One year after discussing their EP Last Day of the Earth, I once again recieved the opportunity to speak with Lunocode, this time about their new album Celestial Harmonies via Skype.
The first time we spoke was about your EP The Last Day of the Earth, which was back in January of 2011. Now that a full year has passed and you are on the verge of releasing a new album, what was 2011 like for Lunocode?
I think that we made some improvements in song writing during 2011. In fact the songs on the EP were published on 2011 but they were composed in 2009, so they were pretty old. Those songs on Celestial Harmonies were composed during 2011, so with Daphne who is our new singer and we added new ideas and a new approach to our music. In 2009 on the EP we were very Power Metal oriented I think; now we try to avoid any precise style and we try to collaborate everyone’s ideas on the new songs.
Are there any plans for touring to support the album?
There are a couple of possibilities, but we haven’t yet decided how to tour and for now we are heading toward a mini-tour of Italy and maybe Europe for a couple of dates, but there isn’t anything for sure.
What was the creative process for this album like that enabled you to grow beyond your previous effort?
For this album we worked in a very different way. Basically Giordano and Paride wrote all the songs in a rough format, so they wrote the main riffs and a couple vocal melodies without words. Then I arranged some parts and divvied out some ideas for a second time, then Daphne and myself wrote lyrics, and basically we started to record the album without the vocals written. The vocals were written through the process of recording, so we were recording guitars and Daphne was reproducing the vocals, because we had a very small period of time to do this album. Actually we made it in 9 months, and this amount of time we used to write the entire album and to record it. I think this made a difference in our approach, and it has worked well, even with it being a very difficult work to do. We basically wrote some parts of the album parallel during the recording.
Let’s talk about Daphne for a moment. You mentioned that she is new to the group, and I believe the EP had a different singer, is that correct?
Yes. On Last Day of the Earth you can hear Cecilia, and on Celestial Harmonies you can hear Daphne.
I noted while listening to the album that the range Daphne uses works very well with the album, and the she sings with passion and conviction in the music. What about her made you decide that she is the singer you wanted?
She joined the band because of the reasons you stated. We liked her emotional approach to singing, and the fact that she stands out in her singing. She uses dynamics, and we think that this adds value to our music.
Let’s discuss individual tracks on the album, starting with opener Sin Cara. Can you walk me through that song?
Sin Cara is a song that is composed with our previous attitude. It is the song on the album that is more Power Metal, and Sin Cara is two words in Spanish that means “without face”, and also happens to be the name of a wrestler. When the songs were in pre-production, all of the songs had a title that was taken from a wrestler because Paride is a fan of wrestling. After this, we discovered the meaning of Sin Cara in Spanish and thought that this worked well with the lyrics, so it became the final title. I wrote the lyrics, and they refer to our society. I think everyone is very controlled, very personalized, and everyone ends up being a gear in a machine as part of our society, and so we lose our humanity, our face, and this is the meaning of Sin Cara.
The next song is my personal favorite, Heart of the World.
Heart of the World is one of the songs off of the EP that I preferred, and I came up with the idea to make an acoustic version, and Giordano wrote the arrangement, then he emailed it to me and I began thinking of a melody. I think that it is maybe not one of my favorites off of the EP, but is one of my favorites off Celestial Harmonies because of the themes that are in the lyrics. Heart of the World talks about hope and love for each other, and from one person to all life on earth. I think it is very important to break down the barriers that divide us as human beings on Earth, and this was the theme that was on the EP and I used the same theme on these songs because I think it worked well with this album.
Indifference and Misty Visions of an Ordinary Day are up next. Can you please explain them?
