By “Jay Rollins”
Mellowtoy started the year out with some major changes, could you shine some light on longtime vocalist Matt Massa’s departure and how Simone Cristanelli came to fill the spot?
Titta Morganti: Yes, we have passed through important changes. After almost 10 years, our singer Matt decided to leave the band, and we could just take note of that choice, that became unavoidable at that time.
You know, after several years, it could happen that projects and priorities change. And maybe Mellowtoy was no more a priority for him. Thus we started to do auditions, and we found really a lot of candidates. Amongst the others, Simone convinced us immediately, we felt the right harmony and aptitude we were searching for.
With two vocalists in the mix, both of whom are capable of traditional clean vocals, does it make the writing process more difficult to accommodate both vocalists and how do the lyrics get written? Has the process been altered at all since Simone has entered the fold?
Titta Morganti: No, the writing process of all the vocal parts and melodies didn’t change. Now we have more options, thanks to Simone’s good creativity on all the melodic vocal parts. Instead, the writing process of the music maybe has changed a bit, due to the fact that Simone is a good guitar player too, and brings lots of ideas. Moreover, the guitar player Frank Altare has permanently joined the band and in this perspective, he is strongly contributing to the writing sessions of the new songs.
Simone, as an artist and vocalist it must be daunting stepping in to sing somebody else’s part. How do you personally approach the task? Do you try to stay as authentic to the original vocal style as possible or do you adapt the song and make it your own?
Simone Cristanelli: It wasn’t so hard, because I already was a Mellowtoy’s fan since a lot of time and I consequently already knew lots of vocals parts. At the beginning, I tried to reproduce Matt’s vocal lines as faithfully as possible, in order to find the right harmony with the band. But obviously we are two different singers, and I had to adapt my voice to his vocal parts. Then, after a few months and under a stated Mellowtoy’s request, I began to perform everything in my personal own way, in order to make the band aware of what kind of voice I have and of which direction we can take for the new songs.
Having Lies produced by Lacuna Coil’s Marco Coti Zelati and mixed by his bandmate Kyle Hoffman was the right decision based on the final product. How was working with the guys from Lacuna Coil and what did it mean to you to be able to share the stage with them at this year’s Maremoto Festival?
Titta Morganti: Working with Marco was very significant and productive. He was able to bring out our darkest side and helped us to understand some dynamics of the songwriting process. Above all, we realized that simplicity is often extremely effective.
Marco did definitely a great work, he took care of us, we consequently worked really hard, enjoying ourselves. We already knew him and we were already friends before starting to work together. It was a right and very appropriate choice, indeed.
Playing with Lacuna Coil is always great, we all come from Milan and we know each other very well. Therefore there is always a very relaxed and goliardic harmony between us. Lacuna Coil is a great band and we are great friends. Sharing the stage with them is always a great honour and privilege for us.
Jay Rollins / Metalheads Forever Magazine