Last month I sat down on a Sunday with none other than Nicoletta Rosellini, singer for Italian Power Metal band KALIDIA. After four long years the group recently unleashed sophomore record The Frozen Throne on the metal masses and the results are nothing short of spectacular. It was without a doubt THE Power Metal Album of 2018 for yours truly over here. Nicoletta and I talked about what went into the making of the record, how the songs come together in the band, and more. Check it:
Amps: To me, the Power Metal genre is filled with bands who put out a lot of nonsense, hot air, and cheese. Your band did none of those things with The Frozen Throne, and that’s why it was my Power Metal Album of the Year for 2018.
Nicoletta: Thank you so much! That’s what we wanted to create, something a listener can enjoy without it being on the cheesy side of the genre. We didn’t want to go all swords and dragons, you know? We wanted to keep the songs catchy and melodic to keep the listener entertained.
Amps: Your vocal delivery, it’s very enchanting. You draw people in with your voice, like on “Orpheus.”
Nicoletta: Thank you. That’s one of my favorite songs because I love the story behind it, of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice.
Amps: When “Frozen Throne” was released as the first single I was like, “YESSSS!”
Nicoletta: (Laughs) thank you, thank you! It was really cool to see the reaction of the people after we released our very first single in four years. We were really, really happy with all the positive feedback. It’s been a long time since our debut album, so we were so happy.
Amps: What was going on in and around the band during those four years?
Nicoletta: Well actually we played a lot in Italy especially, but we also went to Germany and the UK. We finished the composition of this new album in early 2016, and then we started working with our new producer Lars (Rettkowitz, FREEDOM CALL). It was really cool to work with such a musician.
He found us on YouTube and we caught his attention, so he wrote me. He said, “Your music is interesting and I want to work with you.” We were very surprised, but also excited. When a producer wants to work with you it means you’ve done something really cool, you know? We worked with Lars on the arrangements, and that took almost a year, just because FREEDOM CALL had a new album out (2016’s Master of Light) and he was busy touring. And also he had some other productions in the making before us, so that’s why it took longer than normal. But in the end I think the results are really, really strong. It doesn’t matter how long it took because we are very happy about it. We also did a few sessions for vocals and drums in 2017 when our schedules lined up, which wasn’t easy because both bands played a lot of shows!
Amps: I’d like to ask you about a couple of the songs like “Myth of Masada,” with David Bassin (VICTORIUS) as a guest vocalist. How did that come about?
Nicoletta: I was in the studio working with Lars on the vocal lines and we were stuck. David lives near Lars’ studio so he came over just to cheer us on and meet me for the first time. He saw we were working on it, and when he listened to the song he came up with some cool vocal lines. So it was just like, “Hey, let’s do this song together!” It wasn’t planned but in the end I really like it. The subject matter of the Roman Legion and the Sicarii in the Roman-Jewish War is fascinating. I’m doing the Sicarii part and David is doing the Roman part, and I think it really works well with two voices. It was a cool experience.
Amps: “Black Sails” is 100% a drinkin’ song in my eyes. When I hear this, it’s time for shots!!
Nicoletta: (Laughing) yeah, I just came back from a show we did yesterday and when we played it some of the crowd jumped on the stage with us, it was crazy! We have some black flags on the stage during that song and the people went crazy. That’s what we wanted when we wrote that song. We were watching the TV show; I love it! The lyrics are not specific to that show, but we wanted to have it be all about pirates, and have it a bit cheesy, and a fun song that would work well live. After yesterday I can say we reached that goal!
Amps: Sounds like you’d better keep that in your setlist the next twenty years or so, then. You can’t stop now!
Nicoletta: (Laughs) okay then!
Amps: I’m very big on album closers. And “Queen of the Forsaken” is a REALLY strong way to end this record. Tell me about that song.
Nicoletta: Thank you so much. I’m really happy you like “Queen of the Forsaken” because our producer suggested we make that one a bonus track for the Japanese release. But we really like that song, so we chose another one to be the bonus track. The intro part is different from the rest of the album, while the chorus is very catchy. The first and last song are related because they’re both inspired by Warcraft. I’m a huge fan of the video games, like World of Warcraft and Warcraft III. I was actually playing before you and I sat down. And “Frozen Throne” comes from the Lich King, who sat on the Frozen Throne, and the other one is the story of the enemy of the one sitting on the Frozen Throne. The two stories are connected with the two characters being enemies in the lore of the game.
