Sometimes it is necessary to go through historical essays, literary anthologies, or even scientific treatises, to discover the true source of inspiration of a record. On the contrary, there are also records whose “fire starter” is plain to see: it can be the news, or even a swift look out the window. The album “Nightmares in Daylight” of the Italian progressive-melodic metal project It Will Last belongs to the second category. The subject matter of the record can in fact be defined a deep reflection on the relationship between the contemporary human being and the ecosystem, based on the lack of balance in this relationship. Let’s delve into “Nightmares in Daylight” with the multi-instrumentalist Simone Carnaghi, mastermind of the It will Last project: we will discover that its main themes are part of our everyday experience.
Welcome to Art Over Covers, Simone! Can you introduce the protagonists of the It will Last project?
Hi Paolo, thank you, the It Will Last project was born from my great passion for hard rock-heavy metal music. I simply felt the desire of creating new music growing in me. It should be totally new music, since I wanted my new songs to stand out in comparison with my previous works under the nickname Slender Hopes. In 2018 I had some new draft demos as well as some old songs that needed rearranging: this was the starting point. I have dealt personally with the whole production of “Nightmares in Daylight”. In fact I have composed and arranged all the twelve songs (music and lyrics) of the cd-album, playing and recording all the instruments: bass, drums and guitars. Unlike I did in my previous Slender Hopes project, I have also taken care of the mixing and mastering of the album at my new private music studio near Milan, where I work as an experienced multi-instrumental music teacher as well. I really plunged into the It Will Last project: “Nightmares in Daylight” is my first music production conceived and made real entirely by myself. I’m also going to make the skills I have acquired working so hard available to other bands, in particular hard rock and heavy metal bands. My wife Maria sang the female parts in the choirs. Concerning the solo vocal lines, instead, I gave the task to a dear friend of mine, with whom I have also shared great times as bandmate in the Pandaemonium metal project: Daniel Reda. Needless to say, I trust him to the utmost. He combines his unusual tone of voice with great technical skills. Since his background is deeply rooted in epic metal, my progressive metal songs might not seem his cup of tea at first glance, but the result is amazing.
Progressive-melodic metal: since you are an experienced music teacher, I ask you to give us a definition of this genre. Which feelings is it meant to arouse in the listener? The name of your project suggests that they are deep feelings…
My life is still based on music teaching: it has been so for over fifteen years so far. And I still enjoy it. On the other hand, the It Will Last project gives me an outlet for my creativity. I started listening to heavy metal music as a teenager thanks to the first seven albums of the band Iron Maiden: in my opinion they are still matchless masterpieces. Afterwards I started studying music. Therefore, I couldn’t help drawing inspiration from some of Iron Maiden’s main features in the ‘80s. They are the “cradle” of my own creature. Then, in order to develop my composition work, I hit a distinctive, “progressive” tone. “Nightmares in Daylight” is in fact for all intents and purposes a progressive – melodic metal album, whose features are many choirs with several voices, unusual song structures, many changes of rhythm and tonality, and, last but not least, a solo voice which may surprise the listeners. My idea of progressive-melodic metal (or progressive-classic metal) is not easy to explain in details, but I am glad to try! The key words are 80’s sound and melody. The framework of my album is rooted in the ‘80s, because I am a great fan of Iron Maiden and I am very fond of other classic metal pioneers too, in particular the bands of the NWOBHM. Melody is another distinctive feature of my songs (again the “lesson” of bands like Iron Maiden is plain to see). No song of “Nightmares in Daylight” does without melody despite the many odd time signatures, the long instrumental sections, and so on… Maybe only a wizard may guess the precise chord progression of each piece. I like to call the result of all this work “progressive-melodic metal”. I know I am no inventor, because discovering new paths in music is very difficult nowadays, and it is not my purpose. I simply want to make some experiments, so I am no inventor, but I am inventive.
Let’s point out some conceptual nuclei of the album going through its songs. “Nightmares in Daylight” blames the 2021’s human being for crimes of “killing of nature, of freedom and mankind”. I remember that in 1946 also the Nobel Prize Poet Salvatore Quasimodo (1901 -1968) drew a similar portrait of mankind in the poem “Uomo del mio Tempo” (“Man of my Time”). He charged in fact the human being with lots of vicious crimes («I saw you – inside the chariot of fire, at the gallows, at the wheels of torture. I saw you: it was you…” ). The two “portraits” still fit together perfectly: what conclusion can we draw about it?
Our world is changing from an environmental point of view. Communication is also undergoing a radical transformation. I may say that our world is shrinking. Mankind harps always on the same string: history teaches that the struggle for power is ruthless and everlasting. Many put their profit before everything else, and many others act out of envy. Do we really master technology, if so many people suffer, for example, from Internet addiction disorder?… These are just a few of the threats that are wasting the world: it’s a “catch 22” situation. After thinking them over very deeply, I made the decision to put these topics in the lyrics of “Nightmares in Daylight”,and to base the whole lyrical concept of the album upon them.
Twenty years ago, Alice Cooper stated that the Earth had become a “Brutal Planet” due to the carelessness of mankind; and even earlier, in the 1980s, the German bands Kreator and Running Wild warned against the uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources and against ecological disasters caused by greed. The theme of environmental protection is not unusual in the heavy metal genre, but it is not very common either. So, Simone, why did you choose to include it among the main themes of your album, launching a “global alarm”?
