guys, first of all please introduce your band to the Metal Coven readers.
When and where has Wicked Minds been formed, which of the original
members are still on board and what would you say are the most important
cornerstones in the band’s carreer so far?
WM: The band started in 1987 as a thrash metal band with
the guitar player Lucio Calegari, the drummer Andrea Concarotti and the
bass player Enrico Garilli. After some years spent in searching the
right sound (4 demo-tapes were released in these years) the band reached
a new dimension in 1999. In this year W-Records (Italy) published the
first CD, “Return to Uranus” were the band is in form of an hard-trio,
mostly influenced by The Jimy Hendrix Experience. I joined the band with
my Hammond organ in 2000 and the sound of WM moved to a new dimension,
more hard-progressive oriented. In 2003 the band recorded “Crazy
technicolor delirium garden” for W-Records and late that year the
arrival of the new singer J.C. set the band to its definitive line up.
With the new singer we recorded “From the purple skies” for Black Widow
Records (Italy) gaining an international exposure and playing live
through Europe. In june of 2006 Black Widow Records released “Witchflower”,
our new album, and we started for a tour in Europe, playing several gigs
and meeting on stage big artists such as Birth Control, UFO, Soft
Machine, Wishbone Ash, Siena Root, Colour Haze and many others. In 2007
Herzberg Verlag released our first live album featuring our entire
performance at Burg Herzberg 2006.
year your new album “Witchflower” has been released by Italian cult
label Black Widow Records. If you look back on that album now, how
satisfied are you with the overall result? If you had the chance to
record that album again with hindsight, is there anything you would have
changed? Or would you do everything exactly as you did it the first
WM: Witchflower is the first album we have recorded that
made us all completely happy! We don’t tell you this because we feel we
have done a masterpiece, is not like this, we only think that the record
has been recorded and played in the way we had in mind for it, so we
wouldn’t change anything, still we are very satisfied with this release!!
In what way does “Witchflower” differ from your previous records?
What do you think are the biggest steps ahead that Wicked Minds have
made over the last couple of years?
WM: Witchflower is the point of arrival of a way we
entered some years ago. When Paolo joined the band in 2000 our music
changed and moved towards hard-progressive. The result of the first 3
years of work is “Crazy technicolor delirium garden”. “From the purple
skies” came one year later with the new singer JC and some additional
track. So we can say that our previous albums contained songs written in
different periods of our lifes, with different moods and without a clear
idea of what our direction should have been. “Witchflower” has been
written and recorded in the last of one year and a half, we knew very
well what we wanted to do! We didn’t want to commit any mistake and we
knew exactly the things we didn’t like on the older albums, so we worked
straight trying to offer something more to our hears. The result is a
very various album (every song has its own mood) dominated by the same
energy and the same attitude from the beginning through the end, this is
the greatest strenght of this work! We have done what we have not been
able to do before, writing an album and think about the whole album, not
only writing songs and then put them together on a record. Musically
this album is much more complex than the previous ones, less psychedelic
and less improvising, far more structurated and arranged. We took great
care of sounds and we worked for long in studio to have everything as we
wanted...this is why we would not change anything on it now!
music is heavily inspired by the great Hard Rock legends of the 60s and
70s... which bands of the past are your biggest idols and what does
their music mean to you?
WM: We are all great collectors of music, we really love
it!!! We know that many people when listen to us think to Deep Purple or
Uriah Heep but we know that our sound is more articulated, more complex.
We take more inspiration from the underground bands of the ’70 than from
the major bands. We can quote Orange Peel, Trip, 2066 & Then, Waterloo,
Murphy Blend, Necronomicon, Arzachel, Bram Stoker, Tyburn Tall,
Quatermass, Sugarloaf, Hard Stuff and many many others among our
greatest influences. Then, of course, we have a touch of DP, UH, Jethro,
Yes and many other “big” group of that era but the underground is far
more fascinating to us!
How important is it for Wicked Minds, not only to
copy these bands, but to add an own note to your sound as well? And what
would you say is it, that makes Wicked Minds still sound totally unique
and authentic and not just like a bunch of copycats?
WM: In our music you can hear echoes of many bands of the
past but we mix different styles all together and the result is
something new. In a song you can hear something that reminds DP (for
example) mixed with sounds that reminds the italian prog of the ’70,
hard guitar on psychedelic lyrics, all these elements are together and
the result is something different from the single influences you hear.
