Genius: Episode 2 (2004)

Genius: Daniele Liverani's Episode 2.

Italian composer/guitarist Daniele Liverani is back with his second episode of the Genius trilogy - but there's also an instrumental solo album which was itself part of the Genius story back in it's conception. Daniele talks about both projects with enthusiastic details!

Hi Daniele, quite a year for you - two albums released this month and already Empty Tremor on the market! You have been busy!
Yeah! You're right....sometimes I can't believe how I can manage everything...he he, but I love music and I love living into music so I don't feel any pressure of stress...I' very honored and happy to be able to release so much music for the listeners. It's always been my dream since ever.

Genius 2 is the frontline release - let's talk about that. The album is part 2 of a 3 disc epic - before the vocals were added, what stage was the recording of the music up to? Completed fully or in need of some work or otherwise?
This second episode has been completed right after the production of the 3rd empty tremor album "The Alien Inside", but the basic music tracks of the whole 3 episodes had already been written and recorded back in Winter 2001.
I've then completed the first episode lyrics recording and its final mix in Summer 2002, and now I've been completing the recoding of the lyrics of the second episode and its mix too. So basically the whole trilogy is already existing, only the lyrics are being
completed episode by episode when the new cast is completed.
Actually some arrangements have been revisited but not much I'd say...only
a few points and a few keys parts basically. So at this point only the lyrics and the mix of the third episode has still to be completed...anyway I'm already thinking about
the cast of the last third episode...I use to look ahead.
Just to tell you how the events have been happening year by year, the idea of composing a Rock Opera trilogy has born gradually in my mind during different steps of experimentation. The story I used for 'Genius' trilogy was written by me many years ago.
The original name of this story was 'Daily Trauma' and it's a short book that I wrote back in 1997. I use to write in my spare time and I love to write fantastic stories, not typical sword and horses fantasy concepts, I prefer pretty much psychological and futuristic stories, I've always been fascinated by alternative reality concepts, human
subconscious and dreams interpretation...
Gradually I developed that 'Daily Trauma' little book story, I added more details, more concepts and story events...and I started to think that it would have probably worked for some kind of music project too...So as a first natural step I composed, with the help of my friend and great drummer gear Dario Ciccioni, some instrumental music that followed the events of that story as a sort of soundtrack.
The story was divided into 18 chapters so I wrote 18 songs, each one was describing in music the events and the atmosphere of the relative chapter with many special effect and noises added that could fit with the story.....
In that experience I created a lot of melodies and ideas that would have been used and developed also in the later trilogy.
The result of this first step of creation on 'Daily Trauma' story was an instrumental album of 18 songs.
All the songs were strictly connected to the story , even if it was all instrumental music.
I have produced this album with that music and I called it 'Daily Trauma' too.
I wanted to have everything in my hands in terms of sound and so I decided to play Guitars, bass and keys.
Dario Ciccioni played drums (same team situation of Genius Trilogy...)
So the idea of Daily Trauma was like a sort of instrumental soundtrack idea, to be listened while reading the story that would have been inserted in the booklet for the listener. The basic style is heavy and modern but in many points is very various and includes many softer rock styles..
That sort of album/book has never been released at that time, I didn't had interesting offers from the labels and I preferred to keep in my pocket...
Due to my new relation with Frontiers records I will release it by Frontiers together with the second episode as a bonus release related to the trilogy, so also this instrumental album will be released on 24th May 2004.
At that point I decided developed this concept and push myself more into a more complete and big musical opera.
I've always been attracted by big classic operas of the great past composer line Verdi Puccini and others, and I basically come from classical music education...composing an opera with many singers was something that I always dreamed of.
In fact I thought that the 'Daily Trauma' story would have worked great also for a more complete Rock Opera with many characters singing...and I started to push myself more far and started to write down a complete music and lyrics score of an opera in 3 episodes that followed the same concept of Daily Trauma. All the characters would have taken the voices of the singers and a narrative part would be acted by a storyteller voice
over during the album...
So here's how 'Genius' trilogy idea is born. I decided to call the opera 'Genius' cause 'Daily Trauma' was already the name of my book that I wrote down in 1997 and
also the name of the instrumental album i already recorded.
I wanted to keep separated the 2 stuff...anyway Genius is the main character of 'Daily Trauma' and I also thought that it was a smarter name for a opera....
So basically we have a story written in 1997, an instrumental album recorded in 1998 and then I started in 1999 to work at a 3 album rock opera trilogy.

