The music of Torre de Marfil is considered by classical Heavy Metal on it's faster and melodic era. The main features of the band are: double leading guitar, excellent lyrics and vocals following the style of Helloween, Angra, Stratovarius and Edguy with chorus. Outstanding and rhythmic bass playing and dynamic drums with speed metal influences.
The band was born on April 1996, giving their first concert one year later in the Festival intercolegial de nuevas bandas (High school festival for newcomers). Later on in 1997 the band made some changes on it's line up and recorded two tracks (Llegara el final and Rebelion de los silenciados). These tracks were put on local radio shows and opened the door to many live shows in Caracas, the first one on February of 1998. On April of the same year the band recorded another two tracks (Lobo and El Reloj), these songs were lose played on radio, but not only on local stations, this time they reached international radio stations. This fact made the band part of the leaders of the Metal scene on Venezuela.
Then after a year of live shows on many cities of Venezuela, participation on many radio shows and appearances on Latin American fanzines, Torre de Marfil went to the studio on May 1999 to record their 1st record of the younger band on Venezuela's metal scene.
On December 1999 their 1st CD titled Torre de Marfil went on sale. For April 2000, this record is distributed all over Venezuela and reach other countries like Colombia, Brazil, Spain, Germany and Italy.
This band with only 4 years of career has become one of the national heroes on Venezuela's metal scene, taking the lead on other bands who have more than 15 years of career. Why? For many reasons, first is the right chemistry that exist between band members, they work as a team joining all their skills into one. Second is the talent to compose metal... True heavy metal with a lot of feeling. Third is that the lyrics catch the attention of their fans, writing about many subjects: Tolkin and Star Wars stuff, epic tales, friendship and social matters. Fourth, individual skills of each band member.
That's what the bio say about the band members:
Marcos Rodriguez (lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars): With being only 21 years you were selected by the people in a poll of a local newspaper as the 'wildest voice' of Venezuela. His powerful voice can be aggressive and sweet at the same time! On the stage he is all that a frontman can be, but the most important thing is the feeling that he's able to transmit to the people. Marcos is also a brilliant musician being an awesome guitar player. He can also play the keyboards and has skills to mix different styles of rock and music. Marcos main influences are Helloween, Blind Guardian and Stratovarius...
Cristian La Spina (bass guitar & backing vocals): Cristian is the kind of player that doesn't disappear with the guitars rhythms, he supports very well the lead guitar. He's able to keep the rhythms very well, while guitar solos were played. He can also sing (he was the singer of the band for a while, when Rodriguez left the band) and he has a lot of imagination to compose and write lyrics.
Jorge Romero (Lead & rhythm guitar & backing vocals): One of the best guitar players of the country due to the feeling and energy that he is able to transmit and his skills to play powerful rhythms. To play solos Jorge remains Helloween / Gamma Ray solo style combined with classical stuff. The influences of Marty Friedman one of his favorite guitar player are also present on his playing.
Ivor Lugo (drums): The only 20 years old Ivor is for many fans the most talented musician on the band. He is not the kind of metal drummer that use to 'hit' the drums, instead he is a drummer with lots of esthetic and personality. He is able to develop high speed on his playing and combine metal with progressive drops.
Let's check the interview with Marcos Rodriguez:
When did you start singing?
I had always been a singer, since I was a child I used to admired my father when he was singing on birthdays and parties of my family in the company of my cousins and uncles.
When did you started listening to rock music? How did you start to listen to Heavy Metal and when was your passion for this genre born?
The first rock band that I listened to was Bon Jovi with the album New Jersey in 1989. I was 10 years old. I used to lived in Valencia and then a friend from school lent me ...And Justice For All of Metallica and that was when I realized that the music was the path that I should follow. These two records were enough to start listening to good music. The I started to listen to other records from Metallica and when I first listened to Iron Maiden with Seventh Son my life changed.
You are also a guitar player. When did you start playing the guitar?
