Interview by Andy Axworthy
When you read that a band is by turns described as epic, symphonic, power, progressive and classic metal all in the space of a few paragraphs you might be left wondering whether such a broad approach could dilute the end result. Ivory Moon is one such band, however one listen to their latest album and it’s easy to hear why in this case, the whole is greater than the sum of those descriptive parts. To find out more about this promising Italian band we caught up with new vocalist Gabriella Aleo to find out a little about her and about the rocking new release, “Dark Time”.
Hi Gabriella and greetings from all of us at Femme Metal. How are you today?
Hello! Thanks for this interview, I welcome the opportunity to talk about me and the music I was involved from yesterday to today.
You’ve recently taken over female vocals for Ivory Moon. Can you tell us a bit about your background and of how you became a singer?
I have always supported my singing talent, heading for perfection in this art that is very complex today. I’ve been singing since I was a child but my serious studies began at age of 20. I studied opera singing at the Conservatory of Music and I have never stopped since then. I teach singing to children. Singing is an integral part of my life, I could not deny it.
You’ve come from the more classical side of singing. To us it seems like a world of difference between an aria like Habanera and full-on rock song like Apocalypse. How do you adapt to mixing up these vocal styles?
Opera and gothic are different, but they live parallel inside me. You have to know well the two musical paths from their technical point of view, and above all you’d be thinking wider than just those who sing only classical or rock. I have always been living with two musical souls. The mixing of the two genres should be done with care. I tried to be not too opera singer using a language more suitable for “Dark Time” and his genre.
You’ve also indulged your inner Electra, recording “Tutte nel cor si vento…” from Mozart’s Idomeneo. How did that experience differ from working with Cristian Ice at Temple of Noise on the new album “Dark Time”?
There were two different experiences but both constructive. Music is what really matters, if it makes you feel good.
You share voice duties with Sandro Manicone. Do you both bring different ideas to the vocal parts or do you work together and adapt the style and harmony as the song writing and recording progresses?
Me and rocker Sandro Manicone are also friends in everyday life. We met even more by sharing this experience together. He is a great musician, composer, arranger and good singer. Along the way he helped me a lot on the side. In the past I had a brief stint with a heavy metal band: Zero Kelvin. I then absorbed part of the language back in this new project after so many years. We have given our voices to the songs of “Dark Time”, we have not dealt with the processing of the texts. Sandro is a complete musician and also took part in the arrangements and musical choices.
We’ve mentioned Sandro. Could you also introduce is to the rest of the band and tell us a little bit more about each of them?
I’ve been knowing the band for a very short time, so I can say very little about them. What is sure is that I am sharing this experience with veterans for the fans of this genre. I am a newcomer, they instead go way back so they had plenty of time to design and create this music.
“Dark Time” had its digital release on the 1st October. How do you feel now it’s out there and how do you feel it has been received by your fans?
I was very pleased and surprised by the performance of “Dark Time”. “Dark Time” is my first record, so I’m glad to have left traces of me in music. The fans do not even know us, but they will be able to do it very soon.
The album itself is a blend of classic metal styles from power through to operatic yet it still has its delicate moments. It is consistently good throughout with tracks like “Soul Disguised” and “The Merchant of Venice” especially standing out. What was it like for you to go from recording and putting down your parts to actually hearing the finished songs? Was there a defining moment for you?
Certainly for me it was a challenge to face this genre. I loved this genre for a long time so I tried to absorb all possible shades. Recording for us means converting our ideas into music. The most important moment was when we heard all the mastering, and we listened to all of our work, all our dreams and our thoughts.
How about sing-writing duties? Do you all get a say in how the song ideas develop? How does a song like, for instance, “Out of Control” come together?
I’m just a performer who sings with passion and love for music, and then a popularizer. I never ventured to write texts. Everyone has their own role. Ivory Moon lyrics are written by the other members of the band.
Is there a story or theme to the song writing on the album? Where do you and the band draw your inspiration for the songs?
We took inspiration on actual topics of today’s life: The crisis, rupture, rebirth. These were the pillars of “Dark Time”.
The album launch gig is on the 7th December. How does it feel to get “Dark Time” out there in front of alive audience and what are you looking forward to the most on the night?
“Dark Time” will debut on Dec. 7 at the Jailbreak in Rome. We’ll expect a good audience who can give us the right boost within this new work. I hope it could bring so much magic in everyone’s hearts.
What about your own personal soundtrack? Who or what do you listen to when you’ve got some time to yourself?
My soundtrack is “Nemo” from Nightwish. I put this song as a ringtone in the phone : ) When I have time I use to listen to different musical Opera, Loreena McKennitt, Epica etc.
What would you be doing if you did not sing? What hobbies, passions or ambitions do you have when you are away from the microphone?
I can not see myself without music… I have several passions: I like to paint, I’m not an intellectual but I’m reading a literary work of Proust, sometimes I play games with Sandro Manicone and I love to walk my French Bulldog Morgana and take long walks in nature. I like to meet up with a few true friends and my family. I would love to travel every year….
Now you’ve taken this step from the light of opera to the dark side of metal what would you say are the main differences for you between the two styles of music? Does either genre have something that can be used and sits comfortably with the other?
The difference in the two genres is absolutely singing style. I think mainly you need to have a good voice, educated in classical singing and in the modern one, in order to obtain a good result. I always followed both the roads. In vocal symphonic rock you have to play a lot with the expression and sometimes the listener can be confused by a hybrid between an opera and a metal singer!
What can we look forward to beyond the launch gig? Are there any plans to tour with the new album? What next for you and Ivory Moon?
We’re busy with this every single day. It is not an easy time for music here in Italy. We hope that we may get some specialized major label interested… it would be a dream.
Thanks for takine to chat with us Gabriella. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans and readers to wind this up?
Ivory Moon strongly hope “Dark Time” can be appreciated both in Italy and abroad. Greetings to all!