How did you pick the vocalists for this Episode and was there any difficulty in securing their involvement in the project?
It was pretty hard as usual to get in touch and to keep track of all these singers during the production process...but again a lot of real fun for me!
I can tell you some words for each guest singer of this second episode, since the involvement of each one has his personal story:
Russel Allen: Well, I'm a great fan of SymphonyX music and it was a dream come true for me to work with Russel...he's an amazing singer and really fitted the needs of the character 'Dream League Commander' For this powerfull commander I needed a very rough voice and a very intense I really tryed since the beginning of
the production to contact and offer to Russel this part.I was very happy that he accepted to listen to the material and that he finally accepted my offer. I remember that he was leaving for a long tour with Symphony X and we worked hard and very fast to complete his recording befor his was a very special moment!
I think that the emotion of hearing my lyrics singed with such a great power and intensity is really unique!
Edu Falaschi: I asked to Edu to sing the song Playing in their dreams cause I needed a very melodic voice that could have express the feel of that song.
The melody of the vocal part is not easy to sing, cause it's very instrument oriented and it was born originally as a guitar melody that you can hear also in the album Daily Trauma in the song Perpetual Gratitude. Both this song and Playing In their dreams song are connected to Jason Becker. In the story of the second episodes infact Genius and Twinspirit meets Jason and he will help them to find out the right way to find the little European price. It's a very moving moment where Jason can play a warm melody for the two friends, cause in the dream's world he was still able to if all his fans that was continuing to dream of him playing were giving him a sort of immortality in that dreams world realm.
I remember that Edu told me that was very happy to sing that part, being fan of Jason too. He really felt this song very close to his sensibility...and he did a great interpretation very warm and melodic.
Jeff Martin: I've always been a great fan of Racer X in the late eighties and I had a song 'Valley' that in my opinion would have fit perfectly the insane and very rock voice of Jeff. I contacted him and he was very happy to hear the song.
I remember that he was very positive and accepted suddenly to sing the song and I was very emotional to have him in the cast! I asked him to ask Paul Gilbert if he wanted to play guitars and that would be an honor for me to have Paul playing together
with him on the song Valley...but he actually said to me that it was a pity cause i liked a lot my guitar playing and the solo that
I recorded for that song he convinced me to keep my version... he he!
Roberto Tiranti: Rob is a friend of mine, living in Italy we of course know each other personally, we started together with the same label Pick Up
Records back in 1996, he was with Labyrinth and I with my band Empty Tremor and we were moving the first steps on international music scene.
He's an amazing voice and he has done also a very important musical show here in Europe as one of the main characters (Ramses) called 'The 10 Commandments' so he was the right person to involve in a project like Genius...
Eric Martin: Well, what can I say. I've been learning playing guitar on the Mr. Big records and it was another dream come true to work with the great Eric Martin.
I thought at the beginning to assign to him the character Seventree and the song 4 'Valley', cause I had in my mind the great song 'Colorado bulldog', that was a similar shuffle rock tune, (even if not odd signature he he) but after we spoke a little we agreed that the song 'My Dear Son' could have express better the potential of his great voice and sytle, and I think it's been the best choice.
Johnny Gioeli: Johnny has been presented me by Frontier, being an artist of their roaster. He's very strong singer and the part of King Oddyger is really
perfect for him. In a first time I intended to offer this part to Jorn Lande, but after listening Johnny I really thought that he was perfect for this part.
Liv Kristine: Also for this part I was in touch with Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil at the beginning, but after some other researches and demo casting I thought that the voice of Liv Kristine was really the perfect one that I was searching for this Klepsydra character...very sweet and emotional voice.
I was a very singular situation, cause he was going to give birth to his son exactly in the days that she was recording the 'To Be Free' song and it seems that his baby has waited exactly that she had finished the song, cause he's born the day after the vocal recording sessions...This was a very singular situation...but everything has gone well! :)

