Interview by Si Smith
The prefix “hyper” comes from the Greek, meaning above, over; excessive; more than normal; an abnormally great or powerful sensation.Such are the melodies and sonics of Hypersonic, a group from Italy expressing their desire to create music above and beyond the norm that we see and hear in the music scene today. Are they successful? I spoke to lead sonic frontwoman Alessia Rapisarda to find out.
First, thanks so much for speaking to us at Femme Metal, and a warm welcome from us all.
Thank you so much for your interest,it’s really nice talking with you.
I understand that the band was formed in 2006 with the duo Salvatore Grasso and Emanuele Gangemi. How has the band managed to grow since then?
Yes! Hypersonic was formed in 2006 thanks to the tenacity of the guitarist Emanuele Gangemi and the drummer Salvo Grasso then Maria Rita Randazzo on vocals, Francesco Testaì on keyboard and Giuseppe Carciotto on bass. But for various reasons some were replaced by Francesco Caruso on bass and Vera Romeo on voice in 2007, when the first demo was produced. In 2008 I entered into the band and after a couple of months, even the keyboard Dario Caruso was welcomed into the Hypersonic world.
When you joined the band they had already produced a demo with former singer Vera Romeo. How did your vocals compare to Vera‘s? How did you feel taking her place in the band?
When I was contacted by Emanuele and Salvo I was offered a kind of music that I had never sung, because I come from a classical study of music. Listening to the demos and covers from them inspired me to accept this challenge. Vera Romeo and I have two different ways of singing, it was an honor to replace her because the band had already had several experiences. I gave more, to try to integrate myself in the best possible way.
Your first EP released in 2008 was entitled “Inspiration Is Transpiration”. What was this first experience of recording with the band like for you? Any strong memories?
In 2008, after a few months since I entered the EP was made, my first experience in a recording studio, titled “Inspiration Is Transpiration”. It was all a bit difficult but I remember the patience of Salvo and Emanuele who managed to make me feel in the context a bit less heavy.
In the months that followed there were yet another line-up change as Fransesco Testai left the band “for personal reasons” to be replaced with your bassist’s brother Dario. It was at this time that you began successfully performing live shows – how did the dynamic of the band change over this time? Was there always a strong “connection” between you as performers or was it something you had to work on?
In the last months with Francesco Testaì, we had some trouble because he had personal problems and could not manage the band. Dario Caruso already knew our songs because he followed his brother Francesco, so his input was not at all disruptive to the group,the work that we had to do with his input was minimal. We are now able to resume our live concerts and participation in various festivals.
At this time were you thinking “yes, now we’re successful” or were you not as hopeful at this time? Was this period of change and development an easy time or did it come with its own difficulties?
In this context, one can never say that you have arrived, you have every moment while addressing the many difficulties, which are normal when creating a group. We are very very certain, we try in every way possible to do more together, and we have always solved all the problems that come out every day.
You began work on the debut album in 2009. Did you have any ideas at this point about what kind of an album you wanted to create?
In 2009 we managed to get back into the recording studio, my only thought was to go all out just because the creation of an album is not easy, many ideas were born simultaneously with the recording of the disc, we say that the desire to do things professionally was strong. And thank God we were able to create a work of which we are really proud and happy. We are having an incredible response from fans, webzine and paper magazines that are really appreciating “Fallen Melodies”. We knew we had made a great album with great songs, but all that surprised us.
The next step in the band’s development was to release the single “Rebirth” online in December 2010. What made you choose this song in particular? What was the response?
“Rebirth” was a choice that we all shared. It is an immediate song with great melodies and memorable refrain, and we knew we would all be immediately impressed. In fact we were not wrong. “Rebirth” is a classic single song that you never forget.
2011 proved to bring a big boost to the band in the form of a record deal! How did this come about? Did they have any major requirements of you when you signed your lives away to them….?
The feeling with Underground Symphony was born very spontaneously. We contacted them a few years ago about the EP released and they were immediately impressed by our sound. So, when we finished the “Fallen Melodies” recordings, we worked out the deal for the album release. It is really a great historic Italian metal label and we are happy with the work already done by them.
Underground Symphony already have some recognisable names signed to them, such as Skylark, Seven Dark Eyes and Solisia. How do you feel you fit in with the other bands on the label? Have you met any of them, and will you be touring with any of them?
They are all great bands, we work to realize the dream of making beautiful music ,perhaps this is what the Underground Symphony realised when they decided to invest in us. I have never met or done events with bands on the label, but it would be wonderful to do something with them.
“Apocalypse”, “Spirit” and “Heaven” – words taken from three of your song titles. Do they represent a particular faith or belief system by any band member(s)? What is the band’s “lyrical world” would you say?
That was a good question! 🙂 Let’s say that all songs and titles are bound together by one common goal: the christian faith. We are all christians and our songs reflect who we are. “Heaven”, “My Spirit Free” and “Rebirth” are certainly a prime example of this. Other lyrics deal with themes such as love, spiritual identity, legends and life force.
One observation is that the album has a good variety of paces: we have fast, slow and medium paced songs making up a perfect tapestry. Are there any songs that are favourite for you? Or have great personal meaning for you?
I can not say that there is a song I like more than others, but when I sing “A Beautiful Dream”, perhaps for the melody, perhaps for the meaning, I still shudder every time I sing to him.
At the end of the album I feel the listener is left with a profound sense of hope, possibly cemented by your final song “Diamond Hope”. What is your hope for this album? And for your band?
I hope this comes out, to understand that we want to make music, and maybe even participate in some live event with great metal bands. We have already accomplished?many dreams. We signed a record deal with an important metal label, we have made an excellent debut album, played a lot. Now our biggest dream is to play with our idols: Vision Divine, Labyrinth, Rhapsody, Lacuna Coil and many more. It is difficult, but we will try with all our strength. It would be wonderful!
A quick scan of YouTube will locate a video of Hypersonic performing a cover of “The Show Must Go On”, and you in particular delivering a beautifully passionate vocal performance. I must say you are a very dynamic performer and I imagine that it is great seeing you guys live!! Will this ever appear on an album? Or as an extra track?
Honestly we have never spoken about inserting covers as a bonus track, because Salvo and Emanuele make fantastic songs and then think for a next project which track to remove to insert a cover I do not see very well. But never say never! You never know what the future brings you.
Given the aforementioned power and emotion of your live performance (there is a great youtube video of “A Beautiful Dream” filmed at the X Lennon Festival in 2009), do you feel that this came across on the album sufficiently? Or have we even more to expect as time goes on and we see you release more material?
Of course! We are very pleased with the work we have done. We think that “Fallen Melodies” is a good example of heavy metal and powerful melodies. When you create your creation can not be unhappy. Right now I would not change anything about our CD. The next work would certainly be different in some respects. Maybe we could be more “bad” or even reduce the sound, everything is possible. The process of creating an album is very complex, but certainly our main feature will be hyper melody and power of our heavy music.
Finally, may I just express my gratitude for being able to hear your performance on this album, and thank you to the rest of the band for their contributions. Have you any final words for the Femme Metal readers?
Thank you so much for myself and the whole band! Thank you for this interview and for supporting us. You can never stop to do or know the good things that God has created, and the music is one of his most beautiful creations. If you love heavy metal and the powerful melodies, you should not miss our debut album “Fallen Melodies”. Make it your own! 😉
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