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In Words: Tommy Vitaly

- Tommy Vitaly - May 2012 - Lars Bjørn -

Tommy Vitaly
© Tommy Vitaly

Tommy Vitaly - May 6th 2012 (by email)

The exciting new album Hanging Rock in on the streets now from Tommy Vitaly's hands, and had a possibility to get some comments from Tommy himself.

Can you please update us on the band Seven Gates, are they still existing? Or do you only make your own music now?

Hi Lars! About Seven Gates, I've quitted the band at the end of 2010. I only now have time for making my own music. About the band, actually I don't know, if they are still existing or not. For sure I know Marco (the guitar player) is keeping the official website alive, but I don't know if there is a real band with all band members, or if there is only the name.

After your record in 2010, Just Me, when did you start writing songs for Hanging Rock?

Actually I had some raw tracks of Hanging Rock ready before the publishing of Just Me. For example Betrayer is a song I wrote some years ago for the never-published third Seven Gates album, so I decided to use this song for my second solo album. The title track Hanging Rock was written before too.

What is your earlier music career before you went into the band Seven Gates?

I started playing electric guitar at 15, but my first real bands before Seven Gates was an Italian rock pop band, and a Bon Jovi tribute band. I played in many small other bands, too many to remember! Haha. I was really involved into classical music study too. I studied a lot of classical piano (what a great experience) and 6 years of classical clarinet!

Have you considered doing some of the vocals by yourself? Or has it become a principle for you to have guest performers on your songs?

Oh my God! I have a terrible voice for singing! I dream I can sing! I would love to! But I am very bad with it! I only record vocals of my songs sometimes, just for sending the guide lines to singers...... and always I send my excuse to them by email for my horrible vocals! Hahaha! So, it is not a principle for me to have guest singers, but I really need it! Even if I would like for the next albums to have ONE singer for all songs.

I wonder how the creation of the songs goes, do you plan which singer you would like on every song, and then write it so it fits for that person, or do you do it another way, for example write it together with the singer, or how do you do it? I am thinking about the song Forever Lost, it is a song that DeFeis could have written to one of his own albums, it fits his style perfectly...

Here is the magic of this album........ I wrote the songs, then I decided the singers. For examples..... I wrote Forever Lost and while I was singing the melodies I thought to David DeFeis vocals, and how he would fit perfectly the song with his voice. Then I tried to contact him by email, and I never talked to him before..... He replied to me, listened to the song and he was very happy to record it for me! And this way of working was on most of the songs, for example Icewarrior..... I thought Zak Stevens vocals could have been the right voice for it, and so it was. This is magic.

So, I can say, first I wrote the songs, and then I choose the singer I thought would fit better the mood and the vocal style of the song! Mats Leven was perfect for an aggressive song like Betrayer, because of his raw and high range voice! He did an awesome job!

How long did the recordings take? Where did you record Hanging Rock? Who produced the album?

The recordings took about one year, mix and mastering included. It took a so long time because many guest musicians were involved in this project, so I had to wait for each one.... every one of them is a great pro-musician! Rhino recorded the drums in his own studio, I recorded the guitars and keyboards in my own studio, Andrea recorded the bass at my own studio too, and every single singer/musician recorded at their studio or friends' studios. The whole huge work was mixed and mastered in February 2012 by Roberto Priori in Bologna at Pri-studios, and I think I can say he did an amazing job! He is a great pro attitude engineer and he rocks! About artistic production, the album was produced about 85% by me and 15% by Andrea Torricini.

Who made the idea of the cover to the album, it's like you serve the guitar directly in the face of your fans...

About the cover artwork it was an idea of Felipe Machado, a great artist who realized many cover artworks for many famous bands like Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian and more. I had some pictures I did for Hanging Rock, and I sent them to him. After a few hours he came out with this cover, where I serve my guitar to people. I loved it, and so the cover artwork was done! About cover artworks, I don't know if I can tell it 100% for sure, but I think I will always have me and my guitar in it! Hahah!

Which songs do you think represent Hanging Rock best? And why?

Hmmmmm..... hard question! I think Misanthropy for my guitar style, Run With The Devil for the perfect mix of classic heavy metal, neoclassic and power metal, and Idol because this has been my trademark kind of song for many years.... but every song is different from the other I love them all. What I would like to say about Hanging Rock songs style, is that they were born to be simple and straight to the point of the song... no long intros, no long instrumental sections, no many different vocals parts in one song... THIS IS HEAVY METAL! Love it or die!

Will you do more videos than Misanthropy and Idol? Which songs would you like to visualize?

I am happy about the feedback that Misanthropy video has with people and fans. It was 100% amateur recorded, and me and Luca (a dear friend of mine) did the best we can. We did all by ourselves. If possible, I would like to do a video for Betrayer. In the next few days I will film a new video, but for reviewing a guitar head amp brand I am endorser, which is Splawn Amps. They are killer amps! And during the review I will play some stuff of the new album, so, stay tuned!

Can you tell us a bit about how and why you changed the concept of the new record from only doing 2 songs with vocals on Just Me, and now you have 7 songs with great singing?

There is not a specific reason about it. I just did what came out. After writing many instrumental tracks for Just Me I needed to come back writing some heavy metal songs, because this is what I did for most of my musical career and I had good inspirations about it. But I never plan an album. The next one could be a full vocal one or a full instrumental one, it depends by inspiration!

And can you also give us some info about how you figure out which singer you would like to work with on the songs of your album?

It was more a fan choice than a professional choice. I was always a fan of all the singers you can listen on the new album, and I had to pleasure to meet some of them in person too during the recordings of the album. They all are great singers, I had only to understand which one would fit better on a specific song. I have to admit I tried to get in touch with other singers too, but they were too busy or too expensive! Hahah! Or got no reply by email! ;)

I can see that you already got some reviews and feedback. Are you satisfied so far?

Yes, I am very satisfied. The album is having very good reviews. I know this is just heavy metal, but that's what heavy metal is! No compromises, no mix with other shit! I hope the reviews that still have to come will have the same feedback!

How do you make live concerts, could it be difficult to carry that out when you have so many guest musicians, what are your plans when it comes to live performing?

It will be impossible to play live with the same line up of the album! If some live gig will come I will do it with an Italian line up if in Italy. If it will in other countries I can try to get in touch with some singer featured on the album. If no singer will come I will do it instrumental! Hahah!

How do you feel about the internet as a tool to promote the music, an also in general: social network could be both a blessing and a curse, what's your opinion about it?

Internet is good, and social networks are good, but people should think it is not the real life. Some people live inside the social networks and the loose control about what is the real life! For promoting the music internet is a very strong media, but I have to admit I hate it at the same time, because there are thousands of people downloading your music for free, and this is stealing music. Ok, this is the situation, if you like it or not, but this is not a good situation then! Ok, steal the music, but you are slowly killing it! And if you don't like the music and so you don't want to buy it, why do you download it the same then?? when you can 99% listen to some free previews on YouTube or similar? But here I am opening a too big conversation!

What's next on your schedule? Anything you want to add to the interview?

In the next I have to promote the new album the more I can!! and I will do some guitar videos, a particular instructional videos, it will be a surprise! ;) I would like to thank you very much Ice Vajal for this interview and Lars for being a great supporter!
If you wish to know more about my music please check out the official website at

Thanks to Tommy Vitaly for explaining a few things about his music, pleasure interviewing you.

Lars Bjørn


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