Interview by Danny Robertson
Giorgia Gueglio, singer and founder for heavy/melodic Italian metal act MasterCastle, spoke to us to discuss their debut album “The Phoenix” (released April 2009) and the band’s history.
How and when did the band first get together?
I founded the MasterCastle band together with the guitar player Pier Gonella on 2008. We had many bands and collaborations in the past and we decided to put all experience and energy in something different. Pier wrote many hard rock/heavy metal songs and riffs using a particular baritone guitar, and we experimented my female voice on them. The result was an amazing mix for us. We went away composing and we called Steve Vawamas as bass player and Alessandro Bissa as guest drummer. We had known them for many years, as musicians and as people and their arriving changed the project into a real band. We finished 4 songs and we send them to the Lion Music label. They immediately proposed us a deal and we released the album “The Phoenix” on April 2009. We are grateful to all of Lion Music staff’s work and promotion for us.
Who first influenced you to become a vocalist?
My musical background is based on British and American hard rock. My first influence was David Coverdale of Whitesnake. I like his voice because it’s full of energy and very expressive.
Who/what are the band’s main influences as a whole?
Of course Whitesnake was a great influence for me. Then many 70’s, 80’s stuff like Led Zeppelin, I like very much Robert Plant’s voice also.
What inspired you to name the band MasterCastle?
We choose the MasterCastle name during travel after a gig. We were searching for something that could represent Giorgia Gueglio and Pier Gonella. Finally we found “Master” because of the great experience of Pier, as guitar hero, composer and producer and “Castle” because of my travelling passion. I visited many castles, especially in Scotland, and they’ve given me great emotions. So the two words are very common, but putting them together they become something different and original. You can translate them as “Main castle”, or “castle of the master”, and we like all those meanings.
How long did it take to write and record “The Phoenix”?
We sent a 4 tracks demo to Lion Music on August 2008. And at the end of December 2008 we sent to Lion Music all the stuff: the master of the album, three bonus tracks for the Japan release (Japan’s edition was released on September 2009 for the label Spiritual Beast), all graphic and booklet files. I consider this as a record! We worked very hard, but without stress, because all the band really believed in MasterCastle’s music and this has given us all the necessary energy.
What are the main themes and influences behind the tracks on the album?
I wrote all the lyrics and I get inspiration from human nature as well as forgotten tales and events. For example, the song “Greedy Blade” tells about the disaster of Vajont, a dam on the Italian alps that after a landslide, created a giant wave that destroyed towns and villages in the valley. The titletrack tells a story of human nature that needs to be as strong as the phoenix, the legendary bird which dies and is born again on his ashes. The song “Princess of Love” is a mystical tale about the magic presence of a clan of witches dancing in the forest. I really like this song and we made a videoclip that people can see on our MySpace.
How would you describe your sound? Are you comfortable with labels?
It’s not easy to describe our personal style. When we sent the stuff to Lion Music, they described my voice as “very powerful” and I’m very proud of this. Thinking about female (vocalists), expecially metal heads, they always think simply about a voice that is higher than a male voice and frame this in the gothic style, with very few exceptions. I don’t wanna do this. I try to be different from all female singers, putting all my energy and power in my voice, not necessarily going so high in frequences. Some months after the releasing of MasterCastle‘s album, I’m happy that people understood this and considered my voice as an original and particular. All MasterCastle sound was considered unique, not only because of my voice but for the original way in combining heavy metal and hard rock with classical influences.
What would you say has been your biggest non-musical influence?
Many non-musical things influence me, expecially in the lyrics. Maybe the biggest is nature. I like mountains, the sea, I like the color of nature, expecially in autumn and the sounds of nature. In the song “Cradle of Stone” I talk about this and about how man often kills nature with progress and technology. As I said before, I also like travel and visit uncontaminated places. They give me a lot of emotions and inspirations.
Who are your favourite current bands/acts? Made any recent CD purchases?
My last purchase was “The Resistance” by Muse. I like their music and their personal way of mixing rock with classical stuff.
Which other bands/acts, past or present, do you feel you share the most common ground with?
I think Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, Mike Oldfield.
What’s next for the band? Any tours in the pipeline?
After the release of the album we made some gigs, expecially in Italy but we started immediately composing other songs because our plan is to release another album in April 2010. Lion Music have given us another deal, so we are currently working towards the next MasterCastle album. The album is called “Last Desire”.
Any last messages for people?
First of all, thanks to you for this interview. Then I invite all listeners to MasterCastle site, where you can find our videoclips, unreleased songs and many other stuff. See you soon on stage!