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Progressive Rock Interviews

PropheXy

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with PropheXy from 2010
MSJ:
Alessandro Valle: It comes from the earlier name of the band, Prophecy. We began as a metal band and later shifted into progressive and experimental rock, thus destroying the C with an X...

Stefano Vaccari: The capital "X" marks our passage, but you could see it also like a "keyboard error" (C and X are close!), likely adding a serendipity factor to our eXistance!

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music, what do you think you'd be doing?
Gabriele Martelli: It's a difficult question because I'm so much involved in music!


Stefano Vaccari: A life without playing drums? Oh boy that's hard... I think I would become a professional sommelier... Just to forget about that!

Matteo Bonazza: I had a pub with live music in the past, and it was great... Music will never be far from me!

MSJ:

How would you describe the sound of PropheXy?

Gabriele Martelli: We usually call it ProAggressive Rock: not simply prog, and not even prog-metal. Personally I think of PropheXy as a weird alternative rock band. We're the band you may choose if you're tired of the immediate message that rock music seems to pursue in these years. Listening to Alconauta you'll always discover more and more messages, jokes and points of view, both in music and in Matteo's lyrics. 

Matteo Bonazza: It's much like Rorschach's images, in which anyone could see hints of the subconscious mind... Or like a music sublimation of Escher pictures... A labyrinthic way to show a realistic unreality.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Stefano Vaccari: We're very busy in the promotion of our latest album Alconauta, but we're writing some new material too. 
MSJ: Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?
Gabriele Martelli: We'd like to play with everyone interested in our project!

Alessandro Valle: ...I'd love to play with the Pink Floyd of the past! Is this possible?

MSJ: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?
Gabriele Martelli:  Well I think that the CD has now almost lost his value as an artistic object, becoming something for collectors and music lovers (as me). Today's music business it's not so involved in record sales, but in spot soundtracks, TV performances and (most important) in live concerts. I think these are the real sources of money for labels and artists, while records are only a starting point in that direction.

I think the massive download of music is only a consequence of record's loss of value.

But for the underground scene MP3 download is probably the only way to get a following and that's another starting point!

Alessandro Valle: As long as I can play I do not see any problem... Except for labels and the music business. Bands should push towards live performances, like was before the economy competition kicked in.

Stefano Vaccari: I think the way people listen to music has changed, and we have to deal with it. Majors are late in managing that fast transaction, while underground bands like us can take advantage from it. 

Matteo Bonazza: The wider our channels are, the better.

MSJ: In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Gabriele Martelli - I had the pleasure and honor to talk about that matter with Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead bass player) and you know they support that practice. Bootlegs are something different from records, something for real fans deeply involved in your music, waiting for your new record, and so on.... 

I'd be glad if a community of PropheXy fans would join to trade our bootlegs! For many bands it's not a problem in terms of sales, but probably in terms of image: bootlegs don't lie, if your live act is not good as your record...

Matteo Bonazza: It would be a pleasure...

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?
Gabriele Martelli: Those who cover their mainstream music with a "rebel rock" attitude, playing lousy pop-music with distorted guitars and trivial lyrics. Today's rock and mainstream have much in common. Three minutes and three ideas to fulfill their needs. PropheXy are not so linear, direct... You have to discover them, and they want to be discovered! If you are tired of this unstable and ambiguous world, you can't play linear music... Our stylistic choices are the fruit of those thoughts, a  "PhilosopheXy" if you want.

Alessandro Valle:  ...You know those who play "liscio" music?

Stefano Vaccari: That would be a robot playing all quarter notes at constant speed... You know, the ones you find in a dance club?

Matteo Bonazza: My arch-nemesis would be the good-guy of the situation, the one who plays by the rules. I would like to be the villain for once! 

MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?
Gabriele Martelli: I imagine a three day festival, with a hard'n'heavy bill (AC/DC, Heaven and Hell and Judas Priest) for the first day, a classic rock program (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Eagles, Rolling Stones, David Gilmour) in the second and a more prog oriented day (King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator, Gong and Keith Emerson Band) on the third. I don't mind dying after such a festival!

Stefano Vaccari: It would be a multi-genre festival. And it would certainly be really weird to see Michel Camilo playing after Carcass... Anyway: Sieges Even as headliners!

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?
Gabriele Martelli: Surely Ian Paice on drums and Jack Bruce on bass and vocals. On keyboards Mr. Keith Emerson would be perfect as long as Theo Travis on saxophone.
MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

Gabriele Martelli:  I just bought The Last Waltz Box Set by The Band and guest. What a concert!

Alessandro Valle: Maddalena, Maria the last of Mangia Margot a very powerful duo!

Stefano Vaccari: I lately became addicted to one song: "Bad Things" by Jace Everett, from "True Blood" opening credits. Apart from that, I always try to discover bands that impress me, but it's been a while since a good one showed up.

Matteo Bonazza: There are so many I can't list  them all...

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Gabriele Martelli: Attending concerts is the thing I love the most. Some Peter Hammill solo shows have been fantastic, but for me Gong are the best live act of the year!

Stefano Vaccari:  Brad Mehldau trio... They started with a powerful 7/4 that rocked the theatre!

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Stefano Vaccari:  It was not so long ago. We were in Schio (Alessandro’s home city) to play and practice the day after. We woke up early to reach the building with the practice room but no one was inside to open the door, and no one answered the phone. So Alessandro - showing us his climber skills - jumped over an unstable wooden structure, then over the balcony and went into the house. Everyone of us has to have special skills playing with PropheXy!

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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