Interview with Diego Cafolla
DPRP’s André De Boer
The DPRP duo review on Kingcrow’s new album In Crescendo made me curious about some facts regarding the band and the recommended album. So I had the pleasure to have a little chat with the composer, guitar player, co-founder of Kingcrow and very sympathetic guy Diego Cafolla in Rome, Italy.
Diego: My pleasure!
André: I want to start with you. I understand you are the main composer of Kingcrow. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing for Kingcrow?
Diego: Yes, that’s right, I am. I have my own studio and I can play a little bit on every instrument next to the guitar which is my main instrument. I started as a piano player so I can also play keyboard. And a little bit of drums and bass guitar. So, usually, I write the stuff and I prepare the demos in the studio; I record the songs with all instruments done by me. And then I ask the other guys to listen to the demos and what they think about the songs that I wrote. If it sucks or if they are good. And this way we work out the arrangements together.
André: Okay, but how do you get the initial ideas into your head?
Diego: Usually I started writing for the last few albums, the concept albums like this. I try to write music that fits the main theme of the album. And that’s why the new album is a little bit more melodic and a little bit melancholic compared to Phlegeton which was a little bit darker, because basically Phlegeton was more of a thriller-like concept. So the vibe is darker then on the new album that is about the end of youth, which that explains the melancholic feeling. So I try to write stuff that fits the concept, and that’s all I think.
André: And what about the story behind it, about youth, the end of youth?
Diego: Yes. It’s not a story from the beginning to the end. But all the songs are about facts in life that are part of the process of growing up. So we have songs like The Drawing Line which is about the desire of social affirmation. And about the desires of power, when you start growing up you usually want to take your place in the society. Morning Rain is about a guy who lost his father that is something that pushes you to take care of yourself. So it is another step in the growth of the individual. And all of the songs have these themes that are parts of the process of growing up.
André: Can you please tell me something about how Kingcrow was born?
Diego: It was born in ’96, we were a power trio back then. It was me, my brother Tundra -the drummer- and another guy who was playing bass and at the time I was singing too! I’m not that good of a singer but I was singing… We started as a cover band. We played a lot of stuff from Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and also more extreme stuff from Sepultura, Slayer and more. At the same time I started writing stuff, it was not that good but I felt this need to write something. And we started to play our own songs more than the covers in time. Then we had a lot of line-up changes. When growing up you have to face that people can get interested in other things than playing music. But the core of the band remained the same, which is me and my brother, and we made five albums together. We had this desire of playing in a band and make music…and that’s all, I think.
André: That Kingcrow has grown up, I have witnessed that watching you at ProgPower Europe 2011. Can you tell me about your adventures going to ProgPower Europe in 2011 and going to ProgPower USA last year?
Diego: We were touring with Redemption at the time (2011) and that was our first tour outside of Italy. So we were pretty excited. We knew about ProgPower because it is an important festival in Europe for this kind of music, I can say probably one of the most important ones. And I think it was a very good show, the audience was fantastic, we were excited to play and I think we played pretty well. So the whole experience was really very good. And the ProgPower USA was a little bit of the same, except for the more romantic idea for us to go and play at the other side of the ocean. We had some problems at the start of that show because some of the instruments did not work. But after the second song it was all very good. The whole experience is fantastic because it’s a very friendly festival. A lot of friends and also very professional. So it was very good and it was filmed for DVD that will be released in the fall because we now have to go and tour again in the USA first. So we are pretty excited and very busy at the same time!
André: Diego, like you mentioned, this brings you raving reviews and lots of success. How do you cope with that? How do you handle this?
Diego: Well, it is a little bit weird and strange. You know, I was reading the reviews and they were very good, I mean very very good. So you are a little bit… I don’t know… You tend to underestimate yourself probably. Because you can’t see so good about yourself… It is very weird at the time and probably I’m not used to that kind of attention…
André: What about the touring you mentioned. Are you rehearsing for the USA / Canada tour right now?
