INTERVIEW WITH FAITHSEDGE LEAD VOCALIST GIANCARLO FLORIDIA
Date: December 30, 2016
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
I RECENTLY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT DOWN WITH GIANCARLO FLORIDIA, SINGER/SONGWRITER FOR MELODIC HARD ROCK BAND, FAITHSEDGE. OUR DISCUSSION WAS IN DEPTH AND INFORMATIVE. GIANCARLO WAS NOT AFRAID TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE A LITTLE BIT TO WHICH I HAVE MUCH RESPECT FOR. OUR DISCUSSION COVERED A LOT OF TOPICS INCLUDING SOMETHING THAT GIANCARLO HAD NEVER TALKED ABOUT BEFORE IN AN INTERVIEW. ENJOY!
Sleaze Roxx: Giancarlo, it’s really great to talk to you. I’d like to start off by talking about you latest Faithsedge release ‘Restoration.’ How did you go about writing the album? Did you have an idea in your mind of what you wanted it to sound like? Did you attack it any differently than the previous two releases?
Giancarlo Floridia: Well, after the last album ‘The Answer Of Insanity’, it was clear to me that I needed to go back to my roots on what kind of music I like and how I always envisioned Faithsedge to sound. Our second album was really heavy and rebellious. That’s what producer Fabrizio Grossi and I were going for due to the way the music biz was going at the time. Everything was so fake, overproduced and over polished, that we just wanted to do a raw nasty in your face type album. I’m glad we were able to do so, but heavier doesn’t always mean better. I learned from that album. The fan response was also not as promising as it was on the debut album, so I decided to go back to what Faithsedge should always be, a melodic rock band with a kick ass edge to it, without going overboard. So basically what I did is I took the best elements of the first two albums and tried to improve it. From the response of ‘Restoration’, it was the right decision.
Sleaze Roxx: The line-up for this album is pretty stacked. Stryper bassist Timothy Gaines, Ace Frehley/Mr. Big drummer Matt Starr and Hardline/Revolution Saints keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio are all new to the band. Tell us about how you came about getting such stellar players and was it an easy recording process working with such schooled musicians?
Giancarlo Floridia: Well, I’ve known Tim Gaines for over 16 years now. I met him during one of the darkest periods of my life. Honestly if it weren’t for him and his family at the time, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I always kept in touch more like a family type thing and once Fabrizio Grossi wasn’t going to be doing the production and bass for the new album, Tim was the perfect choice. I wasn’t sure if he would do it but I sent him a demo of one of the songs and he was in! Matt Starr, strange enough, I met in the same city I met Tim, only just years later. I was playing in a cover band on the weekends for fun. Matt sat in on drums one night and his drumming just went perfectly with my voice. We also became friends. So same deal, I sent him the demo of the new song and he was in also. Alessandro and I became friends on the tail end of the last album. We had talked on Facebook and he told me he was a fan of our debut. Of course, I was a fan of his work also. So I brought him in last minute on one song but it was clear that we would be working on this album. He knew what I was going for. It was a great feeling to be playing with people you are a fan of but it was also an opportunity for me to show everyone what level of songwriting and voice I can perform at with these heavy hitters. Fortunately, the chemistry with everyone was on target cause sometimes they put these so called “super groups” together and they don’t have the songs or chemistry together. We had both, so I’m stoked with the new line-up results. It sounds more like a band now then a project.
Sleaze Roxx: Guitarist Alex De Rosso has been playing in Faithsedge since its inception. How has this relationship remained intact? I would assume he is in Europe and you’re in the US. That must be a challenge when working on an album.
Giancarlo Floridia: You know, honestly, we just became friends right away from the first album. It just worked with his style and mine together. I’d sing and then he would play a lead. It just blended. I’m really fortunate to have a great friend even if he does live in Italy and I’m in the US. I can count on him to do a great job and also be someone who I can count on if I need to talk to someone on a personal level. In this biz, it’s hard to trust people or sometimes even talk to them [laughs]. So with Alex, it’s nice to know we do more than play music together. We’ve also always got each other’s backs. So thanks Alex. But Alex is such a pro that he can adapt to each album’s style change or wherever I go with it. He’s just got it together. I wish could play lead guitar the way he does. I’m jealous!
Sleaze Roxx: Alessandro Del Vecchio has made quite a name for himself in the last few years. Not only did he do all the keyboards on the album, but also handled production duties. How did he attack the album production wise? Was everything done individually or was it done live off the floor? I am assuming it was done totally digital.
Giancarlo Floridia: Alessandro and I agreed what needed to be done. One is big production. The previous album was stripped down so raw that we needed to go back closer to the first album and try to make it even larger sounding. Bigger drums, bass, guitars and more vocal harmonies. Also I made it clear I wanted to write the whole album on my own. Alessandro writes a lot for other artists. I wanted this to be clear. It’s not a project for a label. This is the real deal. It has a vision and future. Not just a project that’s here one day, then it’s gone. Not that those albums aren’t great but in order to make Faithsedge stand out, it had to be a top priority. To have people wanting more, not saying, “Oh, this is a one time type thing.” The way it worked is I wrote the album, then Alessandro made demos of everything. I sent it to the guys and they did their thing. It was very easy ’cause as you said earlier, the guys on the album are serious heavy hitters. But yes, everything was done through sending files online. And as you can hear, Alessandro really killed it on production and keys !
