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Mogador

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 23 2011 at 12:59


Italian act MOGADOR was formed in the summer of 2007, with a line-up consisting of Richard George Allen, Luca Briccola, Stefano Lago and Paolo Pigny. They start writing material and rehearsing it based out of Lake Como, and in 2009 they issue their self-titled debut album.

I got in touch with them and Richard answered my questions.

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When, where and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band ? Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?

Mogador was formed in Como in Northern Italy in 2008. Richard Allen (drums and vocals), having recently moved from England to Italy, had also shipped over his drums. He put a notice up in a local rehearsal studio asking to be contacted by like-minded muscians to jam with. It was through this that he met Stefano Lago (guitar). Stefano pulled in Luca Briccola (keyboards, flute and production.) Luca and Stefano had played in various groups since their schooldays. Luca in turn invited Paolo Pigni (bass and vocals) to come and listen to the music that was being played to see if he was interested in joining. Luca and Paolo were playing in The Celtic Harp Orchestra (www.arpaceltica.com) at the time, who have made a name for themselves as one of the very few ensembles of it’s kind in the world. Richard, on the other hand, whilst playing in numerous anonymous rock projects since a teenager, had been playing drums in a semi-pro 25-piece big band jazz group in England.

The name Mogador came from Richard. The band had been utilising space in a tie and scarf factory to rehearse. When the time came to decide upon a name, the name Mogador came to mind as it was one of the many types of cloths that filled the shelves that surrounded the musicians whilst they played. The cloth called mogador is a blend of silk and cotton and the idea of blending seemed to fit as it mirrored the blending of the backgrounds and tastes of the four disparate members. The main thrust behind the band was the interest in seeing what kind of music could be made, given the ‘ingredients’ in the form of the four members, and the effect of their individual musical tastes and preferences.
How was the music scene in your local area when you started ?

The live music scene in and around Como is not in particularly good health, having seen the closure of a number of venues in recent years. This is not to say that there is no music. Mogador operate in the way that many musicians do by concentrating on recording. On the subject of recording, one of the founding principles of Mogador is to approach each album recording project (their current venture is progressing well and is on target to be their third album in as many years) consciously varying the way material is written each time; the first CD in 2008 (more on that later) was written by playing together and constructing whilst their instruments were in the bandmembers’ hands. The second album, 2009’s ‘All I Am Is Of My Own MaKing’ was a more studied affair where each member wrote finished pieces and presented them to the others.

Talking of the wider Italian music picture and the big names of Italian progressive music, like the rest of the international music world, it seems the country is enjoying an ‘Indian Summer’ where the giants of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s are reforming to give it their last shot before they get too old to perform! These reformations are coupled with numerous new reissues of their albums in ‘deluxe’ CD editions, so it’s not all bad new !


Over to your two albums. Your debut album was Mogador from 2009. Please tell us more about this album.

The first CD, the self-titled ‘Mogador’ was fruit of the first sessions in the tie factory in 2008. The four main tracks that came out of first playing together were intended to be recorded as a demo, the four tracks represent musical explorations of four elements;

The Salamander – Fire
The Tide’s Undertow – Water
Mammon’s Greed – Earth
Floating in the Void – Air

The four elements were the result of the group’s decision that the music Mogador wanted to play would not to be politically motivated, soppy love songs or ‘princesses in dungeons being rescued by elves’, the usual sort of prog subject! Mogador settled on exploring the concepts of Earth, Air, Fire and Water through music. The first recording might have ended with a demo in the form of four tracks, but Luca and Paolo had a couple of acoustic ideas (Tell Me Smiling Child and Solitary Bench) that fitted nicely between the longer songs, giving the listener time to breath and reflect. This diversity - the aggressive music side by side with more reflective acoustic material - plus the orchestral show piece that closes the CD, is the blueprint of the band’s musical DNA. In effect, each member is not even restricted to a single instrument, taking turns on a wide range of instruments. The band could be said to have two lead singers in Paolo and Richard, both having very different vocal timbres that complement each other.

The truth be told, the band understands that the first Mogador CD is less than perfect and have decided that the definitive versions of these first songs might not yet have been made. To that end, fans are advised to keep eyes and ears open for new versions of certain tracks that are planned as bonus tracks or free downloads in relation to future Mogador albums. The band were, however, very encouraged by the critics and public’s reaction to the first album. It was shortlisted and nominated for two Progawards and the general opinion from reviews around the world was ‘mmm…interesting, not perfect, but good…it will be interesting to see what Mogador do next’.

