DANIELE LIVERANI: “I’ve Been So Happy To Have The Chance To Be In Great Bands In The Past And I Had Great Experiences With Them”

Guitarist Daniele Liverani circa 2019

Before the Holidays of 2019 and before the world went crazy with a pandemic and other national headlines Metal Express Radio conducted the following interview with guitarist, musician and composer Daniele Liverani. While those events aren’t an excuse, we do apologize for getting this posted so “late”!

Daniele is best known for his Genius Rock Opera project, and as a former member of Empty Tremor, Khymera, Twinspirits, Cosmics, and Prime Suspect, he released his newest “instrumental/orchestral album concept” entitled Worlds Apart last October. Worlds Apart is his fifth instrumental album and is the successor to 2014’s Fantasia. Daniele chatted with us on his newest album, the state of the music scene and other fascinating things.

Metal Express Radio: In our introduction, we used the word “composer” to describe you. Given some of your vast Orchestral / Opera works this would be a fair description don’t you think?

Daniele Liverani: Well, I’d like to think of myself more as a composer than a performer. Maybe at the beginning of my musical journey, I was very much into guitar playing and had a phase in my life where I had the fire in my hands and loved to challenge myself to create virtuoso music. But after that short period, I gradually started to focus on composing and writing, that’s the main purpose in making music I think. That’s why I decided to dig deeper into all the various instruments and colours that music can offer besides the Heavy Rock music I’ve been gravitating in for many years.

MER: Do you have a genuine love for orchestral music or just a love for string instruments? When did this fascination with orchestral music start?

Daniele: I started with piano since I was a child and was exposed to orchestral music since then so I discovered very quickly to be fascinated by all the instruments of the orchestra. Strings play of course a big role in the orchestra layers of music but all instruments really have great importance for the final result of a symphonic composition. There are so many different and strong potential expressions by all the sections of the orchestra that it would be impossible to pick one as a favourite, the whole picture needs all of them at an equal level.

MER: You have any favourite composers like Vivaldi, Beethoven, Haydn, etc.?

Daniele: I, of course, like a lot the composers you mentioned, but I think that the big milestones of music evolution, at least for me, are Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. There are tons of other amazing composers of course that left us incredible masterpieces. It would be impossible to mention them all.

I personally analyzed and studied a lot of the composition works of Paganini. His genius work both as a composer and performer on the violin is influencing still nowadays not only violinists but many rock guitarist and modern composers. In my opinion, his 24 Caprices have been a reference for me since I first heard them, just outstanding and game-changing music considering that he started to write them at the age of 20 in 1802.

Recently, in reason of the fact that I approached the writing of a Piano concerto (titled “An Innocent Challenge”), an oboe concerto (titled “A Kind Of Soul”) and I also just completed a violin concerto, titled “Impetus”. I’ve been listening and analyzing lots of concertos for a solo instrument and orchestra.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major suddenly became my personal favourite concerto of all times, it’s such a tremendous piece of music, also I liked a lot Brahms’ piano concertos, and Chopin piano concertos as well; these were the biggest influences for me in the latest years, among many other ones that might be impossible to list here.

MER: How has your love for orchestral music carried over into your own guitar playing, if at all?

Daniele: I have to say that I tried to join the two worlds together, the guitar and the orchestra, but I didn’t have success, so I kept these two ways of my expression separated. I’m sure that there are elements that have influenced my guitar playing and songwriting coming from orchestral music, but at this time I consider these two as separate worlds. That’s why I decided to give the title Worlds Apart to my new album that features both guitar-oriented music and orchestral music.

I love these two worlds with the same intensity but I consider them very separated, at least at the moment, maybe in the future I will make some other attempts to join them together in a unique world, who knows.

MER: Your newest album Worlds Apart is described as a “(guitar) instrumental/orchestral album”. Have you found that blending the two genres onto one album is well received?

Daniele: Actually it’s more a sort of “2 albums in one”. “Two musical journeys in one album”. I have to say that, even if many journalists defined this duality in the style of the album very “demanding” in terms of switching from one style of music to the other, I had very good feedback, more than what I expected.

MER: The press notes used the word “concept” to describe this album. Is that merely to describe the combining of guitar instrumental and orchestral genres all on one album or do all the tracks tell a deeper story as a whole?

Daniele: There are actually two separate concepts on the album: the 9 guitar-oriented songs are connected in one concept and the 3 symphonic songs are connected in the other one. Only the song “The Love Rose” I would say that stands apart from these two conceptual song groups. It’s a live performance of my Caprice #16 (I wrote a collection of 30 violin caprices back in 2017 entitled Rainbow Petals) performed live by violinist Karlīna Ivāne in Latvia. It’s been such an honour to have that caprice performed live so beautifully and I decided to include it onto the album.

MER: On Worlds Apart there are nine tracks of heavy progressive guitar-oriented style, three orchestral pieces and a live violin performance. It seems like you made a conscientious decision to formally split the two genres (i.e. progressive guitar & orchestral) into distinct tracks versus combining them. How did you decide this and why?

