Interview with Stefano “Ghigas” Calvagno of Italian Metal Band Metatrone


metatrone_2016_64d (1)Metatrone is a Christian power-prog metal band formed by musicians coming from many previous musical experiences, mostly involved in metal music. Davide Bruno, Jo Lombardo, Tony Zappa, Virgilio Ragazzi and Stefano “Ghigas” Calvagno formed the band in 1997 under the monicker of Metafora. Since then they have released 4 full-length albums. Their latest album “Eucharismetal” has been released on March 11th. through Rockshots Music. An interview with guitarist Stefano “Gigas” Salvagno follows below.

Later this month Metatrone will play at the third edition of Rock for Eternity. Other performing bands will be: Innerwish (melodic metal from Greece), Metatrone (progressive power metal from Italy), Malchus (progressive melodic metal from Poland), Wolfer (Melodic Punk Hardcore), A Sickness Unto Death (doom metal band from Germany), Nefast (psych black from the Netherlands). Rock for Eternity will be held on April 23 again at fluor (fka de kelder) in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

TMR: Hey guys this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there in Italy ?

Hi there, guys! We are all fine, happy and really excited for our new work! It’s Ghigas here!

Stefano_22Ghigas22_Calvagno_415TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]

We are Metatrone, a power-prog combo active in metal music since 1997, and pioneers someway in Christian metal scene in Italy, since 2001, with a priest, father Davide Bruno on keyboards and growls, Jo Lombardo as lead vocals, Dino Fiorenza on bass, Salvo “T-Metal” on drums and backing vocals, and myself, Stefano “Ghigas” Calvagno on guitars and backing vocals. This is our last formation, the one who recorded the new album, which we are here for.

TMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Metatrone’.

Metatrone was formed by musicians coming from many previous musical experiences, mostly involved in metal music. Davide Bruno, Jo Lombardo, Tony Zappa, Virgilio Ragazzi and Stefano “Ghigas” Calvagno formed the band in 1997 under the monicker of Metafora. As many things in life changes, it was four years later (2001) that one of the founding members, keyboardist Davide Bruno decided to begin a new spiritual journey bringing him to change completely his life becoming a Priest. After this important decision, another one will be essential: Metafora decided to change their monicker as METATRONE from that moment on. Consequently the band begins to write power-prog metal songs deeply inspired by a Christian Catholic view of life and human being. As Metatrone we released 3 albums, “The Powerful Hand” as the Italian version, “La Mano Potente”, in 2006, “Paradigma” in 2010 and now “Eucharismetal”, of course.

TMR: Why the name ‘Metatrone’ ? Is there a story behind it ?

No, there’s not a special story to tell. It was discovered casually. We liked it as it sounded heavy and for what it means in Catholic culture, as it’s known as “Metaphysic Throne of God” or “God is since forever”. There’s no relation at all with the Metatron described in the Cabal or in the new age philosophy, or things like these.

TMR: How did you get into metal?

Well. I think we started discovering some of the metal artists of our time, metal music of the ’80 and ’90. Everyone has something to tell about the discover of metal music, but the mean thing that linked us all, as a band, was to have found a music fully made of power, energy, strength that allowed us to express ourselves and spread strong messages, until we started to get inspiration from our Christian and Catholic culture and experience and we started writing Christian metal music, as we are now, just when Davide chose to enter the studies to become a priest, back in 2001. Since then music hadn’t change really, but the horizon of our view of life, it changed deeply, of course.

TMR: Everyone, what is your musical background ?

We all grew up with metal and rock music of past 2 decades. Our influences fly back to the AOR/melodic rock and classic and power-progressive metal of early ’90, but if you try to push yourself more far in time, you can find in us lots of influences coming from the golden age of thrash metal music of late ’80, even some death metal influences.

metatrone_band_e85TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Metatrone’ ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?

Usually fr. Davide and myself are the main writers of lyrics and music in Metatrone, as well as the main writers of all arrangements, but as we got Dino and Salvo in the rhythmic session, the arrangement process was really enriched by their contribution. They are so great and talented musicians, and they were instantly the right chance for the band to gain strength in power and creativity, and you can easily understand what I’m talking about just listening to the new album.

TMR: What are some key principles or phylosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person?

Well as I told you before, our point of view about life, human being and creation was the discover of Jesus Christ and his immortal never-ending message as He gave it to us throughout Catholic church which we are part of. After Davide’s decision to become a priest, everyone began his personal journey to comprehend the sense of faith in the Lord and in His son, Jesus Christ. We believe human person is the center of the love and the respect that Jesus explained us by His own life, death and resurrection! As Christians, we live our life with our feet stable on earth, but with our eyes and spirit always pointed to the heavens!

TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Metatrone’? 

Oh there are so many great moments to be remembered. The greatest of all is the final release of the new album, Eucharismetal!

TMR: And the worst thing were ? (if there is one)

No one, man!

TMR: So what makes you laugh?

One of the funniest thing is how we joke around each others about our personal defects. Irony is one of our precious gift, togheter with the music, and some times we make short videoclips, as you can see on our official Facebook pages, and people and fans seem to like them as well as our songs! Dino and fr. Davide’s saga about water still keeps smashing all of the views on band’s web socials! But the story goes on for more episodes on the way! Keep watching and following us, guys!

TMR: What is your biggest fear ?