We are talking about influences, we do not want to sound like anything
else, we do not copy no one! Of course when someone hear an overdriven
Hammond organ together with a distorted guitar he thinks about DP and
UH, this is normal, but if he analyzes the structure of the song, the
sounds and other aspects he can discover many other things that makes us
different from the other bands!
range of songs on “Witchflower” are pretty broad and diverse. There’s
straight forward rockers like “Through My Love”, epic art rock numbers
“Scorpio Odyssey”, enchanting ballads like “Burning Tree”, fragile
instrumentals like “The Court Of The Satyr” and proggy twisters like
“Here Comes The King”, just to name a few... seems like Wicked Minds
just don’t wanna fit into any category, do they?
WM: This is not a choice, is that we really love many
different things! We try to write songs that give us the “right”
vibration, don’t matter if it’s a hard song or a ballad! When we hear
that “vibe” we know we have done something good. Then we spend lot of
time working on sounds and composition and the result is always
something different from what we had in mind at the beginning. This is
why we have so many different moods on the same album. The good thing is
that every song, even if it brings its own atmosphere, has a strong
relation with the others, every song is in WM style and this let us do
what we want, without thinking about genres or style. It’s quite hard to
Are there any songs on “Witchflower” which have any special
importance for you? If so, which ones are they?
WM: “A child and a mirror” and “Black capricorn fire” are
the two songs we love more because when we hear to them we can hardly
recognise ourself ;-) !!! “Here comes the king” and “Scorpio odyssey”
are other tunes we love because on the record they sound great and we
are always happy when we manage to put on record all our energy! But
every tune of this album has its own particoular story and every song is,
in some way, important for us! This is another thing that never happened
to us before!
album closes with a brilliant cover version of Deep Purple’s “Soldier Of
Fortune”. Why have you chosen especially this song as a cover and what
was it like to record your own version of such a legendary Hard Rock
WM: Black Widow wanted us to play this song on the record
because they thought we could have done a good version. We didn’t want
to make the same mistake we did covering Gypsy on From the purple skies,
we didn’t want to play that song same as the original and we tried to
add something of our sound and attitude. The version you hear on the
album is not very different from the original but you can hear our way
of playing that tune, this is why, after the recordings, we felt happy
about this song and decided to use it for closing the album.
What other cover songs do Wicked Minds play, for example on your
older albums or at your live gigs?
WM: On “From the purple skies” we covered two songs, Gypsy,
mentioned above, and Forever my queen by Pentagram. We recorded the
Uriah Heep song when J.C. entered the band. We needed a song to be
recorded to show the new singer skillness to Black Widow guys before the
releasing of the album and so we choose a track we all love a lot. The
result was very good but the song is exactly the same as the orignial,
this is why we consider it a mistake now, we didn’t add anything of our
style to it! Then we choose a Pentagram cover because Lucio loves that
band and because we felt that song as the right one. We make a personal
version of that tune, adding Hammond and very acid Moog and the result
was very good!! These are the only covers we have recorded even if
during our live shows it could happen that we play Might just take your
life, War pigs or Fire and Water, just to have the people happy and some
fun on stage...
has “Witchflower” been recorded? What equipment have you used and what
kinda sound did you want to create?
WM: Witchflower has been recorded at Elfo Recording
Studio, near Piacenza, in the nothern of Italy. Is a wonderful studio
with a very large room were we can play alltogether, with a great sound.
Alberto, the sound engeneer, is a friend of us and he knows very well
how to make everything sound in the right way, we had a very magical
period in studio at the end of 2005 while we were recording that album!
We used a lot of stuff!!! We brought to studio all our equipment,
Hammond and Leslie, DW drums, a couple of Marshall stacks, a Fender
Bassman amplifier, a lot of synthesizers (ARP, Moog, Waldorf, Wersi,
Roland), electric pianos, Mellotron and other string ensembles, a wall
piano was in the studio......Paolo was in the middle of pentagon of
keyboards, the room was full of stuff, it has been great!!! Then we
recorded everything through an analog tape recorder and then passed
everything on PC. We made the mixes using only analog outboards and then
we mastered everything again on tape, the result was great!!! We heard
the songs in every passage and still, in the end, when we heard it
finished we watched and we all thought: “shit! This is what we always
wanted to have!”...it has been a great moment!! What we wanted to have
when we entered the studio was a modern analog sound. We use almost only
vintage equipment, not because it’s cool, just because you cannot find
anything that sounds better than the real thing!! But we didn’t want the
album to sound like a 1970 one, we wanted to have those instrumental
voices with nowadays quality and dynamic, this is why we worked both on
analog and digital machines. At the end the result was very pleasing to
One thing that I really like about “Witchflower”, apart from the
wonderful music, is the amazing artwork!! Whose idea was it to use this
picture, by whom has it been created and in what way is that beautiful
girl on the cover connected to the lyrics/message of the album?