You are referring to my song “Global Warning”. Its lyrics deal with environmental disasters and their aftermath. It seems odd, but many people still don’t share the idea that we all live on the same planet: we are all earthborn earthlings. Alice Cooper said that our planet is just like paradise: it is true. But we must bear in mind that is not easy to make up the fragments of a broken paradise. Let’s take as an example the melting glaciers… Time is running short.
The songs “Deadly Poison”, “Selfish Pride” and “Money and Power” recall some deadly sins, which blight the souls of mankind until they resemble some twisted hellish paintings of Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450 – 1516). In your words, envy is “the worst of obsessions”: the true source from which all the others spring. May you explain this point of view, Simone? The famous poet Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) placed on top of the “podium of evil” lust, greed and pride: can envy be even worse than them?
Yes: several songs of “Nightmares in Daylight”, especially “Deadly Poison”, are based on metaphors about deadly sins. In my opinion envy can be labelled as a real social plague, a tainting shapeless disease. Envious persons stress out every now and then, with their nerves always on the edge. Moreover, they spoil other people’s life.
As “Nightmares in Daylight” is concerned, the whole cover art, booklet graphics, and logo have been conceived by the artist “Aeglos Art” (also author of some cover artworks for bands like Room Experience, Charming Grace, Danger Zone and Airbound). Can you explain how was your collaboration born, and how was the cover illustration for “Nightmares in Daylight” conceived? It is amazing how the colors of the artwork, though bright and soft, suit perfectly the gloomy themes of the album…
I love the cover of “Nightmares in Daylight”! Antonella “Aeglos Art” (https://www.facebook.com/aeglosartphoto) got precisely the idea I had imagined for the cover artwork. The picture is enhanced by many meaningful details: each of them has an allegorical meaning that can be found out in the album lyrics.What about the crown resting on debris? Is it a metaphor for the transience of power, or rather a warning against profiteers? I remember a verse of the Italian poet Trilussa (pseud. of Carlo Alberto Salustri 1871 – 1950) about a shark shouting cheerily: “Long live the Deluge!” after Noah had announced this disaster.
The crown you have noticed on the cover artwork, as well as the scattered banknotes falling inside the hourglass, are linked to the song “Money and Power”. The crown half buried in the ground is a warning: power is not everlasting. Sooner or later, it fades. That’s why the crown on the cover artwork is lost, forgotten among the ruins, without anyone to wear it. So, what is the real purpose of power, if in the end we will have to look at our own silent wasteland?
What about your live shows? I am referring to the stage outfit and to the settings of the gigs… How important do you consider appearance in the music-business?
Well… As a musician, I have always given importance to music first, and set a lower value on appearance. However, times have changed: appearance, outfits and scenic design play nowadays an important role. Therefore, I keep aside some nice ideas concerning the stage setting of the It will Last project, and I hope to carry them out soon… Anyway, playing good music will be my main goal even on an empty stage: you can bet on it!
Let’s speak again about cover artworks: have you ever bought a music album because the front cover of the booklet had charmed you?
I bought my first electric guitar when I was 14 years old: on the same day I bought the CD of the album “Practice What You Preach” by the band Testament. I entered the CD shop right after leaving the guitar shop; they were opposite each other. I have been fascinated by the album cover: that’s for sure! There are many, countless other albums, whose cover artworks have attracted me as a magnet attracts iron: that would be a too long list!Which are the most fascinating cover artworks you have seen so far? Is there a specific color in them that draws your attention?
From this point of view the Iron Maiden albums “Powerslave” and “Somewhere in Time” are at the top of my list. I think that, even if you went through a whole album collection, you couldn’t still find other two pictures so rich in details. Light sandy colors are predominant on the artwork of “Powerslave”, and they have a relaxing, dreamlike effect on me. I really find myself carried above the dunes by the hand of the pharaohs, over the threshold of the pyramid. Of course, there is a totally different atmosphere on the cover artwork of “Somewhere in Time”: “futuristic neon lights” are the keywords. I like also the cover picture of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, although the subject is obviously different from the previous ones. The metaphor behind is in fact upsetting, since it points out the escalating drug-addiction problems. Therefore, the colors on the cover artwork are vivid and threatening. Last but not least, let me mention the album “Edge of Thorns” by the band Savatage due to its nuances of color. I usually like soft colors, with the only exception of bands logos. In this case shocking colors suit me… for example, I find the red color very deep. I know that the logos of “Nightmares in Daylight” prove me wrong, but it has been a pleasure to be contradicted by the wonderful result.
Is there any illustrator, photographer, or generally an artist who you consider particularly significant ?
Obviously, I can’t help mentioning Derek Riggs: truly fantastic! His covers and illustrations have always spellbound me since I was a child. His artworks for the first eight albums of Iron Maiden are matchless.
This interview has given us the opportunity to know more about your music project, and to discuss global issues, Simone: thank you! Please, give your regards to your fans: it’s your curtain call!
Thank you, Paolo and Art Over Covers, for your time! My purpose is to make my listeners aware about a global issue, as you have just said. I hope to give the message that changing everyone’s daily habits as regards other people and the environment can make a difference. See you soon around the stage! Thanks again!