Maybe it’s to understand too late that we lost time in making things we would not really do, we don’t belong to: basically it’s about to not be honest to ourselves and to people we love and care!

TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band? 

Music fills up most of our free time. Anyway we try to find small pieces of time to dedicate to some personal passions. Jo, our singer, for example, is a great cyclist able to go on for hundred kilometers in plane or in mountain. He’s an axe with his bicycle! Everyone has a personal hobby, that helps maintaining the right concentration for the new songwriting. Any way you have to know that, beside music, we have other occupations: Dino has many students in most of the great music schools of Italy and uses to have many bass clinics all over the world in the awarded greatest venues (NAMM, Musikmesse, China and so on). Jo and Salvo have their own occupations. Fr. Davide has a parish church which is responsible of, and I’m a medical doctor in charge of the Emergency Room of a local hospital.

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

Well we have now a management who helps us to have the best exposure possible, especially with the release of our new album, Eucharismetal, that is available now, via Rockshots Music, our label both in physical both in digital format as well in streaming, from the major stores! Promotion of the cd and booking of our shows are typical issues for management and the guys at Rockshots Music Management are doing a stunning work about!

TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please?

In Italy there are so many great bands, Some of them you might already know, some others are working hard to gain visibility and resonance. But it’s not so easy, because metal music is not so popular in Italy, and the spaces / places to play metal music live are few. For an Italian band, up to now, it’s maybe easier to gain success in other countries! But there’s hope, we think, the thing are gonna change into better ways.

TMR: How do you prepare for a show? 

Nothing special. Concentration and relaxation, and then we do our best!

TMR: You guys play on the upcoming edition of the annual ‘Rock for Eternity’ in Amersfoort (April 23). What are your expectations?

We can’t wait to be there and let our music scream for us to all the fans who will be down stage, for a great metal music night!

Eucharismetal (2016)TMR: Speaking of recording, your latest album “Eucharismetal” has been released on March 11th. what can you tell us about the album [such as the recording process, the songs, label etc.]

We think this is our best album up to now. There’s so much of Metatrone inside of it! We recorded 13 tracks, some of them are in English, some others in Italian language; one of the them even in Latin language (typical choice for our band). The cd has been written and produced by the band itself, mixed and mastered by Riccardo Samperi, who keeps working with us since the beginning and Rockshots Music is the label that released and now distribute it both fiscally both as digital delivery, at the major stores (iTunes, Amazon Music and Google Play), as well as in streaming on Spotify and Deezer. “Eucharismetal” is the perfect title for the cd, because it’s the fusion of what we are as persons and as musicians. All the songs are filled up with this basic concept. The songwriting has changed along the years, it grew up with us. We got now a more raw sounds, more power, more riffs and more growls, but all this stuff perfectly matches with the great melodic voice of Jo. We think old fans as the new followers will love this album so much. We put another milestone in whitemetal history.

TMR: About the cover artwork. Do you think it is as important as your music? Does it visualize the lyrics of your songs or what’s the actual story behind its concept?

Of course. Artwork is one of the most important elements of a music production. It’s the thing that capture your attention. It speaks about all the album. And so our cover artwork does. Nello Dell’Omo (awarded artwork designer for Frontiers Records) made an amazing job.

TMR: What would be the ultimate cover tune for ‘Metatrone’?

Well, we use not to play covers!

TMR: What is your favorite concert that you saw and what made it so good?

Well, our first participation at Elements of Rock, back in 2008, was a wonderful live and experience, as well as the World Youth Day in Australia, the same summer. But each concert we can assure is a great event for us!

TMR: Everyone, what is the most embarrassing music on your phone or in your collection and how do you justify it to others?

We got metal music in our phones, so there’s no possibility for mistake! Eh eh.

RfE-2016TMR: If you could pick a band to tour with, who would it be? And where would the tour go?

It’s a strange question. No minded at all! Eh eh.

TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands ?

Major difficulties lay down inside the band, especially in the beginning: first thing, you have to know exactly what you are looking for with your music. Once you focused it, you have to understand just how you can get the trial over and realize yourself as musician and so as a man. These are hard times for a young band to make the grade (some times it’s hard even for well-known band), but if you have passion and you are honest to yourself, you can cross the line as a winner in the end. So, as we say in one song of “Eucharismetal”, you “keep running”, my friend!

TMR: As a band today, what do you think is the biggest challenge you face?

Since then they have released 4 full-length albumsBiggest challenge for us was to find the right occasions and spaces to play our music, that’s sure!

TMR: Any (tour) plans for the near future ?

Guys at Rockshots are working to plan some live dates in the next months, so stay tuned for more informations about on our socials!

TMR: Ghigas thanks for your time and the interview. We wish ‘Metatrone” all the best … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final statement ?]

Well, we want to thank you for this kind interview. We thank all the followers of Let’s see on stage at Rock for Eternity! Stay metal and Stay Metatrone! God bless you all!

Band members:
Jo Lombardo – Lead vocals
Stefano “Ghigas” Calvagno – Guitars/vocals
fr. Davide Bruno – Keyboards/growls
Dino Fiorenza – Bass
Salvo “T-Metal” Grasso – Drums

“La Mano Potente” (2006 )
“The Powerful Hand” (2006)
“Reborn in Christ” Single (2009)
“Paradigma” (2010)
“Passione” Single (2012)
“Heavenly Field” Single (2013)
“Eucharismetal” (2016)

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