Diego: We are rehearsing for the tour but we have some gigs previously here in Italy. We are rehearsing mainly for those headliner shows, so the set-lists are very long. But at the same time we are looking forward to the tour because at the moment that is the main thing for us. We were invited to play with Pain of Salvation, which is probably one of the most highly regarded bands. So for us it is very exciting and we want to play very well…because they are good. So, not to suck!
André: I understand that you also want to tour in Europe. Do you already have something in mind? Where and when and how?
Diego: There are no real plans for Europe yet but I’m sure we will do some gigs in Europe. I hope to come back in Holland, one of our favourite places to play because all seems to work perfectly in Holland. The technicians are very good, the venues are very good, and it’s all perfect. And we got very good response from all the gigs we played in Holland. Other countries I’d like to play again are Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium. But our favourites are Holland and Germany for sure.
André: Back to the album again, what is your favourite song of In Crescendo? What’s the song that you think is absolutely the best?
Diego: I change idea almost every day about my favourite songs on the album. But I think the suite, the title track In Crescendo, is a very good one. It was a lot of work because of all the arrangements of this eleven minute song. So it was a hard job but I am proud of it. And another song that I like is This Ain’t Another Love Song, which is the second track of the album. I like the vibe that is a little bit new to us and I like the way it stays smooth. It starts very ‘slow’ and then it starts building up energy until towards half the song it is very intense heavy stuff. And then it returns being soft. So I am very proud of that song. Those two are my favourites. Oh, and another one is Morning Rain, which is one of the ballads. I like the interplay between the instruments because it is rather complex. At first this is not recognizable. It is a ballad but in odd time signatures all the song. The interplay between the instruments is not that simple so I like that it is complex though it is very simple to listen to at the same time.
André: I agree.
Diego: Ha! Thank you!
André: Diego, does Kingcrow already has plans for the distant future?
Diego: I started to write something at the moment. But just to collect riffs. For the next year I hope we will have a lot of gigs to play and at the same time I hope to write a new album and start recording it at the end of next year. But I hope to play a lot of gigs because we are a band that enjoys very much to be on stage. So that is our main goal at the moment.
André: If you are touring next year, would you like to tour as a headliner or as a support band?
Diego: I like both. To make a headline tour is cool because you can play a lot of songs. I also like to play with other gigs because it’s cool to hang out with other bands and to play for a bigger audience probably, because if you play with a big act you can play for a lot of people. So I like both.
Diego: Honestly, it is Rush! For me this band is my blueprint. I think for me Rush is one of my most important bands that made my background as a musician, as a songwriter. So I would like very much to open for them. And I think their audience can appreciate our music.
André: So it will be Rush then?
Diego: Yeah, haha ! Kingcrow is opening for Rush. Yeah, that’s good!
André: And you have something with Mike Oldfield, I know. What is it that you want us to know that Mike Oldfield has this connection with you. Or the other way around?
Diego: Mike is one of my main influences. Because I love a lot of his music. The Tubular Bells records are fantastic to me. And I love the way that he can arrange the songs, his songs are more like modern classical music to me. With those crescendo’s and his very complex arrangements. There are a lot of instruments and it’s not simple to write that kind of stuff with thirty instruments and where every instrument has its own space. I think he is a genius, really.
André: Diego, I have a final question. Is their something that you would like to tell to the readers of the DPRP website and listeners of DPRP Radio that I haven’t asked?
Diego: I want to thank DPRP because we have four of our records reviewed on DPRP, Insider, Timetropia, Phlegeton and the last one In Crescendo of course. Very good and accurate reviews, very detailed. I do not only read DPRP for our reviews but for reviews in general because the reviews are very in-depth. So I like to read DPRP.
André: Well, thank you very much about that!
Diego: Thank you guys.
André: I would like to thank you for your music. And for the interview of course. I’d like to see you in Holland soon!
Diego: I hope so… Like I said, Holland is one of our favourite places to stay. I hope to come back soon.
André: Diego, thank you.
Diego: Thank you, it’s my pleasure.
Parts of this interview will be broadcasted on DPRP Radio Prog Rock and Metal show on Monday March 11 as well with several songs of the In Crescendo album in between. You can listen to the show’s listen again facility (select show 82).