dominate
How would you describe your music and which bands would you compare Adagio
Its difficult to describe my music. I only can use adjectives I’ve already
used ten times since the beginning of this interview J Dark, Heavy,
Dramatic, Virtuoso, Black, Classical influenced, Melodic, …
What is the lyrical themes you sing about ?
I’m a big horror movie and literature fan, so everything is around this
theme….with some personal beliefs hidden into it
You are now on Listenable Records, a very fine label and one of the
pioneer labels from the heavier, avant-garde part of the metal scene. How
do you feel that you fit into their roster of bands ?
We’re probably the most melodic band of the label, but as weird as it
might be, I think both Listenable and Adagio fits each other pretty well.
We’re a bit aside of the Melodic scene, and Listenable is not only an
Is any of you involved in any side-projects ?
I’m doing my instrumental stuff, Kevin is producing progressive metal
bands, such as Myrath, and that’s pretty much it
Just to wrap this interview up; do you have any regrets in your music
Absolutely none! I have done a couple of mistakes business wise, but I
think that’s the best way to learn what not to do again. So in a way, it
was more helpful than destructive J
What is your five all time favourite albums ?
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force,
Megadeth’s Rust In Peace,
Jason Becker’s Perpetual Burn,
Dream Theater’s Images & Words,
Dimmu Borgir’s Purianical Euphoric Misanthropia
Anything you want to add to this interview ?
Thanks a lot for the great interview and the cool questions, looking
forward to meeting all the readers sometime soon on tour with Adagio!!
A big thank you to Stephan Forte for answering my questions.
Their PA profile is here and their website is here