When I was eleven years old and the first song I learned to play was Patience from Guns'n'Roses. Then I learned to play by myself, my father taught me the chords and the rest was listening music and watching videos from bands like Metallica, G'n'R and Iron Maiden.
How does it feels to sing and play the guitar at the same time?
At the beginning was a little hard, then after practice and dedication it became very easy. The steps that I took were: First I learned the guitar music, then I sang the song on my mind in an independent way, then I sang it with the guitar and practiced a lot.
In a poll done by E-Mail in your country you were chosen as the best singer of Venezuela, passing Paul Guillman (one of the pioneers of rock in Venezuela with a 20+ years) How do you feel about this? How does it feels to be chosen as 'the voice'?
I feel very flattered, very honored. I never thought that I was going to be chosen as the voice of metal in Venezuela, I feel very happy to know that I have fans enjoying my work, I just don't know what to say, it's a big satisfaction! I thank all the fans that voted for me and wish to tell them that I will fight every day to be a better musician.
In your opinion which are the best voices of Venezuela?
One of my big influences is Mr. Alexis Peña (former Tempano and Poster). I think that he is an awesome singer. I also liked the style of Pedro Castillo with Tempano and his former band with Aditus. Paul Guillman has a great presence on the stage and a very high vocal range, he's definitely a great singer.
What do you think about the scene of progressive rock in Venezuela? According with Musea Records (one of the most prestigious record labels of progressive rock in the world) Tempano is one of the top 10 progressive rock bands in the world of today. What do you think about this great band?.
I think that Venezuelan rock in all genres is taking much more life and value that at the beginning of the 90's. At the end of that decade it's taken more life than ever. In the case of Tempano I think that no one here in Venezuela was expecting this surprise, so impressive and so great, the people used to remember Tempano for the performance of it's commercial era with songs like Lobo hombre en Paris (Werewolf in Paris) and I was so astonished when I took the first listen to Childhood's End that I just bought it.
Then, when I heard that Tempano was considered by Musea Records as one of the top 10 progressive bands in the world I said "It has to be like this, this band is so good! They just deserve it... To be one of the best bands in the world and they are from Venezuela!"
Which are your favorites singers and your main influences?
Some of my favorites singers that at the same time represent influences for me are: André Matos (Angra / Virgo), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian / Demons & Wizards), Michael Kiske, Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche), Ronnie James Dio, Peavy Wagner (Rage), Tobias Sammet (Edguy), Elkin Ramirez (Kraken), Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Jonathan Davis (Korn), James Hetfield (Metallica), Matthew Barlow (Iced Earth), Eric Adams (Manowar), Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Danni Filth (Cradle Of Filth) and Neal Morse (Spock's Beard / Transatlantic)... These among others.
How did you learned to sing? Did you have the chance to go to an academy?
In 1997 I received some lessons for singing and breath techniques with Robert Zúñiga, former Tempano. I took lessons for about one year. Then, in 1999 I started to study music in the conservatory Lino Gallardo. I'm still studying in this conservatory.
What do you think about today's Heavy Metal in the world? It seems to be that the 90's were the decade of Metal's awakening. It was in this decade that metal reached it's best development in different levels, like on techniques which are almost impossible to improve...
"I don't know, if metal is dead or alive... It just took a break..." to quote Mille Petrozza (Kreator). And I have the same point of view. Since 1994 metal has taken a new path, it's much more perfect – of course it has always been perfect – but since then, musicians have been much more worried about improving the music that they're playing. Today, many people think that rock has lost creativity. They say that in the 60's for example, musicians were less virtuosos and more creative, and that in the 90's musicians are more virtuosos and less creative. I think that this is a contradiction, because while the musicians keep developing the knowledge of their instruments, they will be more creative and at the same time more virtuosos, so they can reach more advantages from music that in the 60's nobody was dreaming of.
Nothing more to say.... Nice interview and it would be nice to talk to Marcos again one day.