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Progressive Rock Interviews

Le folli arie

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Le Folli Arie from 2016
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Simone Corazzari - At the beginning there were only me and the bassist Massimiliano Masciari. Then, between 2011 and 2012 the keyboard player/second voice Marco Cerioli and the drummer Francesco Meles joined the band. We already knew each other for having worked in previous projects. The idea was to work on the material we wrote through the years, record everything and choose the best pieces to make an album of debut. We wanted it to be a synthesis of our musical experience. We tried to create our own style which we wanted to be contemporary but yet with a lot of different influences.

The pre-production and production phase took us about two years. We wanted to blend all the influences, level the sound and choose only the most suitable pieces to create a coherent job. That's why it took us so much time. Plus, we are a super-democratic band, almost anarchic: we always discuss everything too much! The 13 tracks of our first album “Le Folli Arie” released on 26th January 2015, well summarize our activity in the past two years and our four different artistic experiences: once you listen throughout the album you can perceive the binding that gathers the 13 tracks together. The listener is able to experience many extremely different atmospheres and emotional episodes and to appreciate a deep sense of coherence throughout the entire listening experience. 

In this first year we have been promoting our album through a tour and radio and tv interviews, mainly in Italy. We have issued three videos in Italian and one in English. The second video in English “Shot in the Dark” will be issued soon.

You can find comprehensive information about us here: http://www.lefolliarie.com/

The four of us have a passion for music since we were little kids. As far as I am concerned, everything started with a keyboard my parents gave me. I started to play as self-educated and to write my first songs. At 15 I started to play the guitar and at 18 I realized music was my job and my life. Then I took a diploma in modern guitar...

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Simone Corazzari - I don't know. Maybe, I would be a philosopher or a naturopath. Not a white collar, that's for sure!

Massimiliano Masciari - Since I was a child, I alway dreamed of being a taster of typical dishes from all over the world!

MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Simone Corazzari - Actually, by chance. Few years ago with another band before a music contest, we read something about art and folly in a newspaper. We loved it at once. “Arie” is the plural of “aria” (melody in Italian) and means our research for melody and lyricism. Folly, well, we must be crazy to do what we do! Anyway, everybody can give their own interpretation!
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Simone Corazzari - We all listen to very different kinds of music: from jazz to death metal, Red Hot, grunge, prog, the 80s... My personal preferences are probably more evident in this album being the author and the producer: Jeff Buckley, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Yes, Porcupine Tree, PFM, Lucio Battisti...
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Simone Corazzari - Our priority is to bring our music live in Italy and as soon as possible, abroad. All our dates will be posted on  www.lefolliarie.com and on our social (#stayfolle).

We will release the second video in English “Shot in the dark” by the end of January 2016.

We hope to find our niche of audience who truly love what we do and how we do it. We are just at the start.

Probably our idea of success is just to be able to live of our music and be free to produce what we like. We have been able to earn our living by music related activities (covers, tributes, studio sessions, lessons...) for few years now, but now our main object is to do our music!

MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Simone Corazzari - Someone says our music is pop-prog, crossover, pop-rock …Let's start saying we are not properly a “prog” group. Probably we have a “prog” approach when we try to blend styles and genres without fear to create our own diversified and contaminated language (purists won't like it). Or when we put a maniacal effort in our arrangements, or in the sound of the 70s in which we find our roots. That's why we prefer to consider our music “prog-pop” … an experimental pop that is progressive but immediate and melodic. That's why defining our style is not a simple task: it could be prog music dressed as pop-rock or the exact opposite.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Simone Corazzari - Steven Wilson and Gavin Harrison

Massimiliano Masciari - No one from the present days! … Anyway, I like to play with musicians that come from different styles and genres.

MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Simone Corazzari - Difficult question. Who could honestly say to have never downloaded anything illegally? The real negative thing is that a lot of people think music has no value. They think music is a product not worth to pay for being available and free online all the time. On the other side, the diffusion of multimedia contents allows the cultural growth of any individual. At the same time bands and independent artists can build their fan-base more easily than in the past. Most of the legal income from streaming/downloading go to the majors or to the distributors. Independent artists only get the change. A real fan should be fair enough to buy records and merch straight from the artist and go to see him live. This can really make the difference for an independent band like us.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?
Simone Corazzari - Definitely positive! If our fans appreciate a live concert and share it on the web, that's great! That helps spread our music and get more fans who may come to the next concert.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Simone Corazzari - Modà for sure! (They are an Italian pop-rock band). They represent anything we hate about Italian music. They definitely are the arch enemy! The Evil!
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Simone Corazzari - Myles Kennedy, Jeff Beck, Marcus Miller, Gavin Harrison. Awesome!

Massimiliano Masciari - Richard Bona, Bill Evans/Joe Zawinul, Antonio Sanchez/Manu Katche... and I would put Jeff Beck too, even if he is a guitarist.

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?
Simone Corazzari - It's a difficult choice … How many bands could take part in the Festival and should they be still active?Let's say the top 5 of always: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Porcupine Tree.

Massimiliano Masciari - I would immediately name the band of the previous question and make them play no stop!

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Simone Corazzari - A Massimo Varini's record (a great Italian guitarist) of acoustic pieces at 432Hz, Perfect Circle, Ben Harper and Pino Daniele. (Simone Corazzari – singer-guitarist)

Massimiliano Masciari - I have been listening to old Italian music lately.

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Simone Corazzari - The Gambler by Dostoevskij, a real masterpiece!

Massimiliano Masciari - A Million Little Pieces (James Frey) and Through the Looking-Blass (Lewis Carroll).

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Simone Corazzari - Maybe it wasn't the last one, but I enjoyed very much the Muse live.

Massimiliano Masciari - If we are talking about “big” events, I went to a Jovanotti's concert some time ago.

MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Simone Corazzari - Bon Jovi very loud while I drive.

Massimiliano Masciari - I can't remember because I was to little, but my parents tells me I used to sing “Ragazzi di oggi” by Luis Miguel! Really embarrassing! Plus, I would like to play live, the main theme of the soap opera “Beautiful,” at least once in my life.

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Simone Corazzari - I'm not sure I got the right meaning of “Spinal Tap Moment” but I try to answer. This event happened at least ten years ago and it really was something surreal! I was in Russia on tour with “Le Folli Arie.” Same name but completely different people and repertory. We used to play international and Italian covers and some pieces of ours. The main performance was for the opening of an Italian fashion store. It was a great success and the audience was really excited.

Then, this strange man dressed in a very eccentric manner comes to us and invites us to perform the same night at another place. We discover that he is a sort of local tycoon and the owner of the hotel where we are staying. He takes us to a pub and pays in advance for the open bar performance of the night taking out a big roll of banknotes. We play after a Russian band and again the audience goes crazy. In the meantime, someone in the middle of the crowd starts a striptease. The strange man is really happy and takes us to the hotel at dawn to end the night. We are very excited and feel like the Led Zeppelin.

The man orders vodka, shrimps and a lot of food and sits to eat and drink with us. He is very well-educated and amusing. We are chatting pleasantly when his face changes and staring at our drummer's eyes he says:”Tomorrow you will die.” Of course the poor drummer went really pale and so did we. I don't know how we got away from that situation.  Anyway, the drummer didn't die!

MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Simone Corazzari - Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Jimi Hendrix.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Simone Corazzari - Sushi.
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Thank you very much for the interview! It has been the most enjoyable and funny interview we had up to now. A big hug to all the Music Street Journal readers. Keep on being curious and always look for something new. Support independent bands that bring forward valuable projects devoting their whole life. The music of the future is in your hands! We are waiting for you on www.lefolliarie.com and on our social to discover our New Italian Prog Pop. #stayfolle!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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