Were any selected vocalists unable to take part or said no?
I had some contacts with some singers that finally didn't agreed to sing in the second episode actually, like Bobby Kimball of Toto, Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, Sammy Hagar...the felt not to be fitting the parts I was offering them...anyway they gave me positive opinion on the music and this has positive in any case for me.
Anyway I've been dealing with many singers in the period of the casting and I can't remember all of them sorry...I made a lot of research to find the right voices for the new Genius characters...

Tell us about the process you have to undertake to get the vocals recorded and mixed into what you have already recorded?
Basically the music tracks have been produced in the same session days, this to get a sort of similarity and continuity to the sound of the 3 records and then each guest has recorded in his home town, followed by their producers that usually work with them for
their personal records.
Everyone has been free to choose a personal producer for the Vocals and recorded the tracks into their usual studios locally in their town.
I thought that this was the best choice cause everyone of them knew the right person to work with and some of them are also very good producers as well...It was pretty a lot of time and work to make everything work fine, decide all the formats and speaking to all the producers has taken so much time, and also some problems have happened....but all has been handled with no major problems.
I sent away all the music, the lyrics and charts and I followed all the recording via internet giving the final ok and my suggestion on the recording
from my studio here in Italy....I decided to give very much freedom to the guest singers, everyone would have had the possibility of expressing his style into the character....
When I got back all the vocals tracks it took me months to edit and join everything! Every duet had to be perfect and every vocal part would have been in the right place...

Any particular vocals you were really blown away by?
I was totally amazed by each guest performance really...but if you want me to pick up some special moments I think that the sing He Will Die and the song Fara away form here contains some incredible performance by Russel Allen and Daniel Gildenlow...their tracks in these two songs really impressed me! But again...all the other guest impressed me a lot the's hard to tell an highlight with such great performances.

Tell us all a little about each song on this volume...
-He Will Die: A very epic and powerful opener of this second episode. Great performances of Russel Allen, Daniel Gildenlow and Mark Boals!
-Playing In Their Dreams: A warm ballad that introduces the character Jason, a sort of tribute to Jason Becker with a great interpretation of Edu Falaschi of Angra...
-You Won't Escape: The fastest song of the second episode...a double bass run with a great Russel acting as a powerful commander!
-Valley: A odd time signature rock shuffle song, with the tricky and crazy voice of Jeff Martin from Racer X. This is a singular moment...a little move out of prog/power metal style.
-Beware: A riffy mid tempo song singed by Roberto Tiranti from labyrinth...reminds me some Led Zeppelin at times!
-My Dear Son: A warm ballad from the great Eric Martin, in some points it contains some kind of Gospel choirs that really give some kind of magic to the atmosphere...
-What He Has To Say: The more operatic song of the second episode, a lots of singers interacting during a very dramatic moment of the story.
-All My Fault: A song in two moments, the first very proggy, the second one is a duet between the main character Genius and Twinspirit32 (Boals/Gildenlow) that reaches
really a great intensity and inspiration in a very dramatic moment of the story.

-To Be Free: A very sweet ballad from Liv Kristine, probably the most sweet moment of the entire second episode.
-Fight Again: A mid tempo powerful moment by Mark Boals, some straight riffs for a metal song that express the joy of being free again by Genius.
-Far Away From Here: Probably my favourite in terms of songwriting. The song is the final of the second episode and contains a sad and intense moment of the character Twinspirit 32 at the beginning, singed by the great Daniel Gildenlow and a grand finale with a surprise that will give more hopes for the two main character to continue their trip into dreams world to the final step that will be unveiled in the third episode...