Daniele: Yes, it was a conscious decision I made. I knew that it was a very risky decision to put on one album, two different styles like prog-rock guitar music and orchestra symphonic music. And then mix them alternating from one style to the other one. But, after all, that was what really happened to me in the last 5-6 years, and I wanted to put this duality into my new album. I wanted to represent that it had been my musical research and creative experience that actually switched from guitar to orchestra, moving on in parallel ways.

MER: How did all this music come together as essentially, you’re working with two different groups of people, i.e. you and Simon Ciccotti (drums) doing the heavy progressive tracks and then the classical musicians doing the orchestral tracks?

Daniele: I’d been doing mock-up demos of the songs, both prog heavy and orchestral stuff and I started from there to build all the scores/parts for the musicians. All the performers were very far around the world and so we’ve worked sharing audio files and everyone has recorded in his own studio.

Nowadays technology has reached a point where every musician can easily record himself at a very professional level at home. This can help the process in some ways, even if when it comes to putting everything together you need to work a lot in trying to keep it spontaneous and an ensemble feel. To achieve that I usually make premixes with updates from all the musicians to create a very true listening experience base track to record on for each of the musicians. It’s an incremental process, the last musicians to record are a bit luckier, since they have almost all true performances to listen along during the tracking. In the end, the process has been working fine, at least I was satisfied with that. It would be impossible to gather all musicians together so this is the best way to handle my music projects with the budget I’ve available.

MER: On the progressive tracks you also used a few young guest guitarists, of the “next generation” including Alberto Barsi, Jordan Steele, and Edoardo Taddei. Was this a decision you made upfront or did these duets just happen?

Daniele: It was definitely planned upfront. I’ve been always looking around for new talents and newcomers to the scene, I think that they are bringing something new to the table, and this has always been very interesting to me. I’ve discovered Alberto, Edoardo and Jordan playing due to their social media activity and they just impressed me both musically and technically, so I decided to offer them a duet spot in some songs of the album. I was very happy that they accepted and to have them on board, they added a very interesting flavour to the songs, both in the written part and in the free solo spots they’ve been involved with.

I’m sure we’ll hear some great things from them in their own music soon, they’re really putting lots of passion and dedication in their musical path.

MER: How did the musicians for the orchestral parts come together? Were these musicians you had worked with before?

Daniele: I’ve been working with some of them before for other recording/productions, Oboist Lauren Urban from the UK had already recorded my oboe concerto titled “A Kind Of Soul” that was released early this year for example. Basically I’ve been writing and arranging all the three symphony movements as a first step. When I came to put together the musician team to record the music everything was written. I just had to export the single part, complete the detailed notation and send over the scores to the musicians. Writing the initial version of the music didn’t take much, three weeks for the three movements. The process of refining and rearranging the whole section parts took much longer, years. Handling all the details and making decisions about the harmony and the balance of the parts is what takes me the longest to get to a satisfaction point with orchestra music.

MER: A lot of today’s Rock is recorded by musicians in their own private studio and sending their tracks to someone. Were the orchestral tracks recorded in a similar way or was everyone in one big hall in a traditional way?

Daniele: Every musician tracked the music in their own studio. This was the case for drums by Simon Ciccotti, who had built a very good quality studio at his home and has been able to provide impressive quality tracks, and also was the case for all the other musicians. They live all over the world including Australia, UK, USA, France etc. It would be impossible to gather them together in one place with the budget I have for these productions, so yes the recording was done in separate studios and then I built everything here in my studio.

MER: The music scene has changed a lot over the last several decades. Musicians can no longer live on releasing new albums and touring alone. How have you overcome this to making a living in music?

Daniele: Personally, I’ve always worked as a software developer as well as carrying on with my music productions, and nowadays I’m very happy to have kept working as a computer programmer since with music it’s very difficult to have a reliable income. In the late 90s and early 2000s, it was better, but nowadays it’s very hard to get enough income from music only unless you’re really a big name with mainstream kind of productions. Despite that, I was always very interested in the computer programming world as well as music and it was not a real plan B for me. I like to write software a lot as well as music, there’s a lot of creativity involved in both cases.

MER: Any plans soon for you to do any more work in a group/band setting?

Daniele: At the moment I’m very focused on my solo music, both heavy prog and orchestral music. I’m not planning to work, join or form a band actually. I’ve been so happy to have the chance to be in great bands in the past and I had great experiences with them. But in this phase of my life, I definitely prefer to concentrate on my own solo music compositions, which in any case, involves collaborations and interesting musical interactions with musicians as well.

MER: Daniele thanks for taking some time out for Metal Express Radio and your fans! Any last words for your fans?

Daniele: Thanks to you and to Metal Express Radio staff and fans! Such great support over the years and very interesting interviews, including this one. Always very accurate and inspiring questions. Rock on!!

To keep track of Daniele’s musical projects check him out at:

Official website


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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