When you watch a video clip or listen to a song on your streaming devices, you only witness the finished product. When you visit a concert or a festival you witness the live music and the stage performance or your favourite artist! But before all that can be enjoyed, there are a lot of things taking place to make it all happen. Artists, musicians, bands, venue directors, they all have their own story to tell!
In this series I’m going to talk to several different people, to find out what the stories are behind it all! From a “big shot” artist, all the way to promotion and record companies. In this episode Paolo Andreotti.
In 2016 in the city of Madrid, Spain, Crusade of Bards was formed. Their aim is to create music that could mix all their favorite styles and concepts. What initially started as a studio project, soon grew into a full live production that the band describes as witnessing the “Wien-Orchestra directed by Davy Jones”. After releasing a well-received debut album back in 2019, the follow up album was released in 2022 and was even more impressive than its predecessor. One of the masterminds behind Crusade of Bards is Paolo Andreotti. An Italian born musician who travelled the world and settled in Spain. So when the opportunity arose to sat down with this charismatic artist, I gladly accepted!
Hey Paolo! Thanks for making time for an interview with Maizter Underground! I truly am honoured. First of all, how are you doing?
I’m great man! Hope all is fantastic with you as well! Thank you for having me!
Thank you! I’m doing great myself! Well, let’s start at the beginning. You reside in Spain, but if I’m not mistaking, you grew up in Italy.
Yes you are correct. I grew up in a little village in Italy, nearby the Swiss border between Turin and Milan as my family originated from the Alp region. But during my teen years my family lived in several places around the world. For example we lived in Virginia (USA) and Ethiopia (Africa) for a while because my father is teacher for Italian schools. During the period that my father was stationed in Ethiopia, my mother got stationed in Barcelona Spain. She is also working for the Italian school you know. So I had to choose whether to live with my mom in Spain or with my dad in Ethiopia. You should think I decided to go to Spain, but I followed my dad to Africa. It was a special experience living in Africa! After my father was re-assigned to Madrid, I obviously moved to Spain as well. It was time for me to start university and starting my own live so I settled in Madrid. My father still moves around. He now is in Istanbul Turkey. Man, he even helped the band Imperial Age escaping from Russia into Turkey!
That’s amazing. You travelled a lot before starting university than! Must have been something special!
Today you can be known for you work as founding member and composing artist in Crusade of Bards. But before that you were part of Sechem. A folk metal band that brings folk metal with middle eastern influences. What can you tell me about that period?
Sechem was my first band as I joined the band when I was 20 years old just to have fun. The founder was Marta Sacri, how plays the flute, and she started a study archaeology and she loves ancient Egypt. She wanted to combine these influences with symphonic and folk metal. It was really a learning curve for all of us as we learned and progressed when time passed by. Sechem has been, and always will be, an important period in my life and I dare say that without Sechem I wasn’t able to start Crusade of Bards. All the things learned with Sechem have made me a better musician. I must point out we had the luck that people saw potential in us and where willing to help us and point us in the right direction as we still had lots to learn.
We played several small gigs over all of Spain. But when we released our first EP we got noticed by the legendary Yossi Sassi, the godfather of Oriental metal, and he took us on his European tour. All of a sudden we were playing all over Europe and that made us realise we had to step up our game. And luckily we did! We started recording our (what turned out to be the only one) first full length album and approached that more professional than ever before and that led to our second European tour. This time with Imperial Age back in 2019. This led to two things. First off, you have to step up your game and pick up things fast as it is a fast moving learning curve we entered as a band. Second thing is you have to be aware as person and as a band, you van coop with this and make sure you won’t overstretch yourself.
The reason Sechem isn’t active anymore is that we had to make a big jump in almost every aspect as a band after the second tour. Expectations differed a bit between band members. Let me put it this way. Sechem was a bit like a phoenix. We had a great run, had fantastic experiences but in the end it went to quick and to soon. And like the phoenix Sechem “burned it self out”.
So, by the sounds of it you guys had a short but intense run with Sechem!