Sleaze Roxx: When it came to recording the guitar parts, did Alessandro and yourself give Alex free reign to do what he wanted or did you have input on the guitar parts and solos?
Giancarlo Floridia: Alex, I believe gets sent everything last even after the vocals are done. He just does his thing. I mean when you’re at that level, how I can I tell him, “Hey, can you change that [laughs]?” I mean, I’d send him e-mails saying more like an idea style wise. For example the “Faith And Chris” solo, I’d say it’s a real important song to me. Can you really dig into it emotionally? That’s what I’m saying as a lead player? But he’s pretty much on the same page as me and he knows how important this is to me. I know and respect that he’s always gonna give his all. So we just let him do his thing and the results are always great.
Sleaze Roxx: Are there plans to do any live gigs with this lineup? I am sure with band members’ schedules playing with other bands, that can be somewhat challenging.
Giancarlo Floridia: That’s probably one of my most asked questions. Honestly, nothing is set up. Hopefully, we will but I’m just focused on writing our next album and maybe we can. Then, if it does as well or even better then this album did, I would love to play Italy or I’d really love to play Japan. We got some good response from the fans there .
Sleaze Roxx: It appears that Blastzone Records will be releasing a limited amount of copies of ‘Restoration’ on vinyl in 2017. There are 400 in black vinyl and 100 in Solid Ocean Blue. It appears that the process could take some time with some not shipping until July of 2017. Why is that? It must be frustrating due to the fact that the longer it takes the older the album gets in terms of momentum.
Giancarlo Floridia: That’s really the label’s thing. It’s really not frustrating for me ’cause the album has done well and I’m happy with the response. So getting it out on vinyl is just a cool addition to that. Even if it’s released next year, the good news is we have plenty of songs we can put out. You know, honestly, I just write the best songs I possibly can. Then it’s up to the labels to promote and do their thing. I try to help when I can. Either interviews or sharing things online. As bad as things are now in the music industry, you either need to step up your game or things will be over quick. So we will see what happens, but I’m looking forward to it. Cool thing about rock music is it stays pretty stable and lasting. So if they can do some more promotion on it, I’m sure it’ll turn out pretty cool .
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s talk about your journey leading up to the formation of Faithsedge. What were you doing musically before the formation of the band? Give us a little bit of history about yourself?
Giancarlo Floridia: It’s a pretty long story. Something I think I’m finally ready to talk about. You’re the first interview I’ve ever mentioned this to. My story is interesting because of how far I fell before I got back up. I still work on the effects it had on my life. I basically went from showcasing for Sony Music when I was 20 years old. Opening up for all my favourite bands here in Orange County, to losing everything and ending up a single dad. Having to go back to school and taking 10 years off from the business before I even wanted to get back in. Basically my ex-wife at the time was partying and having an affair with a pretty well known rock star. After I found out, I snapped. He was one of my heroes and it went on for a long time. On top of that, they were set on me not making it in the music industry — ever [sighs]. Basically what they did would have buried most people. Making up lies about me to cover themselves or lying to people in the industry about me. But the simple fact is I did what was right. I took the time off I needed and then got back in. I was still young enough, in my early ’30s and put out the first album. So they couldn’t stop me, nor will they. So all the good things that have happened have been that much sweeter to me ’cause I succeeded anyways. Also this guy now, his voice is totally shot and looks like he’s about to fall over on stage. He looks exactly like the person he is on the inside. So karma is a bitch buddy. Will I say his name? Nope ’cause he would deny it anyways. I hope when someone reads this, it inspires them to still follow their dream, even if they’ve been screwed over. Pick yourself up and keep fighting. I did!
Sleaze Roxx: What bands influenced you when you were growing up? Do you think those influences can be heard throughout the Faithsedge music?
Giancarlo Floridia: Well, I was an ’80s kid. I got to watch MTV everyday after school. This was when they still played music videos. It was awesome. I was really fortunate because I got to listen to pop artists like George Michael, Richard Marx, Bryan Adams, Terrance Trent Darby, INXS. Also hard rock like KISS, Stryper, Bon Jovi. Even up into the early ’90s like Jani Lane, Firehouse, Winger, Slaughter and stuff like that. I was also into metal as got in my early teens like Anthrax and Megadeth. I was a huge Queensrÿche and X Japan fan then. So I just never got into alternative music. Then in my early ’20s, I also became friends with Juan Croucier from Ratt. I worked in the studio with him for a couple years and he actually taught me how to set up background vocals. So I owe him a thank you. Like when you listen to Ratt’s “Nobody Rides For Free”, you hear his big backgrounds. Basically he taught me how to do that. Also during that period, I became a huge motown fan and really started to learn more about vocals. So you have a lot of colors of what I do, which I think is why we get a lot of terms for Faithsedge musically. I kind of mixed all these styles and came up with my own sound. Some people call us prog, some arena rock, some metal. Either way it’s a great feeling that I have my own vocal sound and not a rip off of anyone. I’ve even seen a couple of reviews where some critics don’t like or understand my singing. That’s great because I don’t want to sound like anyone. I want to sound like me .
