Italian power metal band MASTERCASTLE was formed in January 2008 by the guitarist Pier Gonella and the singer Giorgia Gueglio. These two guys had several music projects in the past and they wanted to try something different. No fixed genre was chosen with the emphasis on producing music in a natural way. The result was a natural mix of the virtuoso guitar style of Pier with the individual female voicals of Giorgia Gueglio which work well together. The line-up was completed by the drummer Alessandro Bissa (aka Bix) and the bassist Steve Vawamas. Mastercastle’s latest album, Dangerous Diamonds, came out last year.
Recently MSFinland‘s Sylvi had a chance to interview band’s guitarist Pier Gonella, here’s the conversation..
Hi Pier, I’m Sylvi from MSFinland! Nice to meet you!
1. First of all, congratulations for “Dangerous Diamonds” I read a lots of positive reviews about it. Do you ever read the them?
Hi Sylvi, first of all thank you for this interview. Sure, when I can, I read all the reviews that I find, and it is a delicate moment because I pledge myself very in the album recording and sometimes reading critics is very bad. But I say the truth, I never received exaggerated critics. Then of course there are many elements of subjective tastes which should be respected. Dangerous Diamonds has been reviewed very well everywhere, you can check it with a search in the web, I’m so enthusiastic about this.
2. I’ve seen many of your facebook and myspace pages around, do you manage those by yourself?
Yes mainly, but sometimes I ask help from other band members. It’s very difficult to follow web trends because it takes a much time. Sometimes we delay to update the pages but we believe so much in the internet visibility. Our video clip “Princess of Love” reached 120 000 visits and for us this is a very important milestone.
3. But let’s talk about “Idiosyncrasy” with Necrodeath, I noticed that there is just one song divided in 7 parts, and that is very interesting. How you came up to this idea? Were you inspired about something specifil?
With Necrodeath and with Mastercastle, nothing is predefined when we compose. Usually the first ideas depart by the drummer (Peso) and then I work on those ideas. Then we spend the first structures to LPG and Flegias for the bass parts and vocals. So that’s how we start to compose a song, then placing some atmospheric and deadlifts instrumental parts that alternate well with the refrain. So at first we think about the song a bit more longer, as happened with “The Impaler Prince” of “Dracula. Then continuing to write we decide to continue just with one song. In “Idiosyncrasy” there was also the great job of Peso and Flegias for the lyrics, to find a subject that was okay with the song.
I firmly believe that music helps to stay strong and young! I have always devoted a lot of time to music. I work since many years in the music business with managing a recording studio and music courses. Since October 2011, I combined all activities into a new single structure called MusicArt. This allows me to use every spare hour working in the same building in which I play and compose. In MusicArt there are working as teachers also Giorgia Gueglio and Steve Vawamas by Mastercastle with courses for vocals and bass, and Peso by Necrodeath with the course of battery, we are a good team!
5. Among the various genres that you’ve played, what is the one you love the most?
I started to play listening to Pink Floyd, Scorpions and Deep Purple in particular. Then I fell in love of instrumental music of various artists like Satriani, Malmsteen, Macalpine ecc.. The genre of Malmsteen has always been my favorite for the compositional aspect and because there is so much space to the guitar solos, and at the same time great vocal melodies. In fact my first solo album “Odyssea” in the 2005, was a purely neoclassical style. The first record of Mastercastle, “The Phoenix” in 2009, contains many neo-classical influences, but the presence of the female voice makes it more particular, well, on the one hand we have not fallen in the pure neo-classical, the other even in the gothic genre. Even “idiosyncrasy” by Necrodeath was a good result because it allowed me to put my many solo parts mixed well in the Necrodeath trademark.
Yes many times. Sometimes it’s happened that I changed my mind, or when we have started with the evidence we have a second thought. In other cases was due to unwillingness of the other musicians with whom I didn’t find myself at ease. Especially recently, people often plan the projects, think about records and concerts, but when you start really playing the goals do not always come true. Instead with Mastercastle and Necrodeath the projects came in friendship and with musical compositions that everyone of us really liked. This band has created both a balance that makes them very active.
7. How do you imagine yourself in a few years, when you’ll be too tired? (for not to say “old”) ahah
I’ve wondered it more than once, but since music is my only outlet I just do not know. I see Peso by Necrodeath, than after 25 activity years he is still not tired so I’ll think about it later, lol.
8. How you choose your equipments? Have you preferences in particular?
I used a lot of instruments over the years. We must try many, in my opinion. If you want to sell a guitar after a few months means that is not your favorite. I used much Fender Stratocaster customizing the pickups to make them more rock. Now I have two guitars built by a luthier and I like those very much. My favorite guitar amplifier is the “Masotti” but I also use Mesa Boogie and Engl.
9. I saw your signatured “stratogold”, it is so spectacular! Who helped you to realize it?
It was built by Italian luthier Carlo Pierini. I’ve always appreciated his work until one day I brought him the Fender that I used more and I said to him “build one like this, modifying it so that it can sound best possible” He also built for me another guitar with whom I recorded all the rhythm parts of Necrodeath albums from “Dracula” on, and Mastercastle.
For now I have a lots of live dates with Necrodeath as well as with Mastercastle and in a few months I will return to write material for both groups.
11. How and when did you start to play? Who bought your the first guitar?
I started between 14 and 15 years. I was particularly passionated about the videotape of the “World Wide Life” by Scorpions. I remember that I started to look for teachers and immediately I began to study much. My first guitar is still here with me, an “Ibanez” old model “EX” among other things with the body “convex” a very nice guitar which then is no longer been produced.
12. Among the guitarists that have inspired you more I’ve read the name of Ritchie Blackmore. Would you like to play with him? Obvious question I know.. So I add, if I could choose what and how to play, what kind of album would be the collaboration Gonella / Blackmore?
Undoubtedly it would be fantastic! I believe that would approach more to Rainbow than to Deep Purple.
13. Choose the musicians (of all times) and create the lineup of your dreams!
There are too many! At this time.. Deen Castronovo (drums), Dave La Rue (bass), Ronnie James Dio (vocals) and Blackie Lawless (vocals and guitar).
14. Others Hobbies besides music?
None in particular. I like the dinners in the trattorias and some quiet outings in the mountains.
Good! Now it’s time for greetings. I hope that answering to these questions has been nice for you! Good luck and see you soon!
I say thank you so much for this interview! and I invite all readers to visit me at the following link!
Interview by Sylvi Taürie