Tell us about how the story of Genius has developed - where are we up to and what comes next on his journeys?
The second episode of Genius rock opera is full of action and many surprises..., in the crazy description of the 10 minute long dream where Genius connects his brain to an alternative dimension where dreams are created for human, we had left the two main character 'Genius' and his friend dream conductor 'Twinspirit32' at the european twinspirit land, trying to find a way to escape from Maindream soldiers.
Maindream's Dream League Force troops, led by their powerful commander, had already entered the twinspirit land and, in a few minutes, they may be able to locate and terminate Twinspirit32. If this occurs, then Genius' dreaming would cease immediately
and he would not remember anything of it. If that occurs, then King Mc Chaos' innocence would not be proven and his little son would not be saved due to the clear sentence of Maindream.
The European dreams kingdom is about to loose their beloved royal family forever!
Without delay, Genius and Twinspirit32 have to find a way to escape from the European twinspirit land to avoid being captured.
During all the second episode Genius and Twinspirit are going to meet many other characters that will help them to find a solution to all the problems caused by Genius presence on this forbidden dream world, and to save King Mc Chaos, wrongly
considered responsible for having allowed a human into dreams world...
They also had to find where the little prince was being kept and to save him from his sad fate...During the run against time of Genius and Twinspirit, the story runs across different scenarios including the amazing Asian Dreams Kingdom ruled by King Oddyfer, where most of the events are taking place...Anyway I recommend to check out the detailed introduction present on the official web site at the section
THE TRILOGY to get a more detailed idea of the concept basics of the Genius Rock Opera trilogy. For the third episode expect a great final surprise and some more amazing new characters appearing, I can't tell you more obviously
at this time...sorry!

When will you start work on Episode 3 and what has already been recorded for that?
I'm currently working on the casting and lyrics adaptation of episode 3, this process takes a long time and I really never stopped to work on the Genius rock opera trilogy in the last it's something that always is alive in my mind...
Anything is confirmed ore recorded yet of course for the third episode except the music...there's no guest confirmed yet except Mark Boals and Daniel Gildenlow that will of course continue the 2 main character till the grand final.

And do you already have a wish list of vocalists to be involved in the concluding Episode?
Of course I have, it would be great to have in the third Jorn Lande, Goeff Tate, Cristina Scabbia, or even Glenn Hughes...I'm a big fan of Glenn, I think he's really the voice of rock! I will analyze better the character of the last episode in the next months and I will surely search within the actual scene for the right singers that could express better the style of the new characters...I hope to find some good singers for each like it happened
in the first 2 episodes! Let's see what will happen!

When will Episode 3 be released?
We think on early 2006...but nothing confirmed will depend on the time that will be necessary for the casting and for the complete
process of recording of the vocals all around the world.

Are there any plans for Khymera 2? Obviously you won't be dealing with Steve Walsh again?
Yes, I'm going to work on another Khymera project soon and it won't be with Steve Walsh this time, this is official. We are currently seeking with Frontiers for a great singer, or maybe even more that one that could sing this new Khymera soon as we'll find him we'll suddenly give the news to the press...It will be another straight AOR rock album, with some modern influences like the previous one...the tracks will be written by great songwriters again...I will have more details soon...this is all what I can tell now.. sorry ;)

What else do you have planned for 2004 and in the coming time ahead?
I'm definitely trying to set up some good shows with Empty Tremor ...let's see what will happen! The future seems to
be even more busy than the present cause I'm currently working at the completion of Genius episode 3 (casting and lyrics adaptation, cause the music is ready since 2000 when I recorded all the trilogy base tracks), I'm going to produce another Khymera album soon, and I'm already writing new material for a new album with empty tremor to be released possibly next year.
I'm moving the first step for a new rock opera composition right now but this time I won't be alone, I will be with a new partner musician that I discovered lately. I'm talking about an opera that will be probably released after the genius episode 3 in the future...
he's a great musicians very similar to my philosophy of making music and you'll be hearing of him a lot in the future! I have also another project with some great new young talented musicians here in Italy that I'm working at the moment to see what could be possibly come out...I've a lot of great new music and collaboration for the future...stay tuned!!!!

Anything else you would like to ad Daniele?
Thanks to all my fans, I hope you'll enjoy all my efforts, Genius , Empty Tremor, Khymera and I promise to be even more active and to release you the more music I can at my best trying to share good emotion with you all!!
Thanks for your support! Peace and love to you all!