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Posted: September 20 2010 at 07:44
Phaedra is not a new band even though their debut was released in 2010. The origins of this group from Trento Italy harken to 1993. They started out as a band with good live activity and played many shows and festivals, with a mix of originals and lots of covers from the likes of Genesis, Yes, Rush, and Marillion to name a just a few. Today's Phaedra is a large 8-person ensemble with the usual 4 piece plus an extra keyboardist, a flautist, and two violinists.
These lines was written by Finnforest (Jim) in the RPI team and that is good enough reason to contact Phaedra for their story.
Claudio Bonvecchio answered my questions
Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. But why did you choose that name ?
Hi everybody ! I am Claudio Bonvecchio , the only original member still in the current lineup. It’s a long story; it all started in 1993; me and the original drummer had another band called LIGEIA and one day we replied to an ad by a guitar player who was willing to play prog rock; this gave birth to PHAEDRA. I chose the name. I am very fond of ancient mythologies moreover the name is the title of a Tangerine Dream record which I really loved in my teens. There is another band that I like: Vanilla Fudge with its proto-prog genre. I saw them on the Italian tv when I was only a kid and they played “Some velvet morning” ; there was a line in that song that said: “Phaedra is my name…”. All these hints contributed to our name.
What is your musical background and were you involved in any other bands before you started Phaedra ?
As I said before two original members played in LIGEIA who never recorded. Every current member played or plays in other bands and each of us attended different kinds of music from hard rock to soul and folk. In particular our violinists and flautist have a classical music background.
Which bands were you influenced by ?
When we started in 1993 we covered Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Marillion, PFM and obviously Genesis who were our main influence. In 1998 we even recorded a demo CD which reflected this great clout in our own compositions sung in English at that time. Then we suddenly changed our style and began to use our language at last; we laid down electric guitar and started not to consider it as a basic instrument but as a supporting one. We introduced acoustic instruments such as 12 string guitars, violins, mandolin that offer more effective range of sounds to carry out our musical writing.
Please give us your long or brief thoughts on your only album Ptah released earlier this year. How would you describe the music ?
When we started to write PTAH some years ago we wished to abandon the old way of composing single songs; our aim was to work on a concept story. In our opinion that is the correct method in order to achieve a fluid and homogeneous piece of music. You can reuse some themes in another key and process them for different instruments; every strain is directed to the final result trying to avoid the useless instruments’ solos which sometimes are a boring try-out ! Our music is very descriptive in terms of musical styles and instruments used to point out the different moods in our opera. Of course our Italian roots emerge as an influence by using some vocal melodies and peculiar instruments. I think that ”prog rock” could be the keyword…it doesn’t matter…folk, classical, rock… every genre is helpful to make effective what we want to gain in our writing.
Where can this album be purchased from and how is it's distribution ?
Everyone can purchase the album directly from us through our site. There are many distributors that sell our album in Italy and all over the world just like Syn-phonic and many others. You can locate them on Internet. The distribution of our album after only three months is going very well considering the self-production.
How is your writing and creative processes ?
Just like I told you before we usually start from a concept story. We avoid to improvise and prefer to work on musical ideas and themes written by each of us. During the rehearsals we assemble the bulk of the arrangements then at home everyone blunts his own part and tries to improve it in order to fit in the piece . It’s a delicate process because every instrument has to go along with the others without possible misuse or abuse. The only and one aim is to make the composition beautiful and flowing with no excesses and bad redundancies.
How is your gigs and festivals situation. Are you currently doing gigs or are you a studio band only ?
We played many gigs until three years ago and we proposed the whole opera several times then the recording process began and so we were compelled to dismiss the concert situation in order to carry out our work. Since the beginning Phaedra has always been a live band and often used to test the new songs before the audience to improve the arrangements. Now, after the release of PTAH, we are on stand-by but we hope to return on stage as soon as time grants us.
What is the latest updates and the plans for this and next year ?
We’ve just completed the recording of “Calling home” . That’s not a Phaedra’s composition but a Flower King’s song. You know, Colossus Project, the famous Finnish label, stages a tribute to the aforementioned Swedish band. This compilation will be a 4 CD’s box including many prog bands all over the world; every group has to rearrange a Flower King’s song according to his style and taste. We actually rewrote the tune using our usual instruments and our way of arranging. During next autumn we are going to sit down again and begin the writing of our new album.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
We want to thank you for your proposal of interview and attention moreover we would like everyone to listen to our music; not only the typical prog fan but even persons usually accustomed to listen to easier pop songs. Every music tells a story…
Thank you to Claudio Bonvecchio for this interview
Edited by toroddfuglesteg - September 20 2010 at 07:54
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
Joined: August 01 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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|Post Options Quote Reply Posted: September 21 2010 at 06:11|
Great work Torodd
I wish the band lots of luck.
Joined: December 11 2009
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|Post Options Quote Reply Posted: September 21 2010 at 10:46|
Yep, I wish Phaedra every success!
Many thanks for your tireless efforts, torodd.
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