Indifference is a song written mainly by Paride, and Daphne wrote the lyrics for it and Misty Visions of and Ordinary Day. Indifference talks about war and the madness of killing each other for a fraction of a dot, as Karl Sagan said in a documentary of his. I am very impressed by his thoughts. He is a scientist and astronomer, and this summer I saw this documentary he made. Talking to Daphne about this, I found out she had previously written lyrics about the same themes, so we thought that we could use them along with some sampling from his documentary to enhance the song. Misty Visions of an Ordinary Day talks about life in a city, where again we are personalized and someone in the city lives life like they are on a railroad where everyone passes by one another without seeing the things that surround them. Indifference is everywhere, just like planets that gravitate on their oribits, and I think these metaphors work very well in the song. I think it has some Rush influence, and musically I think it is very proggish.
One of the highlights on the album for me is on Misty Visions of an Ordinary Day. Towards the end of it, there is a steady building of tension that leads to an explosion of activity that is a very nice pay off on that song.
I am very glad. We tried to arrange the same chorus with additional electric guitars and riffs, and I enjoyed producing it.
Well that leads us to the final song, which is The Origin of Matter of Life, and I will just let you take off with that one!
It is composed by 6 movements, and in the review it is mentioned that we put it in as a single MP3, but in the CD version every track is on its own, so you can skip to the different parts. We decided to put them together on an MP3 because we wanted to be clear that every song is part of a concept. We made it because some reviewers for the EP didn’t understand that every song was telling a story, and that they were linked thematically, so we tried to avoid this for Celestial Harmonies, and because of the nature of the title, depending on perspective it can be philosophical and fantastic or scientific. I started from the fact that is the sending of animals into space, like the series of monkeys Albert. In the beginning of the song our character wakes up on the space capsule and sees the Earth. Because our character is a monkey, he is not very intelligent at this time. He used to think that every globe is a sun because that is what he is used to seeing on the Earth, so he recognizes the Earth as a blue sun. He does not know where he is. Suddenly the Earth turns into an eye that he flies into, and we arrive at the Cosmic Architect, which talks about being the creator of the universe by the act of thinking. In close proximity to the Cosmic Architect, our monkey evolves and awakens his conscious mind to an intelligent and conscious being now. It is inevitable that he starts thinking and reasoning, and by doing this he creates another universe. In Tree of Life he finds himself wandering this universe, and he finds himself moving through the air and seeing planets made of water, and he sees a strange sphere in the sky that breaks, and a seed falls down into the abyss and from the abyss the Tree of Life grows and makes life spread all over the planet. So through the Cosmic Architect matter is born and life through the Tree of Life is born. Upon crossing the line, our “space monkey” understands that he is now the Cosmic Architect, and that by his thinking he has created a universe. The next step in creation is making an animal or being conscious. The question then is how does conscious arise from matter? The question remains unanswered because of the duality of mind and body. On Albert 2, on which I actually recorded the vocals, we find out that our monkey is in fact Albert 2, or the monkey that Americans launched in a space capsule in order to study weightlessness and life outside of the atmosphere. I think this was in 1949, and by saying this I would like to make people reflect on how we should approach our treatment of animals. For me, animals have souls and personality, and they can suffer, so it is not rational or right to use them in experiments, because for all we know they could have an entire universe locked within their mind. This is the final reasoning on The Origins of Matter and life, and is the concept of it. I am very fond of science and philosophy, so I always use that when I am writing lyrics, and this time I tried to develop a story that I hope is interesting.
Lastly, 2011 seems to have been a great year for Lunocode, so what do you foresee for 2012?
I hope to take our music to the greatest number of listeners we can, and perhaps bring it to every part of Italy and other portions of Europe. We are constantly at work developing new ideas, and I actually have already written lyrics for the next album. I do not know when we will actually do it, be we are constantly looking forward. Because we are ambitious for our music, I think the next project will be very ambitious, and I hope that we can get the quality we have in our minds. I think with Celestial Harmonies, we got great quality. We made some decisions that are not cliché of metal music. We strove to have a very natural sound. We love dynamics, and we did not want to destroy them in the mastering process. I hope you all enjoy the album as much as we enjoyed making it!

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