Amps: As far as the writing goes, how do you put the songs together?
Nicoletta: Most of the songs are written by our guitarist Federico (Paolini). He usually comes up with guitar parts and then sends them to us. We work on the songs on our own, and then we have something we think we can work we go try it in the rehearsal room. I’ll put some vocal lines over guitar parts Federico sends me, and then Dario (Gozzio) will put down a drum demo and Roberto (Donati) works on his bass arrangements. So everyone does their job at home, and then we put it together to see if it works or not.
Amps: What about the lyrics? Who writes those?
Nicoletta: Mostly it’s me. I will sometimes come up with the theme of the song myself, other times we do it together.
Amps: How often are you writing?
Nicoletta: I write every time I have inspiration. I have lots of lyrics already written just waiting for music to match. I could be on a train and something just hits me, so I write it down. If you could read the notes on my phone you’ll see a lot of lyrics and song ideas. I think I’m always working in some way. But I don’t force it. I prefer to let inspiration just flow.
Amps: Away from music what do you like to do?
Nicoletta: Video games! Also, I love books. I read a lot, mainly fantasy or thrillers. I’m also really interested in history, mainly the Middle Ages. I also do Middle Ages reenactments. I go to fairs with my family, we’ve been doing it for more than twenty years. I also do some Steampunk cosplay. I built my costume and I’m taking parts in some Steampunk costumes.
Amps: What are you listening to at home or in the car?
Nicoletta: Mainly I listen to metal. I’m a huge fan of Power Metal so I listen to bands like SONATA ARCTICA, KAMELOT, and also I really, really love SYMPHONY X and CIRCUS MAXIMUS, bands who are more on the prog side. And of course I love Italian bands like RHAPSODY, VISION DIVINE, LABYRINTH. This is my kind of music.
Lately I fell in love with BEAST IN BLACK, a really cool band with some electronic elements and a dance vibe in it. I listen to a lot of underground bands too, because when we play shows we are always swapping CDs with the bands we play with. I have many of them in my car, and I love to listen while I am driving.
Amps: What the Hell do we have to do to get a KALIDIA U.S. tour???
Nicoletta: (Laughs) you have to ask your local promoters. It’s not up to us bands, it’s up to them. Tell them to book KALIDIA and we will come for sure! We get asked to come to so many places, and we wish we could. It’s on the promoters. We’d love to come because we see that most of our listeners come from the U.S. when we track the listens on Spotify and YouTube. All we need is the right promoter.
Amps: What would you like the listener to take away from The Frozen Throne?
Nicoletta: That’s a hard question. I hope the album leaves them with a lot of emotion. We really hope to let our emotions out through our songs. We put a lot of passion into our music and lyrics, and we hope the listener can love them as much as we do.
Also, there are some personal songs on this album and we want people to relate to them. That’s what I got from music as a child, and I still do. So we want people to feel some things in common with us. We really wanted to say something with this album, and I think we succeeded in that goal.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the KALIDIA fans out there in the world?
Nicoletta: I would like to thank all our fans and supporters because we are really, really happy with what we are reading about our album. There are lots of positive vibes around it, a lot of people are leaving very cool comments on social media. We want to thank you for enjoying our music, and thank you for being so patient while waiting four years for this. We hope the wait paid off for you. We hope to meet all of you someday on the road. We want to play for you everywhere! Thank you for being there for us.
Spending 40 minutes chatting with Nicoletta Rosellini is enough to brighten anyone’s day. She is a bright and shining, very engaging young woman, who happens to be an incredible singer in a kickass band. 2019 promises to be the year we hear a lot from KALIDIA, and rightfully so. I see very big things ahead for them. And if you don’t already have The Frozen Throne in your collection stop reading this right now and GO. GET. IT!!
LIVE IMAGES: MATTEO MUSAZZI PHOTOGRAPHY