Nowadays people can know you for your work in Crusade of Bards. A symphonic metal band that has recently released the second full length album. But before we go into that, what can you tell me about the inception of Crusade of Bards?
When Eleanor and myself founded Crusade of Bards back in 2016 we agreed we wanted to combine all the elements from different genres that we both loved into one sound. We did not feel a need to invent something new but we just wanted to make music that we really love and hopefully incorporate the different styles we picked up along the way. And to be honest, when you combine all those different parts and styles you create your own sound and style in a way.
As far as the lyrics go, when I write them, I always try to add layers to them if you will. I’m a big fan of history and romance and I want my lyrics to tell a story but at the same time I hope I trigger the listener into thinking about the story being told and how that related to the modern world and the world we live in today!
In my opinion a good lyric for example is one that invokes a feeling of recognition with the listener or reader. In other words, I want to give the listener a key to either enjoy the music just to relax, to pay attention to the music and lyrics because of the history mentioned in them, or to experience the music from an emotional standpoint. I think that’s the Bards perspective there. A Bard almost always tells a story where fiction and reality blend perfectly in a way that the audience has a hard time figuring out where reality ends and fiction takes over. I try to do the same with my lyrics.
Like you know pirate metal for example has a reasonably fixed output as it comes lyrics and music. We tried to incorporate that into our symphonic metal sound and give it our own twist. I feel it makes for a really recognisable sound.
Well you succeeded in that, no doubt!
The first album of Crusade of Bards, Tales of Bards and Beasts, was released back in 2019. If I’m not mistaking, this was the first time for you working on an album you composed and wrote yourself. What can you tell me about that process and about the album itself?
Well, as it was my first own created work it was a learning curve but in a good way and without this album I wasn’t able to make the new album. The first album was released in 2019 but some song were already written in 2016 and had to be re-arranged three or four times to fit better in our standards at the time. We started things of as a studio project but it quickly turned into a full-fledged band.
I feel this album is really important to me as it shows our learning curve as musicians and it shows our determination and willingness to create something beautiful and lasting. It was our start and it proved a healthy foundation for us to build on.
After Crusade of Bards released the debut album, Covid hit the world. What did this mean for you guys?
Well, 2019 was a big year for me. I did the second European tour with Sechem and we released the debut album with Crusade of Bards. In October or November of 2019 we did an album release party in Madrid and we settled for the holidays. Early 2020 we had a European tour planned with Brazilian Semblant and after the summer we would embark on the second leg of that tour. So this was a perfect way for us to introduce Crusade of Bards to a wider public across Europe. At the exact same day we had to start our first gig in the first leg of the tour, everything closed down because of Covid. That was a heavy financial blow for us, but more than everything this was an emotional blow for me. It was the very first time for me to go out on tour with my own band and from my time in Sechem I knew this was going to be very special. Maybe because of that it hit me hard. Really hard. I couldn’t listen to metal music for a while because it would remind me of the things I missed out on. I know it sounds really selfish but I felt like that. I put my whole being into this. Prepared and lived towards the moment to perform live on stage in front of an enthusiastic crowd. It felled like a slap in the face at the moment. I needed a couple of months to bounce back from that and re-energize. One good thing that came from this as we gained time to start work on our second album!
Yeah I can imagine that. That must have been a blow. But like you said, it opened some opportunities as well. You said you started working on the second album. How did that came to be and how did Covid influence that process?
The biggest difference obviously was the fact we couldn’t hang out and discuss things in person. Now someone had an idea, it developed in their own home and took longer to passed around. Also our producer was over 200 km away so that wasn’t ideal either. However we have such a good dynamic in the band it did not became an issue. We had already reserved time in our agenda’s for the, due to covid postponed, tour that we decided to use that time for the creation of a new album. For example our guitar player Adrián locked himself in his room and composed several new songs. To be honest it was a way for us all to coop with the pandemic and it gave us a feeling of still creating things we love! We did not plan the album what so ever, but it came naturally to us. Without any concrete plans for the (near) future, and with time on our hands, we started writing.
