Dwarven clan WIND ROSE have returned with their latest quest Warfront. They have been hard at work for this record and it shows majestically within the gallant songs. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham spoke to vocalist Francesco Cavalieri about Warfront, mental health and where the idea to cover Diggy Diggy Hole came from.
It’s been a few years since the release of Wintersaga. So, I was wondering if 10th June was the intended release date for Warfront or was this a pushed back date due to Covid?
To be honest, it was pushed because the album was ready last year. We were not able to release it last year because there were no tours available due to the pandemic. We had to wait and now things are opening up again, the music business is getting better so we decided to release on this date.
Did anything else crop up at all?
Yes, it was also very difficult to compose because usually when you work, you meet with the person you write the songs with. However, with the pandemic we had to do the whole album in a remote location.
Was this remote location deep underground in the mines?
Exactly, yes. [laughs]
You must have been hard at work in those mines as the album sounds fantastic. It got me thinking how you arrange your songs as they have so many elements.
So we usually start by meeting up to compose the songs; it’s usually me, Claudio [Falconcini] and Fredirico [Meranda]. We meet somewhere at a studio or someone’s house and then we start from the riffs that often come from the keyboards. We then start to add the orchestrations etc. From that, it gets to the shade that we want.
If it’s a stand-alone part, we have to consider if it fits with a project we already have or it’s something that goes it own way. If it’s something that goes it’s own way, we save that riff or part for the next project. We work mainly on the same projects in order to rework the stuff and make it sound the best we can.
When it comes deciding on topics, is there one person who comes up with it or is it a group decision?
The lyrics are written by me. Basically the others are not interested in the topic of the song as they don’t have that sort of vision. They just want the music to work perfectly, they are more worried about the notes in the songs. They are not interested in the topics. I have a big passion for the dwarf race and these sorts of games.
I was going to ask if the lyrics came from a deep passion for those sorts of games and literature.
Sure. I mean I play with the Minotaur War Fantasy games and also play the online versions. I like to play RPGs, they’re role play video games.
Does Warfront focus on different elements of RPGs?
I mean it takes inspiration by the word of the dwarves, I mean not just focusing on the law of Tolkien but even get inspired by other worlds like Warhammer or in the future it could be something else.
There’s the track Battle Of Five Armies, the mind goes straight to The Hobbit film of the same name. I also found there is a board game called Battle Of Five Armies. Does that track take inspiration from one of these or both?
I got inspired by The Hobbit on that one.
Which was the hardest song to record?
Probably I Am The Mountain because it’s a very complex song and it’s very articulated. It’s not just hard to record because it’s complex, it’s also very personal to me. It’s talking about a battle or war against something within me, I have experienced depression so I hope this song helps anyone that is effected by this sort of disease and helps those feel less alone.
Maybe they will see themselves in the character that is described in the lyrics, the character that used to work alone in the land where everything is frozen. Sometimes you want to lay down and rest but it’s not possible so you start to follow your path and you see the mountain ahead that still has a fire inside. So the fire in this case is actually describing the life and from the top of the mountain, this character is able to see his past and his future. This helps him understand who he is now and he says there is still fire in the mountain and inside me. The mountain is in us.
Sorry to hear about your struggles with depression, it’s a horrible thing to go through. I did get from the lyrics of the song that no matter what you are going through, you have it in you to overcome it and come out stronger.
The thing is, is that it’s a shout out to everyone that has these sorts of problems and that they aren’t alone. Even if they are struggling now, I hope with this song and with our music in general they feel a release. This was the message or at least what I had in mind.
One of the messages we share at Rock Out Stand Out is spreading mental health awareness, what’s awareness like in Italy?
To be honest, it’s not just Italy but all around the world that depression is not treated like a real disease. Sometimes they tell you “you don’t have to be sad, you just need to go out or stay with someone” but the problem is that you feel alone even when you’re with one million people and it’s a sadness you can’t heal. It’s impossible. In the future, it’s one of the diseases of the future. I mean physically, there are lots of remedies for diseases. For the mind, they still have to improve.
Tying in with mental health, what does a dwarf like to do to unwind?
What I like to do is drive and focus on the wrong. I like to watch some of the landscapes while you’re driving. I can understand sometimes driving can be stressful.
What do you think we can do more of as family members, friends, work colleagues so people feel more comfortable talking about their mental health?
Probably that it should be declared as a real disease and not a mood. It has to be declared and taken more seriously.
Got a couple of fan questions for you, one wants to know what five things do you like to take on tour?
I think my pillows because without my pillows I can’t sleep. On tour, if it’s possible, I will bring my girlfriend because staying apart isn’t great, it’s better to be together. I will bring my electronic cigarettes. I bring a laptop because I feel relaxed when I am at a computer. My last thing, I will bring something for my throat because it hurts to sing everyday.
Another wanted to know whose idea it was to cover Diggy Diggy Hole?
To be honest, that song was always requested live. People knew that we were dressing and acting like dwarves on stage so they started singing Diggy Diggy Hole at the show. So we got the idea to make this a song for the Japanese market because in Japan they usually have one more song on the album, I’m not quite sure why. That was the idea but when our manager listened to the song, they said you have to use this song as an icebreaker for the music business because it works. So they wanted it to be released as the first single. We were sceptical at first but when we saw the result, we realised this was the best move.
Do you have a message for your fans?
The new album is a gamble with ourselves, it was written during a bad time for the whole planet because everything stopped for two years. It’s a gamble because it’s darker, heavier, it’s more solemn and epic than the previous recordings. If you like the singles, go and listen to the album. I promise you will see a lot of faces and details that you didn’t expect from Wind Rose because it’s a complex and complete album in my opinion.
The singles out work well as singles whereas the other songs for example Battle Of Five Armies or I Am The Mountain are beautiful songs, but they are about seven minutes long so didn’t pick them as singles. They are beautiful songs will lots of details that metalheads would like to discover by themselves.
Thank you so much Francesco for speaking with Rock Out Stand Out and best of luck with the album.