If you appreciate classic twin guitar harmonies that remind you of legendary bands like Thin Lizzy or Heavy Load, you undoubtedly have to give Konquest from Italy a listen. Perhaps Alex Rossi – who sings and plays every (!) instrument on his debut album The Night Goes On – has already created one of your favourite albums of 2021. After listening to it a few times, I knew that I definitely had to interview him. Fortunately, Alex was available for our blog. Have a good read!
Hi Alex, how are you doing?
Alex Rossi: Hi! Well enough, I have to say, apart from the forced isolation that we all know. But I try to move on! And I hope you’re okay, too.
Yeah, I’m fine, thank you! Did this damned pandemic destroy a lot of your plans with Konquest?
No, to be honest, it didn’t destroy any plans as I didn’t have any concerts scheduled. The only «positive’» side that I see in all this was all the free time I had to write the record. But I still hope that all this ends soon because I cannot contain the desire to bring these songs live!
I suppose there are still many readers who don’t know you yet. Please tell us a bit about Konquest. When and why did you start this project?
I have been playing mostly hardcore punk and its various subgenres with my other bands. I had this project in mind for a long time as I have always been a fan of heavy metal, but I never had the time to turn it into reality until the fall of 2019. I started writing the songs for the demo and the whole album by myself, then I started looking for people with whom I can perform songs of this project live in the future, but their identity is still a «secret», hehe…
I think bands like Thin Lizzy and Heavy Load were some major influences on Konquest, right?
Yes, sure! Sure, they are on the first places of the list of my favorite bands (but actually I’ve never made one).
Could you point out some other bands that inspired you?
Most of the NWOBHM scene are part of what has shaped me most musically over the years, so what you hear is the result of these formative years! Bands like Tank, Wolf, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Omega, Crucifixion had the most important influence on which is my music «style».
Do you have a favourite song on The Night Goes On?
Yes, I have to say, maybe it’s «Heavy Heart». This was the song that took me the most time to write, and I remember being stuck for a long time until I finished it. I thought it sounded like the worst on the record because of that, but in the end I think maybe it’s the best. Obviously this is my opinion, the listener will make the final judgement!
When did you get to know Bart Gabriel who is responsible for the mastering of The Night Goes On?
I posted the April 2020 demo on the Keep It True page and he was the first one to write to me, telling me that he would be interested in producing a full-length. From then on, we kept in touch and it was very enjoyable and motivating to work with him, of course I hope it will be the same for the next album!
On our blog, we mainly focus on metal with epic elements. How would you define «epicness» regarding music? And are there any epic elements on The Night Goes On, in your opinion?
In my opinion, the epic element in music is given not so much by the riffs (they clearly have their weight anyway) but by how vocal harmonies are used. See Queen: they are clearly not a heavy or epic band, even though they still have their heavy songs, but they knew how to use the voices in order to make their songs epic in their way («Prophet’s Song» above all!). I’m not really a big fanatic of epic metal, if there are epic elements in my songs it’s partly a coincidence, heheheh!
Are there any other young Italian metal bands that you would like to recommend to our readers?
Definitely Game Over, Tytus, Vultures Vengeance and classic italian acts like Strana Officina and Sabotage.
What was the last record you listened to before answering my questions?
I was listening to the only Satan’s Hallow record while driving to work, and it’s really a great record, but I notice now that they have split up. What a pity! Really a great band.
Well, you have to check out Midnight Dice, Alex, because four of the five ex-Satan’s Hallow members are a part of this amazing band. Another topic: Are you a fervent vinyl collector?
Not at all, I often only buy the records of bands that interest me, I don’t collect everything and above all, I don’t know what to do with all those records! But I try to support underground bands as much as possible anyway.
Which albums released in 2020 did you appreciate the most?
- Conundrum by Hällas
- Ravening Iron by Eternal Champion
- III: Pentecost by Wytch Hazel
I’m sure I missed a lot of equally interesting releases, but these are actually the ones that impressed me the most! Or at least they are the bands that have their own identity and a sound that «distinguishes» them from all the others.
Do you have a favourite festival? Where would you like to play in the future?
The only big metal event I attended was the Up The Hammers Festival in Athens in 2018, and I saw all the bands I have been listening to since I was young (see Heavy Load, Traitors Gate, Glacier). I was happy as a child! For sure, I would like to participate and (why not?) play there or at the Keep It True festival, which I would have attended if there hadn’t been all this mess…
Last question: What do you generally think of social media platforms?
I think they are important and that they are a good way to make yourself known to the world if you are an artist or a musician, as they are also useful for spreading important messages. You must clearly know how to make good use of it and not become «addicted» to social networks – which is very easy given the use made of it today.
Alex, thanks a lot. It was a pleasure. I hope many of our readers will check Konquest out after this interview. Stay safe!