I have done the cover and I’m really glad that you like it, it took
me 6 months of work, more than once I thought to leave up everything and
find someone doing it instead of me!!! I wanted to have a cover related
to the title, so witch and flowers, but I wanted a cool witch, not an
old one ;-) !!!! So I found that photo on a old catalogue of the ’70 and
thought it would have been perfect! I worked on that image adding the
flowers and playing with colors till I reached what I was looking for!
The funny thing is that a couple months after the record has been
released a woman passed in front of Black Widow’s shop in Genova and
recognize herself in the cover!!! She entered the shop and she explained
to the guys that she was an actress working for some Fulci’s movies in
the ’70 and that the photo on the cover was taken from a photo session
she had before one of these movies, we didn’t know this!!!! Anyway,
after the first moment of panic, she was completely happy about this
thing and the guys gave her some copies of the album...wow!!! I think we
will have a very very special thank to her on the next record, she has
been really kind!!!
Not only the artwork is simply brilliant, but also the rest of the
package... digipack, 16 pages fullcolor booklet, bonus DVD, etc...
everything’s of highest quality!! What do you think about Black Widow’s
work in this point? Are you happy with their work and effort?
WM: Yes, we are completely happy with them!!! They have
entirely produced the album and they have done a very good job! They
gave us the opportunity of entering the studio for a month so that we
have worked quietly paying attention to every aspect of the session,
without their help this album has never sounded so good!!! Then they
have moved very well for promotion and distribution, absolutely we are
happy with them!!
How have the reactions on “Witchflower” been so far? Did all the fans
and reviewers like it and did they give you a lot of positive feedback?
Or have you also been confronted with some rather critical words?
We have had only good feedback from the album!! We didn’t expected
to have such a good response, both from people and from magazines! Lots
of reviews and interviews has been done and it seems that everyone who
listened to it had liked it!!! For people interested we have a blog with
all the reviews related to Witchflower,
www.witchflowernew.blogspot.com. The only critics we have received
comes from some italian listeners who would like us to sing in
italian...is an ever ending story, all the italian bands that sings in
other leanguages has to face this aspect...anyway, all this people will
be happy with the italian prog tribute so everything should be fine at
the end ;-) !!!
Have Wicked Minds already started to write songs for the followup to
“Witchflower”? If so, can you already name us some songtitles and give
us some more info on some of the songs?
WM: Currently we are in studio recording the album....but
it will be something very different: we are recording a tribute to the
italian progressive music of the ’70, we will play only covers and we
will feature many guests from the original bands, everything singed in
italian! Witchflower has been a kind of point of arrival for us and we
wanted to front something new and different before entering the studio
and recording new stuff. The album should be out next autumn and then we
will enter the studio again for the recordings of our real new
album...we can’t tell you titles yet but it will be a suite, we have
written almost everything of the music, we all think is a very good
project! In these days we are closing another work in studio, a
psychedelic intrumental jam we have recorded for our first label,
W-Records, and that will be released under the name of “Orange shading
starlight”. Is something different from WM, much more on the psychedelic
side, but it sounds great!!! It will be released only in vynil. And, of
course, our first live album has been released since a couple of weeks
and will be out in 2LP too for june, so we are keeping ourselves very
busy in this period ;-) !!!
What kinda music do you personally listen to in your free time? Are
there for example any newcomer bands, which you enjoy a lot and which
you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Everyone of us has his personal taste in music, so we cover a wide
range of genres!! Of course we listen almost everything coming from the
’60 and ’70, we really love those years!!! But we listen to new bands
too...some examples....Siena Root, Wolfmother, Audioslave, Dollhouse and
many many others, it seems there are many interesting bands around today!!!!
Is there any Wicked Minds merchandise availible? If so, what items do
you have in stock and where can they be ordered?
WM: T-shirts are out of stock at the moment but when the
italian prog album will be ready for sure we will have them availables
again on our site,
www.wickedminds.net, under “wicked shop” section. Here you can find
all our records and some of the records related to band members (like
The Link Quartet, J.C. Band and some other stuff). There will be no
other merchendise but there will be “value” packages for albums (like CD
bundles and something like this)...so, let’s check out the site from
time to time!!!
Thanks a lot for the answers!! Keep up the fantastic work with Wicked
Minds & who knows, maybe we’ll meet one day at ne of your concerts... it
would surely be cool to see WM live one day!! If there’s anything left
to say, feel free to do so now... All the best & See you, Tobi
WM: Tobi, many many many thanx to you for this wonderful
talk, we all hope to meet you one day at one of our shows, for sure you
will be our guest!!!!!! And a great thanx to all the people who had
followed us during these years, stay tuned and you’ll get more...soon!!!