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The LoveCrave

One of the most exciting new bands I've heard in a while is The LoveCrave from Italy. Their new record The Angel and the Rain explodes in your speakers like somebody lighting a bunch of firecrackers in a Hollywood club. Their sound is kind of industrial, slightly Goth, with a real hard rock framework. Think Marilyn Manson mixed with Evanescence. Vocalist Francesca has a really distinctive voice that grabs your attention and Tank Palamara's (who also produced the set) beefy guitar is the foundation from which great things flow.

Alternating between flat out rock and slightly dance-y songs, the band deftly slips stunners like "Fading Roses" into the mix with just Francesca and some mood-inducing keyboard work before slamming it down. Possibly my favorite cut on the record is "Vampires (The light that we are)" an adventurous song that has a few components to it. It's the ear-drum hijacking bridge and chorus that have me playing this over and over. Strangely enough, the record just sounds OK when played low. Crank the sucker up, however and it's a totally different animal. This record is mean to be played loud. Don't ask my neighbors.

To boot, Francesca (did I mention she's h-h-h-hot!!) is also a talented graphic artist. She illustrated the 24 page booklet that accompanies the CD (sadly my version didn't have that) and designed the short 3D intro to her alter ego, Rain (which she'll elaborate on in this interview) on their MySpace page.

I spoke with Francesca and Tank via email recently to get properly introduced to the band.

antiMUSIC: Hi guys. I love the record. Thanks for doing this.

Francesca: Hey Morley thanks so much. It's great to be here!

antiMUSIC: What were you doing musically prior to The LoveCrave?

Francesca: I spent all my life trying to find the sound. I mean the right sound for my voice, for my music and for the world around me. It has been a damn hard thing for me to do actually. I looked for the perfect way to express the mess that is inside of me so I've done a big journey through different music styles starting from metal of course, trying to capture my personal emotion in little elements and then putting them together. So I played in different bands, wrote thousand of songs, I also released a solo album but only now with The LoveCrave the real me is slowly coming out.

antiMUSIC: How did you get together with Tank and what was it about him that made you want to work with him?

Francesca: I met Tank a lifetime ago in a metal club. I was really young and just beginning to know the music world. Tank was already known as a great guitarist all over Italy because his band, The Oxido, was having good success. The first thing that I liked of his music was the way he could turn a nice melody into a hit and the way he could play the classical guitar. I still think he is a genius (but he pays me to say this…). We learned together through the years to work on a song only if that is a great song. We never cared of producing tracks just to reach a good number. Every song has to be great for us. We'd rather release a "short" album but done with tracks that we totally love.

antiMUSIC: Did you have a vision at that point of how you wanted the band to sound?

Francesca: Not at all. In the beginning we just started to research and look for the magic. We wrote this one song called "Can You Hear Me?" and we liked the world it was bringing us into so we took that road. Once the road was taken then yes, we had that vision. Now in our ears there is a precise sound for The LoveCrave.

antiMUSIC: Has it varied much from that initial vision?

Francesca: Let's say we definitely know where to go now but we are not going to stop. We want to keep on with our research so things could also change in the future. Music has to move all the time I think and never get stuck into a tight music style. It would be too boring for us and not enough emotional. After all we have a huge world to describe so there is space for all the sounds.

antiMUSIC: How does the writing work between you two? Does one come with a riff first or a melody line, or lyrics?

Francesca: There are two ways. It depends on who of us has the idea first. If it's Tank, he usually starts from some sounds on the pc and some guitar riffs to create the atmospheres, then I start to sing something on it and record it until I like it. When the idea is mine is different, I almost "see" the entire song in my head. I sing it recording it and then put down some chords. Tank does the rest.

antiMUSIC: How long did the material for The Angel and the Rain take to come together?

Francesca: Mmm let's see… we wrote "Can You Hear Me" at the end of year 2003 and we mastered the album in May 2006 so it took us about two years and a half to finish it.

antiMUSIC: I'm told you put together corresponding graphics for the CD (I just have the advance and don't have the booklet). What can you tell us about the story that's on there?

Francesca: The story speaks about death, love, darkness, music and it takes place in a big city where often the feelings get lost. Every song is a little window that wants to give you the right emotion in that part of the story so it's all a big world described by music and writing.

antiMUSIC: Who is Rain and can you tell us a little about her background?

Francesca: In the beginning I didn't want to appear anywhere and let Rain be the singer of The LoveCrave. It would have been a cool idea to use a 3D character everywhere. I could appear only in the live shows. It was really complicated and expensive though so we decided to keep the ideas for the future. She represents the "dark side of me", the one that screams on stage, the little devil on my shoulder that I can't get rid of.

antiMUSIC: How long have you been working with graphics and what programs do you do your work in?

Francesca: It's about 6 years that I work with graphics. I started with Photoshop that is still my favourite. Of course I use other programs as well now, like Illustrator, Quark Xpress, Dreamweaver, Flash. My dream would be to learn some 3D stuff in Maya, but it takes too much time and right now I can't.

antiMUSIC: What's the significance of the title of the record?

Francesca: The title of the record is the title of the story. The angel uses the rain as a connection between the world of the dead ones and the world of the live ones.

antiMUSIC: You're out touring now. Do you consider yourself a studio band first or a live band?

Francesca: We are really two different bands. I mean the sound we produce live is really different from the sound of the record. Many bands nowadays tend to play live and reproduce the record, it's safer let's say. We've tried to do it but it seems that a lot more energy comes out when we play live so we can't really control it. The good thing is that people can see a different show, if they wanted to hear the record I guess they could just play it anytime.

antiMUSIC: What was your upbringing like --- musically? Were you in bands earlier on or in the school band?

Francesca: The first "serious" band I had was called Mystery back in 1991. I was really young but I have to say that if I listen to that demo I incredibly like it. Does it mean that I haven't improved in all these years?? Ahahaha who knows…Anyway Simon was in that band too and I remember that in the first review we had the journalist thought he was a woman. He was sooo mad! After the Mystery I moved to Milan and formed The Flu with Tank. That was a really cool project of metal/punk/gothic/pop … it seems destiny that we play in bands that can't be classified in a single music style, but believe me we don't do it on purpose! :

antiMUSIC: When you're at home, what kind of music do you put on (besides your own)?

Francesca: I am not a big "music listener", I mean I've listened to so much music in my life that right now I like to make myself the right music for my ears. Of course it happens that I take one CD and fly back in time. Iron Maiden, Ozzy, AC/DC, Queensryche, Metallica. I also love some eighties pop like Depeche Mode or The Cure.

antiMUSIC: What are your hopes and dreams for this band?

Francesca: My biggest dream is to build up a little castle of faithful fans around us that can give us the chance to produce some more records and play around. It's really hard to make this dream come true but we are not scared in front of sacrifices. We work 10 hours a day and then run to the studio to make music all night. This is our life. We chose it so now we can't complain. We never complain. We consider ourselves really lucky actually.

antiMUSIC: Anything else you want to mention that I didn't ask?

I don't think so …I pass the ball to Tank!

* * * *

antiMUSIC: What were you doing musically prior to The LoveCrave?

Tank: Valzer and bachatas for old people… ehm …no. I was born with the hard rock of the Eighties and I had huge hair in the "hairy years", that is my background but I always tried to keep my head open. I like to understand music before saying "I don't like it" so I incredibly spent a few years in electronic music learning how to produce it. In the meantime I've always had metal or punk bands because I really miss the stage when I don't play for a long time.

antiMUSIC: How long have you been playing guitar and when did you start producing?

Tank: My parents were musicians so I think I started playing guitar at the age of 4. With the years I became a really good classical guitarist winning some prices as some kind of a "young revelation". I had a big disappointment though in a music school so when I got back home I hung my classic guitar to the wall, put on a KISS video and decided that I wanted to play rock.

antiMUSIC: How did you get together with Francesca and what was it about her that made you want to work with her?

Tank: Francesca has a very special world inside of her. It's very rare nowadays I think to find real artists like her. She is the heart of our music and I am the mind. We work like a team and with the years we found the right balance between her and my view. Of course we also fight a lot. She always wants to turn things dark and I always want to turn things bright. She is "minor" and I am "major" let's say.

antiMUSIC: There is a real diversity in the material, ranging from the heavy dance of Vampire to the more dramatic "Fading Roses". Was it your intention to not just do one thing from the outset?

Tank: It's exactly as I said before, it depends if I win or if she wins ahahahah. She wrote "Fading Roses" herself so the dark part came out completely. "Vampires" is more a mix between her melody and my riffing. This kind of match between us though is really interesting because it gives us the chance to mix the styles and produce something unique. Hope we will keep improving with time.

antiMUSIC: Is there a theme or storyline to the record?

Tank: All the lyrics and writing part of the record is managed by Francesca, she can describe it long way better than me. The aim of this record though is to bring the listener into our world of darkness and rain. It's a first step, an introduction to a big project that we have in mind and it will take more than just one record to complete the work… who knows if we will ever finish it?

antiMUSIC: What were some of the first songs that came out when you were writing this record?

Tank: The first song that came out was "Can You Hear Me?" and right after that "The Angel and the Rain", "Fading Roses" and then "Little Suicide". These four songs were included in the promo CD that we sent to RepoRecords and thanks to them we got to sign the contract.

antiMUSIC: Who handles the keyboards and electronic components on the record?

I take care of all the electronic part of the production. For the piano parts we asked to Fabio Roveroni if he was interested in collaborating. He accepted and I think he did an awesome job with the piano and the orchestra parts in "Fading Roses".

antiMUSIC: You and Francesca are the writing team. What do Iakk and Simon bring to the table?

Tank: Nothing… ahahaha, well that's basically it! They say they just trust us and usually take care of side stuff like endorsements, rehearsals and do some Internet work. Their way of playing is really important though for the band. They are both rock musicians and their sound contributes to give that rough edge to the band which we definitely need to offer a hard rock show and not a plastic one.

antiMUSIC: What was the mindset behind covering the Duran Duran cut?

Tank: Simply we were all Duran Duran's fans back in the Eighties. We were kids and the Durans were really famous over here. It was something going on before our rock life. I've always loved that song and I pushed to include our version in the record.

antiMUSIC: You sound remotely similar to Bloody Mary although you guys are more aggressive. Is there an Italian sound that is shared by that country?

Tank: I don't know actually. Bloody Mary are good friends. We hang out together and we also help each other a lot. They are really different from us musically though cause they belong to the darkwave. We are more a gothic rock band.

antiMUSIC: What are your hopes and dreams for this band?

Tank: You know I wake up early in the morning and work all day but my mind is connected to the band all the time so my dream would be to quit my job and turn my music into a job. That would be awesome for me, almost a new life but I know it takes so much to make this dream come true and I hope that the magic will fall over The LoveCrave. It's just a matter of magic.

antiMUSIC: Anything else you want to mention that I didn't ask?

Tank: Nobody ever wants me for interviews … they all choose a nice blonde girl instead of a rude big guy like me so I want to thank you and thank all the kids out there who rawwwwk with The LoveCrave!

Morley and antiMUSIC thank Francesca and Tank for doing this interview.


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