Your second and most recent album is All I Am Is Of My Own MaKing from 2010. Please tell us more about this album.

All I Am Is Of My Own MaKing might arguably be considered the band’s first real album. Having lost Stefano lago as guitarist, Luca, Paolo and Richard decided that there was no reason not to continue as a three-piece. Guitar duties could be shared between Paolo and Luca and Richard even put in a merit-worthy performance on bass on the title track. The album tells the true story of an office worker who gets trapped in a lift for a week end and tries to sue for damages. The album tells of the ensuing events where the court case gets thrown out and…well, why not pick up a copy of the CD to see how the story ends!

The ‘message’ conveyed in both the music and especially the cover shows (the band hopes) Mogador’s ironic side, and proves that no-one takes things too seriously. Who knows who the character with his spade in hand is on the album cover? Is he a country peasant who dreams of corporate domination or is he an ex CEO of a multinational firm who succumbed to the dream of the quiet life? It’s left for you to decide…

Richard, who is generally considered responsible for coming up with the idea for putting the sad tale to music, simply saw the challenge of setting to music the set of emotions – panic, anger, fear, solitude, reflection – that anyone might experience trapped in a dark lift. And, as the sleeve notes state, the album is the result of the band’s explorations. The consensus is that Mogador managed to work wonders with a potentially unpromising little tale! The band are on record as having said that they feel that the managed to shift up a gear or two with this 2010 release. There is a palpable sense that the band is more sure of itself on every level; writing, playing and production. The public and critics agree too and the overall barometer reading of ‘AIAIOMOM’ is very positive. In May’s issue of Classic Rock Presents Prog, the London based Future Publications progressive music bible, Rich Wilson expressed amazement that Mogador had not secured some form of deal with a major label by saying; ‘…it’s pretty mysterious why they haven’t been snapped up’ adding later; ‘If Mogador managed to secure the support finance and material polishing that a record label could give them, their few shortcomings could be smoothed out and wider success would beckon’. The band feel the same.
What is the availability of your releases ? Where can they be purchased from ?

All I Am Is Of My Own MaKing is availbe to buy directly from the Mogador website (www.mogadormusic.com) or through many of the best music sellers around the world, including Amazon and HMV. A full list of sources is on the website.
For those of us unknown with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?

Ha ha, the most difficult question! Mogador’s music touches many different genres; rock, metal, pop, folk, classical to name just a few. The band members, as one would expect, cite influences that touch all points of the musical spectrum and it all goes into the melting pot at the end of the day. The band places importance on listenable music, if it can be said like that; with old-school respect for melody and harmony, spiced with excursions into odd time signatures and unusual juxtapositions of styles. Most important perhaps, is the band’s desire to explore and take musical risks, and not to tread the same musical path twice if they can help it. This is the upside of being unsigned to a record label and therefore there is no pressure to keep things ‘safe’. In an age when it is ever more difficult to produce truly original music, the band simply does things it’s way in the hope that someone ‘out there’ likes it too. The numerous comparisons to Yes, Gentle Giant, Camel and others serve to give the idea of how Mogador might sound, and the band themselves are honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as these giants, but in the end trying to categorise any band only causes problems.
Besides of the new album, what have you been up to since 2010, what is your current status and plans for this year and beyond ?  

Mogador are well on the way to completing writing for the new album, which, it can be revealed, is a collection of music inspired by paintings and poetry. The anticipated release date is Christmas. In the meantime, work on the live presentation is moving forward - the band have a couple of invitations to participate in European festivals this and next year - and this will almost certainly mean drafting in extra musicians to ensure that the live show mirrors the studio work. The band resolutely refuses to stay still for long!

Thank you for taking time to learn more about Mogador.



Thank you to Richard for this interview

Their PA profile is here and their homepage's here



Edited by toroddfuglesteg - June 23 2011 at 13:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Todd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 23 2011 at 13:13
Love the second album and look forward to obtaining the first.  But I look forward even more to the upcoming third!  Thanks to Richard and to Torodd.
"A good album should always be much more about questions than answers." Bill Bruford

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