It’s an exciting time of firsts for guitarist Luca Turilli and vocal accomplice Fabio Lione, with their first album under the new title Turilli / Lione Rhapsody about to be released, soon to be followed by their very first Australian tour! Naturally, Turilli himself was keen to talk about all things surrounding this new incarnation of Rhapsody, with the first item being its place in the broader Rhapsody evolution, so to speak.

“First off, it was an unexpected album. It wasn’t planned. It was decided at the last minute. We thought everything was ended with the tour, after two years all around the world playing those old songs. So when you find yourself with the possibility of starting a new adventure, everything comes down to the fact that we would never have done the same thing as in the past. What we played 20 years ago is not what we like now. We don’t like to listen to the same music. We’re totally different people!” Turilli laughs. “So if we were to just play the same music, it would have first been a lie,” he emphasises, “to ourselves, and to other people, because with the farewell tour we promised to close the chapter once and for all. The main argument for doing the tour was that we would play some of those songs for the last time. It was a celebration, in a way. So we didn’t want to be like other bands who do a farewell tour, then go on forever. We had other plans. We were supposed to leave that, and make other things.”

With the exposition out of the way, Turilli continues, “Fabio and I were considering going on with another band called Zero Gravity. That was supposed to be the band name at first! And we wanted the debut album to be what we like nowadays. But in the end, we accepted going with Rhapsody at the very last minute, because the offers were much better than with a different name. That’s the situation of the market; promoters only like to invest if they can trust one name. Otherwise, for me and Fabio, it would have been like starting from zero. And at our age, that wouldn’t be the best possibility!” he chuckles.

“So we play the music we like nowadays. In some ways, it’s obvious it’s very different from the previous album, which was related to the heroic saga that spanned all the previous 10 albums linked together. But that was something very specific. It was a huge artistic challenge, in the sense that I don’t know how many bands did that before us, collecting all the albums’ lyrics and music into one unique saga, something epic and huge. But now it’s eight years since I was busy with Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. I was making different music. It was already a kind of evolution in my opinion, compared to the old Rhapsody. So now Turilli / Lione Rhapsody is a further evolution. For me and Fabio, this is a new band. Yes, we keep the trademark cinematic, symphonic impact of Rhapsody; Rhapsody was created because we love the cinematic, the soundtracks. So with that, we added many elements we like nowadays.”

When it comes to the storytelling and lyrical style of ‘Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution),’ although it addresses a more contemporary, even futuristic tale, Turilli is quick to point out, “I wouldn’t define it as science fiction because ‘fiction’ means something that’s invented. You could have applied that more to Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, but in the end with this band, we have some lyrics that are modern and based on real scientific facts, but also things that are significant to me like yoga and meditation, which allowed me to discover a lot of things about the neural system, our brain. It gave me access to another aspect of life. I’ve had some incredible experiences during meditation thanks to breathing techniques. For me it’s natural to speak about it now, but honestly, it’s the same thing we were always speaking about. Before we were speaking through the saga, but the saga was just a filter. Now we tell this tale of spiritual evolution in a more direct way. Our lyrics are now really strongly inspired by science, metaphysics, the mysteries of life.”

To give a concrete example, Turilli continues, “The song DNA (Demon and Angel) is about the theory of projection in psychoanalysis. Carl Gustav Jung is one of my greatest maestros. I love psychology, the brain. I love this theory that we tend to project onto other people the dark aspects of our personality that we’re not able to accept as being part of ourselves. Every song speaks about different things, but everything is always related to the main subject, spiritual evolution. So for example, the phoenix rising, or the Arcanum, or the image in the artwork, is representing this urgent necessity to ascend to a higher level of consciousness. In the artwork you see a futuristic town, representing in some way the material aspect of life. So it’s a bit of a conceptual thing; every song is connected, but they’re also different from each other. So the song Arcanum (Da Vinci’s Enigma) is about the great genius Leonardo Da Vinci, inspired also by the movie The Da Vinci Code. I like to explore, from a mystical point of view, the art of Leonardo Da Vinci. We wanted to put a lot of variety into this album. That’s the key word. Apart from rebirth and evolution, we also wanted to have variety.”

As Turilli intimates, there’s far more to ‘Zero Gravity (Rebirth and Evolution)’ than could possibly be covered here, but you’ll just have to buy the album and come to a show on the Australian tour in October to find out for yourself!