Riccardo Bacchi, Raven Black Project Interview

Hi guys! Today we have the pleasure to be here with Riccardo
Bacchi of RavenBlack Project. Hi Riccardo, how are you? Hi! I’m doing great. Congrats for your album, it’s great music-wise and also
very well done as far as production, lyrics and artwork are concerned. Did you do it completely on your own? Well, yes. Hard work for sure, it took time and efforts.
Of course I cooperated with professionals in each field, but I essentially did it on my own. Apart from 2 songs which are not
mine: one of them is the 2nd single I released, The Faithless and the Dreamer, an old song dating back to 1992, written by a
close friend of mine, Teo. Instead of leaving it unreleased in his own bedroom, we put it on this CD. What a change! When and why did you decide to start
this project, a very ambitious one? I wanted to convey my huge passion for music in an album – I
am not a musician as a job actually. The spark was an idea by the Blackmore’s Night Norwegian Fanclub to make a Ritchie
Blackmore tribute CD, with previously unreleased songs by artists from all over the world. I participated with the 1st song, it
was my first real songwriting experience. I didn’t have a real band at that time, so I thought: “Let’s do something great: I’ll
call the best musicians I know to record it”. Then the ball kept rolling, new songs were created, and at some point I
thought: “Ok, I have the best musicians I know, why not asking my favourite singers, too?” From there, the material
to make a whole album took shape – so here it is! The album features a number of guests: Andre Matos, Amanda
Somerville, Doogie White, Mark Boals, James Christian, Jon Oliva, to name the most famous ones. Was it hard to
contact them and convince them to accept? Well, technology helps a lot nowadays, the internet makes the
world a bit smaller. I contacted some of them through their management and websites. But in most cases I personally met
them at their shows, I went there with some demos, and I just asked. Obviously, artists of such level carefully select the
projects they want to be in. Andre Matos, the first one, told me: “I can consider joining, but only if I like the song and
if I feel it suits me”. Honestly, I had done my maths – many songs of mine were written with a specific kind of voice in mind.
So, the fact that they accepted was also a positive feedback for me. Can we say RavenBlack Project is a sort of
metal opera, Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia-style? Absolutely not. Of course, a parallel comes to mind because some
Avantasian guests sing in my project too. But first of all, the first 2 Avantasia albums were concepts, and they were power metal.
In my case, there’s no power metal. Also, in most cases you’re used to listen, for example, to Andre Matos singing
in very high pitches, typical of power metal, whereas in my album he sings in a lower register. Same goes for Doogie White,
an almost exclusively hard rock singer – he does sing a hard rock track here, but also a medieval ballad with lots of
interpretation and feeling. That’s one of the things I like the most: you listen to singers who are typically labeled as rock
or metal, performing in an unusual style here. And you can appreciate them this way, too. It’s not a concept album. Actually, I called it “Project”
because each track is a chapter on its own. The album showcases all my musical influences, ranging from the Celtic-medieval
ballad featuring ancient instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy and tin whistles, to the Black Label Society-style track where
you can hear Zakk Wylde’s metal influence, to a Seventies- lavoured song Deep Purple-style, and so on. When it comes to
lyrics, I always tend to write introspective things. A couple of examples: in the opening track my imagination goes wild, it
deals with the conflict between ethics and science, and it’s called My New Revelations. I had heard about a scientist who
suggested to clone Jesus Christ by taking his DNA from the Holy Shroud. This impressed me, and I imagined a 21st Century Jesus
Christ getting really mad and coming back to punish mankind for its presumption in this field. It’s probably one of the most
angry tracks in the album. The Faithless and the Dreamer is a ballad about the tragedy of 11/9, featuring a duet by Jon
Oliva and Andre Matos interpreting 2 fictional characters – one is the terrorist who’s going to crash the plane against one
of the towers, the other is a clerk working at the WTC. The moment they both die, they have the same doubts about faith
– one is sacrificing his own life in the name of faith, the other is dying in the name of that same faith, their doubts becoming
one. Not all lyrics are so deep though! Hard rock and metal clichés such as “sex, drug and rock’n’roll”
are there too, otherwise you get pedantic! How long did it take to complete the album? It really took a lot of time, as well as financial effort.
I did it all on my own – like I said, I’m not a musician as a job – , so I worked on it in my spare time. Also, you must consider
that many artists were not immediately available – some were touring, some were recording other albums, some told me “I
am busy right now, but we can talk about it in a while”. And that’s the path I chose to take: instead of rushing things and
have some random singer, I rather waited for the artists I really wanted to appear on my album. Do you currently have any other projects beside
this one, either running or in the waiting list? Yes, I am currently touring with Giacomo Voli, I don’t know if
you watch talent shows, but he’s the good-looking metalhead who ranked 2nd last year at The Voice, and he also sings in my
project, you can hear him in my 1st single. I’ve shared the stage with him for about 5 years. With him we also have another
project called California Jam, a Seventies tribute band where we recreate a typical show with flared jeans, vintage amps
and things like that, and we play covers of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Deep Purple etc. Along this line, I am
planning a theatre show based on the history of rock, that might debut in the next few months, hopefully.
Not a pub show, something quite different, like a theatre show. Do you think you might plan a tour, maybe with some guests of your
album? And will you be playing live anyway, to support it? Well, this is the ultimate dream! Achieving something like Tobi
of Avantasia has done is obviously every musician’s dream. At the moment, it’s too early to think about it, and I think
touring with all guests is not going to happen anytime soon. But with some of them, maybe. For now, I am happy to be playing
some songs from my Project with Giacomo Voli. In particular, our live setlist includes the 1st single, which he sings. The album ranges from very soft tracks to more powerful ones to
more aggressive ones… We can say “Very” and “more” are all over each track. Where does this come from, and did
your musical passions influence your songwriting? Definitely, yes. Since it’s a carefully planned project, carried
out in quite a long time, it collects my musical influences to the nth degree. Nothing is left to chance, not even the tracklist.
Alberto Bollati, the bass player in my album, told me: “Once you complete the album, the most difficult thing is to
choose the track order”. He was right. It’s not by chance that different tracks alternate. Albums which are aggressive
throughout tend to achieve the opposite – by keeping it always to the limit, they lose intensity. I tried to make the most out of
my tracks by alternating hard and soft ones, and keeping the album dynamics. I’m glad you noticed, it means I succeeded! Ok Riccardo, that was the last question.
Would you like to leave a message to our readers? Sure. I’m Riccardo Bacchi, hi to all SpazioRock listeners!
This is RavenBlack Project, my 1st solo album, out on March 21 in all digital stores. 100% made in Italy, with lots of super-cool
singers! You can find me at www.ravenblackproject.com and in all digital stores. Support me, it’s always needed!

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