In other words, making the best of rotten situation!
The second album was finished during the covid period and is entitled Tales of the Seven Seas. How did the album evolve from scratch to the impressive album it became and do you work via a set structure as it comes to who does what?
Well, we don’t a fixed structure. One song I am in charge so to say, but with another song it can be Eleanor for example. The most important thing is every band member can pitch in, and can give their own thoughts and feelings about a song. We made demo’s together and when the preproduction was done we contacted our producer Dani G. He came to Madrid, we played our new songs, and set down with him. He came with input, as did the rest of the band, to change some parts or re-arrange parts of songs. Who did what, I can’t remember properly, but it went very naturally. The lyrics are written by me, but the music itself is created by all members together.
I know my limitations so I would be a fool if I wanted to do everything myself. Luckily I have talented band-members that all pull their weight and like I said before we work together harmoniously. Next to that we work with several outsider if you will, to give their opinions on new work for Crusade of Bards. That way we ensure the whole album sounds complete and coherent.
Tales of the Seven Seas is the second album. (For an extensive review, click here!) and has been released a little over 2 months ago. How was the general reception of the album?
After years of releasing stuff you get a bit cautious with getting your hopes up. I was waiting for critics and people mention the things they did not like. It was a welcome surprise that both fans and media enforced the things we intended to show on the album. When people you do not know, agree with the intentions you had when creating the music, it is a huge validation and shows that we walk the right path. We build upon our first album and the reviews we got showed that people saw that too. Next to that RockShot Records did an amazing job promoting the album!
Yeah, I honestly can say Tales of the Seven Seas is arguably one of the best releases this year. Did you have a chance yet to play some songs in front of a live audience?
Well back in 2021 we had the luck to play two festivals in Germany that were cancelled back in 2020 because of Covid and a show in our home country Spain. We played the set we wanted to play including some new songs although the new album wasn’t released yet. Furthermore we have some shows planned later on this year in Europe and some shows in Spain itself. Because of all things that happened in the world, and still are happening, it is easier for logistic wise to do it like this for now.
Yeah I can understand that. The world situation is insecure in many ways at the moment sadly. But if all settles down, and if the world becomes a “normal” place again, what does the (near) future holds in stock for you and Crusade of Bards?
Because of the financial situation that arose during the covid pandemic, amongst other reasons, most festivals and venue’s had difficulty to organise a good line up. We have contacted loads of venue’s and festivals in order to get us stage time. However it’s hard to get ourselves in rosters for these things. Partly because we are located in Spain and organisations don’t have the financial buffers to pay all expanses. The majority of festivals etc are based across the centre of Europe, and it isn’t their fault we are located in the corner of Europe haha. We got some cancelations from smaller festivals as they did not have the funds this year, but hopefully that’s soon to change! We now have two shows in Germany planned for now outside Spain. But for the later stages of 2022 I am hoping to put together a small club tour across Western Europe and perhaps land a tour as a support act. But we always have to take in account that our band-members have a day job aside from Crusade of Bards.
Well, let’s hope that a club tour will happen or you guys can join another band on tour!
This concludes the interview Paolo. Is there anything you want to add?
Thank you Patrick, for your time and a nice talk! To all our fans I want to say that I hope to meet you guys on the road somewhere!
I want to thank you Paolo, for an interesting but above all great talk! It’s fantastic to learn more about the person and musician Paolo Andreotti! On behalf of everyone at Maizter Underground I want to wish Crusade of Bards and yourself, all the best with all you and the band take on in the future!
Crusade Of Bards:
Eleanor Tenebre – Vocals
Eduardo Guilló – Vocals
Paolo Andreotti – Keyboards & Vocals
Adrian Carrero – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Marc Brode – Bass Guitars
Jorge “You” Homobono – Drums
To make sure you won’t miss anything Crusade Of Bards or Rockstars Records announces or releases, make sure you follow them through the following links!
CRUSADE OF BARDS
ORDER LINK TALES OF THE SEVEN SEAS
If you want to listen to more Crusade Of Bards, please click the following playlist!