Recently I had the opportunity to sit and have a quick, and small chat with the creative mind behind the AOR/Hard Rock band VIANA. I cannot say how thrilled I was to speak to Stefano Viana, even though it was just briefly. He has been a gracious man in the time I’ve gotten to know him and even signed the newest release, Forever Free, for me. I reviewed the album for CGCM: VIANA – Forever Free (Album Review).
This is an album that has been in constant rotation for me, whether I’m out driving with the wife, or even while I sit here and write the reviews about the albums I love. If you know of VIANA already, you can appreciate my adoration for the album. Fantastic singing, playing, and the production on the album is beyond measure, making it a pleasure to listen. If you haven’t heard of or had the time to check it out, then what are you waiting for?
Anyways, enough of my rambling on, let’s let The Man speak for himself huh? When your done reading, please go check out the album on Escape Music, and please support the artist! So again . . . Ladies and gentlemen . . . Stefano Viana.
Trevor – So, please Stefano, please introduce yourself to the people who may have heard your music, but don’t know the mind behind it!
Stefano Viana – Hi, I’m Stefano Viana. I’m an Italian guitarist and songwriter and I’m happy to talk to you with the new VIANA CD called Forever Free!
Trevor – In your own words, please tell us about the album, Forever Free. What’s your favourite song on the album, and why is it your favourite?
Stefano Viana – Forever Free is the second album from VIANA, where you can find a lot of talented musicians. There are 10 songs played with passion! My fav is “In the Name of Love”, it contains all the aspects of my music. It is just like a cold beer on a hot summer day!
Trevor – That’s awesome. Some songs to artists are like their children! You shouldn’t have favourites, but there usually is one. If you were trying to tell a friend about Forever Free (pretending to be someone else) how would you convince them to give it a spin, and check out VIANA?
Stefano Viana – If you like the melodic hard rock made by wood, steel, hands and feet, heart and soul my friend, then Forever Free is for you!
Trevor – What can you tell us about the process of making Forever Free?
Stefano Viana – I started to write the songs, dreaming for recording them in the USA. I had the songs, but I needed a partner to help me in the production.
I found Bryan Cole that he also based in Pittsburgh in the USA, so it was natural to plan the recording sessions there! I involved in the project Anna & Terry Brock while Adam Ernst was introduced to me by Bryan and Pasquale flew with me in the USA.
In the studio (The Tonic, in Pittsburgh) we surprised ourselves by the results! When I came back to Italy, I recorded all the guitars at McSimon Recording Studio.
Francesco Marras played some solos and helped me in the pre-production. At the amazing Officine Meccaniche in Milan, we recorded the piano and the real strings. There is a special guest, John Roth guitarist from Winger and Giant. In the end, Alessandro Del Vecchio mixed and mastered the album.
Trevor – Do you find it hard to break through to international markets being from Italy?
Stefano Viana – I think so because there are a lot of bands with very good records!
Trevor– These days many musicians are opting to making EPs or singles and selling strictly on iTunes or some other digital format, yet you still are making CDs. Do you think “Rock is dead” as many propose it is?
Stefano Viana – I think making EP or singles is a good way to be highly concentrated on a few songs. These ways are less expensive than make a whole album, but I prefer to make albums like in the past until I can. I want to swear that rock will never die, but I’m sure it is keeping us younger and alive!
Trevor – With that, what is your opinion on the status of the “Music Business” in today’s computer age of illegal downloading, trading, etc.?
Stefano Viana – This is the technology, and we need to live with it, and we can’t stop it. Unfortunately, the musicians have lost the control to save the value to make it! Now it so hard to live with the music.
Trevor – You seem to be getting rave reviews on Forever Free. Is this already encouraging you to start penning new material for a future release?
Stefano Viana – I’m really impressed by the reviews on Forever Free! This is encouraging me to play more guitar, we will see if I will have to something more to say.
Trevor – Some record labels these days are seemingly dead and gone compared to the heyday of rock. Do you think that musicians still need labels? Or are independent releases the way to go?
Stefano Viana – It is sad because this means that is harder to live with music. I think that musicians still need labels, to reach a larger audience, you need a label to reach success.
You can produce yourself, but it is really hard. I tried in the past but I won’t repeat that experience.
Trevor – Recently you appeared at the Frontiers Rock Festival along with many other music greats. Do you feel festivals are becoming more the norm in today’s music business, or you prefer, the old school, opener then headliner format.
Stefano Viana – I was in the audience, the festivals are becoming the perfect format for the AOR, many bands, many people…a lot of music! Maybe AOR will live thanks to the festivals!
Trevor – What is your inspiration for material, or songs?
Stefano Viana – I grew up with the rock of ’80s. I absorbed that music. For the songs, I start from riff and chord progression.
Trevor – Who would you really love to work within any future material?
Stefano Viana – This is a good question, but I need to write the songs before to think about to work with. The music is first, the song is the most important thing!
Trevor – On your new album, Forever Free, you have given us 10 stunning tracks of pure excellence in music. Was there any that didn’t make the cut that you might think about reworking for a future release or a bonus track in another country?
Stefano Viana – No, we recorded only these 10 songs. I prefer to stay focused on only 10 songs.
Trevor – What if any, song do you wish you created, and why?
Stefano Viana – I have no doubt, “Don’t Stop Believing”! Why? It became my motto. I wrote these songs 20 years ago and now everyone can listen to them!
Trevor – Well Stefano, I truly appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer the questions I posed to you, and I wish you well in any endeavor you take on, but I hope to hear that you’re working on yet another fantastic album! Thanks again!!
Final “Psycho” Thoughts
Take a moment and read our review on the album Forever Free here. And Remember to support artists like VIANA to keep the fantastic music coming our way! It is truly an album to experience.
Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall