When you front with your own name does it make it harder or easier to get people interested? They might have heard of a band name but perhaps not an artist name.
KIARA LAETITIA: Well it’s usually so. In this case though it’s a bit different: we chose Rockstar Frame + Kiara Laetitia, Rockstar Frame being the band name and Kiara Laetitia…well myself. The reason behind this choice mainly resides in the fact that Rockstar Frame comes from the hard rock world while I come from symphonic metal mainly, so when we though about this album and everything it represents we really felt our two world had been combined, but we could still perceive the differences of our backgrounds and histories. We thought that this was something to be highlighted, a plus and so we decided to call ourselves Rockstar Frame + Kiara Laetitia.
Who would say are the founding stones of the kind of sound you have? Who are your house Gods and how have they coloured your music?
KL: I have a really wide range of influences. My favorite artists are Queen, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Evanescence, Linkin Park, symphonic power metal, but I do listen to some death metal as well as some classical music. For instance, right now I’m participating as a choreographer in the opera Madama Butterfly from Puccini and I love it. As for the rest of the band, Sirio, our keyboard player, is a big fan of AOR and classical music, Max is more into hard rock… I think if you listen to ‘Bulletproof’, our new album, you can clearly grasp those influences that combined together create an interesting blend.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
KL: When you say play slow you mean ballads right? I don’t think we ever sit down and say “Oh this is a slow track we have to do like this”. We simply let music and inspiration tell us what’s best for the song, for the feeling, for the vibe. This happens with my lyrics and vocal lines as well too: whenever I come up with a vocal line, it’s like the melody itself dictates the words I have to write for it. It’s hard to describe but it’s a very cathartic process. Music is the one place where I can be myself fully. So, I wouldn’t say we think differently, we try not to think too much and just let music design its own path. What’s really interesting, on the other hand, is when we have a power song and we have to play it acoustic. Then making the arrangements for it becomes another creative moment per se. It’s amazing sometimes to see something we created changing so much though keeping its core. Fascinating.
Playing live is a totally different beast to studio work. How does your music work in a live environment?
KL: I think ‘Bulletproof’ will work great live! The stuff we rehearsed so far for live shows already feels so energetic and alive! I do think that the stage is the right element for this album and we can’t wait to bring it on the road.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
KL: Even though musicians can pretty much do everything themselves these days, I believe that the support of a good label is still important. Especially when you wanna go to the next level as an artist. The right label can guide you with their expertise, it can help with promotion and connections that independent musicians have a harder time to get. Releasing music isn’t simply putting the songs online, there’s so much more to it than that. Professionally releasing an album has a whole strategy behind it in terms of promotion, exposure etc. There’s no use in releasing songs online if no one knows about them.
Of course there are negative consequences: people these days pay less attention to music, they listen to a zillion different tracks each day and we’re lucky if they remember one at the end of the day. Everything is so fast nowadays! At the same time, I like the fact that, for instance, with apps like Shazam, we can quickly find out about a song and then go on YouTube and listen to it whenever we want. The whole approach to music has changed and even though I might like the older approach better, I embrace new things and new ways to explore music and make sure that music as a form of art goes out there as much as possible. Music is art, it’s therapeutic, it’s inspiring so I don’t mind if it’s more accessible. I’d like people to understand more about the process of making an album, rehearsing for shows and the life of musicians as people think that’s it’s so easy and no hard work or commitment and it’s not like that. So I try to explain it as much as I’m given the chance.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
KL: Dedication to a band is a really rare thing these days and of course I’m not crazy about it. At the same time, now more than ever, once a fan really follows the band, it means even more these days! When there are many available choices out there and a fan chooses you, well it means a lot and this type of commitment and dedication must be treasured even more.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
KL: Haha one million dollar question! I think it’s really personal. To me it depends on the style of the music and the message that the album wants to convey. For some bands, designs work great, for some others a pic is the right fit. For ‘Bulletproof’ we chose graphic art. The cover represents a broken glass, inside the universe with a bullet hole right in the middle. It’s a very strong image. It represents the five elements in a twisted way: Wind is represented by the Universe, glass represents both the transparency of Water and the solidity of Earth, Fire is represented by the gun that shot the bullet and Void is once again the Universe, the spirit, the creative force. We all went through so much while making the album, so we thought that ‘Bulletproof’ really summarized the way we feel right now. We feel unstoppable.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for metal in your country?
KL: I live between Italy and the UK and the two scenarios are completely different. In Italy there isn’t a metal scene really. It’s more like a few bands who managed to do some pretty cool things, even though mainly outside of Italy. I wish the Government and Institutions understood that music (any music) is important in the development of an individual. Music is art, it’s culture, it’s a healthy escape from the reality many kids live in, so I wish the Government did something to make it accessible to kids. The UK is a different story, that’s why many Italian artists move to the UK to make music.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
KL: As I mentioned before things have changed in music like it happened in many other fields, jobs etc. Music as we knew it is already dead and buried. I know of very few people who still buy physical CDs. Even though this might be perceived as the end of music, I see it as an evolution. I’m not judging if it’s a good or bad evolution, but it’s happening right in front of us and musicians and labels need to adapt if they don’t wanna succumb. Artists these days cannot rely solely on selling music and playing live as a source of income for instance, but they have to be creative and embrace other promotional tools and sources of income that are still available in music. The most important thing for an artist these days is to create his own brand and identity. Music is more alive than ever, it simply has evolved and we all must embrace this evolution if we wanna continue to make music. We all have the tendency of seeing change as a bad thing regardless, but sometimes change is good and inevitable. I’m not particularly fond of the last changes in music, but I’d be outside my time and the world I live in if I pretended that the change didn’t happen and continued the old way. I had to stop making music. In general, I prefer to adapt, see, think, explore. I’m still exploring a lot of this new approach in music, so maybe we might have another chat once I found out more
What lies in the future?
KL: ‘Bulletproof’ comes out June 15th. We already have a video for the first single in the bag and it’ll soon be available to see. We will probably party pretty hard to the 15th and will keep our followers involved. I’m personally very active on social media…
For the summer, we plan on releasing the second single, play some off gigs and prepare to tour in Fall. This is the general plan…with some surprises here and there…
Thanks so much for this interview and the opportunity to talk about our new album ‘Bulletproof’.