Sleaze Roxx: I’d like talk about a couple of the songs on the album a bit. Your latest video is for the song “Jennifer.” What is the basis of this song? Was this song in the perspective of someone from the outside looking in?
Giancarlo Floridia: Unfortunately, my cousin Jennifer passed away in a car accident when she was 16 years old. She was one of my best friends growing up as kid and I was devastated when it happened. Maybe I still am. Either way I still feel sometimes like she’s still somehow present. So the song is about how life and this world is sometimes a dark place. It’s hard to deal with at times, so I am asking if she can hear me still. To help me or send me some guidance. The video isn’t a full reflection of that. I came up with that idea separately and it seemed to work for the song. But yes, it’s one of my favourite songs I’ve written and people like it, so I’m happy about that.
Sleaze Roxx: Tell us about the first video off of ‘Restoration’ — “Faith And Chris.” What was the inspiration for this song? It’s really an epic song with great emotion.
Giancarlo Floridia: Thank you [sighs]. You know, I just didn’t want another standard type ballad. Usually in order for me to get the best song possible, I have to reach inside and just be honest, hoping people can relate to my experience. It’s kinda hard to put your emotions or life on the table like that, but I want to be the best writer I can, so I do what I need to. The song is about me, my daughter and son having to live separately or apart from each other. It’s about accepting the way things are and instead of being negative, it’s about trying to work on yourself while you’re apart. To me, that should have never happened but that’s life and I’m trying to work towards being a better dad in this circumstance and keep a positive outlook, hoping that one day, things will be maybe right for us. It’s my favorite song I’ve ever written, so I’m glad you like it .
Sleaze Roxx: Are there any plans to release another video from the album. My thoughts on the previous two videos are that they are very well done and I would be interested to see another. I am sure at the end of the day, money plays into the equation.
Giancarlo Floridia: Well, the album keeps rolling along. It’s been over six months and people keep talking about it, so I think we will release another tune. It’s a hard pick. I’d be happy with any of the songs because I worked on them all equally and I feel any song on the album can hold its own weight as a single. I mean it’s a tough choice. It kinda just depends on what style you want to throw at people. Do you put out a metal tune like “This War,” an arena rocker like “You Cannot Give Up” or an uptempo track like “This is Everything?” So we need to figure that out [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: What are your plans for the future of Faithsedge? Will there be another album? Will the lineup remain the same as ‘Restoration?’
Giancarlo: Already planning and writing Faithsedge 4. Hopefully, it will see the light of day in two years or less if all goes well, as planned. The label and I are very happy. It was our most successful album, so we got to keep pushing. We are going to redo “When I Lost You” off ‘The Answer Of Insanity’ album with the new line-up and in a higher key. I kind of rewrote it because I feel it’s one of my best songs. It just didn’t hit the mark right with the last line-up. It deserves to be heard with the current line-up redoing it in a higher key. It really lifts the song. I am also almost done with the ballad for the next album, a song called “I Know I Need To Let You Go.” I’m getting the ballad done first because after “Faith And Chris,” it’s important I have a good follow up to that song. Anyways, yes same line-up. Hopefully it will come out as good, if not better than ‘Restoration.’ That’s my goal.
Sleaze Roxx: What is your relationship like with your label, Scarlet Records? This is your third album with the label so I would think they give you the creative freedom that keeps it fresh and self-fulfilling?
Giancarlo Floridia: Well they’ve dealt with me [laughs]. Honestly, I think I may have been a bit of a pain for them at first because I am pretty intense. I want everything right away. I took many years off, so I was ready to jump right back in. This time, I listened more to them and sure enough we got better results. And this is our first album in Japan for Spiritual Beast. I mean, yes, Scarlet gave me the freedom to do my thing, kind of the same way Alessandro trusted me to write the album. They believe in what I do and they give me opinions and advice. They are into building the Faithsedge name, not just promote for two months and drop it, like some labels do. So when we’re both happy, all is good and right now we are [smiles].
Sleaze Roxx: Giancarlo I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk. Before we close out the interview, is there anything you’d like to add that may be of interest? Maybe something we haven’t touched on like interests or hobbies outside of music.
Giancarlo Floridia: I just want to say thanks for the support and keep up the good work on the site helping established and new bands with promotion. Looking forward to reading Sleaze Roxx for years to come! Check out our website at www.faithsedgemusic.com.
Faithsedge‘s “Faith And Chris” video:
‘Faith And Chris’ is the first single from Faithsedge’s new album ‘Restoration’, available now on Scarlet Records’. www.scarletrecords.it www.faithsedgemusic.com
Faithsedge‘s “Jennifer” video:
‘Jennifer’ is the new single from Faithsedge’s new album ‘Restoration’, available now on Scarlet Records’. Faithsedge will also be joining the Blastzone Entertainment roster for a special vinyl record pressing of Restoration to be released next year. Pre-orders are now being taken at http://faithsedge.bandcamp.com/ www.scarletrecords.it www.faithsedgemusic.com