Interview Diego Cafolla (Kingcrow):

"I have a strong vision about the direction of a record"

(September 2015, text by Pedro Bekkers, pictures by Henri Strik, edited by Peter Willemsen)

As far as I'm concerned Eidos (see review), the sixth studio album by the Italian band Kingcrow, is one of this year's musical highlights. So we, the people at Background Magazine, thought it was time to make an appointment with Diego Cafolla, Kingcrow's guitarist, songwriter and producer and ask him some questions about the background of the new album and about the band.

Would you please explain the album title and the concept of the new album or, perhaps better,
Diego Cafolla
the whole trilogy concept of Phlegethon (2010), In Crescendo (2013) and Eidos?
Diego Cafolla: “Eidos is a Greek word used by Plato; it means the real essence of things or the theory of forms. We choose that word because it seemed to fit the concept which is about life and in particular life changing decisions. How to deal with the consequences and the way these decisions shaped the path of our lives. The album Phlegethon dealt with childhood; In Crescendo with the end of childhood and Eidos is basically about looking back at your life path. It's not a story, but every song is about a choice and its consequences. So the whole trilogy is about the path of life.”
Phlegethon In Crescendo Eidos

Are the other band members involved in the compositions or are the songs solely from your hand since you're the band's songwriter?
“I write the songs and singer Diego Marchesi, guitarist Ivan Nastasi, keyboardist Christian Della Polla, bass player Francesco D'Errico and my brother drummer Thundra contribute at the stage of making the arrangements. They also help me with the lyrics. We leave some room for improvement during the actual production stages where guitar solos, bass lines, vocal harmonies and synth designs are actually developed and perfected. So everyone can propose for his own arrangement for a part, but in the end I'm the one who − being the producer as well − will decide whether it will be implemented or not. For example, if someone says to have an idea for a bass line here, or a guitar solo there, I'll always listen to what he proposes, and then we just check out if it works better or not. I have a strong vision about the direction of a record and I throw away a lot of my own stuff too. Sometimes because it's not good enough, at other times I feel that it simply doesn't fit in with the rest or it goes in a direction I'm not interested in. But yeah, since the beginning I'm the main songwriter and the producer. In all other areas Kingcrow are completely democratic; all decisions are made democratically. However, I'm in charge only at creation stage. But if I'm voted down because all the others believe that a song isn't good enough, it will not be produced, even if I think that it's great, but it also works the other way around.”
L to R: Francesco D'Errico, Diego Marchesi, Diego Cafolla, Ivan Nastasi, Cristian Della Polla en Thundra Cafolla

Where do you get your inspiration for the compositions?
“Well, I simply don't know. Very often I have ideas when I'm driving my car. My iPhone is filled with recordings of me singing a drum beat or a melody line or whatsoever. I write constantly on a daily base, but a very small amount of all that stuff really becomes a Kingcrow song. I have a hard disk with many hours of unreleased music. I feel the need to write; it has always been that way. A long time ago I started to write and at the same time I started to play an instrument. Even before I used to write little stories, so I guess it's just an impulse I've always had.”

Most band members are true Rush fans like myself, but musically I think your music is more
Diego Marchesi with Rush T-shirt
in the vein of Steven Wilson's music. On Eidos, I hear a lot of influences from Opeth. Do you agree?
“Yes, I share a lot of influences with these guys. I mean, I bet they're big fans of Rush, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Beatles, The Who and all the classic rock stuff, so it's inevitable that we share common ground, so to speak. In the case of Steven Wilson, I believe he's also a big fan of Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and the trip hop movement, but also Massive Attack and he's quite inspired by The Beach Boys for the vocals arrangements. It's all material I also love. I think the biggest difference between bands like Opeth, Steven Wilson or Kingcrow compared to other modern progressive metal bands is that in our music the classic rock component is still relevant, while it has almost been completely removed from the others.”

Compared to In Crescendo Marchesi's vocal style differs from some of the compositions on Eidos like on Adrift for example. Why is this?
“I guess it's only because the songs are different. Adrift is a good example. It's a song that sounds quite different from what we did in the past and he just worked on it trying to find the most suitable style of singing for that song. I think Diego did a remarkable job on Eidos; on some of the songs he did his best performance ever like in Open Sky or At The Same Pace. He's a real talent, especially when it comes to channelling emotions through his voice.”

Some band members are married and have children. Does that affect the band's progression?
“Well, you should ask them! But no, seriously, until now everything's just fine. It's just an extra effort to schedule rehearsals and things like that, but they're all nice guys and hard workers, and one way or another we make it work out fine.”

Diego Cafolla and Diego Marchesi (r)
Do you intend to embark on a European tour the upcoming months?
“Our management is currently working on it, so I guess there'll be a European tour later this year or at the beginning of 2016. I don't know all the details yet, so I suggest you checking out our official media pages for the next months.”

Which band would you prefer to go on tour with?
“That depends on the kind of tour we embark on. If we open for a bigger act we hope they play close to our own musical style. We then basically trying to attract the attention of their fan base; if there's a big difference in musical styles it can be very difficult. It already happened to us in the past, having that feeling that the audience is much more interested in a completely different musical genre.”

I heard that you like The Netherlands so much? How come?
“There are several reasons, but the most important reason is simply because in your country everything's perfect. Moreover there are great venues, capable technicians and basically everyone is helping for making the show the best experience possible. They really care for the band. However, we also have a good following in The Netherlands and people are very nice and supportive. And last but not least we have great friends there, so we're always happy in advance when a Dutch gig's ahead of us.”

Thank you for answering my questions and we'll meet at the next Dutch show!
“My pleasure, see you soon!”

More info about Kingcrow on the Internet:

       review album 'In Crescendo'
       review album 'Eidos'

       review concert 31-Aug-2013 in Uden (NL)
       review concert Rock Ittervoort 11-Apr-2014 in Ittervoort (NL)

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2015