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In Words: Turboangel

- Marco Pelle & Riccardo Ongaretto - July 2000 - Roberto Palmitesta -

Marco Pelle & Riccardo Ongaretto - July 2000 (by email)

This quintet only has a 30 minute length CD released on 1999 called As Cold As Ice, but it is enough to show all the potential they have for the future. Many Iron Maiden influences. A brilliant couple of guitar players (Marco Pelle and Riccardo Ongaretto), make a good combination between melody and rhythm, great solos, technically elaborated and many details on the arrangements. Another thing that is important to be mentioned is the way they use their equipment to make a warm sound. The drummer Matteo Boseglio does a nice work, the bass playing is melodic and smooth. The lyrics are well written with a positive message. They deserve a place for future scene.

When Turboangel was born?

Turboangel as a band started in Biella (a small city in Northwestern Italy, area of Milano) in October '98, when the first rehearsal with the complete line-up took place. But the 'seed' was thrown in August '98, after the meeting between Matteo (drums), Riccardo (g) and me.

Which are the main influences for this band?

I think the influences that shine in our music are obviously reminiscent the 80's classic metal (Iron Maiden above all), but we have also a progressive feel, and many people compare us to the first Fates Warning. Besides these two bands, of course we listen to the more recent metal of bands like Gamma Ray, Royal Hunt, Angra, Symphony X...

But we have a very wide range of personal listenings, also outside the metal scene... Matteo and me are fond of jazz / fusion, Riccardo likes 80's pop music, Davide (bass) listen to hard rock bands like Mr. Big and Extreme, while Maurizio (our new singer) likes blues very much. So, as you can see, we are quite open-minded!

Tell us about the history of Turboangel.

To make it short... After the first meeting in October '98 and some months of rehearsals, in April '99 we recorded our first EP As Cold As Ice containing four songs plus an instrumental. After positive reviews of the Italian metal press, we began promoting our CD with concerts all over Northwestern Italy, being very warmly welcomed by the audiences. In November '99 our former singer Andrea Sportelli left the band due to different musical projects and was quickly replaced by Maurizio Faure. In February 2000 the live activity began again and it's still lasting!

How did you meet your band mates?

Riccardo, Andrea and me were friends since school times, while we firstly met Matteo and Davide in Turboangel. Finally, Maurizio was the singer in an old band with Davide... But I have to say that in this first year of activity a deep sense of friendship arose between us!

For you Marco, which are you favorites guitar players? What equipment do you use?

Marco: S. Vai, Y.J. Malmsteen, A. Holdsworth and A. Timmons just to say a few... About my equipment: Ibanez Jem777; Rocktron Pirahna preamp and Brunetti Silver Bullet poweramp; Roland FX; 4x12 Marshall cabs.
Riccardo: Y.J. Malmsteen, J. Satriani; equipment: Ibanez UV7 and Ibanez RG Custom; Marshall JMP1 preamp and Brunetti Silver Bullet poweramp; Roland FX; 2x12 Engl cabs.

What do you think about today's heavy metal? Do you think that today's metal is better than the metal that it was made in the 80's?

From the point of view of the production yes, nowadays metal CDs sound really perfect... even too much for me! Sometimes they lack a bit of reality... The problem is that many bands sound very different between 'what you hear on the record' and 'what you hear on a stage'. However, I think that a lot of good music has been done both in the 80's and the 90's... I believe that every period gives inspired musicians that bring fresh and new ideas.

How many albums do you have? Any plans for the future?

We only have recorded the As Cold As Ice EP in '99... Now we have contacts with some labels and some distributors, but as nothing is still well defined, I cannot say anything definitive. However, we have enough songs ready to record a full-length album; so when we have found an agreement with a record label, we hope to start the recording sessions as soon as possible.

What do you think of the new wave of metal bands from Italy like Skylark, Domine, Power Symphony and Time Machine?

Time Machine are a very particular and talented band, probably one of the best in the progressive scene at the moment, and I don't think they are assimilate to the other bands you mention, as I think Time Machine's style is a sort of prog-rock with some metal elements. Skylark, Domine and Power Symphony are also very good bands! I think it's good that the Italian scene has finally come to reknown...

Do you feel part of this new wave?

Well, not really. Musically we are more influenced by classic metal on one side, and 70's progressive rock on the other; even if we put some 'power' passages in our music, I think that in some way we sound a bit different from the majority of the power-metal bands today. But it's true that every metal band here in Italy, including Turboangel, takes benefit and contributes to this new wave!

Are you the leader of this band?

No. The strength of Turboangel derives from the union of five different minds and hearts into a single entity... so there isn't a 'leader' in the band. Everyone has his precise role and brings his unique characteristics to our music. The real leader is the feeling between us that we try to express in our songs!

Turboangel has influences from many bands but there is no doubt that you have your own style. What do you do to make your music original?

Usually Riccardo and I propose some ideas for a song, then we all rearrange it until it sounds good; the best thing is that most of the times someone comes out with unexpected parts... Vocal lines are left to our singer. At the end the song becomes very personal and original. As I said before, everyone brings his own feeling and expression to the music... And that's all. Each person is unique, so what comes from inside of us is always special and original.

Many today metal bands have to face the problem of a flat sound due to all the digital equipment they use. One of the best things of Turboangel is the sound because is very warm. What do you do to make your sound warm? What equipment do you use to record and produce your music?

I believe that sound lies in our minds. So if you have in mind a certain kind of sound (whether it is warm or not), you have to listen to your inner ear to bring it to reality. In my opinion, today's guitar sounds in heavy metal are too much compressed and cold, they lack a bit of 'humanity'... and it seems that everybody want to sound the same! I surely prefer a warmer and less compressed sound that allows more dynamics. We've got all tube preamps and poweramps and that helps, because our sound has got these characteristics when it enters all the digital effects. We recorded As Cold As Ice in a studio in Torino that had digital equipment, but the result is quite satisfactory from the point of view of the 'reality' of sound. But ultimately I believe that the best equipment a musician can find... is in his mind and ears!

Could you please tell us a bit of your next record?

We don't know when we'll start the recording sessions, it all depends on how quickly we find an agreement with a label. About the content... Compared to the ones on the EP, the new songs are more complex and, let's say, progressive... A keyboard player should join the formation soon, so they will sound harmonically richer! We will also record again some of the tracks present on As Cold As Ice for the full-length album, and we will probably include a very particular cover that we already play during concerts (Call Me by Blondie).

Roberto Palmitesta


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