Khymera: A traditional AOR album featuring one of rock's great singers.
Daniele Liverani - Khymera's musical director Daniele Liverani talks about the challenges of making the acclaimed album.
Hi Daniele. First off, are you personally happy with the responses you have received back and the reviews you have read?
Well, I must say that I've read great reviews about this Khymera album and of course I'm really excited about this!
I'm especially very satisfied with the production and mix quality...I really hear everything well and in the right place in terms of sounds, balance, vocals...and this is very important to make a record sound good!
Did you enjoy making the album?
I enjoy a lot doing this Khymera, even if I didn't made the songwriting of these songs, I really did my best for making them sound very personal and original, staying of course into the AOR straight rock that this kind of songs were requiring.
So it was not only a production, arrangement job for me. I definitely feel this album close to my sensibility since I put all my style and experience on its creation.
I must say that it was very interesting to test my personal way to produce and arrange song on material written by these great songwriters...definitely a great experience and a great learning opportunity for me!
The songs are from a varied range of sources - how were they picked out and what role did you play in that happening?
The track list has been decided together with Frontiers and Steve, we all were searching for some great AOR tunes to produce into a more modern way with new sounds and the songs that you can hear in the album were the best choice for us.
Are there are songs that were not used you would have liked to have tried?
Well, of course there are great songs in the pocket of songwriters like Peterik, Moroder, Gioeli, Winger and all the others involved, but anyway I hope to have this chance in the next Khymera album!
Your take on these songs is close to the originals, is that what you had hoped for? Did any particular song have more challenges in recording than others?
Well, it was definitely my intention to keep the basic feel of the songs, I didn't want to go too far from the personality of the song, so I can say yes. It was what I wanted to do.
But If you listen to solos and guitar arrangements, to some sounds of the keyboards you'll find my taste and my way to arrange songs and in that aspect I think to have created a good original sound.
I tried to apply many of the research I did in my empty tremor, genius and solo album to a different style, that I never approached before as a producer.
It was very challenging to arrange and record the song Bless A Brand New Angel...in that song there's almost only me at the piano and Steve at vocals...I worked hard to find a good piano arrangement that would fit the great performance of Steve and it's really more hard when you have only one instrument to handle...you must be very careful cause it's the only instrument that carries the song!
It's not the first time you have done this, but how hard is it to create these songs without the vocalist being present?
It's not too hard for me, since I think to have a good imagination and I usually figure out the song in my mind before I put it down on the recorder.
When you work in distance like this you must have a clear idea in your mind of where you want to go in terms of arrangement and you must imagine the vocal tracks in advance.
With genius it was easier since I wrote the vocals lines and lyrics so I had them very clear in my mind...but also in this Khymera, it was not too hard since they're all great and winning lyrics and melodies for the vocals!
Do you use a guide vocal for the songs?
I used a keyboard guide line melody for the Genius Rock Opera to show to the guest singers how the lyrics were going on in the songs.
In this Khymera I had the demos of the songs so it was more easy for Steve and there were no needing of creating a vocal guide track.
Have you had any personal contact with Steve Walsh while making the album?
Well, not personal, only by multimedia devices...he he, but we have been in a very close contact during his session, he was updating my with e-mails every time he was recording a new part of the lyrics!
Some journo's have had some contact and as you would know, the responses from him have been challenging, difficult and at times quite unreasonable. Does this disappoint you and somewhat sour the project?
Well, I've heard about some problems between him and Frontiers, but everything has begun much after the period of the production of Khymera. I remember that at that time everything was going great but yes at the moment it seems that there are some tensions with Steve.
I was very happy to work with Steve and we had a great time and of course this situation is really sad for me now, but you know, even if it's not what you expected
sometimes the things don't work well for many reasons...let's see what will happen!
Why do you think he won't answer questions directed to him?
I think that his behavior and missing answers could be connected to the problems he and Frontiers have been passing through lately, in the pre-release period, about 2 months ago.
Anyway I know that Frontiers has done everything possible to take care of this project and to support his great team, and I hope that everything will be cleared as soon as possible...
Will you work with Steve again?
I think that if there will be another Khymera album will be probably with another singer...and probably I would really like to get the project more close to a band...so I'll have to find a singer available for live too...
What is planned for Khymera 2 then?
Let's see what happens with this first release in terms of reaction and sells, and then Frontiers and I will think about when and who's going to take part into the next Khymera. I think it's too early to talk about this point at the moment...he he!
Can you please take us through each song on the album and what is was like to record that - what your feelings are?
Well, I did this intro very spontaneously...I wanted to create something strong enough to present all the smart songs of this Khymera album...It's very powerful and glorious in my opinion and I'm very happy on how it came out...I like especially the guitar melody of the Khymera intro...I think that is a good balance of musicality and technique.
I was very fun to hit the last note so high! I had to use my Washburn 30 frets for that!
-Strike like lightning
Very nice Moroder, I was really amazed to record a personal version of a song already recoded by MrBig!
Probably one of my favourite! Very powerful riff and A great Walsh interpretation! Also I like very much the drumming by my friend Dario Ciccioni...he's really intense in this song!
-Who's gonna love you tonight
I spent a lot of time working at the keys in this song...I tried to give to this soft song the right feel and I had to work a lot, cause it's a style that I never did too much in my other records;)
- Living with a memory
I like very much the intro of the bass I recorded here...It's something very different form my usual style in playing bass...I think that this song really gave me a way to experiment new ways of my playing
- Say it with love
Really bombastic song, the choirs are great!!! I did the solo of this song more that 100 times...I remember that I could not stop playing that!
-Tears on the pages
Great Peterik song...I love this!
- Live without love
I especially like the chorus of this song...I think that Walsh did a great job here...really impressive how he opens the chorus with his high tone voice!
Also I like the very straight rock duet of my guitar with Steve at the end of the song before the solo. I think that the solo of this song is my favourite of the album! ;)
- Bless a brand new angel
There are no words to explain the great expression of Walsh here...anyone can here himself! :)
- Without Warning
Great Winger song! It was great to record a version of this song...I always loved Winger!
- Written in the wind
Great Guest appearance of Slamer at the guitar here! I was very happy to have his guitar playing in this song..he is a great style and
a lot of experience and has given to the album more prestige with his guest appearance here!
- Love leads the way
Another great song...also here great choirs and lead vocals!
And after that - anything you would like to add mate?
I'd like to thank very much all the guys involved in this Khymera project, Dario Ciccioni for the great drumming, Steve Walsh, Joe Vana Thom Griffin and Billy Greer for their great vocal performances, Mike Slamer for its great mix and co-production and
all the team at Frontiers for believing in me!!
I hope to be talking to you soon for another interesting musical adventure!!!
How is Genius 2 coming along?
Genius 2 is going very well, you can expect a great second episode of the trilogy with a great cast of singers, many new great vocalist from the international scene!
Everything is almost completed and we are working hard for creating a great cast also for this second episode.
You can expect another great piece of rock/metal music! I'll do my best as usual!
Anyway you can get the latest news about genius at the official website.
If you pass some news in your great melodicrock.com it would be a great help to have my links inside: www.danieleliverani.com and www.geniusrockopera.com
Consider it done Daniele!