Mind Key's First DVD Finally Hits the Stores!
In Conversation with Martien Koolen
After a long delay Mind Key’s first DVD “Habamus Poland” was finally released in the beginning of this year. Mind Key started in early 1999 thanks to the founding members Dario De Cicco and Emanuele Colella, who decided to create a band with the precise task to melt the sound of prog metal bands like Symphony X, Dream Theater, Elegy and Royal Hunt with a newer approach. Their first album called “Journey of a rough diamond” (2004) was a great success and they later on toured with notorious bands like Dream Theater, Vision Divine and Pendragon. Since then the band has a new singer called Giorgo Adamo and with the new and strong line up their first DVD (you can read a review on our site) was recorded. I have a talk with founding member Dario about the DVD and their upcoming new album.
MARTIEN: Why did you decide to record the gig in Katowice to release that as your first DVD?
DARIO: Well, it was a choice of the label, in fact, Metal Mind productions. They organised this wonderful evening with Pendragon and Galahad. And the Wyspianski theatre is now probably the favourite location for Metal Mind productions to record DVDs and I think that they are right. It is a great place to play and it is a historical theatre, which makes it really special and amazing. Nick Barrett (Pendragon, MK) actually proposed this idea to our manager so we were happy to perform such a great gig in this wonderful place and record it as our first DVD.
MARTIEN: The total time of the gig is just hardly over one hour, is that not a bit short for a DVD?
DARIO: I think that 75 minutes of music for a band that has only one album is more than enough. Moreover we put a new version of the song “Memory calling”, a rock arrangement of Handel’s “Sarabande”, a Whitesnake cover and a great guitar solo by Emanuele on the DVD, so you have enough stuff that you can check out.
MARTIEN: Why did you choose to cover the Whitesnake song “Still of the night’?
DARIO: Whitesnake is a very important band for almost all the members of the group and “Still of the night” represents a song that everyone in the band likes. It is a song where the audience really gets in to and it rocks like hell, or don’t you think so?
MARTIEN: It sounds good, but on the bonus part of the DVD there is another version of “Still of the night”, is that not a bit of overkill?
DARIO: We thought that the bonus version was very good, so we decided to put it on the DVD, even if the lights of the Marseilles venue were very dark and in some parts it is even hard to see the players. However it gives the perfect picture of Mind Key playing in a diverse dimension than the DVD. The camera in the crowd gives you the feeling that you are actually in the middle of the audience.
MARTIEN: Talking about the bonus part, the sound quality there is very different (read: worse) from the original sound quality of the DVD, how is that possible?
DARIO: Apart from the recording in Caserta, the other tracks were recorded by our manager Davide Guidone with a not very professional portable camera and the recording in Warsaw was done with good equipment from the back stage, so…. But that evening at the Prog rock Festival in Stodola the gig was very tight, the audience was really into the music and we enjoyed playing there very much as you can see. By the way I have to add that you can not expect the same quality from a portable tiny camera as from a professional DVD shoot….
MARTIEN: Did it cost a lot of time to record and make the DVD?
DARIO: Our manager started talking about the DVD in March 2006 and the entire coordination, mixing and art work went on until the end of 2006. About the art work I can give you a little scoop as there is a rather weird story about that. The day before publishing the cover artwork, the Metal Mind crew told us that there is a local law that does not permit people to use the Polish flag for commercial purposes. So, in a few minutes time we had to decide what to do. Finally we made the decision to change the eagle a little bit and in fact you can see now that the eagle is not the same as on the Polish flag, but very similar!
MARTIEN: The DVD shows an excellent gig, great prog metal songs, so are you also pleased with the final result?
DARIO: Yes, of course. We are all very pleased with the final outcome because everyone can watch a real and honest performance of Mind Key now. All the songs are recorded live and nothing has been re-recorded in the studio. We are very proud of this DVD, plus you have to consider that the Metal Mind work is really astonishing. The professional release is very good and we really could not expect more from a promoter. The limited edition with the CD has a great package too and it is perfect for the fans and all prog metal listeners and lovers around the world.
MARTIEN: Why did you decide to substitute the singer of the band and did you actually fire Mark, the previous vocalist?
DARIO: Mark is a great singer and he loves rock music and he admires bands like A Perfect Circle and Nickelback. They are really great bands but their sound is so totally different from ours. Now Mark sings in another band that plays the kind of music he likes, so we are all happy about the new situation. We did NOT fire him; it was his choice because he thought that it was not fair towards us to go on that way. He felt that this kind of music, progressive metal/rock, was not his thing anymore. He wanted to sing more straightforward rock/metal, so that is the story in a nutshell.
MARTIEN: You are already working on a new album, I presume, when will it be released?
DARIO: It is almost ready as a matter of fact. We still have to record the vocal parts, so we expect to release the new CD in a couple of months.
MARTIEN: In what ways will it be different from the debut?
DARIO: The album will feature 10 new songs and they are from a totally different nature than the compositions on the debut album. They will have a couple of new elements, new modern sounds, something electronic and lots of string arrangements. All tracks will have that typical Mind Key mark, so they will be very melodic and catchy, but at the same time very heavy and filled with metal influences. You can also expect some more inspired lyrics about rather interesting topics and of course the voice of the new singer!!
MARTIEN: Will you be touring through Europe after the release of the new album?
DARIO: We hope to do some gigs in Europe before the summer. And then do an extensive tour after the release of the new album in the fall, together with other progressive bands.
MARTIEN: Last but not least, any words for your Dutch fans?
DARIO: We hope to come back to Holland very soon. We had a great time at Progpower and your country is really amazing. So, see you soon.
MARTIEN: Thanks for your time.
DPRP Review of Habamus Poland ~ Live in Katowice DVD
Mind Key Official Website
Metal Mind Productions
Metal Mind Productions MySpace